Portable Solar Panels
Portable solar panels and portable solar kits are becoming very popular with outdoors recreational activities like camping and fishing. The typical use is for powering lighting and small refrigerators. most of the information regarding portable solar panels can be found in the other information articles about camping solar panels and solar chargers so it is bet to just mention the most important points here.
Main benefits using of camping solar panels
- Camping and caravan solar panels can charge all types of 12V and 24V batteries
- They are used to charge the batteries instead of a using a noisy generator
- Solar panels are quiet and eco friendly
- They have no moving parts and will last for many years
- 12V solar panels can be portable solar kits or installed permanently on a caravan roof
How to select your camping solar panels
- Add up the daily power consumption of all your camping or caravan appliances
- Choose the size of battery required to supply this amount of power
- Then choose the size solar panel required to recharge the daily battery usage
Components required to make up a camping solar kit
- Solar panel
- Solar panel mounting bracket or stand
- Solar regulator to charge the battery and monitor battery usage
- Deep cycle battery (these are best for daily power usage but any 12V lead acid battery will do)
- Adequate wiring to connect the solar panels, regulator and battery
Optional inverter to convert battery power to run small AC appliances.
Don't under-estimate the size of solar panel required for the task.
Most portable solar kits are used to provide auxiliary power for backup of a battery powered 12 volt supply therefore they usually come equipped with a solar regulator and battery cables and clamps to enable easy connection to the battery.
Occasionally a larger portable solar unit can be used as a complete stand-alone 12 volt supply with a dedicated deep cycle battery included. The limiting factors in a solar power supply are the solar panels and the batteries, they must also be large enough to generate and hold enough charge to meet normal demand.
Think solar amps not solar watts
When selecting solar panel size it is better to use the amp-hour rating rather than the watts as that will give a figure compatible with the battery capacity. Use the total current drawn by the combined load to estimate average daily battery amps used in a normal day and then choose a solar kit that is large enough to provide the current needed to fully recharge the battery in one day.
You can only count on about 6 hours of peak sun hours (PSH) per day at best while a more realistic all year round average is about 4 hours, so multiply the solar amps output by the local PSH for the time of years to estimate the solar charge daily input.