Solar panels have made it easier and more comfortable for travellers to get away from the city and spend more time in the great outdoors without having to pay for a powered site in a caravan park. Whether you camp in a tent or tow a caravan, there’s now a wide range of easy-to-use, fixed and portable solar power systems which enable us to power fridges, lighting, smartphones and tablets, camping equipment and more.
This now only helps to save money on powered sites (which are increasingly expensive and overpriced), plus it helps us all to enjoy longer and more comfortable experiences among the natural surrounds which places Queensland squarely among the greatest places to camp the world over.
With so many products on the market of varying effectiveness and suitability, travellers need to not only consider their unique portable power needs, but also a range of factors such as product quality, warranties and after sales support. As experienced solar power specialists with our fingers on the pulse of the industry, the team at 12 Volt Solar Systems in Hervey Bay can help you select the ideal system for your camping and travelling needs. Here are a few of the most important factors to consider.
Fixed or portable solar panels?
You have two main choices when it comes to solar panels for camping and travelling – fixed solar panels and portable solar panels. The fixed variety are mounted on the top of your vehicle, caravan or trailer, while the portable variety can be carried and placed in the sun. Fixed solar panels are very practical for many travellers, as they’re securely mounted and most caravans have ample room for several panels. Portable panels need to be stored securely while on the road, though many travellers find them ideal to use as they enable you to chase the sun around the camp as it moves throughout the day.
Panel and Battery Size
Solar panels (fixed and portable) are available in a wide range of sizes to suit the needs of all travellers and camping enthusiasts. When choosing a panel size, consider not only your power needs (see cell quality below), but also how you’ll store them while travelling (if you’re buying portable solar panels) and how many can fit on your roof (if you’re buying fixed panel). When calculating your solar needs, ensure you have factored in all the devices and equipment that you’ll use and allow for additional usage and the days when you don’t get enough solar energy due to the weather.
You’ll also need to choose a battery of a suitable size that can be fully charged each day by the solar panels you’ve purchased. Generally speaking, it’s best to choose solar panels that exceed your power usage each day and can comfortably fully recharge the battery so that you won’t get caught short on extended trips.
Photovoltaic Cell Quality
The quality of the photovoltaic cells that make up the panel is another important point that you’ll need to consider when buying new solar panels for your camping adventures. The more efficient the cell, the more power you’ll be able to generate, and in some cases, could mean you can get by with fewer solar panels. Take note of the grading (solar cells are graded according to the quality of the photovoltaic cells) as the higher graded cells produce more electricity. While they’re generally priced higher, you should find the higher graded products to be far more cost-effective in the long-run.
Along with these important considerations, you’ll also need to think about warranties, after-sales service, accessories and more, so there’s quite a lot to factor in when buying new solar panels for your camping adventures. For expert advice on portable and fixed solar panels that empower you to get more from your time away, see the specialists at 12 Volt Solar Systems in Hervey Bay.