- Renewable & Alternative Energy
A Very Simple Solar Power Set Up.
The power of the sun.
I feel our society doesn't realize how powerful the sun is. The ability to capture the energy it puts out and use it for powering our devices here on our planet. I have always been interested in solar Power and its uses. I started gaining interest when I came across the little solar lights you see in the garden that you can buy for a $1. To watch how these little lights can take the engergy of the sun and charge up the little battery that's inside of it. I want to go over a few devices that can get you on your way of using the power of the sun and having a simple solar power set up. There are a few items I'll cover on to get your feet wet in solar power.
- Solar Panels
- Back Up Battery Packs
- Solar Lights
- USB Devices
I'll break down each one of these items and give you advice on what I used to get a small travel solar power set up. It doesn't take much to get started and I believe once you get a few of these items your interest will grow like mine did. Using solar power brings back that magic of science and how the world around us has more hidden treasures hidden we can't see with our eyes.
Portable Solar Panels
Portable Solar Panels have come in handy for me this past year. I have used my panels for powering small USB fans to charging back up battery packs and cell phones. I will go over later in this article about types of fans I've found and battery packs I've found useful. When I purchased my small solar panel I really didn't know what I was looking for and how much power I would be needing. Then again it was all so new to me that it made it also fun! It is almost like a mini science experimment that is actually useful in your daily life if your heavy in technology. I currently own 2 solar panels that have been more than enough for the time being. I will try and break down what I have found out in how much power do you need when getting a solar panel.
(Fig.1) Poweradd 7W Solar Charger
My First Solar Panel!
Now I'm not going to get in to the advanced parts of solar panels. There is so much to cover as far as the small details. My point here is to get you a basic set up to get you on your way without getting too overwhelmed by it all. My first purchase was a small solar panel made by Poweradd that was only a 7W charger (see Fig1). Now at the time I really didn't know what to expect or what I would use this for. The other thing that got me to try this particular solar panel was the price of it. Knowing that I wasn't going to spend a fortune helped in taking the chance on this solar panel. This solar panel did do it's job on charging my cell phones and back up battery packs. It did need full sun to get the best output and I noticed that the panels scratched easy. Other than that it worked great because of the size of it made it easy to carry around. A solar panel this size is a must have for keeping around on the go. And since the topic of this article is a portable set up for solar energy you can go wrong. I encourage you to look online and read some reviews on portable solar panels and see what works for you. There are so many brands out there and most of the time if you look on Amazon the reviews will tell you if it's a good buy or not.
My Next Solar Panel.
After a little time experimenting with the small solar panel (see Fig.1) I decided to go a little bigger in power and output. I searched Amazon for something with decent reviews and an affordable price. Again I was still learning more and more about solar panels and what can be done with them. After reading reviews I settled for a RavPower 15W Solar Panel that I have been very happy with. It has done more than I expected of a portable solar panel. I would post a link but it looks like it is unavailable now. The panel (see Fig. 2) is the closest I've seen to the RavPower I have. A little different in specs but very close to what I currently have. I liked having a dual output USB to charge more than one item. This comes in handy for when you need that extra power.
Back Up Battery Packs
Now harnessing the energy of the sun is great and all but you need to store your power. One way to store your power is by using backup battery packs. The ones they sell at the store mainly for cell phones. But these little battery packs can be used for much more than just powering back up your cell phone. The great thing about these USB battery packs is you can find them just about anywhere now days. I have found myself using them for more than just cell phone charging. I've used them powering USB fans, Cameras, LIghts and anything else that takes a USB charge. But the nice thing about these battery packs is that they come in all different shapes and sizes. If you need something small for on the road to a little heavier battery pack to keep your devices charged even longer. So when I would get a sunny day I would use the solar panels to keep my batteries charged and ready to go! It's really fun to see how you can store your energy from the sun to a little battery pack. I put link to Amazon's best selling battery pack (see fig.3) . You can find battery packs at gas stations and most stores. Since technology it going more towards USB it's becoming easier to find and get at a reasonable price. The more you experiment with different types of battery packs the more you will understand how much you will probably need for your personal needs. Again I'm going about this as more like a science experiment than stats and figures.
Most of you may have come across solar lights in the garden areas of stores. As simple as they may seem they actually got me interested in learning more about solar power. Most of the time you can get them for as little as a $1 at the Dollar Store (see fig.4). Now these lights are not very bright but they will put out a little light to get you moving in the right direction for using solar power. You can find a whole range of solar lights besides these little $1 ones. They make even bigger and brighter lights if your willing to spend a little more money on them. But for starting out you can't go wrong with these simple $1 solar lights. Given time you'll see the benifits and start learning more about what you need for your personal needs.
Solar Camping Light
I recently found a good tent light that you can use to capture power during the day (See fig.5) and use for your tent at night. The light is very bright and covers a lot of area. It will only last you around 3 to 4 hours given how bright it is. If you want to use it longer you can plug in a portable usb battery charger. Lights like this that you can charge during the day come in handy. This isn't the only type of camping light that's out there. I encourage you to start looking at what's new because technology is always improving and becoming more efficient as we move forward. If you want to combine a battery back with a USB light for getting some light in the dark then (see Fig. 6).
Over the past few years there have been more USB devices made. One in particular that amuses me still to this day is using a USB fan (See fig.6) on a portable solar panel. It will spin as long as that sun is shining. These solar fans work great for those hot summer days and no breeze is blowing. I have found some decent usb fans at walmart or you can find some cheap ones at the dollar store. You will be able to tell how facing the solar panels in the right direction will raise the speed and power going to the fan. Keep an eye out different types of USB fans. You will see different ones might be more efficient to your needs.
The Draw Backs Of Solar Power.
There are not many bad things I can say about getting energy from the sun. The only real draw back I have found with solar power is that when it's rainy or cloudy you might not get much out of your solat panels. No sun no power is really what it comes down to. Your garden lights might last only half the night and your back up batteries might only get a small charge from days like that. That is why it's important to keep your battteris topped off when ever possible. Yes there are other ways to get power like using wind generators during the cloudy days but for this article we are focused on a small solar set up. And another small draw back to the smaller solar panels is that you might not be able to charge larger devices without having enough output. Devices like an Ipad or a laptop computer. Those take a whole lot more energy to run and will need something bigger than the small solar panels I suggested. The bigger set ups cost a little more and will have a little more panels with it.
How Solar Panels Work Video.
I hope this helps you in finding a nice portable set up to get your energy needs on the go. I know for me this has been a fun topic and something I'll always show interest in. Like I said before it's like a science experiment that really does benifit you in the end. And you can actually see the results in your daily life to help you with your electronic devices. I really hope this helps you to make the choice to try an alternative source of energy. And hopefully in the end we can make the world a better place by doing so.