article image
Back to blog
20 Sep 2023

How to Choose Portable Solar Power

Photo Credit: Bluetti

The sun is a powerful source of energy that we have been harnessing for centuries. In fact, Thomas Edison, one of the greatest inventors of all time, expressed his confidence in the potential of solar energy all the way back in 1931 when he said, “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy.” 

Since then, technological advancements have allowed us to unlock the true potential of solar energy - including as a portable power source! Solar energy has come a long way, from powering satellites to charging our electronic devices on the go.

Whether you're going on a camping trip, experiencing a power outage, or simply need a backup energy source, having a portable, rechargeable, battery-powered generator is an absolute must-have. Not only does it provide convenience and peace of mind, but it also allows you to stay connected and powered up in any situation. 

Why Portable Solar Power?

There are many reasons to keep portable solar power on hand – besides being the hero of the next power outage or camping trip. 


A rechargeable battery-powered generator can handle all your basic electrical needs, from charging your smartphone to running your refrigerator. This comes in handy on long road trips, camping adventures, festivals, or even a backyard BBQ.

Lightweight and Compact

When we think of solar panels, the first image that comes to mind is a rectangle typically unsuited for a camping weekend. However, innovators have managed to compress all that

technology into a remarkably compact size. They've achieved this through foldable and portable designs, energy-efficient panels, and durable waterproof materials.

Environmentally Friendly

One of the greatest advantages of portable solar is its positive environmental impact. Solar energy is a clean, renewable source that generates no harmful emissions. Opting for a portable solar panel can actively reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to environmental preservation.

Portable solar panels serve as an eco-friendly substitute for conventional power sources. They eliminate harmful emissions and operate independently of fossil fuels for electricity generation. Thus, choosing a portable solar panel allows you to play your role in environmental conservation and minimize your ecological footprint.

SimpliPhi Big Genny BG-1200-12-EK AC Generator

What to Look for When Buying Portable Solar

When it comes to solar panels, you need to make the right choice from the start for a long-term investment. Ideally, opt for a high-quality and efficient panel and it can serve you well for over two decades. It's crucial to avoid ending up with a substandard unit and the risk of wasting money on a $300 solar panel that fails to meet your energy needs or has other post-purchase annoyances.

1. Compact Design

When choosing a solar panel for travel charging, opt for a foldable briefcase kit – like the Simpliphi LG-287-12 Little Genny. The ideal case would have a rubber carrying handle, an integrated kickstand, a waterproof canvas exterior, and a metallic or reinforced outer structure. Prioritize portability and charging convenience when reviewing portable solar panel designs, focusing on lightweight suitcases with integrated charging cables and alligator clips.

2. Efficiency Rating

Solar panels' efficiency rating is determined by the type of Photovoltaic (PV) cells they house. There are three types of PV cells available: Monocrystalline, Polycrystalline, and Thin-film

Monocrystalline panels boast a higher efficiency rating (around 20%) than polycrystalline panels (approximately 15-17%). 

Thin-film panels, on the other hand, have a lower efficiency rating (around 11%). When searching for a portable solar panel, opting for a higher efficiency rating to maximize solar energy harvesting is recommended. 

In recent developments, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have successfully invented a solar cell with an impressive record-breaking efficiency rating of 39.5%. This significant advancement is particularly promising as it ensures a better return on investment (ROI) in the long term. Until then, opt for something like the Simpliphi BG-1200-12-EK Big Genny, which has a 1200 watt-hour lithium iron phosphate battery output.

3. Capacity

There is a wide range of portable solar panels available in varying power capacities, ranging from 50 watts to 300 watts. Your selection should be based on the maximum output required to power your devices.

For long haul use opt for the bigger end of wattage; if you are traveling lite on a hiking trip and need to only power necessities, look for a 50 watt model. 

Also, when traveling in cloudy areas or those without ideal conditions for solar power generation, you may want to invest in a power bank, solar battery, and solar battery maintainer. Having reliable power storage options will keep your devices charged even when there’s no sunlight to feed your solar panels!

4. Foldable Panels

Many portable power units are sold separately from their solar panels, allowing you to customize your energy solutions. Ideally, you’ll want to look for foldable solar panels that will help save space and give you more versatility in utilizing charging areas. 


Be the Hero of the Next Adventure with Portable Solar

Don't let unexpected power outages or outdoor adventures ruin your plans - invest in a portable, rechargeable, battery-powered generator of AC today and stay prepared for anything.

Let US Solar energize you off the grid with our portable energy solutions