At Dabbsson, we’re dedicated to making sustainable energy accessible to everyone. We’ve harnessed our team’s talent and experience in technological innovation and manufacturing to develop new ways to supply and store clean energy - so we’re experts in this field. Check out our blog to learn more about our portable solar panels.
The energy sector is in the midst of a transformation - with environmental sustainability taking center stage. Scientists across the globe are creating cleaner, greener energy sources. Among these inventions, portable solar panels for your home and camping are popular tech. And for good reason!
Not only are portable solar panels flexible, compact, and incredibly efficient, they offer a range of benefits when you use them on a trip or in your home. Combining them with solar generators can help you save money at peak electricity times, making affordable clean solar panels a fantastic and versatile investment.
That’s where this blog comes in. We’re here to help you understand your purchase by giving you the best tips for using solar panels.
Read on to explore how to properly use portable solar panels so that you can maximize their efficiency. You’ll learn top tips from our Dabbsson experts and understand what makes solar panels for home work and how to deal with cloudy weather.
Top Tips to Find the Best Sunlight Location
Calculate the best sunlight location for your portable solar panel - particularly if you’re camping and relying on it to supply your electricity.
- Consider the intensity of the sunlight. It’s better to place the panel in direct sunlight rather than shade - and ideally in a place that isn’t likely to be shaded later in the day (you might need to move your portable solar panel around during the day if you’re in a wooded area).
- Think about the angle of the light. Calculate the best tilt angle for your solar panel by establishing the daily solar insolation value for your location (a measurement of average daily solar radiation). This value will change based on your location and the time of year. You can find free tools on the internet to calculate your latitude and the daily solar insolation value.
- Understand the length of daylight hours in your area. Make sure your panel faces true south in the northern hemisphere and true north in the Southern hemisphere so it can receive sunlight all day.
- Establish which time of the day is the best to put your portable solar panel out - the intensity and time will change seasonally, so it’s good to check this regularly.
- Be warned: your solar panel can experience overexposure to sunlight due to reflections from nearby buildings or bodies of water.
Maximize your chances of capturing sunlight by purchasing a solar panel with a greater surface area and a high wattage. The Dabbsson DBS420S, for instance, expands to 23.2283*36.6142*1.9685 inches (590*930*50mm) and has a peak power of 420W, meaning that when positioned correctly, it can provide a large amount of juice to your electrical devices.
It’s important to correctly connect devices to your solar panel to prevent surges and shocks. Key things to remember: making sure that your solar panel is compatible with your device by only using the cables and connectors provided by the manufacturer, only connecting as many devices as your solar panel can handle to prevent overloading, and making sure your portable solar panel is in a well-ventilated area to stop overheating.
Remember that the voltage output of your solar panel should match the voltage input of your charger or power bank. User manuals or product specifications on websites will help you to understand this.
You can take specific measures to maximize the durability of any solar panels for your home.
1) Waterproofing and Weatherproofing
In areas that experience rain and hail, invest in flexible solar panels with tempered glass. Ideally, search for an A-grade 182-10BB mono-crystalline layer that can cope well with high pressure - giving 3500MPa (megapascal, a unit of pressure - in comparison, standard PVC solar panels are 62MPa). This protective layer is also great for protecting your portable solar panel when you travel with it. For waterproofing, you need a solar panel with a minimum IP65 rating. We wrote more about the IP ratings of our latest solar panels in this blog so you can learn more and compare.
2) Surge Protection and Grounding
When you have electrical products outdoors, you must protect them from surges (for instance, when lightning strikes happen) and ground them. Surge protection prevents damage to the solar panel system and grounding helps to dissipate any electrical charge to minimize the risk of electrical shock or fire.
3) Keep Clean and Clear
It’s important to clean your solar panel regularly. If you have a solar panel for your home that has a minimum IP65 rating (see above; Dabbsson portable solar panels like the DBS210S are precision built with an IP65 rating) then you can use water, a gentle cloth and a non-abrasive cleaning fluid to get rid of any dirt and stains. Something that might slip your mind is clearing vegetation around your panel. Not only can leaves drop onto the solar panel, but the shrubbery itself can block sunlight.
4) Insurance and Warranty
Check that your home insurance covers any portable solar panels you buy for your home in case of fire at your property or theft. If you buy solar panels for camping, you should also check these are covered whilst you travel. For mechanical issues, be aware of your warranty processes and what is covered.
Note: Dabbsson offers up to 24 months warranty on every portable solar panel purchase (12 months upfront, extended warranty of an additional 12 months with registration).
Preparation Before Use
Prepare your solar panel before and after you use it.
Ensure the panel is clean and in the correct position to maximize exposure to sunlight (see above for how to find this). Moreover, check all the connectors and cables to make sure they are safe if you've not used the solar panel in several weeks or months. No wires should be exposed and every cable should connect snugly to any battery power stations you use.
If you find any issues, store the panel safely and contact the manufacturer.
Storage and Maintenance
It is crucial to store portable solar panels correctly at home and on camping trips. You should also maintain the solar panel, as this will extend its life and help maximize its efficiency. If you don't clean your solar panel regularly, you will see reduced efficiency and potential degradation of its materials.
The great news is that your approach to looking after your solar panel can be flexible. You can maintain them at the same time as storing them correctly. For instance, you should clean your solar panel before storing it, making sure to check for any external damage as you do so.
And while you should invest in a solar panel that is high quality - with integrally formed carbon brazing materials and a mono-crystalline layer - it’s also important to remember to store it out of direct sunlight in a cool, dry place. Excessive exposure to high temperatures and sunlight naturally degrades materials. So, you shouldn't keep a portable solar panel outside year-round. Secure storage also keeps your solar panel safe from theft.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How do portable solar panels work?
Scientists have been working on solar panels since the 1800s when French physicist Alexandre-Edmond Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect with materials that produce an electric current when exposed to sunlight. In scientific terms, the semiconductors in solar panels absorb photos and release electrons, which generate an electrical current.
This means that all solar panels use the photovoltaic effect to convert the sun’s power into electricity, which you can store to power whole homes and your devices when camping.
- How to deal with cloudy weather
Cloudy weather can reduce the amount of electricity that your solar panel generates. Of course, you can’t control the weather. However, you can minimize how it impacts your clean solar panel in many ways:
- Purchase high-quality portable solar panels with excellent cell efficiency (how well your solar panel converts the energy from sunlight into electricity - at 23.4%, Dabbsson portable solar panels rate at the most efficient end of the scale)
- Add another panel to your system and keep them clean and well-maintained
- Connect any portable solar panels for your home to battery storage so you can make the most of sunny days and conserve the energy generated
- Make sure your solar panel is in the optimum position for sunlight, including their tilt angle - this may change through the year, so it's good to know the weather and seasonal patterns
- Use portable solar panels so you can more easily move them around and make the most of available sunlight
- How to tell if your solar panel is damaged
The easiest way to tell if your flexible solar panel is damaged is to look at it! Do you see any cracks or breaks? Is there any ingrained dirt or debris? Are there any water stains or condensation under the glass? Any of these can indicate damage.
Your solar panel might also have an accompanying app, which can provide feedback and data about the status. If you discover any anomalies, contact your supplier and use your warranty.