From the hundreds of nearly imperceptible solar street lights installed around Sydney, to the massive 1000-hectare solar farm at Darlington Point, solar panels are everywhere. And while most people can go through their day without noticing them, campers, RVers, and caravanners are acutely aware of how much solar has reshaped the energy production landscape.
More than any other single factor though, the advancements in photovoltaic (PV) construction have been a game changer. Newer, lighter, and longer-lasting materials that generate more power are responsible for panels becoming both less expensive and more efficient. The end result, however, is that ordinary campers don’t degrees in electrical engineering anymore to enjoy almost the same wattage as a full-time RVer.
Let’s take a look at precisely what these advancements are, along with what they would mean for you if you’re considering spending time off the grid.
You Get the Best Solar Efficiency With 300W Panels
Make no mistake: as more Australians are drawn to the appeal of spending time off the grid, so has the availability of more versatile solar panel solutions. Finding the right balance between power and portability has always been the key though, and optimally sized 201W – 300W solar panels have proven that they can provide the ideal combination of wattage and scalability for an entire range of fixed, flexible, and transportable configurations.
201W – 300W solar panels are manufactured in 60 and 72-cell arrangements, boast an average maximum output voltage of 30.1V, and are constructed from either multi-structure polycrystalline panels, or sliced from single-structure monocrystalline panels. Blue-hued polycrystalline panels cost less to manufacture, but black-hued monocrystalline panels possess an inherent performance advantage that includes:
- Up to 23% efficiency, compared to 13% efficiency of polycrystalline panels;
- Increased shade tolerance and low light performance; and,
- A lower temperature coefficient that allows them to perform better in warmer weather.
Although monocrystalline panels can absorb more light, are less affected by adverse weather, and produce more watts per cm² than their polycrystalline contemporaries, both types are equally representative of a rugged, all-purpose segment of PVs that are easily distinguished by their outputs. 201W – 300W solar panels are the perfect power producers for anyone who’s looking to spend time camping, RV’ing, or even sailing, and they come with the right measurements to maximize their portability.
Using the Advantages of Fixed-Type Panels for Mobile Applications
Size and weight mean everything when you have an RV or caravan, and that even includes solar panels. With an average footprint of only 1.4m² per panel, fixed-type 201W – 300W solar panels typically require 0.6m² less space than their 301W – 400W counterparts. That may not seem like much, however, with an average weight of just 12kg, it’s possible to increase the number of panels in a 300W PV array to match (or in some cases exceed) the output of a dimensionally larger 301W – 400W PV array, but with only 50% of the weight.
This unique compromise of size and power is a crucial advantage that 201W – 300W portable solar panels have over other sizes of PVs. And together with a 1000V system voltage maximum, they fit the bill perfectly for scalable mobile applications such as:
- RVs and caravans;
- Work, concession, or transport trailers; and,
- Solar-powered buses and trucks.
Making Durability a Priority in Solar Panel Design
Durability is just as important as dimensionality when you’re looking at PVs, and today’s IP68-rated 201W – 300W solar panels for sale are designed for an operating temperature range from -40°C to 85°C, and manufactured specifically to resist:
- Potential-induced degradation (PID);
- Degradation from heat or UV exposure; and,
- Corrosion from salt and ammonia exposure.
Regardless of whether you’re caravanning through the outback or sailing along the coast, a 201W – 300W portable solar panel is built to withstand just about anything that nature can dish out. To truly get the maximum benefit from these panels though, they need to be deployable in ways that other PVs simply aren’t. Making them flexible not only satisfies that requirement, but it gives them the technical edge across the board when it comes to PV engineering.
Taking the Technological Advantage With Flexible Solar Panels
Weighing just 5.5kg, a flexible-type, 60-cell 201W – 300W solar panel is the ideal solution for any vehicle with a curved or aero-shaped profile. Their combined monocrystalline and composite polymer composition gives them the same durable outer protection that fixed-frame PVs have, but with 248° flexibility that lets them conform to a vehicle’s form without breaking its aerodynamic edge.
These tough, hail-tested PVs offer a selection of benefits that are unequalled even by other portable solar panels, and they include:
- A significant weight savings. Weighing only 5.5kg, flexible panels are 70% lighter than glass-encased PVs.
- Significant space savings. With a thickness of just 5.6mm, flexible panels are 85% thinner than other PVs.
- Simplified mounting. Double-sided adhesive backing allows them to be mounted without any cutting or drilling.
In short, when you buy flexible 290W solar panels, you’re getting the most innovative portable solution available, but without sacrificing any of their power or durability.
Transportable Solar Panels Go Anywhere That You Go
Let’s be honest, not everyone who wants to spend time off the grid owns a vehicle that they can, or would even want to attach PVs. That doesn’t mean, however, that they can’t enjoy the benefits that solar panels have to offer when they want to get away.
Heavy-duty, 4-panel 235W portable solar blankets consisting of 48 monocrystalline cells are the ideal transportable solution for campers and overnighters. These 5.6kg suitcase-style panels are capable of producing a maximum output of up to 26.1V, while delivering more than 700WH (watt hours) per day.
From their deployed size of 670mm x 2600mm x 5mm, these transportable PVs fold down to a convenient 670mm x 540mm x 24mm, and come with:
- A PWM charge controller with LCD;
- Anderson plug connectors and cables; and,
- Alligator clips for quick battery connection.
With their easy fold-out legs and instant setups, suitcase-style transportable PVs are the epitome of portable solar panel solutions. They let you take advantage of optimal absorption angles at all times of day, and fold up and store away invisibly at night.
The Final Word
At the end of the day, while the growth in PV efficiency has been the greatest contributor to the overall increase in solar panel usage, it’s the gains that have been made in their portability that have enabled more people to venture away from the grid. Heavyweight solar panels glued and bolted onto reinforced RV and caravan rooftops aren’t the only alternative anymore. Not only are they inefficient, their sheer size and weight makes them potentially dangerous if they’re not attached correctly.
For unrivalled output and efficiency, premium grade 201W – 300W solar panels are the gold standard for scalable, lightweight PVs. They have all the portable qualities you need to confidently make the most of your time off the grid.