Sitting by the Pacific ocean and typing this blog has to be one of the coolest thing about portable solar power. Freedom from the cubicle helps me to be creative and surprisingly productive. Portable stand-alone solar with battery storage capacity is like having a mini-generator that you can take anywhere. Camping, vacation or just head out to the park to let your imagination run wild off-grid is a basic necessity in my life.
Portable solar panels come in a variety of sizes and power output. The solar panel that is laid flat on the pebble beach in front of my chair is a 62 watt foldable solar panel manufactured by Brunton. The Brunton name is a icon in outdoor activity, camping and backpacking and the Solaris 62 stands up to that tradition. 62 watts of 12V power, the Solaris portable solar panel will produce 3,100 mA at peak power. Weighing in at a light 55 Oz, this is one portable solar panel that can go everywhere folding up to roughly the size of a notebook.
One of my associates that I work with at Blue Pacific Solar fielded a question from a customer today that was heading to the Grand Canyon for a 3 week rafting and camping vacation. (Lucky him.) He was considering a smaller portable solar product but asked the question if you get the panels wet will they still work. Portable solar panels are designed to work in all types of outdoor applications, but they still are products that produce electricity. What that means is keep your connections dry while you are charging a battery and let your portable solar product dry before storing it and you should be OK. There is one Brunton product that we recommend if you are going to be in operating in extreme wet conditions like white water kayaking and that is the SolarRoll.
Brunton may be the icon of outdoor products but a hot new commer is Goal Zero. The laptop computer I am typing on to write this blog post has it’s power extended by the Extreme 350 battery. I keep the Extreme 350 battery in my truck at all times because it stores up to 350 watts of power. I never have to worry about my laptop going dead because this portable battery not only provides an additiona 6 hours of portable power, it will also power my USB, 12V and AC electronics and recharge an iPad up to 15 times. With the Extreme 350 battery that you see is also a Universal Inverter which provides up to 400 watts of continuous power and 800 watts peak AC electricity. More than enough for anything that I need.
Powering my 350 watt battery is a 30 watt portable solar panel which collect power from the sun in a temporary or permanent installation application. The Boulder 30 is a monocrystaline solar panel that is rated for 20 year of service. built with strong tempered glass with an aluminum frame. The Boulder 30 will charge the Extreme 350 power pack in 20-25 hours. You can also link up to 3 of the 30 watt solar panels together for maximum energy output. Solar equpment that works great for camping.
Keep in mind using any portable solar product that the overall performance is dependent on a variety of conditions including time of year, orientation and direct sunlight, cloudy conditions, temperature and shadding. Additionally, some comsumer product may not be allowed to be in direct sunlight. Another reason why we recommend you consider a portable battery to power with your portable solar product. Power the battery during the day with the off-grid portable solar panel then use the battery during off-times to recharge or extend the life of your electronics.
OK, now that I am done with my portable solar blog post, you see that yellow ocean kayak over my shoulder, I intend to put on my favorite custom T-shirt then it’s going in the water and you can color me gone.