Over the past 10 years, the prices for photovoltaics have dropped significantly, while its specific productivity has increased. This has led to an increase in the popularity of a previously almost unclaimed whole class of photovoltaic panels. They are solar panels for tourism, which are actively used by fans of long trips, hiking and river rafting. Small in size, lightweight, convenient and mobile, they allow you to get electricity where there is no access to conventional power grids.
A typical set of mini-SPP for tourists – composition, characteristics
The kit usually consists of the following items.
1. Solar panels. For tourists, they are made in the form of one large or several smaller connected batteries. They can be mounted on a stand, built into a fold-out belt, put into a case, etc. Depending on the size and weight, they are transported in / by car, put into a backpack or are like a diplomat’s suitcase. Characterized by:
- with a power of 5 – 300 watts;
- weighing 1.0 – 30 kg;
- Efficiency 16 – 24%;
- cells based on crystalline or amorphous silicon, sometimes rare-earth cadmium telluride (if manufactured in the form of flexible films).
2. Joint Stock Bank (Delta, Liotech, Vostok, etc.). Built-in rechargeable battery for small models, separate from larger and more powerful kits. Designed to accumulate a charge in order to provide tourists with energy in the dark or bad weather. The capacity is usually selected 2-4 times more than the capacity of the modules, since energy is mainly needed during halts. In order to increase the compactness of the solar battery kit for tourism, as a rule, contains a battery with an integrated charge controller.
The capacity can be any, but you should focus on the weight that will allow you to transport the batteries. The approximate ratio of capacity and weight is 100 A * h per 30 kg.
3. Inverter. It is required to convert direct current from generating cells into alternating current, which is used by consumer devices.
4. A set of cables and charger. The latter can be built into the body of a single set. Due to the presence of various types of outputs, they allow:
- charge smartphones, laptops, MP-3 players, digital video cameras, portable TVs and other low-power equipment;
- connect speakers;
- supply power to lighting devices (usually several LED lamps are included in the package);
- work with several devices at the same time.
The range of use is the widest – hiking, boating, car trips to nature, camping and other types of temporary or permanent camps.
Choosing the type of solar panel cells for tourism
The modern market offers several types of semiconductor cells, each of which has different performance depending on external conditions.
1. Monocrystalline, Mono-Si. They give out the highest efficiency among all varieties – 22-24% under ideal lighting conditions. It is recommended to buy a set for hiking on the basis of monocrystals if the use of batteries is expected mainly in clear sunny weather. In addition, during these hours, the panels should be in a stationary position, deployed strictly in the sun.
The main options are camping, hiking with halts during the day in open areas.
2. Polycrystalline, Poli-Si. Their nominal efficiency is slightly lower, but the generation under non-optimal placement conditions is higher than that of the previous class of models. The purchase of such solar panels for tourism is recommended for those who will not be able to provide the generation process under optimal conditions.
Examples are multi-day fishing, hunting or river rafting in mountainous or wooded areas.
3. Thin-film, amorphous silicon A-Si or cadmium telluride CdTe. The efficiency of panels of this class within 16-19% is compensated by better performance in cloudy conditions, scattered light or precipitation.
The best choice for those who like to get out into nature in any weather and not in the summer season.
4. Batteries based on minerals, polymers and organic. This extremely promising type of photovoltaics is not yet used in solar panels for tourists. The reason for this is the insufficient specific productivity per unit area, which plays a decisive role for panels of small dimensions.
Comparison of the three types is conveniently presented in the form of a table.
Choosing the power of solar panels for tourism
The most popular kits for hiking are kits with a capacity of 10 to 100 watts. A lower capacity will not be able to satisfy even the minimal needs of tourists, and a larger one will lead to difficulties in transportation.
For auto tourism or camping, the choice of options expands significantly. Here, modules for 300 – 1000 W, with a total weight of 30 to 100 kg or more, can be optimal, taking into account the weight of the auxiliary equipment.
If we consider an average of 100 W, which is acceptable for both categories, its performance during daylight hours will be:
- 45-50 watts per day from November to February, or 5-10 watts hourly;
- 200-240 watts throughout the day in the seasonal ranges March / April and September / October, about 20-50 watts / hour;
- 450-550 W / day in May, June, July and 15% lower in August.
To understand how solar panels can be used for tourism of such performance, we will give the approximate energy consumption of the most important devices in nature:
- charging three smartphones / one power bank – 9-12 W / hour;
- tablet – 12-13 W / hour;
- digital camera, photo camera – up to 15 W / hour;
- LED lamps for lighting campsites or tents – 5-8 W / h each, etc.
Methods for increasing real productivity
In nature, the energy production of your panels will depend on a number of factors. To “squeeze” the maximum out of the mini-power plant, it is recommended:
- during rest, unfold the working surfaces of the panels as strictly perpendicular as possible to the spread of solar radiation;
- use for this factory or made from improvised coasters;
- do not forget to change the angle of inclination of the photovoltaic modules as the sun shifts;
- do not allow shadows to fall on the cells;
- keep the protective surface clean.
Offers on the solar market for tourism
All proposals are divided into two classes – rigid modules on crystalline silicon and flexible thin films.
1. Rigid panels.
Represented by the widest power range. Can be used for all types of outbound tourism, including a temporary stationary installation of a solar power plant when camping. There are many options for such models in our store, for example:
- 15 watts – 1230 rubles;
- 30 watts – 2020 rubles;
- 50 watts – 3700 rubles;
- 100 watts – 5770 rubles;
- 150 watts – 6380 rubles;
- 200 watts – 6600 rubles.
2. Flexible compact solar panels for hiking.
Flexible solar panels are extremely popular for their versatility and a wide variety of designs. They do not have great power, but they are very light and easy to carry.
For example, a foldable accordion or roll can easily fit even into a small backpack. But with a standard efficiency of more than 20% and the ability to expand the total “canvas” for 7-8 square meters, it can produce up to 140-160 W / h in bright sun.
3. Ultra-small “wearable”.
Can be used on the go. They are built into bags, backpacks, belts, garments and even shoes. Thanks to the removed connectors, they are able to charge any gadgets without requiring stops. Of the most popular brands, it should be noted:
- folding “accordion” SOLARMONKEY ADVENTURER – 6 W, 270 grams;
- pocket model Goal ZeroNomad7 – 7 W, 495 grams;
- plates for Fuse Voltaic Systems bags – film, 6 W, 600 grams (optional with a mini battery for 4 thousand A * h).
- SOLAR and SCN-4/6 from Chinese manufacturers;
- “SanEnergy” and C3U2-BCA7.5 of domestic Russian production.