The aim of every solar panel is to convert sunlight into electricity. This can be done either indirectly, by using Concentrated Solar Power Devices, or directly by using photovoltaics – solar cells. The mechanism of functioning of every solar cell is the same: the light is turned into electric power using the well known photoelectric effect.
The Advantages of Portable Power
Today, solar panels are increasingly used out of our houses and homes. With the appearance of the CIGS solar panels, we can take this clean and renewable energy with us anywhere we go. This changes the way we perform all the different activities when we are on the road. For example, now we can have solar powered equipment, we can recharge our electric and electronic devices rather easily, or we can simply roll out our flexible solar panels anywhere we want – whether we are camping, mountaineering, or kayaking, whether we are sailing, cycling or driving our RVs.
The technology is constantly improving, delivering better and better solar panels at ever diminishing prices. Today, we can find portable solar cells at very affordable price, and use them to power our portable electronic gadgets. For example, during your camping or exploring the wilderness, you can enjoy the possibility of recharging your radio, ipod, laptop, digital camera and so on. The portable solar panels of moderate power output usually don’t weigh too much and you can take them with you virtually everywhere you go. Not to mention how helpful this can be if you are a nature, wildlife and landscape photographer.
CIGS vs Standard Solar Panels
The best brand of portable solar panels is Brunton (Solaris). This manufacturer is mainly oriented toward producing CIGS panels, which means that the photovoltaic material is not the standard crystalline or amorphous silicon wafer, but a more flexible CuIn(Ga)Se2 thin film material. The amorphous silicon solar cells are probably the most affordable solution for standard static solar panels. The CIGS solar cells technology, on the other hand, is one of the most efficient thin film technologies present on the market today. There are some other promising approaches, but currently CIGS is at the top of the list. The CIGS panels are very efficient in generating electricity, and they can also function in low light conditions. In the following we will give a short description of two of Brunton’s excellent portable solutions:
Brunton Solaris 62 Foldable CIGS Panel
The Brunton Solaris 62 is one of the portable solar cells types that have received the best reviews possible. This brand is very close to a professional solar kit, but with the advantages of a relatively low price and weight (4.3 pounds). The Solaris 62 model might be too much for you if you are just a casual backpacker who wants to recharge his/her laptop or ipod once in a while. Don’t take me wrong – this Brunton CIGS panel will do the job perfectly, but you will get a lot of extra, unused power. But if you are a professional, the additional power will come in handy. What we find truly amazing is the fact this flexible solar energy solution folds down to appoximately a size of a larger textbook. You can easily pack it into your rucksack or put it in the back of your car.
This solar panel outputs its power via a standard 12 volt charger plug. If you can afford it to take with you another battery (extra weight), you will be able to charge your devices more efficiently, even during the night or when the sun is not shining with the desired intensity. We recommend using the compatible Brunton SOLO 15 Lithium-Polymer Storage Device.
The SOLARIS 62 Foldable Panel comes in black and silver colors. It is currently priced around $1150. The Solo 15 Lithium battery can be purchased for as little as $400.
26 Watt Brunton Foldable Solar Array
Probably one of the most used foldable solar panels is this Brunton 26 Watt solar kit. In addition to the low weight and high efficiency, the main advantage of this solar panel is its foldability. When fully folded, its dimensions are 11×9 inches, which is the size of a CD/DVD case.
We love this panel as it has a high durability and there is no danger that it will tear or weather. Even at lower temperatures and in cloudy conditions, it works pretty fine and the battery charger will operate without any problem. It is an ultra portable and very powerful device.
The package includes the Brunton Solaris 26 kit, storage sack, a user’s manual, multi-link and battery clamp cable, and a vehicle outlet cable.
Whatever portable solution you choose, with the solutions of Brunton Solars we are certain you will enjoy the freedom of using your electronic equipment while on the road.