In the early days of solar power there were huge installations necessary to make use of this energy source. The solar panels that were needed were larger than the average full grown man. This made the collection of solar power a bit of a challenge. Therefore making use of solar power was not suitable of everyone. It was expensive and a bit of a chore as well.
These huge solar panels still exist in solar power plants, which produce energy for certain parts of the world. But over the years technological advancements have made solar power affordable and portable enough so common people can use it for their everyday lives. Nowadays solar panels have become so small that pocket calculators use these as an alternative power source to the usual single cell batteries.
But the use of portable solar power did not stop with the use of pocket calculators. Numerous inventions have made use of portable solar power and some of these are available all over the world. Let’s take of look at 5 affordable uses of portable solar power.
1) BRUNTON BATTJACK Batteries and Chargers
The charger comes with the SolarPort 4.4, wall transformer and 12V car cord to charge batteries from AC or in a vehicle. The charger can hold 4 AA or AAA rechargeable batteries. The kit has 4 1500 mAh NiMH AA battery cells. The charger will switch to trickle charge when the batteries are fully charged. It also has a discharge option for maintaining NiCad batteries. This will cost $30.
Batteries are NiMH AA dry cells, have a 1500 mAh capacity, can recharge for hundreds of times, and come in a package of 4 AA batteries. These cost $14.
2) SS-PVSMALL Power System
This portable solar power system from Silicon Solar Inc is easy to use and needs no assembly. Included in each system is an inverter/battery carrying case and 8.5 or 17-watt solar panel/charge.
This system can power a laptop computer, portable audio devices, small coloured TV, and most devices that need less than 140 watts AC 110-120v, and 60Hz input. Power time can range from 30 minutes to 56 hours, depending on the equipment being powered up.
The system is also used for indoor/outdoor lighting, and is lightweight. The system also includes inverters, cables, battery box, and sealed gel cell battery. The system comes with a 1-year warranty. The system costs $149.95.
The Uni-Kit system is a portable, durable, solar powered lighting system that can provide extended lighting hours to its users. This is powerful enough to let even a 12-volt radio or TV operate, and easy to install. The Uni-Kit system also comes with a basic power controller that maximizes battery life of its 12-Volt Deep Cycle SLA Battery by controlling its charging and load use, and protects the system from overcharging and excessive discharging.
Uni-Kit can be used in the garage, tool sheds, remote homes, isolated buildings, surveying sites, construction sites, camp sites, and even during water pumping operations.
Uni-Kit comes with an 11-watt fluorescent lamp that has a 1-year warranty. The 15-watt solar panel has a 20 year warranty. You can add up to 4 lamps to increase the system’s illumination capacity. The default kit weighs 10 pounds and can be purchased for $249.95 from Silicon Solar Inc. If you have additional 4 lamps, all 4 will cost an extra $235.
4) BRUNTON Portable Solar Panels
Brunton has portable CIGS (copper indium gallium diselenide) solar array panels that are thin and lightweight to save weight for backpackers. These panels produce standard 12volts outputs, and come with basic 12V vehicle socket, 4 different jack plugs, and battery clips. Solar array panels come in a 6 and 12 foldable, and 14 roll able series. Prices of these panels range from $129 to $399.
5) EN-R-PAK AC/DC Backup Power Supply
The EN-R-PAK backup power supply 200 series are compact solar power backup supplies that have built-in electronics that store, control, and produce energy from the sun, wind, or flowing water. The system can accept additional solar panels, wind turbines, or water turbines. These power supply systems use renewable stored energy to produce 115 volts and 12 volts DC. A 230-volt unit is also available for international use.
The EN-R-PAK can provide emergency power for a home or office, remote areas, a cabin or cottage, for communications, wherever and whenever you need power! This system has no parts that wear out, is environment friendly, quiet, does not emit harmful fumes, easy to operate, requires no assembly, needs almost no maintenance, and is designed to survive rugged weather conditions. These can also power energy efficient lights, a laptop computer, a small TV, rechargeable power tools, and other electrical equipment.
The EN-R-PAK has a 1-year system warranty, 20-year solar panel warranty, 2-year battery warranty, and is built to conform to UL, NEC, and CSA electrical standards.
EN-R-PAK 50-watt solar panels are liquid-proof and shatter proof. These also come with a blocking diode, 30 feet of cable with a connection plug. Wind turbines are also configured to the EN-R-PAK so changes to the power centre are not needed.
The basic system will cost $1500. Additions to the system will make the cost reach a maximum of $2950.
This sums up the possibilities for portable solar power. As time and knowledge progress other devices and possibilities will be available on the market. The prices mentioned here can give you an idea, but are by no means accurate.