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 expanding
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.
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
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.