Using a solar panel usually gives you financial advantages in terms of a lower electricity bill and the incentives you receive from the federal government. Recent innovations have created an opportunity for campers to enjoy camping more whilst having access to a steady supply of electricity to power a laptop or recharge a phone even in remote areas.
This is a common challenge among adventure seekers and travellers because their power source is limited outdoors, restricting their camping activities especially at night. With solar panels, they can bring to camp some of the comforts available at home such as lighting and communication. Portable solar panels have been widely used to provide electricity in remote areas using the sun as the power source.
Their weight and size have also been modified to make them portable and avoid causing a hassle among campers. You might have a hard time identifying solar panels that are dependable and extremely efficient. Make sure you look out for these signs that guarantee a top-notch performance whenever and wherever you use portable solar panels.
1. Useful design
The design of the panel is not just for aesthetic purposes to please customers. Its physical structure is also used to determine its efficiency and reliability in avoiding possible damage. It is important that its design is functional, flexible, and portable.
2. Foldable features
It is more convenient to have a foldable solar panel that allows you to take it anywhere you like. It gives you the opportunity to do activities that require electricity. However, most camping sites have uneven surfaces or experience tough weather conditions. This will surely affect your overall camping experience. However, portable solar panels have well-built legs along with a U-shaped bracket that can withstand different climate conditions and rugged land. It is also easy to set this up in the area. With this feature, you can effortlessly move the solar panel to another campsite, store it in a van, or put it on the roof of your RV. This is different from transporting huge and stinky petrol-powered generators that campers did in the past. You can easily take a solar panel with you to parks, boat rides, and even picnics.
3. Framed build
Although solar panels can be folded in a jiffy to protect them right after using, it is still vulnerable to damage. Transporting and placing the panel on an uneven surface might encourage a crack on its sides, affecting its efficiency and longevity. Having a panel built with a frame and corner protector can greatly help in preventing this situation from happening. With this feature, you won’t have to worry about folding it or putting it on bumpy areas. The panels also have tempered glass that makes the product sturdy enough for Australian windy weather. Dealers include a solar panel cover on the panel to keep debris or dust away for extra protection when it is not utilised.
Knowing the type of panel you have will help determine if your solar panel is really efficient and reliable. An example is a monocrystalline cell. Panels with monocrystalline cells are reliable and usually stand out in the market even if it is the oldest form of panel. Because it is made from whole cells, the panel can absorb the sunlight directly to provide renewable energy for your camping activities. It is one sign that your camping solar panel is competent and effective. Another example is the polycrystalline solar panel. This is also made from silicon. Such type is more affordable as the manufacturing process involved barely wastes any silicon. However, this panel requires more space compared to the monocrystalline one. The reason is that its silicon component is less pure. Moreover, its tolerance to high temperature is low.
5. Longer lifespan
Typically, manufacturers put a 25-year warranty on solar panels, as the product is made of top-grade silicon. The material increases the panel’s longevity and efficiency rate. Monocrystalline cells maximise the amount of sunlight in the campsite, too. With this, you will enjoy the service it provides without the fear of replacing it sooner.
6. Climate efficiency
Power production depends mostly on the weather condition in the area. Regardless of the panel’s brand, the rise of temperature will result in a decrease in the electricity produced which curtails the equipment’s efficiency. However, the effect is less serious for monocrystalline panels. Because it is made from pure silicon, it can handle high temperatures compared to less pure panels which require a larger space during installation. Whilst there are solar panels that have higher capacities, smaller versions that range from 5 to 25 watts are also available. They can power phones, cameras, and even laptops which come handy when camping especially in low-light situations.
7. Efficient solar regulator
A solar regulator is also known as a charge controller which is mounted between the solar panel and the battery located at the back. The main function is to control the amount of charge that comes from the panel flowing to the battery bank. It is designed to prevent the batteries from overcharging which also prevents a bigger accident on the panel. For some models, the regulator is water-proof and is placed on the frame that gives a tweak design. This angle protects the regulator from possible damage from the sun’s heat, making it reliable and durable. There are two kinds of regulators: the PWM controllers and the MPPT technology. When it comes to solar regulators, here are a few things that you must know: Low Voltage Disconnect (LVD) Solar regulators include LVD. This feature will check the battery level and will detach the load in the battery if the voltage decreases, which may cause severe damage on the battery. Having LVD guarantees protection on your solar regulator and prevents you from spending money on costly repairs or replacements. Low cost of maintenance You do not have to worry about the maintenance cost for your solar regulator. To maintain its function, all you have to do is monitor the wire connection and see if it is not loose and it is free from corrosion. The controller must always be placed in an area where there is a decent airflow. Another safety tip is to put a fuse between the regulator and the solar panel to avoid the risk of fire and other accidents.
8. International standards compliance
An obvious sign that you can rely on your solar panel is if it has met the international standards. Having so will guarantee you that the product is safe and efficient or will last longer. Most of the time, famous solar panel brands have achieved ISO Standard 9001 and 14001. ISO 9001 is known as the Quality Management System that provides institutions with an organised approach for meeting customer objectives. On the other hand, ISO 14001 is an EMS or Environmental Management System that provides a system for calculating and enhancing the impact of an organisation to the environment. The solar panels sold at Outbax have met all these standards. Most products are made using the strict Australian standards at a very affordable price. Try to check them out, and you will see that the products are of the highest quality.
9. All-season efficiency
With regular maintenance, you are guaranteed that your panels will work efficiently and can be relied on when it comes to your needs, whether you are at home or out camping. It must be done regardless of the season. There are different ways to keep it working. Doing this at set intervals, along with regular cleaning, and scheduled visual inspection will prevent unexpected problems whilst you are camping or just staying at home. Here are things to remember every season to maintain your solar panels’ top-notch performance:
Summer This season is the most productive time for your solar panel. It can provide you with a great amount of electricity given the direct sunlight it absorbs. However, panels might be covered by tree pollen, dirt, grime, and dust from time to time. In other seasons, rain can clean it off, but rarely at this time of the year. If you are situated in a dusty or windy area, you can rinse the dirt off by using your garden hose. However, make sure the water you use is demineralised or free from carbons. This is because hard water has serious effects not just on your panels but also on other appliances. For instance, corrosion will occur over time. It is also better for you to use a micro-fibre cloth to clean the surface whilst avoiding scratches. For the panels on your rooftop, you might want to install a sprinkler system to save yourself from regular maintenance. Make sure that the installation is approved and supervised by your solar installer so that the process becomes successful.
Fall During the fall, your solar panels can operate well as long as they are not covered by dry leaves or even dirt. However, they can accumulate dust on the surface and rack because of the autumn winds. The trees and bushes might affect the solar panels’ operation, so make sure that they are free from any shade and are placed in an area that is exposed to sunlight. Luckily, maintenance for this season is an easier task. Just make sure you have all the cleaning tools needed. Lastly, try to examine the warranty to make sure that you will not remove it accidentally by aggressive brushing when cleaning. For people who prefer to stay outdoors for a long period, try to purchase some accessories such as regulators or an inverter generator for a panel. These things have the capacity to provide you electricity even if you stay in a campsite for a week or when the sun is out.
Winter It is recommended that portable panels be stored in a safe place during winter. If you are on a camping site, the challenge in keeping the solar panels fully functioning is when ice builds up on the surface. It is important that you remove it, as it may pose severe damage to the product. For instance, there might be possible water penetration and wire issues. It is also best to have the wires insulated. For some owners, they would opt to use salt to melt the solid ice off. However, it is highly discouraged because salt causes corrosion on the panel. Consult a professional to properly assess and help you with the maintenance to avoid causing long-term damage. You don’t have to worry much about winter and snow build-up, as manufacturers have made the product sturdy. The built-in tempered glass is made and tested to withstand serious weather such as a hailstorm. On the other hand, if a panel becomes cracked, see an expert to have it repaired or replaced immediately.
Spring Most of the time, spring is the perfect season for an annual solar panel maintenance. Officials recommend that an installer inspect the equipment to address issues that may worsen in the future or parts that require immediate replacement. Some experts conduct an isolation test to see if there are issues with the wiring insulation or broken connection.
These issues can result in a drop in electricity production and can exacerbate the problem if not fixed right away. Here are some things that should be thoroughly inspected:
a.) A damaged glass on the panels
b.) Missing parts such as bolts
c.) Vegetation growth
e.) Burn marks
f.) Erosion and corrosion of the support system
g.) Exposed or loose wiring Now, try to look into your solar panels and see if they manifest signs of being reliable and efficient.
The good thing is that Outbax offers solar panels and camping generators with high-efficiency rates. Of course, before you invest in anything, it is better to assess how much electricity you need for your excursions and the space you need to transport it easily. Click here for more tips on purchasing solar panels.
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