Buying camping solar panels online also does not have to be stressful. Here are a few helpful tips that can make the experience easier for you.
What are the best portable solar panels for camping?
There are three types of solar cells commonly used in portable solar panels.
Monocrystalline cells are made up of a large single crystal of silicon
Polycrystalline cells are made up of many smaller crystals of silicon
The amorphous is a thin-film silicon solar cell
Mono-crystalline panels are more expensive than polycrystalline, and because of lower silicon purity, polycrystalline solar panels are less efficient than monocrystalline solar panels. As a result, comparing two panels of the same size, a monocrystalline solar panel will generate more solar energy. Comparing this to the amorphous panels, they are significantly cheaper than crystalline panels. However, they are far less efficient. This means a greater number of cells are needed to produce the same amount of energy - this requires a significantly bigger surface area.
There are four types of portable mono or polycrystalline solar panels; the lightweight folding solar panels and blankets, the flexible solar panels and traditional glass and aluminum panels. The traditional glass and aluminum frame panels are rigid, fragile and thus require lamination to glass for adequate protection.
This means they cannot be folded down to a compact size for storage and creates more logistical problems when trying to pack the 4WD or camping vehicle. Flexible solar panels while being quite light cannot be folded down, which makes it hard to conserve precious space, as compared to the folding solar panels and blankets which are very compact, lightweight and easy to store.
Why use solar power?
Solar power is the best form of natural energy, it's renewable, and best of all it is entirely free. Using a lightweight folding solar system allows you to travel to unpowered and remote locations. You can move wherever you choose and always know you have the power to charge your battery setup and keep all your essentials operating.
What are the benefits of camping with solar power?
The ability to be able to travel off-grid without sacrificing items like fridges, LED camping lights, mobile devices, laptops and more. Camping off-grid will generally mean you can avoid paying heftier fees for powered sites. Also, you will be steering away from older technology like generators that have an ongoing cost. With a solar panel camping setup, you don’t have to keep forking out money to top up oil and fuel and also disturb the peace and quiet you went outdoors to find in the first place.
How much power do solar panels produce?
How much power your solar panels produce depends on their size, how you operate them and critically the number of sunlight hours in a day. Other factors like geographic location, time of year and temperature will govern how your solar panel performs and how much power it can produce.
Solar panels do have a slight loss in output performance above a temperature of 25 degrees Celsius. This accounts for a power reduction of -0.3% per degree Celsius above 25 degrees.
All of these combined factors make it difficult to guarantee an exact number that your solar panels will consistently generate, and for these reasons, it will always be better to overestimate usage when doing your calculations. This will help account for days with lack of sunlight, geographical and temperature changes.
What should you try not to power with solar?
Avoid using any major heating appliances like hair dryers from your power inverter. While devices such as power inverters and air compressors can draw a lot of power, usually they are only operated for small amounts of time, but they are energy-intensive and will quickly deplete your battery’s power.