A portable solar panel is one you can easily move from one place to another and use to power some device or a battery. Portable solar panels on this list are mainly used as a source of power on RVs or camping trips. Typically, these types of panels are smaller than those installed on rooftops or mounted on the ground. Moreover, standard solar panels have an output between 250 and 365 watts, whereas portable ones give about 100W.
Solar chargers can also be considered portable solar panels. This is because they are easily portable, smaller in size, and can charge small devices such as smartphones, tablets, etc. Most solar chargers can generate between five and twenty watts of power.
While portable panels and solar chargers cannot outperform the standard commercial or residential solar panels, they do have a few advantages, such as:
- They can provide you with energy while you are on the go.
- Portable solar panels are a clean and natural energy source while you are on a long RV drive, hike, or camping trip.
- Some portable solar panels are foldable, which means that they are easy to store and won’t grab too much space. Sometimes, they come with a kickstand which also makes them easy to use.
Portable Solar Panel Kits 101
Nowadays, many portable solar panels come as a kit. The typical solar panel kit contains:
- Solar panels
- Charge Controllers
- Battery storage
The solar panels transform the solar energy into DC, whereas the inverter turns the DC into AC. That way, you can use that energy to power small devices such as lights, tablets, smartphones, laptops, etc. The more solar panels you have, the bigger the power output will be, and the more devices you can charge. More solar panels also mean a more powerful charger. Some kits come only with a solar panel(s) and an inverter. The thing about those kits is that you can charge your device while the sun is shining.
Now, if you want to store energy for later, you will need a battery and a battery charger once the sun is down. The bigger the battery, the more energy you can store. The battery charger charges the battery and makes sure that it is not overcharged.
The price of solar kits depends on many factors. Some of those factors are:
- The number of portable solar panels
- The type of solar panels
- The size of the invertor
- The size of the battery storage unit
- The charge controller
- The brand
The Bottom Line
Portable solar panels are a great addition to your outdoor equipment. They are easy to use, provide clean energy, and can be mounted pretty much anywhere. Most of them will work fine even if you leave them on the ground, as long as the ground beneath them is not muddy or watery. If you need just something to charge your tablet or smartphone while hiking, then a solar charger is what you need. On the other hand, if you go on long trips with your RV and you got quite a few devices that require electricity, then a portable solar power kit is what you need to consider investing in.