Portable solar panels are transforming lives. The innovative technology is making the impossible possible. Businesses, organizations, and people are going off the grid, far from the limitations of a power outlet, and exploring new possibilities.
What’s even better is that solar energy systems are becoming increasingly affordable and accessible to individuals from all walks of life, including street vendors, small shop owners, remote construction workers, campers, etc.
However, there is one problem. There are several components and features to keep in mind before purchasing solar panels. It’s an issue aggravated by manufacturers and retailers who don’t provide adequate product information.
In this article, we will highlight the dos and don’ts of a solar setup for a small shop so that you can serve your customers without any trouble. Continue reading to find out everything you need to know about portable systems for a shop.
1. Do Choose a Portable Solar Panel with High Efficiency
Portable solar panels are a great way to power a small shop. When you are planning to set up a small shop with portable panels, you should get a model with high efficiency to get the highest performance and value out of your solar panel.
A portable solar panel with higher efficiency is going to generate more electricity per square foot of surface area compared to a model with low efficiency. The efficiency rating indicates how much power your panel can produce from the sun’s rays. For example, a 100-watt solar panel with a 20% efficiency rating can generate up to 20 watts under complete sunlight, whereas a 100-watt panel with a 25% efficiency rating can generate 25 watts in the same conditions.
2. Don’t Ignore the Manufacturer’s Warranty
The best portable panels come with a solid manufacturer’s warranty. This way, you can rest assured that your investment is secure and that it can power your small shop for several years down the line.
A lot of manufacturers provide two kinds of coverage: component and product warranties. The component warranty covers parts, including inverters or batteries, that fail within their specified service life, typically 3 to 5 years. On the other hand, a product warranty is a guarantee the manufacturer gives you of your portable solar panel, including damage caused during shipping or mishaps during use or installation.
The best portable solar panels come with both component and product warranties. The period of this warranty needs to be five years at minimum for all parts and materials that might require replacement or repair. If the manufacturer is offering a lifetime warranty on their product, it’s a great indication that their solar panel is durable.
Thus, it’s important to opt for brands that provide longer warranties, which indicates they are confident about the products they’re offering and prioritize customer satisfaction.
3. Do Make Sure You Have Sufficient Space for the Panel
Before deciding on a solar panel kit, you need to check how much space you have to place, store and carry your portable panel kit. Keep in mind that in order to power your small shop with solar energy, you will be placing the panels out on the pavement or on the roof.
Depending on how much room you have, you can get only panels, panels with in-built batteries, and panels with batteries attached separately. While a higher number of watts mean more power, it’s probably going to be a large setup.
Many people usually overlook this section. They only realize this when their portable panel ends up taking up too much space. Thus, make sure to choose a panel that’s big enough to power your shop but doesn’t take up too much space.
4. Don’t Place the Panels in the Shade
A lot of small shop owners wonder where to place solar panels. Well, as solar panels use sunlight to generate electricity, it only makes sense that shade compromises their electrical output. Nevertheless, many individuals are not aware of the impact of shade on solar panels.
Even if a single photovoltaic cell is kept in the shade, it can affect the energy produced by its neighboring cells as it starts acting as a resistor.
Tall buildings and trees are the two key culprits that can shade portable solar panels. Make sure you place your panels in a place where shade is not going to be a problem.
5. Do Consider Your Requirements
You need to consider your particular needs when investing in a portable solar panel system. Think about the appliances you need to run in your small shop. For instance, it could be a couple of lights, a fan, a minifridge or a coffee machine if you have a small beverage shop, a few power tools if you run a small repair shop, etc.
In order to identify your power needs, start off by measuring your daily kWh consumption. You can do this by using the formula mentioned below for the appliances and devices you will be running on your portable solar panels. Once you have performed the calculations for every individual device, add up your answers to get the daily kWh consumption.
kWh = (watts consumed by an appliance x number of hours the appliance runs for every day) / 1000
Note: The watts consumed by an appliance will either be stamped on the bottom or back of the appliance or on its nameplate.
Once you know your daily kWh consumption, you can choose a portable solar panel system that is large enough to power your small shop.
6. Don’t Keep Your Panels Dirty
As solar panels do not have any moving components, they need minimal maintenance. Nevertheless, it’s strongly recommended to clean them regularly as dirt and dust can collect on the surface, lowering efficiency.
The number of times you should clean your portable panels depends on multiple factors, including how often it rains and the level of dirt and dust in your area.
Over the period of a year, dirt and dust might only lead to a 5% reduction in energy generation. However, if the panels get extremely dirty – probably in an area that doesn’t get too much rainfall – the decline in output can be higher than 20%. Thus, it’s a good idea to clean your solar panels every six months.
7. Do Place the Solar Panels at the Correct Angle
The angle at which you place your portable solar panels can largely impact the efficiency with which it produces electricity. When the sun is right above, it’s going to be quite difficult for solar panels to produce electricity. However, when the sun moves lower in the sky, the angle of incidence goes up, which means more sunlight reaches your panels.
There are plenty of ways to correctly place your solar panels to get the highest level of efficiency:
- Place the solar panels 45 degrees from the horizontal as it’s the perfect angle for receiving sunlight and transforming it into electricity.
- If you have several solar panels, you should place them next to each other so they all receive the highest level of sunlight.
8. Don’t Overlook the Construction
The construction of your portable solar panel is one of the most important things you need to pay attention to when setting up portable solar panels for your small shop. The better quality they are, the longer they will last. Some solar panels are made of flimsy materials, so they break easily. The best portable solar panels are made from durable materials such as plastic or aluminum that can withstand a lot of wear and tear without getting damaged.
Moreover, if your small shop is located in a place that gets a lot of rain or snow, you should pick something that can withstand such weather conditions.
9. Do Check the Battery’s Storage Capacity
When getting portable solar panels for your business, make sure to look at the battery’s storage capacity. This is a major factor to keep in mind when buying your portable solar panel system, particularly if you plan to run your shop after sunset. You need to make sure the solar energy system you purchase has the sufficient storage capacity to get the electricity you require.
Additionally, you should also look at the type of batteries that come with your portable solar panel kit. The batteries impact how long they will last and the amount of energy they can store before requiring a recharge.
The more powerful and bigger your batteries, the longer they will last between charges, and the more electricity they can store. Most portable solar panel kits have lithium-ion batteries, as these have gained a lot of popularity recently because of their low weight and high energy density compared with lead-acid batteries.
For instance, some portable panels have batteries that can easily store 100 watts. On the other hand, others have batteries that can just hold 15 watts or lower. You should invest in a portable solar panel with a battery that stores the highest level of power if you wish to supply your small shop with uninterrupted power.
10. Don’t Buy from Sketchy Retailers or Manufacturers
The best thing you can do when purchasing portable solar panels is to ensure you purchase them from a well-known, reputable, and reliable manufacturer or seller. This means a government body has evaluated them and approved them for sale in the region.
You also need to check how long they’ve been selling the products and how many individuals have bought their products in the previous year. If they’ve been in the business for five years or more and have a proper website, it shows they are an established business that actually cares about its customers.
Last Few Words
We hope this guide helped you understand everything you need to know about how to set up portable systems for a shop!
At Bluetti have a vast range of portable solar energy systems, including solar panels, solar generators, solar power stations, etc. Make sure to check out our site to get the right products for you. If you have any questions, feel free to contact our customer care team for guidance.