The Past, Present And Fu­ture of Por­ta­ble So­lar En­ergy

Outer Edge - - Contents -

The “100% re­new­ables” move­ment world­wide is rapidly ad­vanc­ing thanks to ci­ties, com­pa­nies and com­mu­ni­ties pur­su­ing the goal of clean power. Re­new­able sources of en­ergy have fi­nally be­come cost-com­pet­i­tive with fos­sil fu­els, and are slowly be­com­ing main­stream sources of elec­tric­ity around the world. Sim­i­larly, dis­trib­uted re­new­able en­ergy is grow­ing fast in a bid to close in on the large en­ergy ac­cess gap.

Here in Aus­tralia, the fos­sil fuel mar­ket is no­to­ri­ously dif­fi­cult to chal­lenge due to its eco­nomic dom­i­nance and strong po­lit­i­cal sup­port. That said, por­ta­ble so­lar en­ergy is a force to be reck­oned with, with the tech­nol­ogy al­ready a re­al­is­tic en­ergy source re­place­ment for many Aus­tralians.

In­deed, por­ta­ble so­lar has ad­vanced greatly from the ill-de­signed and in­ef­fi­cient de­vices of a few years ago, which I think was more of a gim­mick than an ef­fec­tive and re­li­able source of en­ergy for day-to-day use.

With con­stantly im­prov­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing pro­cesses, so­lar cell ef­fi­cien­cies and bat­tery stor­age tech­nol­ogy, por­ta­ble so­lar charg­ers and power packs are now a pos­si­bil­ity that is not only prac­ti­cal and ef­fec­tive, but af­ford­able too.

Cur­rently, the cost of large-scale so­lar pro­duc­tion has de­creased to less than $1 per watt and an av­er­age of about $5/watt for house­hold ar­rays. This com­pares to por­ta­ble so­lar costs that still range be­tween $10-20/watt.

De­spite the fact that por­ta­ble so­lar de­mand takes up just a small por­tion of the over­all en­ergy de­mand, it does ful­fill a crit­i­cal need for par­tic­u­lar cir­cum­stances - for ex­am­ple trav­el­ling, work­ing off-grid or light­ing up a small house.

So, What’s The Best Por­ta­ble So­lar En­ergy Sys­tem When off the Grid?

Por­ta­ble so­lar power sys­tems can be used for a va­ri­ety of pur­poses, from emer­gency kits at home to light­weight kits to take with you on ad­ven­tures miles away from a wall plug; they pro­vide re­li­able power that is clean, re­new­able and im­me­di­ate.

As long as the sun is up, you have power. Por­ta­ble so­lar en­ergy kits with lower wattage like the Pow­er­add 40W So­lar Panel can keep your cam­era, cell phone or lap­top fully charged, while larger emer­gency kits such as the Goal Zero Yeti or So­lar Suit­case from Ren­ogy, will help you keep your lights on or even power the in­side of a recre­ational ve­hi­cle.

Big­ger Pan­els for Por­ta­ble So­lar Sys­tem Set­ups

In re­al­ity, por­ta­ble doesn’t just mean tiny enough to fit your pocket or back­pack. Most kits ad­ver­tised as por­ta­ble are ac­tu­ally sold as heavy brief­cases or slabs that roll on wheels. So the right so­lar power kit will de­pend on the pur­pose of use, wattage, ac­ces­sories and adap­tors you need, and the amount you ex­pect to carry. One of the re­cent de­vel­op­ments in the por­ta­ble so­lar setup mar­ket is the de­sign of larger pan­els that are paired with big­ger ca­pac­ity bat­tery stor­age sys­tems (nor­mally called so­lar gen­er­a­tors).

Th­ese can be used as a mi­cro­grid to sup­port the fol­low­ing uses:

• AC (recre­ational ve­hi­cle cur­rent) com­plete with an on­board in­verter

• DC (charg­ing bat­ter­ies, por­ta­ble de­vices)

• To sup­port mul­ti­ple out­put ports (USB, RV plugs, 12V auto, stan­dard 110V out­let)

• Other charg­ing op­tions (tent or recre­ational ve­hi­cle cur­rent, ad­di­tional bat­tery bank)

Por­ta­ble so­lar power kits en­able users to plug their de­vices right into their bat­ter­ies with their AC power cords just like they would at the of­fice or at home. This makes run­ning gad­gets like power tools, elec­tronic de­vices and sim­ple ap­pli­ances easy and eco-friendly.

Some por­ta­ble so­lar en­ergy sys­tems are so flex­i­ble they can be folded, hung up or stowed while on the move. In fact, fold­able por­ta­ble so­lar panel kits are more ideal for camp­ing, hik­ing and mil­i­tary use.

Why So­lar En­ergy is Vi­tal for Your Next Off-grid Ad­ven­ture With the right choice of por­ta­ble so­lar en­ergy sys­tem, only your imag­i­na­tion lim­its you. A fully charged por­ta­ble so­lar power kit gives you the abil­ity to to surf on your lap­top un­der the stars, stay plugged-in with­out re­ly­ing on the grid, or even keep your food fresh with­out hav­ing to lug around ice or find power out­lets.

Are you plan­ning for a trip around the coun­try? With their ease of use, ver­sa­til­ity, porta­bil­ity and weight, there’s a por­ta­ble en­ergy sys­tem for ev­ery­one! Dar­ryn­van­hout - Founder & Edi­tor, Aus­tralian So­lar Quotes Dar­ryn’s keen in­ter­est in the Aus­tralian en­ergy sec­tor stretches over ten years and within that time he has closely mon­i­tored the trends, tech­nolo­gies and di­rec­tion of the Aus­tralian En­ergy and So­lar Mar­ket. He was drawn to the Aus­tralian so­lar mar­ket in 2006 and since then has worked heav­ily in the fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­field. Over the years, Dar­ryn has part­nered with lo­cal and global so­lar en­ergy or­gan­i­sa­tions in­clud­ing the in­stall­ers on the ground, re­tail­ers, man­u­fac­tur­ers and other pro­fes­sional in­dus­try bod­ies. This ex­clu­sive net­work com­bined with his creative and in­no­vated na­tures has embed­ded him as one of Aus­tralia’s lead­ing so­lar mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­als.

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