What is a portable solar panel?, A short answer is they are a mobile ready to use application, for safely and efficiently harnessing the power of the sun. Converting its clean, abundant energy into usable electricity. Usually to charge a 12v battery or mobile phone, tablet or laptop in an off grid setting.
The term solar panel is used colloquially for a photo-voltaic module. A PV module is an assembly of photo-voltaic cells mounted in a framework for installation. Photo-voltaic cells use sunlight as a source of energy and generate direct current electricity. (Source: Wikipedia)
The dictionary the term for portable is, able to be easily carried or moved, especially because being of a lighter and smaller version than usual.
What an useful invention the calculator is for calculating your spending or when subtracting, adding and multiplying. Introduced at the end of the 1970s, they use amorphous silicon as a solar cell during production of the mini solar panel. Operating in a low voltage range of 1.5v – 2v, they are a perfect example of a light, useful portable device, powered by a solar panel to produce clean electricity
What Practical Uses Are There For Small Portable Solar Panels?
As solar cells become more efficient, the opportunities for real world applications become apparent. Currently small solar panels with a built in rechargeable battery pack are capable of charging portable electronics, via a simple USB port. These types of portable panels are ideal for use when hiking, backpacking, cycling, days out or just out and about.
What devices can be charged with a solar panel?
- Mobile/Cell Phones
For outdoor activities because solar panels are usually foldable or roll-up, they will easily attach to a backpack or tent and storage isn’t a problem. Small rigid portable panels can be attached to the dashboard to use whilst driving to charge a GPS or Cell Phone.
Be aware the main draw back of many solar chargers is they lack a blocking diode. This means they will not stop power draining back from your electronic device, if the battery is empty. Always check the status of the panels built in battery and if it is empty disconnect your device.
Power Source for Portable Solar Panel Projects
Small low voltage panels are an ideal, alternative power source for school and university projects, OEM, project development and hobbyists.
When I was at school there was always a project or group, that had some sort of project development on the go. Solar power is a fantastic experimental resource with possibilities that are very exciting to explore. Portable panels are easy and safe to work with, a small rigid panel would usually come with brackets and screws for mounting. Best of all the project would be environmentally friendly.
I have always been fascinated by robots, fueled by watching Lost In Space as a child. Eventually, as they become common place an alternative energy source to power them will be required. An example project could be, to evaluate the performance of a solar powered v battery powered robot in different weather conditions.
What Practical Uses Are There For Larger Portable Solar Panels?
Through free, environmentally friendly sunlight, you can charge a 12v vehicle battery or solar generator to produce clean electricity for use when off grid. When out and about touring in your motorhome, camper van, caravan or camping, portable panels will fulfill your power needs.
Portable panels can be taken anywhere and are intended for powering appliances when off grid. Their limited output is a disadvantage, however you could supplement your power supply by traveling with panels that have built in rechargeable batteries to charge small electronic devices. The portability factor for transportation is a big advantage. Flexible (thin-film) solar panels can be rolled (roll-up) and a range of rigid panels come in foldable cases. Even the largest will fit into a normal sized car.
Folding Portable Solar Panel Kit
Portable solar power kits normally contain a folding monocrystalline panel which can offer high efficiency. Completely waterproof, the protective case is made with a layer of foam which prevents accidental damage. The charge controller can be used in any weather conditions. It is fully automated and provides over charging protection, with different charging parameters to support several battery types.
Depending on the panel size, a 12v portable kit can be 80w to 300w of power. Compact into the size of a briefcase, they are fantastic when out and about in need of electrical power for your appliances,
What would a kit include?
- A stand
- Storage case
- All that is required to charge a 12v battery
A 12v panel kit is ideal for use when camping or traveling about in a camper van. Adding an inverter adds a new dimension to solar power. Converting 12v to mains power means the freedom to power normal household appliances. Caution needs to be taken with regard to boiling a domestic kettle for instance, because of the power consumption required to heat the element. More than one 12v battery and solar panels connected in series would be required to make sure a power drain didn’t occur.
Solar Panels For Motorhomes
As well as portable systems, flexible and rigid solar panels are easily fitted to a motorhome, boat or caravan, for power on the go. Keeping battery banks charged when there are no hook ups or boondocking for light and powering appliances. Solar panels will maintain comfort levels whilst on the road through the limitless power of the sun.
Anybody with average DIY skills and a bit of time will find fitting solar panels to an RV or boat pretty straight forward. Using a professional installer is an option if your limited in time or DIY skills. A local body shop, garage, boatyard or workshop will also fit the panels to a boat or vehicle
What should a full solar panel system for a boat or motorhome include?
- Solar Panels
- 12v battery
- Fuse box/meter
Which ever fitting option DIY or installer, sunlight will provide energy for a vehicle or boat, providing the freedom to travel to that perfect spot, without a power source headache.
A portable solar panel can be used to power a variety of appliances and applications. Currently we use a fraction of the suns available power as an energy source, which means there is a long way to go.
As technology advances solar panels should become more powerful, compact, efficient and cost effective. What if one day, portable solar panels continually charge a 12v battery with artificial light at night ?.
Then, they will become a truly portable plug and play, self renewing, clean electricity source.
I hope you enjoyed this post and have found it informative. If you have any questions about portable solar panels or want to leave your own personal review, please leave a comment below