Energy and Power


Portable Solar Panels: A Beginner's Guide to Clean Energy

Author : Aparna | February 5, 2024

As the global focus intensifies on environmental impact and the diminishing availability of fossil fuels, there is a growing shift toward embracing sustainable energy sources for cleaner power. Solar energy stands out as one of the most efficient alternatives. With many countries situated near the equator receiving approximately 12 hours of sunlight daily and even regions closer to the poles experiencing 5 to 8 hours, solar power presents a viable solution for harnessing abundant and eco-friendly energy.

Regular solar panels have improved a lot with new technology. Portable solar panels are becoming more popular because they're easy to use, good for the environment, and a convenient way to generate power. They work well indoors, outdoors, and while traveling. This guide explains how portable solar panels work, the benefits they offer, and the best solar panels available on the market. Let’s dig in!

What are Portable Solar Panels?

Portable solar panels, as the name implies, consist of compact components, making them simple to install and transport. Similar to conventional solar panels, they can convert sunlight into electricity through a solar power generator, thereby enabling the generation of solar energy. Kings Research anticipates that the portable solar panel market will accrue a revenue of $4.35 billion by 2030. These panels are not only convenient to store but also easily portable. Below are several widely used types of portable solar panels.

  • Foldable

Foldable solar panels can convert solar energy into electricity using a charge controller. This controller is linked to the device's battery to facilitate charging. These panels are primarily designed for outdoor use and are constructed using sturdy materials that include built-in handles.

  • Rollable

Rollable solar panels are specifically designed to provide convenience in terms of storage and transportation. These solar panels are made from flexible materials, which makes them perfect for individuals who require portable and lightweight solar panels for activities such as backpacking or camping.

  • Briefcase

Briefcase portable solar panels, as their name implies, have a design that resembles a briefcase and are conveniently compact for easy transportation. Constructed from durable materials, these panels are suitable for a wide range of outdoor activities.

  • Backpack

Backpack solar panels are specifically created to be conveniently carried on one's back. Hence, they possess a remarkably lightweight and compact design. Additionally, they are equipped with integrated charging ports, enabling the charging of electronic devices while on the move.

How do Portable Solar Panels Work?

Similar to regular solar panels, portable solar panels use the photovoltaic effect to generate electricity. This effect happens because semiconductors, like silicon, are applied in the panel to change light energy into electrical energy. When sunlight hits the panels, it makes the electrons in the silicon atom excited, causing them to move and create an electrical current. Connecting the solar panel in a series enhances both current output and voltage.

Various parts may be included in the portable solar panel:

  • Solar Cells: These cells transform sunlight into electrical energy.
  • Charge Controller: In portable solar panels, the charge controller prevents devices from overcharging or over-discharging by regulating the flow of electricity from the solar panel to the battery.
  • Battery: The battery stores the electrical energy generated by the solar panels, allowing you to later charge your devices with it.
  • Inverter: This device converts the direct current stored in the battery into an alternative currency suitable for most electronic devices.

When using portable solar panels, connect your device's charger cable to the panels. The charge controller ensures a safe and efficient flow of electricity to charge your devices.

Both direct and indirect charging are made possible by portable solar panels. Connecting gadgets with integrated solar chargers that are battery-free directly to solar panels is known as direct charging. They are made to accept outputs of low voltage and low current. The process of indirect charging includes storing the electrical energy produced by the solar panel and using it later to charge devices. Smartphones, laptops, tablets, cameras, power banks, portable speakers, camping lights, GPS units, and other common electronics can all be charged with portable solar panels.

Which Are The Best Portable Panels On The Market?

When it comes to portable solar panels, monocrystalline ones are preferred over polycrystalline panels due to their higher efficiency in converting sunlight into electricity. As a result, these modules can offer a significant level of efficiency in harnessing solar energy. Let’s take a look at some of the best portable solar panels available in the marketplace.

Bluetti PV200 Solar Panel

The foldable design of this 200-watt monocrystalline solar panel makes it a versatile and portable option. With a remarkable 23.4% conversion efficiency, it ensures optimum energy conversion. Additionally, it seamlessly integrates with a wide range of solar generators equipped with MC4 connectors, offering compatibility and convenience.

Bluetti PV350 Solar Panel

The 350-watt solar panel possesses equivalent high conversion efficiency and utilizes advanced laminated technology. While it is resistant to water splashes, it is not recommended to expose it to rainfall or submerge it in water.

Jackery SolarSaga 200-Watt Solar Panel

With a conversion efficiency reaching 24.3%, this Jackery SolarSaga panel is equipped with three kickstands to secure its positioning. Additionally, it comes with a convenient carry case and holds an IP67 waterproof rating.

100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Foldable Solar Suitcase with Voyager

This suitcase comprises a pair of 50-watt solar panels and a flexible aluminum stand that is resistant to corrosion. Additionally, it comes with a charge controller that offers protection against overcharging and a warranty period of 10 years. However, it should be noted that this particular suitcase weighs slightly more, around 26.6 pounds, compared to other top-rated portable solar panels available in the market.

EcoFlow 160W Solar Panel

This particular photovoltaic module possesses a collapsible structure and weighs merely 15.4 pounds. It includes a dust and water resistance rating of IP68, and the accompanying case also functions as a support stand.

Wrapping it Up

Portable solar panels are a practical and efficient choice when compared to diesel generators for various outdoor pursuits such as camping, hiking, and backpacking in areas where access to electricity is limited. These solar panels provide a sustainable solution for powering electronic devices by harnessing solar energy and converting it into electricity. Additionally, their lightweight design allows for easy transportation as they can be folded or rolled up like a backpack. By considering the aforementioned factors, you can make an informed decision when purchasing portable solar panels, ensuring a hassle-free experience during your outdoor activities.

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