The benefits of Travelling with solar power
Solar power is a clean form of energy that’s natural, renewable, and best of all free. Using the correct portable solar system allows you to free camp at remote locations without sacrificing luxury items such as fridges, LED camping lights, mobile devices and more. Using the correct solar system in these locations will generally mean you can avoid paying heftier fees for powered sites. Additionally, adding some portable solar panels means you don’t have to detract from the peace and quiet you went outdoors to find.
What you need to travel with solar power
A self-sufficient solar setup requires fit for purpose solar panels that combine compactness, portability and functionality. All iTechworld Solar Panels will come with a solar regulator. Other important equipment you need will be a deep-cycle auxiliary battery and an inverter if you’re planning to charge 240v appliances such as a laptop or television. The way these products fit together is simple: solar panels gather power from the sun, which then flows into the battery via the solar regulator. Also known as a charge controller, solar regulators are important because they prevent damage to your battery from fluctuating charge or overcharging.
Solar panels come in different forms: mono-crystalline, poly-crystalline and thin film amorphous. Mono-crystalline panels lead the way because they are more affordable but also more efficient than poly-crystalline, meaning out of two panels the same size, a mono-crystalline solar panel will gather more solar power. Amorphous panels need greater surface area compared to mono and poly crystalline panels. Amorphous panels are generally 5 - 6 time more expensive than poly and mono panels for the equivalent wattage and do not represent good value for money. On going reports of connectors in amorphous panels becoming damaged due to extensive folding also can not be ignored. All iTechworld solar panels are high quality, Mono-crystalline, German Certified, hail proof solar cells. The best cells available in the Australian market today. These cells come with full 25 year performance guarantee.
What are your solar power requirements
Calculating your equipment’s power usage is key to creating a solar power system that’s tailored to you. Without a basic understanding of how much power your equipment is using, you could end up purchasing the incorrect battery, solar regulator or wrong-sized solar panel. If any one of these products is too small you could end up with a flat battery earlier than expected, or worse, a damaged solar regulator or battery. To calculate your usage, keep in mind most devices will have its power draw on the label that’s on the product, after which you need to work out how long per day you will operate the equipment to calculate it’s overall power draw. A handy tool to use if the power consumption is not marked on the label is the iTechworld in line Amp Meter.
Here’s an example of a basic setup: to run a medium-sized fridge that draws 4amps and some LED camping lights that draw 0.25amps each, a 120W folding solar panel kit coupled with a 100amp deep cycle battery would cover your needs and then some. To find out what products you require to fit your needs call iTechworld on 08 9472 7200 or send an email.
What bearing does my position have on Solar Power?
How much power your panels gather depends on their size, how they’re used and the amount of sunlight hours in a day. To start off with, the biggest misconception of solar power is that ‘all sunlight is created equal’. While the output of a solar panel is dictated by sunlight, other factors including geographic location, ambient temperature and time of year have an influence over how much power is on offer for your solar panels to gather. Check out iTechworld's handy sun tool below.
Solar power do's and don'ts
The most common equipment to power with a solar setup include 12v fridges (which can account for upwards of 60% of your total power draw), camping lights, satellite TV systems and inverters, which would then be responsible for charging 12v appliances such as laptops and televisions. When it comes to lighting, LED lights are preferable as their light patterns are highly focused and their power draw is minimal in comparison to fluorescent and halogen lights. Additionally, avoid powering major heating appliances like hair dryers from your power inverter, as these are energy-intensive and will waste your battery’s hard-earned power.
Using solar panels when travelling
Getting the most from your solar panel set up is the main aim of the game. For people who are on long distance trips, roof-mounting Semi Flexible solar panels on your camper trailer or caravan is ideal, as this allows you to gather power as you travel. Meanwhile for shorter trips, a folding panel is the best option to save space.
Keep your solar panels clean, dust that gathers on solar panels will obstruct sunlight and detract from the panel’s performance. This is a greater problem for mounted panels, as they are constantly exposed and have to contend with any dust kicked up from travelling off-road. To remedy this, regularly wipe them down with a microfiber cloth, as using a more abrasive material will potentially scratch and damage a panel.
Understanding solar power terminology
The relationship between Watts, Volts and Amps can be confusing when misunderstood, though basically:
Watts, volts and amps form the basis of most solar power jargon, though on their own or even in a formula probably won't make much sense to most campers. To get a better understanding of what these terms mean and how they fit into your understanding of solar power call iTechworld on 08 9472 7200 or send us an email
Learn how to choose the correct Generator HERE
Learn how to avoid a drained battery HERE
Learn about light weight Solar Panels HERE
5 tips to get the most out of your Solar Panels HERE
Comprehensive guide on Inverters HERE