It is possible that a portable solar panel is the way to increase your energy self-sufficiency that best suits your needs. If you also use your van as a daily vehicle, if you don’t have a big budget or if you simply don’t want to make a fixed installation, this can be a great option for you. Read on and find out all about folding solar panels.
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Most important features of folding solar panels
Logically the most significant feature of this type of solar panels is their portability. They are usually presented as a slim case that you will have to unfold and put in the sun. From there, much will depend on the model of portable solar charger you buy. They come in a variety of power ratings, monocrystalline or polycrystalline, with or without solar regulator, with power output, USB or USB type C sockets to charge your devices directly, or with MC4 connectors.
On the other hand, most of these chargers are usually dust and water resistant, which makes them perfect for placing them on the floor or on the roof of your van while you use them.
As you can see, the variety available is very wide, so you will have to analyze your needs and find the kit that best suits them.
Advantages of portable solar panels
- You will get more electrical autonomy without the need for a fixed installation.
- They do not need to be homologated.
- In general, they are quite efficient.
- You do not need a big budget to install them.
Disadvantages of portable solar panels
- Since they are not fixed to the roof, they are not charging while you are on the road.
- You can’t leave them outside when you’re not in the van because they can be easily stolen.
- You have to set aside storage space to keep them while you are not using them.
What is the performance of portable solar chargers?
The efficiency of a portable solar charger will depend on the type of panel installed. You will have to carefully read the characteristics of the kits so that you can choose which one you should buy. That said, as a general rule, folding solar chargers usually install high-performance monocrystalline panels, so their efficiency can reach 22%.
Final opinions on portable solar panels and their pricing
Portable solar chargers are a great solution if you do not want to install a solar panel in a fixed way, either because you use the van as your main vehicle for daily use or because you do not need, or do not want, to make a fixed electrical installation.
We personally prefer the option of having a rigid solar panel, but if, for whatever reason, installing a fixed solar panel is not an option for you, having a portable solar charger is a must, even if it is a small one that serves to charge your cell phones, laptop or cameras. Especially if you like to spend a few days without having to start the engine.
Finally, we just want to add that, in our opinion, although with this lifestyle or travel you have to be very minimalist, almost any resource that gives you autonomy, whose pros outweigh the cons, or that makes your daily life a little easier, should be included in your luggage…