Portable Solar Power

The number of portable solar power devices available on today's market is truly fascinating. The good news is that there are always new ones entering the market, so keep your eyes open for new and exciting ways to utilize the sun's free energy.

cell phone and solar cell phone charger to illustrate portable solar power

Maybe you'll discover a new one right now that you can use for yourself!

Solar Battery Chargers

portable solar charger

There is now a new and easy way to recharge your batteries without the use of electricity.

Solar battery chargers are excellent for taking on your camping or hiking trip for the purpose of charging just about any size battery from AAA's to D's.

No need to worry about having charged batteries for your flashlight, CD player, or other small electronic device. picture of solar powered battery charger

Solar power battery chargers come in all shapes and sizes, and there is one that will fit most any kind of battery.

Simply allow the solar charger to soak up sunlight and it will transfer that energy to your batteries. Prices for these handy gadgets range from $49 to $119.

Solar Fans

This solar gadget is the perfect companion for avid campers to use at night for sleeping in a hot tent or for simply using at home on the deck or patio for airflow on hot summer nights.

A solar fan contains a built-in solar panel to capture the sun's energy and convert that energy into power to rotate the blades. On a full charge, a solar fan can provide consistent airflow for a minimum of 6 hours, but possibly up to 8 hours.

Some of the solar fans out there even have a built-in light and radio!! Expect to pay around $150 for basic models.

Solar Cell Phone Chargers

folding solar panel with solar powered battery and cell phone charger

Typically equipped with one solar cell, a solar cell phone charger can accommodate almost any model cell phone. It can use the sun's energy to recharge a cell phone, but also has the option of plugging into an electrical outlet if there is one available.

Solar cell phone chargers are perfect for traveling, hiking, or just charging your phone outside while you work in the garden. The price range is $14.95 to $90.

RV Solar Panels

These are quickly becoming popular with RV owners who travel frequently. As we all know, there are times when you come across a campground that doesn't provide electricity hook up. Especially during those times, the solar panel on top of the RV can come in very handy for powering the small appliances and lights inside your vehicle.

RV solar panels are easy to install right on top of the RV and will actively soak up the sun's rays anytime the sun shines directly onto the panel. The addition of solar panels to your RV will vary in cost depending on how many you install, but the average range for one panel is about $119 to $249 + the cost of mounting hardware.

Solar Backpacks and Purses

What a novel idea to have portable solar power built into backpacks and purses!! The solar panels are seamlessly integrated into the overall design of the pack or purse.

The solar panels provide energy from the sun to charge your phone, iPod, or other electronic device, all while you simply go along with your day.

The battery backup included in some models of backpacks will store energy to be used later if needed, without the need of direct sunlight. Solar backpacks range from $199 to $299 whereas purses are a bit pricier from $250 to $499.

Solar Radios

radio

Solar powered radios and hand crank emergency solar radios are useful in the event of a power outage, and are yet another affordable use for solar power in the home.

Some solar radios have backup rechargeable or AC battery power, and may contain many extra features such as flashlight capability, a built in siren, and some models can even charge your cell phone!

Solar radios can access AM, FM, shortwave radio and emergency broadcasting stations, and the models that are specifically designed for emergencies contain a hand crank so the radio can be recharged when there isn't sunlight or battery power available for power.

Solar Head Lamps

young man wearing solar head lamp One very popular use for portable solar power is in camping equipment such as solar head lamps, which can light your way like a flashlight and free your hands by attaching to a headband or a special hat.

A solar head lamp can also be used to charge your cell phone. Many people find that it works well although some people find that the light is not strong or does not hold the charge as long as they would like.

This variation in performance may be due to the strength of sunlight in various locations.

The Downside of Using Portable Solar Power

The greatest advantage of portable solar power is that you can use it anywhere and anytime without wondering where you'll find an electrical outlet.

The one drawback of using portable solar devices is that they are dependent on whether the sun is shining. If you have no sunlight, these handy devices won't help you out much unless you choose a model with battery backup, or one that stores energy that can last you several days.

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