Foldable solar panels collect energy from the sun and use them to power all types of devices. So, if you love hiking, camping, or doing any other activity that involves spending a lot of time outdoors, then you might want to look into foldable solar panels.
If you’re unsure of how to choose the right one for you and where to even begin, then you’re in the right place! Keep on reading for a complete guide to choosing a foldable solar panel that will benefit you on your trips outdoors.
Types of Foldable Solar Panels
Before anything else, it’s important to understand that foldable solar panels come in three different types: monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin film. Understanding how each type differs from the other will help you make your final choice.
Monocrystalline solar panels are created from a single silicon crystal. This type of folding solar panel is typically seen as the most efficient and capable out of the three types. That’s because it can provide a lot of energy even if there isn’t much sunlight. However, this also makes them the most expensive.
Polycrystalline solar panels, as the name suggests, are made of many silicon crystal fragments. These are typically recommended for those who own an RV.
Compared to monocrystalline, these are more budget-friendly. They also take up less space than thin film panels. Although they don’t generate as much power as their monocrystalline counterparts, they still serve as great investments.
Thin film panels, sometimes referred to as amorphous panels, are created on a wide bed with silicon spread across. These panels are a popular option since they are the cheapest of the three types.
They also give more flexibility, so you can have extra installation options. The downside of thin film panels is that they generate the same power as the other two types but take up three times more space.
Pros and Cons of Buying a Foldable Solar Panel
Just like with every product under the sun, foldable solar panels have their own advantages and disadvantages too.
- Portable foldable solar panels are portable and can be easily carried wherever you go.
- You don’t need to install foldable solar panels to use them.
- Foldable solar panels can last long and require little to no maintenance.
- Using foldable solar panels allows you to go green as it makes you less dependent on fuel, reducing your carbon footprint.
- The downside of foldable solar panels is that they are dependent on the weather. They only work well when they get enough sunlight.
How to Choose the Ideal Foldable Solar Panel
A solar expert agrees that picking the right solar panel is crucial. When looking for a portable solar panel for outdoor use, you have to make sure it’s easy but robust. Safety is also a priority since the primary function of foldable solar panels is to provide electricity. Here are the other things you need to consider when choosing a portable folding solar panels:
The higher the watts of solar panels, the more power they have. But, this also means they’re heavier and bulkier. A larger foldable solar panel can be a good choice if you have a car. But, if you plan to trek or hike, a fold-out and light solar panel is a better choice.
Whether you plan on visiting a campsite for the weekend or driving across the country, it’s important to consider the efficiency of your solar panel before purchasing. The ideal solar panel is one that takes up as little space as possible while still reaching maximum power efficiency.
Keep in mind that there are different factors that can affect the efficiency of your portable foldable solar panel such as the shade and weather patterns during your travels. A solar panel that can produce the best output even with these unexpected natural conditions is the way to go.
How Many Portable Panels Should You Use?
You also need to consider how many foldable solar panels you plan on bringing with you on your trip. This solely depends on the application you need.
Take a look at the wattage of the device you’re trying to power so you can identify the corresponding solar panel. For instance, if you want to power a 500Wh portable power station, you either choose 200-watt panels or 100-watt panels. If you pursue a shorter charging time, choose the panel with a larger output watt.
What’s the Best Way to Use Portable Solar Panels?
Portable solar panels aren’t enough to power your entire home. However, they do have other important and ideal uses. Here are some of the best ways to use your portable solar panels.
Camping and RV Trips
Portable solar panels are great for RV owners who enjoy spending lots of time going off-grid. A few portable panels will be enough for recharging a solar generator, providing you with energy you can use even after the sun has set.
With portable solar panels, you no longer have to rely on gas-powered generators that make a lot of noise and disrupt your peace. You can enjoy the quiet of nature without having to worry about lacking in the energy department.
Similar to a rooftop solar system, several accessories are needed by portable solar panels in order to produce and store solar energy. These accessories include the proper cables, an inverter, a battery or solar generator, and the right equipment to mount your portable solar panels and keep them secure. Although portable solar panels are incredibly useful in most circumstances, you still need to correctly set them up to gain the full benefits.
Charging On The Go
Serious adventurers aren’t the only ones who can enjoy portable solar panels. In fact, there are small solar chargers that you can purchase. You can carry them by hand, on your back, or on top of the car, and use them for collecting energy from the sun. Although they don’t store that much energy compared to regular solar panels, they still store enough to charge a phone or a laptop.
Unlike the portable panels used for camping trips, these small solar chargers do not need any additional setup in order to use them. All you have to do is place them under the sun so they can collect energy, then plug your phone or laptop into the charger to power your device.
Are you still having a hard time choosing the ideal portable solar panel for you? These questions can help you decide more easily.
Can a foldable solar panel power a generator?
Yes, it can power your generator when its output power is greater than your generator's input power.
Are foldable solar panels effective?
Yes, foldable solar panels are effective. They use the same technology used to power an entire home but in a much more compact design. Although they don’t provide as much energy as solar panels that are full-sized, they are still just as effective.
What is the average lifespan of a foldable solar panel?
They usually last up to 25 to 30 years. However, it also depends on the type, brand, and quality of the solar panels.