Average size and weight of portable solar panels (with 39 examples)
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Which portable solar panel you should choose depends on which adventure you are planning and how much power you need. Do you require power for small electronic devices while backpacking or rock climbing? Or do you want to recharge your RV batteries while boondocking?
I did some research to see which portable solar panels are available on the market and selected 39; then, I divided them, in terms of portability, into two categories: aluminum framed and plastic/fabric framed panels. All of these panels are monocrystalline type. Keep in mind that I only considered the panel itself. All other components and accessories, which you may need for a solar power system, will increase the weight you carry around.
The size and weight of aluminum framed portable solar panels.
You can see what kind of panels I am talking about watching this video.
They are all equipped with aluminum legs that open into a kickstand. In some models, the standing angle is adjustable for optimizing the amount of energy you can get from the sun.
Having a rated power between 50 W and 200 W, they need to be attached to a charge controller or a portable power station (solar generator) to charge your device(s).
From the list, below, you can see that the weight of portable solar panels vary a lot from one manufacturer to another; for example, a 100 W panel could weigh 17.2 pounds (7.8 kg) as well as 27 pounds (12.2 kg). Normally, it depends on the structure of the frame of the model and if it is equipped with an additional case.
These panels could be a very good choice for RV owners or anyone who needs a lot of power on-the-go and do not bother to carry some weight. They are cheaper from our next category of portable solar panels and last longer.
Another factor you should pay attention to before buying is the warranty period. As you may know, solar panels have two types of warranties: one for their performance (power output) – usually 25 years. The other one is for material and workmanship, and depending on the manufacturer you buy from, it varies between 1 – 5 years.
The size and weight of plastic/fabric framed portable solar panels.
This category includes a variety of portable solar panels usually between 5 W to 100 W. Some manufacturers also give you the option to chain multiple panels to achieve more power.
They could have rigid plastic frames or plastic/fabric cases. Even though we have to test this, I think the rigid plastic framed ones, like the one from BioLite, should perform better, as they claim, compared to another panel with the same amount of rated power but having a plastic/fabric case because the solar module remains cooler during working conditions.If you want to learn more about solar panel performance, read here.
The performance of a solar module decreases as its temperature increases.
On the list below, you can see the weight and size of different portable solar panels at different rated power.
Many of these panels, even at 100 W rated power, include USB ports so you can directly charge your low voltage devices. The panels having small nominal power, generally less than 30 W, could come with integrated batteries.
These types of panels are very good if you need a very compact and lightweight solution, like for backpacking. The only downside I can think of is that they cost more compared to aluminum framed panels. You also want to pay attention to their material and workmanship warranty period.
Nowadays, as solar panel technology advances and becomes more efficient – and with the number of manufacturers increasing, dropping their price tag – portable solar panels become a great choice for everyone who needs power while going on an adventure.
The amount of power that you expect from your solar panels will definitely affect the weight and cost of your portable solar panel unit (solar panel, charge regulator, batteries, etc.). So, before buying, make sure you have a good estimation of the amount of solar power you need.