An Adventure Lover’s Guide to Solar Power

According to NASA, the sun produces about 500,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 horsepower worth of energy per second. Sure by the time it reaches earth, filters through the atmosphere, and reaches your tiny corner of the Earth its considerably less, but that’s still a considerable amount of horsepower you can harness — literally! There are a few quicks details and adventure lover should know about solar power.

How do solar panels work?

 

Solar panels are essentially compact solar cells that output electricity via USB or other jacks. These solar cells could be made of rigid crystalline panels or, in the case solar panels that are made to be lightweight, could be made of flexible thin films. They work by allowing photons (light particles) to collide with atoms and release electrons, generating a flow of electricity.

 

Place in direct sunlight

 

There are a few challenges to using solar panels. With a little preparation and know-how, they are easily tackled. One is placing the solar panels at the optimal angle to absorb energy. This depends on your location on the globe as well as the time of year (the sun cuts a different path across the sky depending on all of this) but generally you need some sort of angle (unless you are at the equator during the equinoxes twice a year). Generally you are going to want an angle of about 20-30 facing the sun side of the sky. A very sub-optimal angle (for instance flat) can reduce your absorption power significantly. Inclimate weather such as cloudy days can also inhibit the power you can absorb.

 

Why use solar power

The variable conditions to optimal usage can present a challenge, but as a rule of thumb, the outdoorsman wants to pursue all options to have access to power for an emergency or for convenience. You may need to recharge your camera or a medical device your need the extra power to stay warm. The best option to helping with charging your electronics is a power station. Solar powered ones are a great, eco-friendly alternative to gas ones and emit no noise or fumes to sully your great outdoor experience. Whatever the reason, it’s always best to stay prepared like any good Boy Scout will tell you.

 

Try portable solar panels

Portability is often an issue for an adventure lover when it comes to solar power. There are many advantages to solar power, but taking panels with you are without a doubt cumbersome and hardly worth the extra weight in your pack. The answer to that is the use of lightweight and and compact backpacking solar power panels. You can hang these panels off your backpack and let them absorb the sunlight while you hike. It saves you the time of waiting to charge your solar panels when you arrive at your campsite and the lightweight efficiency eases the load of your backpack.  A great solution for hikers and campers alike.

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