Earlier solar power was used only for homes and businesses. But, after the discovery of portable solar panels, today they can be used in many ways.
Today, people are utilizing solar power on the go. There are discoveries like solar generators and portable solar panels which can be utilized for your trips. You can even consider using a solar phone charger on the go.
So, today the market is filled with all types of movable or portable solar products. Through these products, you can make the most of solar energy which is freely available to everyone.
Why Portable Solar Panels
Any type of solar panel which can be easily moved around and can be utilized for solar power is considered a portable solar panel. These portable solar panels are majorly used in RV trips and camping.
You can use them for all kinds of outdoor activities where power is necessary, like to charge your flashlight for example. People can use simple and portable solar phone chargers even if they are not on any trips.
Of course, these portable solar panels are compact and small in size compared to the typical rooftop solar panels. These are extremely smaller when compared to ground-mounted panels.
For example, if standard solar panels are offering 250- 365 watts of power range then you can expect portable panels to produce 100 watts. But this range is more than enough for camping and other outdoor activities. Hence, today camping enthusiasts and making use of portable solar panels as their energy back up.
One of the most useful versions of portable solar panels is solar chargers. These are small, compact, and very easily transportable solar devices. These chargers can be utilized for charging smaller electronic devices such as mobile phones. The majority of these portable solar chargers are capable of generating 5 and 20 watts of power.
Since they are very small in size, many portable solar chargers offer unique features. These solar chargers may come in a foldable design. Some of them even have a kickstand and that makes these solar chargers very comfortable to use. These solar chargers are the best options to use on the go since you need not look for charging when on travel.
- 【High-Efficieny】The high-efficiency of its three solar Monocrystalline panels cell is based on SunPower Maxeon technology, that allows them to reach 21%-24% of conversion efficiency while providing enough power (up to 2.0A max...
- 【Advanced Smart IC Chip Technology】 Microchip support to detects the electronic devices plugged into the USB ports for fast charging two phones simultaneously under safe conditions as well as the prevention of overheating
- 【Portable and Foldable】The 6.3x 11.1x 1.06 inch (when folded ) small size and 17.3-ounce design that can easily squeeze in your backpack offers portability and simplicity, and the attachment hook makes it ideal for connecting...
- Updated Triple USB Ports: 3 USB charging ports( Each is 5V/2.4A Max) with smart charging technology which can recognize your device smartly then providing optimal charging speed vary with different devices. The 3 USB ports can...
- Easy To Carry: With compact size (11.1 × 6.3× 1.3in folded) and lightweight (20.6 oz) design, BigBlue foldable solar charger panel bag is small and light enough to fit into any camping backpack, hiking daypack, or emergency kit....
- High Energy Conversion: Highly efficient SunPower panel convert up to 21.5-23.5% of solar power into free energy in enough sunlight. This special PET polymer surface protects it from occasional rain or wet Fog and all the ports...
Practical Uses for Mobile Solar Panels
There are plenty of ways these portable solar panels can be used in day to day life. You can utilize them in special occasions like camping and trips along with other outdoor activities. They are even used for small solar projects.
Having portable power is particularly useful when hiking far-off the grid, with miles/days between you and the closest power source.
Portable power panels help charge emergency devices like GPS or sat. phones.
Also read: Danner boot review: for going off-grid or to the office
But, keep in mind the limiting form factor, as you cannot depend on these portable solar panels for offering power to the entire home. But, you can use them in many ways in your daily life.
For example, even when you are at home, you can make use of a solar charger for charging all your electronic devices.
If you are in search of a compact and small amount of power source to use on the go, then portable solar panels are the best option. They are a solid option for camping, hunting, off-grid living, and even for certain kinds of disaster preparedness.
Usage of Portable Solar Panels for Camping and Trips
If you are camping, hunting and trips lover then you must try portable solar panels. The main reason behind this is, in all these cases, you need to be off-grid. You will need an alternative power source when you are off-grid. So, if you are on dry camping and hunting, then you can utilize portable solar panels.
When you use portable solar panels, you will be recharging the solar generator when there is the sun. After that, once the generator is charged enough, you can utilize it to run the appliances on the go in camping.
Portable solar panels offer noise-free usage. You can rule out noisy gas-powered generators when you switch to portable solar panels. Hence you can easily enjoy your trip without worrying about the power source.
Similar to the roof-top solar system even portable solar panels require many accessories for producing and storing solar energy. So, the most important and necessary things required are proper cables, solar generator or a battery, and an inverter.
Apart from these, you will also need perfect equipment for positioning the panels. You need to mount them properly as instructed. You should also make sure they are completely secured in use. Even though portable solar panels are very useful on the go, to utilize it, you need to set up them properly. It is better to consult experts when you are using them for the first time.
Using Solar Mobile Phone Chargers on the Go
There is no condition that you can use portable solar panels only for serious adventures. You can also think of using small and compact solar chargers that can fit in your pocket. They are very useful on the go and you can utilize them for harnessing power from the sun.
But, only thing is, portable solar chargers do not generate and store more energy. But, they are enough for charging your smaller electronics like mobile phones. You can even charge laptops when you are outside using these solar chargers.
Compared to portable solar panels used for trips and camping, these solar chargers are all-in-one devices. They are easy to use since they never demand any complicated setup like portable solar panels. You can use them on the go without worrying about set-ups.
You can place these solar chargers in the right position, right under the sun and start using them for charging your electronics. Once they collect power from the sun, you can use them anytime for charging other devices.
Why You Should Set your Home up with Solar Today
You can even make use of portable solar panels for powering up devices at home. There is no rule that you must use them only on trips. You can keep up the appliances at home by these portable solar panels.
By utilizing them at home, you can save a lot of energy and money. of course, you cannot use them for an entire house like ground-mounted solar panels but you can utilize them as per their capacity.
Portable Solar Panels and Disaster Preparation
If you are planning to get ready for unexpected situations, then portable solar panels can be your best friend. With these portable solar panels, you can think of going off-grid anytime. They will be with you as an energy backup and you can run things using these portable solar panels.
The only thing is you need to understand their installation and once you know how to use these portable solar panels, you have an energy source in hand. These panels can offer adequate power to meet your entire family needs for a longer duration when you are on the go.
You can imagine any kind of disaster with portable solar panels as an energy system you can get through the disaster easily.
Even when you hit the road without much preparation, you can survive with these portable solar panels since they satisfy all your energy needs. There is no need to worry about charging your electronics since you can use devices like solar chargers.
Choosing the Best Portable Solar Panel for Your Needs
There are many things to consider when buying portable solar panels. Let us consider some of them.
Main Types of Solar Cells Explained
There are mainly three types of solar cells available. They are polycrystalline, monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and one more is thin-film solar panels.
This type of solar panel is expensive when compared to other technologies. But, they are easily available and they bring the highest efficiency. These solar panels contain very high quality and high purity silicone in their solar cells. This is the main reason this type of solar panel is permanent and highly durable.
This type of solar panel is easily recognizable. The reason is, they come in a blue color. Manufacturing of the cells in these panels makes use of melting fragments of silicone.
Hence these panels are comparatively less efficient. But, these solar panels are highly affordable. If you need small and less efficient portable solar panels, these are a perfect choice.
This type of solar panel is highly suitable to use as a portable solar system. A most important reason is, they are lightweight and they can be easily folded as well. Compared to heavier monocrystalline panels these are better since they come with curved surfaces and are lightweight as well.
There are certain major specs you need to check when choosing and comparing portable solar panels.
- Always look for an STC rating and this is related to module efficiency. This feature tells you about the performance of the portable solar panel in ideal conditions
- Look for the number of bus bars and cells included in the panel
- You need to keenly check the performance rating of the panel at low irradiance
- Check for the robust frame load. This feature will tell you about how well the panel can withstand when facing windstorms or be covered in snow
- You should also check for ammonia and salt resistance rating. This is very much required if you are planning to use the solar panel near the ocean
- Always check on manufacturer warranty
- Weight of the panel and dimension of the panel are two major things to look for in portable solar panels
- Keep an eye on power ratings. You should check for maximum nominal power and voltage at maximum power. Meantime look for amperage at the maximum output
Choose the Panel Based on its Primary Usage
Exposure to sunlight is the utmost important thing for generating solar power. So, you should always choose the panels by considering this exposure. Some areas get the highest exposure to sunlight and if you are based out of such area, you should invest in portable solar panels.
Apart from that, the season also matters a lot. Sunlight or power output always depends on the season. So, if the power is not supporting, then even if you have a high performance portable solar panel, it is of no use.
Ease of Installation and Setup
You should always look for easily installable solar panels when choosing portable solar panels. Anyway, you will be using them on the go and they must be easy to handle. The operations and adjustments should be easy enough.
The panel should be easily movable so that you can make the most of moving sunlight throughout the day. Always look for a portable solar panel with a tilting feature. With this feature, anytime you can move its direction easily.
You should always be clear on your needs when buying portable solar panels. Ask yourself how much power you are expecting when you are on a trip or camping. If you have small appliances like mini fridge, camping cooler then assess the energy requirement of all these appliances.
If you are planning to charge your electronics, then you should include that as well in the list. you can even think of adding an inverter for the portable solar panel if you need to charge a laptop and other electronics.
Weight and Size
Even though power requirement is of utmost priority when choosing portable solar panels, weight and size also matter a lot. You need to think about portability and hence always look for the panel which is lightweight and compact.
This feature is of utmost importance to look for in portable solar panels. You cannot predict the weather when you are on camping or outdoor activities.
Always compare the portable solar panels before buying them. You need to choose the model by considering your budget. There are several models which come in an affordable price range and you can choose them for your next camping trip.
Since you are buying the solar panel for outdoor and on the go needs, it should feature the highest mobility. Along with easy operation and easy installation, the portable solar panel should be easy to carry. You can look for the models, which come with carrying cases. When they have a carrying case, it becomes very easy to carry them on the go.
Most Popular Options of 2020
Here is a list of popular options if you are searching for portable solar panels. We created this list after spending 20+ hours researching forums, Facebook communities and retailers to find the best solution for each type of application.
Best Compact Camping Option: COOCHEER
If you are looking for compact models, then here is a deal.
- Redesigned connectors for universal compatibility with any device powered by a 6-volt battery
- Retrofitted with alligator clips for June 2007 and earlier feeders
- Trickle charge maintains battery life without overcharging
- This is a multipurpose portable solar panel and it comes with multi-ports
- This portable solar panel comes with three USB ports and it has one DC port offering smart charging technology
- High conversion efficiency
- Highly durable
- Foldable and comes with a kickstand
- Cords are very short
- Slow charging
Best Solar Charger for Trail Cams: CreativeXP
Here is a good option for trail cams.
- 𝐍𝐄𝐕𝐄𝐑 𝐖𝐎𝐑𝐑𝐘 𝐀𝐁𝐎𝐔𝐓 𝐁𝐀𝐓𝐓𝐄𝐑𝐈𝐄𝐒 - While other portable solar panels are complicated to install, break after a few months or they just destroy your camera, the...
- 𝐒𝐀𝐕𝐄 𝐓𝐈𝐌𝐄 & 𝐌𝐎𝐍𝐄𝐘 - You don’t want to waste hours driving to change the batteries of your trail cam or spend $10 every 2 weeks on new batteries. Our New 12V Solar Panel allows you to take...
- 𝐏𝐑𝐎𝐓𝐄𝐂𝐓 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐄𝐍𝐕𝐈𝐑𝐎𝐍𝐌𝐄𝐍𝐓 & 𝐘𝐎𝐔𝐑 𝐖𝐀𝐋𝐋𝐄𝐓 - Going through hundreds of batteries ISN’T GOOD for the environment. Why not use a solar...
- Enough for all kinds of outdoor power needs
- Comes with tripod mount and mounting strap
- Built-in lithium battery
- Offers the highest alignment since a tripod is adjustable
- Power is enough for trail camera
- Comes with the highest waterproof rating of IP54
- Instructions are not clear
- Brackets are difficult to use without instructions
Military-Grade Portable Solar Panel with a 12-volt Battery
This is the right choice if you are looking for a military-grade solar panel.
- Hunting game & trail cameras accessories
- Versatile top of the line
- Another quality product
- Perfect portable 12V solar panel for DC applications
- USB module in the controller is built-in
- Excellent charging efficiency
- Built-in overcharge protection
- Additional mount brackets
- Best for camping and hiking
- Controller indication is not proper
- Charging is slow
Foldable and Compact Solar Panel for Camping: Ryno Tuff
If you are looking for a portable, compact solar panel for camping needs, here is the best option.
- HIGH EFFICIENCY SOLAR CELLS - Get up to 25% conversion by using the most powerful solar cells in the market - Sunpower X-Series. The 21w Solar Charger can charge your cell phone or tablet in as little as 2 hours. Never be stranded...
- MAXIMUM POWER IN A COMPACT SOLUTION- Our folding solar panel is smaller and lighter than other brands and equally powerful. Getting the same 21 watts in only 3 panels which extend to 11.8 inches wide by 18.1 inches high and...
- UNIQUE iSOLAR TECHNOLOGY WITH ADDED SAFETY FEATURES - Charge 2 devices at once with the unique charging algorithm which will distribute power in the most efficient way. Will automatically stop charging when fully charged or device...
- Three folding panels
- Easy to set up and comes with three stands
- Single Panel to Charge 12V System
- Highly portable
- Enough for all kinds of electronics
- Simple, compact, and easy to install
- Needs space little more than a laptop
Largest Surface Area Foldable Panel: SUAOKI
If you are looking for portable solar panels with a large surface area, here is a choice.
- DESIGN FOR MOST POWER SUPPLY: compatible with most battery pack on the market, building up a Portable-Solar-Generator System together with Suaoki/Enkeeo/Goal Zero Yeti/Webetop/Paxcess/ROCKPALS power source. For smartphones and...
- UPGRADE CHARGING TECHNOLOGY: the solar panel charger generates 60W output with up to 20% high conversion efficiency under 4.0W Lux, providing enough power to charge two devices simultaneously; 5V USB and 18V DC dual output keep...
- SUAOKI TIR-C TECHNOLOGY: foldable solar kit built smart IC for the USB port, maximizes its charging speed while protects your devices from over charging and overloading. The charging current of USB ports is monitored and...
- Reusable solar generator for outdoor uses
- Comes with sub charging cable
- Offers and can power up to five bright LED lights
- Best for indoor and outdoor lighting, camping, and for areas with no electricity
- Highest stability and brightness
- Best suitable for all kinds of outdoor activities
- Not compact
- Little difficult to carry
Most Compact Mobile Phone Charging Panel
There are many options if you are searching for a solar charger. You can easily power up all your electronics devices using this power source. These solar chargers are easily portable and some of them are foldable too. One of the best and commonly used solar chargers are,
- Two charging options: (MAIN CHARGE) you can use the included micro USB cable and plug it in to your wall plug or (EMERGENCY) you can put the charger in direct sunlight to charge
- High Capacity: built-in 30000mAh battery, this charger is a great choice for camping trips or other outdoor activities where outlets are scarce
- Dual USB output charging ports and Charge Fast: allow you to charge 2 digital devices simultaneously, also, it charges your phone very fast with the 2.1 usb port
- Two charging options
- Comes with the highest capacity since it has built-in 30000mAh battery
- Charge fast and has Dual USB output charging ports
- Offers 2 extra features, hook, and a flashlight
- Best suitable for camping trips
- Hook and flashlight are extremely useful in outdoor activities
- In low-intensity sunlight, demands too long hours to get charged
Multi-function Backpack with Built-in Solar Charging Panel: SUNNYBAG ICONIC
If you are in search of a multi-function backpack with built-in solar panels, here is the best option.
- SOLAR CHARGER BACKPACK - The Sunnybag ICONIC solar backpack charges mobile devices such as mobile phones, iPads, digital cameras, smartwatches, power banks etc. via an integrated USB port. Compatible with iPhone X / 8 / 8p,...
- THE STRONGEST SOLAR CELLS ON THE MARKET - The solar panel delivers 7 watts of power and 22.4% efficiency and can charge a smartphone battery in 2 hours in direct sunlight.
- 100% CERTIFIED POWER - Every single solar panel is tested and certified before shipping. This certificate will accompany the backpack when you receive it.
- This backpack converts solar energy into electrical power
- Comes with one unique USB charging port
- Made up of highly durable material
- Made of highly durable fabric
- Lightweight and separate charge compartment
- Bag quality is not durable
- Not suitable for iPhone charging
Most Rugged, Waterproof Option for Serious Exploration: BigBlue
If you are searching for portable, waterproof portable solar panels for adventures, here is the best choice.
- Built-in Ammeter: The ammeter can measure the current in a circuit. The value of Amps of our 28W solar charger depends on your devices, sunlgiht intensity and cable used. If your device has an input current of 1A (such as the...
- Exclusive SmartIC Technology: With the built-in intelligence chip, our solar phone charger can detects your device then deliver its fastest possible charging speed(single usb port up to 5V/2.4A Max, dual USB ports up to 4A Max...
- High Efficiency: SunPower Solar Panels with high solar conversion efficiency by up to 21.5% - 23.5%. With compact size (11.1 × 6.3× 1.3in folded) and lightweight (21.0 oz) design, includes 4 clip hooks, which allows you to hook...
- This solar panel comes with varieties of security features
- This is a silicon solar panel with high efficiency
- It comes with LED bulbs
- Suitable for all kinds of outdoor adventures like camping and charging up your remote hunting game cameras.
- It can be used in the house for emergencies
- Heavy to carry
- Slow charging
Dual-purpose Hydration and Solar Backpack for Trekking: ECEEN
If you are planning for a backpack with a solar panel for trekking, here is a better deal.
- SOLAR CHARGER BACKPACK (7W) - Enjoy free unlimited on-the-go power with the ECEEN? solar charger backpack - perfect choice for any outdoor enthusiast. It comes with plenty of pockets & compartments for maps, documents and...
- 7 WATTS HIGH EFFICIENCY SOLAR CELLS - SUNPOWER made-in-the-USA solar cells, with 22% transfer efficiency, are built into a protective anti-scratch hardened coating & sewn into high-wear PVC fabric for weather-resistant outdoor...
- CHARGE A VARIETY OF DEVICES - Charge your device directly through a 5V USB port,The removable solar charger with Voltage Stability Controller,for GPS systems, MP3 Players, Bluetooth Speakers and more!
- This backpack solar panel comes with over 22 percent of transfer efficiency
- 7W solar panel built-in and detachable
- Powers 5V power supply-dependent devices
- Features anti-scratch coating and made of high-wear PVC fabric
- Has adjustable chest straps
- Highly durable and waterproof
- This backpack is ultra-light and hence it is best suitable for trekking and other adventures
- There is no proper instruction for usage
- May not last for years
Mobile Alternatives for Solar Energy
There are many alternatives you can easily find for portable solar panels. You can make use of a hand-crank generator, wind-power, portable batteries.
- Rotor type: Horizontal axis. Output overvoltage protection: 300W TVS blocking diode protects your USB device.
- Charges any device (cell phone, tablet, etc) like a normal USB wall charger.
- Cut in wind speed: 5 Blade: Approximately 4 mph*. Operating temperature: -40°F to 120°F
You can easily find wind turbines as the best alternatives for solar energy. This alternative is viable and it is the clean energy solution. Like solar energy, you will find even wind everywhere and you can easily charge your electronics using these wind turbines.
- EMERGENCY RADIO: Be prepared for any emergencies & disasters with this rechargeable weather alert radio with solar panel & hand turbine power generator. No emergency kit is complete without it.
- STAY ALERT: The “Alert” function automatically broadcasts any emergency weather alerts for your area. Keep it charged via solar panel, hand crank or a built-in rechargeable battery
- MULTIFUNCTION DIGITAL DEVICE: This AM/FM/NOAA weather band digital radio with display & alarm clock can also charge a smartphone via USB port. Also features an LED flashlight & red flashing beacon.
Apart from this, you will also find hand-crank generators as the best alternative for solar energy. These, like the American Red Cross version above, work based on mechanical force. They can produce enough electricity on the go and you can use it for power demands when you are outside.
- [HIGH CAPACITY POWER BANK] Rugged high capacity 10200mAh power bank (2.1A Power Output) is a perfect portable charger for smartphones, tablets and portable electronic devices.
- [TOUGH, STURDY, AND RUGGED] The FosPower battery pack is designed to be snow proof, dirt proof, drop proof and water proof. Great mobile battery back up for catastrophic events like hurricane, tropical storms, flood, earthquake,...
- [SAFE AND MULTIFUNCTIONAL] The power bank has built-in short-circuit, over-charge, and over-heat protection. The portable charger also comes with LED flashlight, compass, and a carabiner.
Other than these, you can also make use of portable batteries for outdoor activities like camping, hiking, and hunting, like the FosPower PowerActive above. You can invest in these portable batteries and depend on them for power needs on the go. There are many more alternatives you can find like portable solar energy.
Even though there are many alternatives for power needs, portable solar panels are the best. The main reason behind this is, there are plenty of easily portable models. These portable solar panels can be installed easily and you can use them on the go.
Solar energy is available everywhere and you need not go and search it. Of course, based on the time of the day and season, there will be changes in the intensity of sunlight.
But, if you understand everything about their usage, portable solar panels and solar chargers are the best alternative power sources.
Last update on 2020-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API