Different Types Of Solar Panels For Camping

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Written By Jay Clatworthy

Off Grid Camping contributor.

Different Types Of Solar Panels For Camping

Different types of solar panels for camping      

Solar technology has come a long way from its early beginnings. The cells have become more efficient, and the product has become more flexible that there is now a wide array of solar cell options to choose from that best suits your travel and camping habits. 

Having the right kind of solar cells for your camping style may be the key for you to stay connected while remote, or keep those beer bottles cold, or even get to spend that one extra night under the open skies.

The choice for solar panels depends on factors such as travel frequency, destination types, and especially budget. There are portable solar cells that would be appropriate for infrequent campers. 

There are also fixed solar panels if you are a full-time traveler going nomad, and solar cells will be your primary source of power for more extended periods. Between these two, there are several choices of products you can choose from, these include:

Kinds of Solar Panels

The debate whether fixed solar panels are better than portable solar panels or the other way around can go on for days. Between trying to power up a small 12V fridge or running a complete set of lights, chargers, fridge, and freezers, how much power you need based on your camping style may spell the difference for you.

Fixed or Permanent Solar Panels

Fixing a solar panel on top of your car, caravan or RV will remove the need for you to be constantly moving or carrying your panels around and setting them up. Solar panels are typically bolted in or riveted on roof racks and maybe wired permanently, feeding car or caravan batteries with solar power. 

It’s best for those heavy power users who use several electronics plugged in during camping. Because your solar panel is already set up, it is easy to pick an excellent open area for you to park, and your solar cells can be put to work. With your solar panel fixed, you can reliably power your fridge, lighting, and other appliances.

There’s no burden for you to carry the massive panels and move them around throughout the day since it is atop your vehicle.

Portable Solar Panels 

Portable panels are small enough to pack and unpack whenever you need them and easily adjust them throughout the day, so they still face the sun. Some of these portable panels are folding ones – they come in good size, sometimes with folding legs, too, and they are cost-effective. Meanwhile, folding solar blankets are more lightweight, thus more portable, and easier to carry as they are small. It is easy to fold the blanket away and put it in your car when it is time to move on.

Solar cells 

It is easy to distinguish between portable and fixed solar panels for those who like to live off-grid longer. Various other factors should be considered when choosing the right kind for you, but perhaps it is best to know the type of solar cell you are investing in. 

You depend on these cells for power during your camping trips, but beyond choosing between the portable and the fixed, it’s good to know what type of solar cell you are choosing and whether or not it’s the right kind of cell for your camping style. 

Amorphous Cells

When it comes to solar cell technology, amorphous cells are perhaps the most efficient cell in the market today in terms of energy output. This cell is less popular but is thinner and more flexible, as it is constructed from a fine layer of silicon, making it lightweight. 

Amorphous cells can withstand higher temperatures without affecting output compared to the crystalline types of cells. Its uni-solar triple-junction cell technology allows it to absorb a wider band of visible light, allowing it to perform better in low light conditions when compared to crystalline cells. However, these cells are more expensive when compared to the alternate crystalline cell. 

Crystalline Cells

Crystalline cells are either polycrystalline or monocrystalline cells. The significant advantage of crystalline cells over amorphous is the price point; these are priced way lower than amorphous cells. Polycrystalline and monocrystalline cells are found in ridged panels, with monocrystalline cells being the more efficient variant. 

Why do you need a solar panel for camping?

They say the amount of power that the sun strikes the Earth in an hour is more than what the entire world consumes in one year. The power source is there – free, clean, renewable, unlimited, accessible, and it is yours to capture. Humans have not maximized it yet, but solar technology has gone a long way. 

And the current technologies sure can help us sustain what we need for some activities without relying on other energy sources. Going solar is the easiest way to get every extra bit of power you need for your camping trips and make sure your gadgets are running. You need to pick the right solar panel solution for you.

With the choices demonstrated above, it is clear that there is a solar solution possible for every type of camper, whether you are just exploring or are already used to living off the grid. Knowing the right solar panel for your camping activities will ensure that you are fully charged and your electronics are running. Solar panels, whether they are mounted or portable, can be brought anywhere you want to go.

How long will solar panels last?

The lifespan of solar panels, on average, is 25-30 years. During this time, manufacturers can ensure that the solar panels perform at or near their peak efficiency. 

When it comes to degradation, the crystalline silicon panels may decay faster if subjected to considerable climate variations, extensive soiling, or poor installation. The quality of technology used by different manufacturers can also have an impact.

Can you use a house solar panel for camping?

Yes, it is possible to use a house solar panel when camping. However, in using home solar panels, there are essential factors to consider when setting them up. 

One of the most crucial actions when setting up solar panels is to place them on top of your recreational vehicles securely. 

If you aren’t traveling with a vehicle, you may place them on the ground. However, it is advisable to lay a protective layer such as a tarp or mattress before placing the solar panel securely. This action prevents your solar panels from obtaining any damages that may affect their performance.

What to consider in buying solar panels for camping?

If you plan to purchase a solar panel for your camping trips, consider these factors to ensure that you get the perfect one. Solar panels are not cheap to buy, and naturally, you would want to get your money’s worth.

Quantity of appliances or gadgets

The number of appliances or gadgets you bring and utilize during your trip will determine how big a solar panel you will need. If you got tons of appliances or devices that require electricity to power, you should opt for a larger solar panel that will generate more power and vice versa.

Budget

Solar panels are expensive, mainly because they are made from high-purity silicon and installed with inverters and durable electrical protectives. 

The bigger the solar panel is, the more appliances/devices it can power. However, in turn, the bigger the solar panel, the bigger budget is required. It is advisable to invest in expensive good quality solar panels than cheap ones since they are not always durable and have lesser lifespans.

Size

Solar panel size is a factor to consider in determining how many appliances and gadgets it can power. Again, the bigger the solar panel, the more power it generates, and the more budget you need. The disadvantage of big solar panels is that they are believed to be less durable and efficient than their smaller counterparts.

Warranty

A brand new solar panel usually offers a warranty. A warranty is a privilege given by manufacturers to their consumers in which consumers can return the product they have purchased in circumstances that the product malfunctions by itself. Manufacturers that sell solar panels with a warranty ensure buyers that their products are durable and made out of good quality.