Finding long-term cost-saving opportunities is important for anyone burdened with electricity bills. One approach to doing so is to get some portable solar panels and use them to charge your multiple electronic devices. But first, you must locate an ideal spot to install portable solar panels.
So, why does it matter where you put them? If portable solar panels are not placed correctly, they will not produce enough energy. Also, they need to be in a spot with plenty of sunlight all day to function properly.
Let's dig a little more into portable solar panels' where and where not.
Key Factors for Optimal Energy Production from Portable Solar Panels
When it comes to portable solar panels, there are a few key factors to keep in mind for optimal energy production. Let's dive in and ensure your panels are in the right spot!
This one is a no-brainer. Portable solar panels convert sunlight into electrical energy, so you must place them where they will receive the maximum sun exposure. Aim for a spot with direct sunlight from 10 am to 4 pm, when the sun is at its brightest and strongest.
Portable solar panels' energy output drops when shade is present. Therefore finding a spot without any overhead structures that could cast a shadow on your panels should be avoided, including trees and buildings, as this will diminish their efficiency. Find a spot with as little shade as possible, even more so during the middle of the day when the sun is at its peak intensity if you cannot escape the shadows altogether.
Panel direction matters too! Considering that the sun rises and sets in the north, portable solar panels facing south will get the most exposure to the sun. Likewise, portable solar panels oriented northward will get the most sunshine if you are in the southern hemisphere. So, if you are out on the go and have mounted your portable solar panels on your car, be sure they are pointed in the right direction when you park. Also, when you have stopped camping or resting, aim to camp where you can face your portable solar panels in the direction where they will get the most sunlight.
Angle of Inclination
This refers to the angle your panels are positioned relative to the ground. The optimal angle changes with the seasons and your location, but a good rule of thumb is to angle your panels equal to your latitude during the summer and at a lower angle during the winter when the sun is lower in the sky.
To determine the ideal tilt angle for your solar panels, you can use a simple calculation that takes into account the season and your location. During the winter months, you can add 15 degrees to your latitude, while you subtract 15 degrees during the summer. So, if you are located at a latitude of 34°, the recommended tilt angle for your solar panels during winter would be 49°, which is calculated as 34 + 15.
Mother Nature can sometimes throw a curveball, so choose a location that is sheltered from heavy rain, snow, and clouds. If you are camping, try to find a sheltered campsite or a camping shelter. If you are using your panels at home, ensure they are protected from the elements to keep them functioning at their best.
By considering these factors, you will be well on your way to making the most of your portable solar panels and harnessing the sun's power.
Portable Solar Panel Placement Ideas: Where to Place Portable Solar Panels
Now, if you are wondering where to place portable solar panels, worry not! There are different places where you can set up your portable solar panels. Here are the most common portable solar panel placement ideas:
On the Ground
If you are looking for a quick and easy spot to place your portable solar panels, why not lay them on the ground? This is a good choice for those who need a solid surface to mount their panels or for anyone who wants to move their setup around easily. Just make sure your panels are level and secure.
On a Roof or Patio
Another option is to place your panels on a roof or patio, which gives you a permanent home for your portable solar panels and can be a relief if you do not want to move them around a lot. When installing on a roof or patio, it is key to ensure your panels are placed securely. Use the hardware to ensure everything stays put.
In a Garden or Backyard
Got a garden or backyard? If so, you have a good spot for your portable solar panels! This is a secure place for your panels and still lets you move them around as needed. All you need to ensure is that your panels are positioned in a sunny spot.
On an RV or Camper
Last but not least, if you love hitting the road and being one with nature, you might want to consider placing your panels on an RV or camper. This way, you harness the sun's power and turn it into energy while on the go. The only consideration here is that your panels are mounted correctly and protected from the elements, like high winds and rain.
Maximizing Portable Solar Panel Output
Now that you have already understood the factors involved in positioning the portable solar panels along the common placement ideas, it is time to take a deeper look at maximizing portable solar panels' output by leveraging sun peak hours.
Understanding Peak Sun Hours
Okay, so let's talk about peak sun hours. Essentially, these are the hours during the day when the sun is at its highest point in the sky and shining down with maximum intensity. This is the prime time for your solar panels to generate the most electricity. But remember that the number of peak sun hours you get each day can change based on a few things like the time of year, your location, and weather conditions, as mentioned earlier.
Finding the Best Times for Peak Sun Hours in Your Area
To figure out when your peak sun hours are, you must look at the sun's path across the sky. This changes throughout the year because of the Earth's orbit around the sun. To stay on top of it, you will want to keep up-to-date information on the sun's position at different times of the year. There are online resources that can give you this information for your specific location. One such option is the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's PVWatts Calculator. This calculator gives you an average of your area's peak sun hours throughout the year.
Cleaning and Maintaining Portable Solar Panels
So you’ve got yourself portable solar panels and want to ensure they are always operating at their best? There are a few more steps besides just understanding the peak hours to keep your portable solar panels working at their best capacity. You need to take certain measures to keep them clean and well-maintained.
First things first: How often should you clean your portable solar panels? That depends on where you are using them. If you are camping in a dusty area, it is good to clean your panels once a week. But if you are somewhere more humid, a monthly clean should do the trick. Just keep an eye on your panels and give them a light wash when you start to see a buildup of dirt and debris.
So, what do you need to clean your panels? It is pretty simple! You will need a soft-bristled brush, a clean cloth, and water. If you are in a particularly dusty area, consider bringing a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment.
When you are ready to clean, start using your brush to remove any big pieces of debris. Then, use your damp cloth to give the panels a gentle wipe-down. If there are any stubborn spots, use a bit of water and your brush to scrub them away. Finally, use a dry cloth to remove any remaining moisture.
One thing to keep in mind: avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials when cleaning your panels. These can damage the surface of the panels and reduce their efficiency. Stick to water and your soft brush or cloth. Also, when not using your panels, store them in a cool, dry place to prevent dirt and debris from building up. Doing so will also protect your panels from damage. If you need to store your portable solar panels outside, be sure to cover them with a protective cover.
Finally, give your portable solar panels a regular inspection to ensure everything is in working order. Monitor their output and ensure the cables and connections are tight and secure. If you spot any problems, get them repaired as quickly as you can to avoid further damage. And there you have it! A few simple steps to keep your portable solar panels operating at their best.
Get Your Solar Placements Right
If you are serious about solar power, it is worth spending the time to get your placements right. As you can see, several factors come into play with this decision, but careful planning will go a long way towards maximizing the sun's energy, reducing energy costs in the long run.
If you have questions about which portable solar panels to buy or how best to set them up, check out Bluetti for high-quality products and advice about their use.