Portable Solar Power
Solar panels on a roof are what most people envision when solar
energy is discussed. Portable solar power, however, represents a new and
Portable Solar Power
A portable solar power system can be a great introduction to
solar power use for people who are interested but are confused or overwhelmed
by the thought. Systems available to the general public come in small sizes (to
power laptops, cell phone, portable stereos, etc) and medium sizes (to power
multiple small items or small portable appliances). Portable solar power
systems are user-friendly. They require little to no wiring, with most systems
being ready for immediate use. Other benefits include the fact that portable
solar power allows an individual to access power outside of the national grid.
These systems are also renewable and sustainable.
Portable solar power systems utilize small photovoltaic solar
panels. These are housed in a variety of materials, depending on the size and
intended use. Most small systems come in a polymer based carrying case that
looks like a bulky briefcase. There are also sportier models that can be
incorporated into hiking gear. Some models even roll up so they can be slid
into a variety of cases and containers. A small battery-type pack can be used
to jumpstart cars or boats.
Some medium portable solar power systems look like a small
generator and come on a rolling stand. Others are roll up systems, similar to
the ones in the smaller units. These medium systems can power appliances in RV’s,
boats, or while camping. They can also power multiple small electronics at one
time. A medium portable solar power system can be used in emergencies to power
lights, radios, telephones, and other emergency items.
Regardless of the size, these portable systems are designed for
outdoor use. They can handle temperatures ranging from -10°F to 140°F. Most
systems are water resistant, but should not be submerged in water. The panels
should be kept clean because dirty photovoltaic panels do not absorb solar energy
efficiently. Most models come with meters to prevent damage caused by under or
over powering. The systems work best when the battery powered electronic is
fully charged at the start of use; it is more effective as a battery saver.
Many soldiers are being given portable solar power packs for use
in the field. The military is also utilizing portable solar power on a larger
scale that is not readily available to the average consumer. Use of
low-maintenance portable energy takes one more burden off the soldiers.
Portable solar power is also lighter than traditional battery packs, again
lightening the soldier’s load.