Like personal communication devices and electronics (phones and computers), solar panels have become sleeker, thinner, and more lightweight over the last two decades. They’ve even become foldable! But what are the best uses for folding solar panels?
One of the greatest uses for folding solar panels is generating cost-free electricity for your RV or camper. Folding solar panels are also great for those living in vans. Portable, foldable solar panels can also help you stay connected while off-grid.
This article will explore these uses in detail, ensuring that you get the most of any folding solar panels you might own currently or in the future!
1. Solar Panels Harnessing Free Energy While RVing
Large folding solar panels are a fantastic resource for those living or traveling in RVs. They’re essentially a free source of energy that can help you keep your televisions, computers, and cabin lighting turned on.
For the most effective solar experience, you can slide a few folding solar panels onto your RV’s roof on a sunny day, then connect them to a battery. You can then use this battery to power non-necessary electronics like TVs and tablets, reducing the strain on your RV’s built-in power grid.
2. Folding Solar Panels Aid Van Life
Saying goodbye to monthly rent and mortgage payments are achievable dreams, but some people aren’t waiting until retirement to see them become realities.
Letting go of most of your belongings and living out of a vehicle, especially a van, has become a relatively common lifestyle change for some adults and young adults. But for many of these nomads, cutting out all electronic devices isn’t part of the plan.
That’s why many people living the van life have adopted unique solar power systems for their vehicles, ensuring they can access electricity and internet services wherever there’s sunlight.
Much like RVers, those living in vehicles can benefit from owning and using folding solar panels, as they’re:
- A free source of renewable and sustainable energy.
They’re also handy for those who’ve decided to reject rent, mortgage, and utility bills altogether by living the natural life off-grid.
3. Solar Panels Keep You Connected Off-Grid
Whether you’re planning on enjoying a year-long off-grid experience or hoping to devote yourself to the lifestyle, bringing a little bit of the grid with you in the form of sustainable power sources is crucial.
A folding solar panel is one of the off-grid explorers’ most valuable items. It allows them to maintain access to essential emergency services via a cell phone or GPS device.
A portable, foldable solar panel is also a fantastic way for those living off-grid to enjoy solar-powered heat, warm water, and lighting while avoiding power bills. Single-room cabins might only need a single set of panels to start enjoying the amenities of solar power, but larger homes could accommodate several sets.
Because these panels are foldable, they don’t leave a lasting footprint on their surrounding environment, as you simply pack them away when you’re not using them. Overall, it’s challenging to think of a better addition to off-grid tiny homes than folding solar panels.
4. Folding Panels Charge Your Electronic Devices
Though most of the folding solar panels we’ve discussed thus far are several feet long and wide, it’s important to remember that solar panels are available in various sizes. Some are even small enough to pack away into a purse or daypack.
These small folding solar panels are ideal for charging personal electronic devices like tablets and smartphones. While using technology might not be the primary goal of an outing into the great outdoors, losing complete contact with the outside world isn’t always a bright idea!
Consequently, having a portable folding solar panel with USB inputs and outputs can be a lifesaver when your phone’s battery dies and your portable power bank runs dry.
The Riapow Solar Charger (available on Amazon.com) is one of the most impressive camping-friendly solar device chargers, and it’s competitively priced. It’s basically a power bank and charger with an unfolding four-panel solar system.
With a single full charge, this solar device can power most modern smartphones up to seven times! So, even if it stops raining for only one day of your camping trip, you can use this charger to keep your electronics powered.
5. You Can Try Out Non-Permanent Solar Roofing
Have you wondered if permanent rooftop solar panels might be a wise investment for you and your home? If so, folding solar panels might offer some unique, non-permanent insight into whether the change might be worthwhile.
After all, you can attach folding solar panels to your rooftop and link them to batteries in your home, just as you would with a standard residential solar system.
You can use the energy from these batteries to power various household items. You can also measure energy levels to decide whether solar panels provide consistent energy to power your household.
If you decide you’re not ready to invest in solar power for your home, you can remove the folding solar panels quickly and easily, with no permanent changes to your roof!
6. Folding Solar Panels Cool You in Hot Weather
Staying cool during the summer has never been more important or more challenging. But did you know that you can use the sun’s harsh rays to power personal fans and portable air conditioners?
When you have foldable solar panels, harnessing the sun’s power is simple. You can position the solar panels in a sunny spot and lead the power cable toward your vehicle, shelter, or shady area.
From there, it’s as simple as plugging the panel cable into a battery, fan, or suitable air conditioner to start feeling the benefits of solar-powered cooling. If you have a nylon tent with a solid roof and zippable windows, you can trap this cool air, converting a sweaty situation into a cool paradise.
7. Folding Solar Panels Make Primitive Campsites Modern
Though campsites with electrical hookups are a convenient place to spend a night outdoors, these sites are often closely nestled together in large groups, so you’re unlikely to feel completely isolated in nature.
Primitive campsites with no running water or electricity offer a far more authentic camping experience, though this authenticity comes at a price.
In addition to having to haul enough water for your camping trip (which can be several gallons), you’ll also need a way to charge crucial electronic devices, especially those you might need during an emergency. Fortunately, folding solar panels can do the trick.
Campers with a low GPS or smartphone battery can unfold these thin panels in the morning, connect them to a battery or device, then sit back and let the sunlight do the hard work of charging your electronics.
Of course, a folding solar panel isn’t the best device to bring when you expect the weather to be rainy!
- ProjectVanlife: Van Life Basics
- Amazon: Riapow Solar Charger
- Business Insider: 7 gadgets to take with you the next time you go camping
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