How do you squeeze more power out of a portable solar system? This becomes invaluable to know if you're off the grid a lot. Well, there’s some things that you should avoid doing and some things that you should do more of.
After all, like any tool, it requires right use and maintenance to extend its life and outage. That’s what we’re going to cover in today’s guide.
So How to Make Your Solar Panels More Efficient?
#1 Keep Your Solar Panels Clean
Cleaning your solar panels is important to ensure they perform at their best. Dust, dirt, and other debris can reduce your solar panels' power, which means you are not getting as much energy as you could.
While you can use a vacuum cleaner to clean your solar panels, it is better to use a soft brush or even cotton balls with rubbing alcohol to gently remove any dust or dirt collected on the panel's surface. You should also regularly clean the area around your portable solar panel system to prevent debris from falling into it when you are using it.
#2 Angle Your Panels Correctly
The angle of your solar panels is crucial to their performance. When the sun is low in the sky, you need to tilt your panels to face directly at it. As the sun rises and moves across the sky, you need to adjust your panels accordingly, so they continue to face directly at it. If your portable solar panel system is not properly angled, you will not be able to harvest all of the power available from them.
A good rule of thumb is to position the panel at 45 degrees. The reason why this is important is because of the way sunlight changes throughout the day. During the morning and afternoon hours, when most people need energy for their phones or laptops, sunlight is slanted at an angle perfect for producing maximum electricity from your solar panels. But when there is direct sunlight, it is not slanted enough for optimal performance in the middle of the day.
#3 Be Aware of Any Obstructions
Be aware of any obstructions blocking sunlight from reaching your portable solar panel. This can include tree branches or objects that shade your panel when it is not pointed directly at the sun. If you are outside in an area with lots of trees or tall buildings nearby, try placing your portable solar panel on top of something, so it is closer to eye level with where the sun is in the sky — this will give it a better view of the sun and allow it to gather more energy faster.
#4 Use MPPT Charge Controllers
MPPT charge controllers are a must-have for any solar panel system. They are especially important when you need to power up your device in the most efficient way possible.
The problem with conventional charge controllers is that they do not always provide the best performance when charging your devices. This is because they do not work with an MPPT algorithm, which allows them to use every last bit of juice from your solar panels.
The good news is that plenty of MPPT charge controllers are on the market today — and they are getting better all the time. So whether you are looking for something simple or more advanced, there is probably something out there for you.
#5 Use a Cable with the Correct Gauge
When you are using your portable solar panel system, the last thing you want is your cables to limit their performance. The wrong cable can make it difficult to use your portable solar panel system while on the go and can even damage the unit.
A good rule of thumb is to use a cable with the correct gauge for your application. For example, if you are using a portable solar panel system with an inverter and a battery charger, then you should use a marine-rated cable that has been properly sized for your needs. Using larger or smaller cables than necessary will not only limit their performance but also shorten their lifespan.
However, if you are unsure, you should use 12 AWG wire for most applications as it will work well for low-voltage DC circuits and high-voltage AC circuits. If you are running long distances between your panels and batteries, 18 AWG may be better suited for your needs since it has less resistance than 12 AWG wire.
#6 Use Energy-Efficient Appliances
To maximize the performance of your portable solar panel system, consider using energy-efficient appliances like laptops and tablets instead of full desktop computers. These devices consume less electricity than traditional computers and are more likely to be compatible with modern technologies such as USB ports and wireless connectivity.
Another way to increase the efficiency of your portable solar panel system is by choosing an efficient battery bank for storing excess energy from the sun's rays. If possible, purchase a lithium-ion battery bank rather than lead acid batteries because they are lighter and operate at higher temperatures without sacrificing power output or capacity.
Finally, choose an inverter designed specifically for use with solar panels rather than one designed for use with traditional AC power sources. This will ensure that all excess energy collected from the sun can be stored in your battery bank without being lost due to inefficient conversion processes.
#7 Inspect Damaged Wires and Loose Connections
It is important that all wires in your portable solar panel system are intact so that they do not come into contact with each other or anything else while you are using them. Look out for frayed wires or damaged insulation as well as loose connectors or detached leads so that you know where any problems might lie before they become serious. If you spot any damage, make sure that it is fixed immediately so that it does not cause a short circuit or fault in your system later on down the line.
If any of the wires in your system are not firmly attached to their respective connections, this can cause problems with performance and reliability. If there is movement in the connection, it can mean that the wire could break off completely if subjected to too much stress during use. To prevent this from happening, make sure that all connections are secure before starting up your solar panel system again after maintenance has been carried out.
#8 Monitor Your Battery Life and Usage
Monitoring your portable solar panel system is the best way to ensure you get the most out of it. The more you monitor your system, the better you will understand how it works and how to use it properly. In addition to monitoring battery life and usage, you can also use a portable solar panel system monitor to track your solar power generation and verify that everything is working correctly.
Here are a few tips for monitoring your portable solar panel system:
- Keep track of how much power you are receiving from the sun. If you notice that the battery is not charging as quickly as it used to, check your solar panel's performance against historical averages. This can help you spot problems before they cause damage to your equipment.
- Monitor the temperature inside and outside your device housing. Temperature fluctuations can affect performance, so if there is a significant difference between what is happening inside and outside of your device, contact customer support immediately so they can help you troubleshoot the problem before it causes further damage to your equipment.
- Monitor how long your device takes to charge up after being exposed to sunlight for extended periods. Check the manual for recommended charging times based on current conditions, then compare them with how long it took.
#9 Know What Size Battery Bank You Need
One of the most important factors in determining how well your portable solar panel system will perform is the size of your battery bank. A battery bank that is too small will not be able to store enough energy to power all of your devices at night, and a battery bank that is too large may waste valuable space in your backpack or on your roof rack.
The first step in figuring out what size battery bank you need for your portable solar panel system dp how much power you use on average each day. The best way to do this is to keep track of how much energy you use in a typical day when you are traveling, then multiply that number by how many days you will be away from civilization. This will give you an average daily usage number, which can determine how many watts of power are necessary for each device to charge it completely before sunset each day.
Once you know how much power each device requires, you can use the information provided by the manufacturer to determine how many amps per hour their batteries can provide. For example, if a camera requires four amps per hour at 12 volts and has a capacity of 100 watt-hours (Wh), it would take 20 hours for the camera's battery to fully charge using 5 watts of solar panels.
#10 Always Look for High-Quality Panels
When you are looking to purchase solar panels, the best advice is to remember that the quality of your solar panels will affect the performance of your system. You want to make sure you are purchasing high-quality solar panels so your system can provide you with the maximum amount of energy.
The best way to ensure that your solar panels are high quality is by checking for certifications and warranties. When looking at different brands of solar panels, it is important to look at the certifications and warranties that third parties have issued on their products. This will help ensure that the company has met certain standards set by independent parties and prove that they have backed up their claims with real data from independent sources.
Another way to ensure that your solar panels are high quality is by checking for durability. When looking at different brands of solar panels, it is important to check what materials are used in manufacturing these products and how long they may last before needing replacement or repair work done on them due to normal wear and tear.
To make solar panels more efficient, you must understand how much power can realistically be expected from a portable system. In some cases, people will have the ability to generate more power than their needs demand. However, many others will see that the excess generation is much less than the manufacturer claims. In either case, it is prudent for anyone looking at using a solar panel to understand the situations where power generation will spike.