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Portable Solar Power: Now You Can Take it With You

Apr 22, 2008
Portable solar power devices can run or charge laptops, cameras, cell phones, batteries, lights, and other electronic equipment. Solar electricity should be a part of every emergency kit. They can prove to be a lifesaving tool in case of an accident or any other emergency where you could be cut off from the power grids, but have a need for electricity.

In this article, we'll explain how portable solar energy works and how it can be used to make your life easier.

Most portable solar power devices use photovoltaic cells. Solar photovoltaic cells produce electricity when they are exposed to light. They usually consist of panels that contain two layers of different materials. When light hits these two layers, one of the layers becomes positively charged and the other becomes negatively charged. This produces an electric current. You can then use this electricity to charge or run your electronic devices such as cameras, laptops, cell phones, lights, MP3 players, PDAs and many other items.

This solar electricity can then be used for anything you want. The amount of electricity a solar cell produces depends on the strength of the sun, how long the solar power device is exposed and how big the size of the solar panels.

How do you know if one of these devices will work for you and your devices?

Some solar cells produce only enough current to power small electronic devices. When you are shopping for portable solar power, you will find that different devices have different "watts" ratings. To select the correct solar device, determine what watt rating you need. To find out how many watts you need, look at the output rating of the adapter. It should tell you how many watts the adapter generates. If it doesn't contain this information, then it should contain the ratings for amperes (amps) and volts. Remember that bigger solar panels usually supply more wattage and will power your devices more quickly.

Add-on batter packs can make these devices even more useful.

Some companies sell back-up batteries to go with your solar cell. These batteries can sometimes also be charged from a wall socket or from a car charge adapter. You may want to have a solar cell that you can use while you are hiking or traveling, such as a flexible panel that can be carried on your back. This way, you can charge your small equipment or a backup battery while you are busy enjoying yourself. Keep in mind that while a solar cell performs best in bright sunlight, your other equipment usually doesn't. Some solar cells come with a long cord so you can put your camera or laptop in the shade while they are charging.

Portable solar power can make life safer when you want to get away from it all.

As the technology makes these units cheaper and more compact, it will become even more convenient for consumers. You can now have electricity whenever you want and wherever you want it thanks to sun power.
About the Author
Tony Goggin runs the site Science News Live a free resource for science and technology topics. Please visit us for more Solar Power news and technologies.
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