Portable Solar Panels – Are They Worth It?

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What’s the primary source of energy on our planet?

It’s the sun.


And while using portable solar panels for camping you’re just capturing a minute slice of that unlimited energy.

As you already know, it’s an environmentally-friendly option.

Beyond that, one thing that portable solar panels offer is ease-of-use.

The fact is you don’t have to be tech-savvy to use one in the wilderness.

Here at TopNotch we believe that – yes – they’re absolutely worth a try.

Portable Solar Panels

Got more doubts?

We’re here to clear through some of the most common questions.

Let’s make a start…

Related: 9 Best Portable Solar Panels & Chargers

Q. What can Portable solar panels be used for?

A portable solar panel is like any other energy source. You can use it to run a wide range of appliances.

Obviously, the output capacity of the portable solar panel will determine the type of equipment you can run.

Basically, you have two options.

You can directly connect smaller devices with the panel to power them up. Or, you can store the power in a high-capacity battery (or solar generator units) to use it as a dependable power source.

In general, a portable solar charger can deliver anything between 10W to 150W of power.

Portable Solar Panels

Take the example of a portable panel with a 25W capacity…

You can use it to charge laptops, Smartphones, iPads, and tablets. Also, you can charge up a 12V battery to store up the power for later.

If we consider a solar panel of around 120 W capacity, it can easily power up LED lights on a campsite, or even a mini-refrigerator.

There are higher capacity panels available that will allow you to heat water on a cold campsite or even run a tv.

Tired of hearing that noisy generator outside your RV?

A portable RV solar panel kit can be a perfect substitute.

To keep things simple, make sure that the panel offers all-round connectivity including USB ports.

To sum up, a compact solar panel kit is an excellent choice for generating your own power.

Q. Do portable solar panels work?

Definitely. Some of the best portable solar panels for camping we tested delivered excellent all-round efficiency.

To start with, you need to get an idea about how solar panels work through a combination of photovoltaic cells.

In reality, you can use them for any appliance that runs using regular fossil fuel.

As we mentioned, versatility and ease-of-use set them apart from conventional power sources.

The best thing is, portable panels are an inexhaustible source of energy.

So no extra fuel costs whatsoever for you.

At the same time, you can’t compare a portable solar panel system with residential units seen on rooftops.

Those are designed for much higher power output and can deliver anything between 2-10 kilowatts.

Here is the most important part.

The output from portable RV solar panels does depend on the angle and intensity of the sun.

In most cases, a panel will work best when the sun is perpendicular to it.

In most cases, the output is highest at midday.

Portable Solar Panels

Then again, the best angle or orientation will depend on your location (northern or southern hemisphere) and also on the season.

For roof-mounted panels, the best angle for a year-long optimized performance is the exact latitude of your location.

Now, in the outdoors, you just need to adjust the angle through the day to keep the panel directly facing the sun.

Keep in mind that your power source from the sun will be intermittent in nature – we get clouds!.

So if you need electricity during the day, a battery pack or a solar generator is the best choice for storing energy.

Q. How much does a portable solar panel cost?

Actually, the price of portable solar panels for camping vary according to their output capacity.

But, no matter what your budget is, you’ll find a solar panel for you.

While 15W solar panels can be found around $20, high-quality panels of over 100W capacity can cost above $200.

Most portable solar power systems are made from Monocrystalline or Polycrystalline silicon.

Next, comes the second generation panels made from thin-film technology. While they are cheaper, their overall durability and efficiency isn’t so good.

The best part about small portable solar panels is, the operational costs are nil.

So once you pick a product that offers great quality, you can expect a dependable service for years.

Portable Solar Panels

Before choosing portable solar kits for your RV, keep in mind a few factors.

The primary things to affect your budget are – your overall power requirements, ease-of-use, and durability.

The good news is, as the technology of portable panels evolves, the price of the best solar panels for RV use will keep dropping.

Conclusion: Portable Solar Panels

If you enjoy camping off-the-grid, portable solar panels will be a handy option for charging up a variety of appliances.

With a solar kit, you can be totally independent in any remote location without an energy source.

Personally, one reason I love using portable solar energy is that it’s noise-free. At the same time, it’s a cost-effective solution for campers and RV owners.

On top of that, it gives you additional flexibility when parking your RV. As long as you can capture the sun rays, you’re fine.

Portable Solar Panels

The downside is, you’ll need to set up the panels every time you stop. And you may not get a steady supply of solar energy on particularly cloudy days.

Lastly, while solar power is free, you do need to buy expensive batteries to store it.

Here’s something else for you to chew on:

Even though solar energy is environmentally friendly, the process of producing solar panels isn’t.

When all is said and done, we’ll definitely bet on the pros of solar energy.

For me, choosing the best portable solar panel is an investment towards a sustainable future.

TopNotch Tip: When heading for a remote terrain, it’s best to carry some spare batteries.

No matter how good the best portable solar panels are, cloudy or rainy days will affect their wattage output.

Quite simply, no matter how we use solar energy, we’ll never run out of it.

Go for it – invest in one of the best personal solar chargers today.

Related: 9 Best Portable Solar Panels & Chargers

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