Solar on the Go

Beginner

Inside this Article

GoalZero - Guide 10 Plus Adventure Kit
GoalZero - Guide 10 Plus Adventure Kit; Power rating: 7 W; Battery capacity: 10 Wh; Price: $160; Weight: 1 lb.; Size: 6 × 9 × 1 in. (folded); 17 x 9 x 0.1 in. (unfolded)
PowerFilm - 60 W Solar Charger (unfolded)
PowerFilm - 60 W Solar Charger; Power rating: 60 W; Price: $1,000; Weight: 3.19 lbs.; Size: 51.5 x 47.5 x 0.125 in. (unfolded)
PowerFilm - 60 W Solar Charger (folded)
PowerFilm - 60 W Solar Charger; Power rating: 60 W; Price: $1,000; Weight: 3.19 lbs.; Size: 13.25 × 7 × 2 in. (folded)
Portable Solar Power - “Pocket Panel” Portable USB Phone Charger
Portable Solar Power - “Pocket Panel” Portable USB Phone Charger; Power rating: 6 W; Price: $100; Weight: 13.2 oz.; Size: 7 × 4.52 × 1.37 in. (folded); 7 × 21.65 x 0.12 in. (unfolded)
Global Solar - Sunlinq Series
Global Solar - Sunlinq Series; Power rating: 2 – 62 W; Price: $100 – $1,000; Weight: 0.25 – 3.2 lbs.; Size range: 9 × 5 in. to 8.5 × 14.5 in. (folded); 9 x 14 in. to 30 x 52.5 (unfolded)
Voltaic Systems - Array Solar Laptop Charger
Voltaic Systems - Array Solar Laptop Charger; Power rating: 10 W; Battery capacity: 60 Wh; Price: $389; Weight: 5.5 lbs.; Size: 18 × 14 × 8 in.; Suitable for charging: Portable handheld electronics, MP3 players, laptop computers, digital cameras
Innovus Designs - Eclipse Solar Backpack
Innovus Designs - Eclipse Solar Backpack; Power rating: 4 W; Price: $180; Weight: 2.5 lbs.; Size: 18 × 14 × 8.75 in.; Suitable for charging: Portable handheld electronics, smartphones
Universal Power Group - Ecotricity Eco 1800S
Universal Power Group - Ecotricity Eco 1800S; Inverter power rating: 1,800 W; Battery capacity: 720 Wh; PV module rating: 90 W; Solar-charging time: 12 hrs.; Price: $1,595; Weight: 120 lbs.; Size: Modules—42.75 × 24.5 × 1.37 in.; generator—19.5 × 8 × 11.5 in.
SunRNR - Sun110
SunRNR - Sun110; Inverter power rating: 3,500 W; Battery capacity: 2,952 Wh; PV module rating: 135 W (expandable to 270 W); Price: $3,800; Inverter/battery enclosure weight: 260 lbs.; Inverter/battery enclosure size: 28 × 15 × 30 in. Module size: 56 x 26 x 2 in. Module weight: 27 lbs.
Xantrex - XPower Powerpack 1500
Xantrex - XPower Powerpack 1500; Inverter power rating: 1,350 W; Battery capacity: 612 Wh; PV module: Not included; Price: $400; Weight: 60 lbs.; Size: 15.8 × 11.9 × 14.8 in.
Sol-Solutions - SolMan Classic
Sol-Solutions - SolMan Classic; Inverter power rating: 1,500 W; Battery capacity: 3,600 Wh; PV module rating: 420 W; Price: $5,000; Weight: 275 lbs.; Size: 51 × 32 × 45 in.
GreenTow - GT916
GreenTow - GT916; Inverter power rating: 7,200 W; Battery capacity: 24,768 Wh; PV modules: Twelve 135 W modules Price: $57,900; Weight: 4,100 lbs.; Size: 9 ft. long × 5 ft. 10 in. wide × 6 ft. tall (with modules stowed); *120/240 VAC output; optional onboard diesel generator
Mobile Solar Power - MS-150
Mobile Solar Power - MS-150; Inverter power rating: 3,500 W; Battery capacity: 15,048 Wh; PV modules: Three 220 W modules; Price: $19,450; Weight: 2,000 lbs.; Size: 8 ft. long × 5.5 ft. wide × 6 ft. tall (with modules stowed)
Patriot Solar Group - Andromeda 2000
Patriot Solar Group - Andromeda 2000; Inverter power rating: 2,500 W; Battery capacity: 9,600 Wh; PV modules: Two 240 W modules; Price: $12,730; Weight: 2,000 lbs.; Size: 116 in. long × 62 in. wide × 37 in. tall (with modules stowed)
GoalZero - Guide 10 Plus Adventure Kit
PowerFilm - 60 W Solar Charger (unfolded)
PowerFilm - 60 W Solar Charger (folded)
Portable Solar Power - “Pocket Panel” Portable USB Phone Charger
Global Solar - Sunlinq Series
Voltaic Systems - Array Solar Laptop Charger
Innovus Designs - Eclipse Solar Backpack
Universal Power Group - Ecotricity Eco 1800S
SunRNR - Sun110
Xantrex - XPower Powerpack 1500
Sol-Solutions - SolMan Classic
GreenTow - GT916
Mobile Solar Power - MS-150
Patriot Solar Group - Andromeda 2000

When PV modules were first introduced to the mainstream market, the only electronic equipment most of us carried around was a transistor radio. Today, our tabletops are starting to look like miniature power substations, with electronic appliance battery chargers filling every wall outlet.

PV technology can meet the demand for keeping our electronic tablets, e-readers, digital cameras, media players, games, cell phones, and laptops operating during a power outage, or while traveling on business or tromping around the back woods.

Fold-Up PV Modules

Some reasonably priced, off-the-shelf flexible PV modules can run or charge small appliances or keep a few battery-powered LED lights operating whether you’re trekking in the city or backpacking. These fold-up modules do not have a battery, so are used to recharge the batteries in devices that can accept 12 VDC.

Fold-up solar modules in the 5 to 10 W range are used to recharge smaller electronic devices including cell phones, e-readers, and media players. Those in the 25 W range are well-suited for powering tablets and small laptop computers. Several manufacturers now offer fold-up PV modules in sizes over 60 watts to power larger loads, including radio and satellite communication equipment when hiking or camping in remote locations.

Solar-Powered Backpacks

Several manufacturers are incorporating flexible PV modules into almost anything—including jackets, backpacks, fanny packs, purses, and briefcases. Even the smallest versions include adapters to charge multiple electronic devices, and there are lots of colors and styles to choose from.

A typical backpack or briefcase has limited surface area to attach a flexible solar module, keeping most to about 10 W. However, backpacks have interior space to include a built-in battery, which is being charged when not energizing other devices. Some store enough energy to be used even at night to recharge smaller electronic devices. Solar backpacks also include a cigar-lighter-type auxiliary socket. This is the standard connector for powering portable electronic devices, which often come with a 12 V vehicle charging plug.

PV Carts

Adding a deep-cycle battery to any portable PV system can extend its utility. However, batteries with enough energy to operate larger tools, computers, and small appliances for a significant amount of time are heavy. In addition, some electronic appliances may have built-in battery chargers that require 120 VAC.

Comments (1)

Jeffrey Berry's picture

Excellent compliment to my HAM radio gear for remote communications transmission station.

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