Portable solar power system comes in many forms. Some use hard solar panels while others use flexible ones that you can fold up and store easily. There are also some that are water-prove and designed for any terrain. The commercial portable systems are a lot cheaper than their non-portable counterpart. Prices range between $600 to over a thousand. This article touches on what to look out for when choosing a portable solar power system.
Usually, a portable solar power system will consist of 3 components: power source, power storage device as well as the power distribution. Power source comes in the form of solar panels which may be hard panels or flexible ones. Power storage device contain batteries that hold the charge while power distribution may be an AC inverter or simply a DC outlet.
The power source you choose depends on its applications and where it is likely to be placed. If you are likely to carry it around most of the time, the weight is important. Panels that can be rolled up or folded for easy storage and transport are best for this purpose. If you are setting up a system that you want to leave at a remote site for weeks and months, a hard panel that is designed for various weather conditions and one that has higher power output to cater for continuous power supply even at night should be used.
Another consideration you need for power source is scalability. If you foresee the need to expand the power capacity of the portable solar power system, you need buy those panels that can be daisy chained for higher capacity output. Talking about capacity brings us to the next component, power storage.
Power storage devices are pretty straight forward, the higher the capacity, the heavier and bulkier the device. Some power storage devices provide either DC outlets or AC outputs only or both.
In the case of power distribution, most portable solar power systems provide 12V DC output. If you are charging or powering devices that come with car adaptors, it will make it a much simpler affair. If not, you will need an inverter in order to covert DC current to AC. Some power storage devices have AC inverters built into them so you may want to consider those depending of the devices you are powering.
George Tho is a DIY enthusiast. Read his review on a complete guide on how to assemble a portable solar power system with less than $200 even if you are a complete DIY novice.