One of the few energy sources we can all depend on is the sun. Innovations in harvesting solar energy have easily made it possible to buy portable solar chargers – but how do these portable chargers actually work?
Portable solar chargers work by converting solar energy to electrical energy. The energy from photons in sunlight bumps electrons out of their orbits. This creates an electric field, which directs the electrons (as an electric current) towards an internal battery that stores the electrical energy.
This article will elaborate more on portable solar chargers and how they work. I’ll also recommend a couple of chargers that are worth checking out.
How Solar Energy Is Harvested
The sun shines on a portion of the Earth 24 hours a day. Different parts of the globe get varying amounts of sunlight per day, but the rays of sunlight directed towards the Earth as a whole remain unchanged.
According to the fundamentals of quantum physics, photons are light particles that travel at the speed of light in a vacuum. Electrons are very small particles, but photons can sometimes be smaller in size than electrons. Regardless, photons (light particles) are packets of energy released from stray electrons returning to their normal orbit.
Because photons from the sun have a lot of energy in them, they can move electrons out of molecules, creating an imbalance. There are more negatively charged electrons on one side than the positively charged molecules left over. The electric current produced from the movement of these negatively-charged electrons is electrical energy.
How Portable Solar Chargers Store Energy
It isn’t enough to generate electricity by converting solar energy into electrical current. Without some way of storing electrical energy, portable chargers would not be effective. Regardless of the type, batteries store electrical energy and are able to release it when needed.
As such, some portable solar chargers have a battery that stores energy for later use when there isn’t enough sun to generate electricity. Even when under sunlight, these portable solar chargers will store energy in an internal battery which then charges your device.
Solar panels in this type of charger move electricity from one side of the panel to the other, creating an excess of electrons on one side and a deficit on the other side. There is a depletion layer between the two regions, so electrons cannot travel back and forth freely.
Benefits of Portable Solar Chargers
While electricity has been around for centuries now, solar panels are a relatively new invention. Using those panels to make portable solar chargers is an even newer invention and has many benefits.
- Never worry about power outages. Because the portable charger generates electricity by converting solar energy to electrical energy, you can depend on it even during power outages.
- Convenient to carry on trips. The same technology used in solar panels installed in homes is made portable, allowing electricity to be available at all times, even during long trips.
- Larger chargers can power several devices at once. For those serious about living untethered to the power grid, some portable solar chargers are capable of charging more than one device and storing a larger amount of electricity.
- It can be used to jumpstart a car. Anyone who tries to jumpstart a car will need an electricity source. Instead of asking another car owner to help out, you would have enough power in your charger to use at your discretion.
Should You Get a Portable Solar Charger?
You should get a portable solar charger if you intend to spend extended periods of time outdoors. For example, if you like to go fishing or hiking, there is a high risk of getting stuck out in the wilderness without access to a power grid, and a portable solar charger can come in handy.
In the unfortunate (but possible) event that you run out of power in your phone when there is an emergency, you’ll appreciate having a portable solar charger to keep your phone running. Even if there isn’t an emergency per se, it’s convenient for anyone who might not have access to electricity at all times.
Additionally, if you like to go camping, portable solar chargers are a convenient way to bring your camping experience to the 21st century without the need for a full RV.
With the growing number of homeless people in the United States, some people are using portable solar chargers to power devices when they do not have access to a charging station or parking lot. Devices that people commonly connect to a portable solar charger include:
- Induction cooktops
- Small blow dryers
- Portable washing machines (USB charged)
Now that we’ve discussed the convenience and other benefits of using a portable solar charger, you may want to get one for yourself. Here are three of my top choices:
This charger is foldable, offering a higher capacity for charging. However, keep in mind that this model does not include any internal battery. This means you can only use the device when it’s sunny outside, and it will turn off when it sets.
That said, this charger can handle more than one device at once. You can take it on camping trips to provide a steady power supply for your phone, laptop, or other small devices.
With the MOSKIZ portable charger, you’ll always have a power supply for your smartphone regardless of the type. With multiple ports and a generous energy storage capacity.
This charger is great for when you’re not sure you’ll have access to sunlight for long stretches of time. I recommend this option even for city dwellers working a typical 9 to 5 job who just need to make sure they have enough charge on their phones when moving around the city.
Portable solar chargers work by converting the sun’s energy into stored energy that is available for charging a variety of devices. They can be utilized in emergencies when you’re in the wilderness, as a daily electricity supply for those living ‘off the grid,’ or simply as a source of additional battery life for your electronics as you go about your day.
- Live Science: What Are Photons?
- APS Physics: April 25, 1954: Bell Labs Demonstrates the First Practical Silicon Solar Cell
- NPR: What’s behind rising homelessness in America?
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