Solar Power Practicality for Camping

Solar power systems for camping are increasing in availability, but what about practicality? Can solar power systems for camping be put to use readily? Are they portable enough? Are they durable enough?

Solar power practicality for camping must address those questions and more. Are solar power systems for camping cost effective? Do they produce enough energy for normal needs?

RV Camping

Solar power systems for camping can readily be used in RV camping. But are they practical?

Many people spend most of their RV camping time in RV camping spaces with full hook-ups. They plan trips according to where the next RV camp is, and reserve a full hook-up space for the end of each day. For them, solar power practicality is questionable. It makes a good back-up system, if there is a power outage at a campground. On the whole, however, it is an unnecessary expense – just another toy.

Others enjoy the freedom of being able to camp without hook-ups. They want to get off the beaten track – be pioneers. They want the opportunity to be in a remote, quiet place for a few days. They may want to go off road, or stop beside a quiet stream, even though it is in the middle of nowhere. They don’t want to rush to make it to the next full hook-up campground.

Solar power practicality for camping is real for the second group of campers. Solar power serves a practical use for them. It breaks the leash of energy needs and lets them wander as they please.

Operating an RV’s electrical system with a solar power system is simple. Charging its batteries with solar power is also simple. You need to plan your system, of course. You need to know how much energy you want. Then you need to purchase and install solar panels, batteries, and inverters that will produce that amount of energy for you.

Many Internet websites will guide you through the necessary steps of determining how much solar power you need. They will explain which components will provide that amount of energy. Solar power systems for camping in recreational vehicles are increasingly available in a range of sizes, and you are sure to find one to fit your needs. Most are easy to use.

Solar power systems for camping may make you think twice about appliances you take for granted in RV camping. For example, suppose you have a coffee maker that requires 15 minutes to brew coffee, and then keeps the coffee warm on a warming plate. This will consume a lot of your solar power. You may want to replace that coffee maker with one that will brew in 10 minutes and shut itself off. Pour your coffee into a thermos and it will remain hot without using more energy.

Non-RV Camping

Solar power systems for camping are also practical for non-RV camping. The same two groups of people are to be found. One group likes to make camp in a KOA campground, with electrical power close at hand. The other group likes to hike into the back country with lightweight backpacks, and camp wherever darkness overtakes them.

Solar power practicality can easily be seen in the array of lightweight, portable units hitting the market. Solar power can be generated by the backpack in which gear is carried. Flexible solar panels can be rolled up and carried to the campsite, where they can be stretched on the ground to generate additional energy.

Solar power systems for camping are small and portable, but can generate enough energy to run a small heater or light bulb. Solar collected by a backpack while hiking can recharge a cell phone, camera, or iPod. Small solar power units will run appliances made for use in a vehicle. The coffee maker that will plug into your cigarette lighter can be run by a flexible solar power panel.

Solar power practicality for camping is sure to increase, and products for this use will multiply. Those who appreciate the environment enough to want to be far out into it will demand clean energy, i.e. solar power.

©2007, Anna Hart. Anna Hart invites you to read more of her articles about portable solar power at Anna has also posted articles on that site about portable solar power for homes. If you want more information about solar panels that roll up, you won?t want to miss her article on the subject.


Solar Powered Power Inverters – Key To Solar Power Electricity

As more interest grows in using renewable energy sources rather than traditional fossil fuels, the popularity of solar power as a source of electricity has grown. Despite the predictions of global warming linked by reliance on fossil fuels, it seems that it is the cost of solar power over traditional grid electricity that is making it popular. In California for example, where the climate is ideal for solar power, it is cheaper to create solar power electricity than buy it from a utility company. However, most people don’t like the responsibility of generating their own electricity or simply do not know enough about it to consider it as a viable option. This article will cover creating electricity from solar power, with particular reference to the solar powered power inverters.

Solar power for electricity is created using photovoltaic technology. These are the solar panels that you see on roof tops. A solar panel is an array of solar cells that use photovoltaic technology to convert direct sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity. A solar cell is made of silicon dioxide and the reaction of photons with the silicon dioxide causes an electron to move in the silicon dioxide. This is the principal behind creating direct current. As each cell is lined up in series the DC current will flow from one cell to the next.

Direct current is good for many appliances but most homes use alternating current (AC). Alternating current is also more efficient for moving electricity so it is used by utility companies. Thus a solar powered power inverter is placed in between the solar panels and the power supply to the house with the task of converting DC to AC. It makes the electricity usable in the home.

While the solar power inverter is primarily for translating DC power into AC power, there is another type that is called a grid interactive. These types of inverters are generally used when the system is stilled hooked to the grid. These type of systems are the easiest to install as the utility company will do the installation. You are effectively becoming a mini power station for the company. Any electricity you create is sent to the utility company and this energy is credited to you the next time your electricity bill is due. The grid interactive solar power inverter handles the process of converting to AC and then sending the electricity to the utility company.

The solar power inverter may look rather innocuous at first glance, however inside, its inner workings have to handle quite a bit. An inverter for a regular suburban home has to deal with a number of fluctuations of energy, from the use of one light to a bigger surge of energy to turn on a major appliance.

Within confining limitations, the solar power inverter has to regulate the power output to ensure that there is little energy loss. Depending on the inverter you purchase, some even supply backup battery charges while feeding the leftover power back into the solar grid.

There are quite a few things that you need to take into account when you choose a solar power inverter. Power quality, efficiency, the ability to handle surges and idling loads of energy should all be taken into account. These will be explained on the specification sheets of a solar powered power inverter. Getting solar power in your home is a learning process. You can start with a small system that is shared with the utility company. As you get more experience of your own energy needs and how the systems works you will be able to make better and informed decisions on future expansion of the system.

Solar power can be applied to many house and garden products. In recent years the cost of these appliances have become very affordable and saved money on energy bills. Learn more about solar powered appliances at The site has features on the solar power attic vent, the outdoor power solar light, solar ovens and more solar powered applications. Adrian Whittle writes about using solar power and appliances that can utilize renewable energy sources.


What Are Solar Power Systems?

What Are Solar Power Systems?

How large and what type of solar power system would be needed to replace fossil fuel?

Let’s say some First World country has decided to go “all green”and to use solar power to replace all fossil fuels nationwide from now on.

How large and what type of solar power system or systems would fit the requirement?

Photovoltaics (PV), or indirectly using concentrated solar power (CSP)?

Some other system?

One of the necessary measures to take for solar power is to reduce energy consumption. Fortunately we can reduce our energy consumption a lot while still maintaining a reasonable standard of living. We can not meet our current energy usage with solar but we can lower our needs to where we may be able to meet our needs with solar.

However, solar is expensive. Most people think it’s free once the panels have been purchased, well there is the concept of time value of money and it’s certainly not free. The cost of solar power is about 38 cents per kwh. Some estimates are as low as 23 cents per kwh but regardless, it’s much more expensive than conventional energy sources. It’s also not entirely clear that a solar panel would produce enough power to offset the energy required to make it, silicon is difficult to melt.

However, there is one clean and safe energy source that can replace fossil fuels and that’s Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors.

SolarBeam Concentrator – Parabolic Solar Concentrator Dish by Solartron Energy Systems Inc


How to Make a Solar Power Generator for Less than $300

How to Make a Solar Power Generator for Less than $300

Should I Build a Solar System?

I am debating weather ot not to build a solar system for off grid. I think it would be nice for emergency incase anything ever happened and we were without power. I have $50,000 that I have been saving for 5 years. Would that be enough to run things such as all my lights, fridge, stove, microwave, toaster and maybe a few things such as my TV, or computer. Also can you run water on a solar system.
Also we get 10 hours of sunlight in the summer and about 6 hrs of sunlight in the winter. Most days are sunny. I have a perfect roof that can hold 40 panels.

For emergency use, have a transfer switch installed and a nozzle that can be padlocked on your natural gas line then get a tri-fuel portable generator to put in your garage. When the time comes, you wheel it out and plug it up. If the natural gas runs out, you wheel out a few propane tanks. If you run out of propane you go in search of gasoline like everyone else. A lot less expensive than solar panels and won’t get blown off the roof during a hurricane.

With an off grid home, you would need several systems. Even with batteries, solar and wind power isn’t reliable enough for refrigeration so unless you can be grid tied, you should consider having a propane tank buried and use it for an absorption refrigerator like the Amish do, indeed the Amish makes a line of good absorption refrigerators. You can run your backup systems off the propane. Home insurance will require a conventional backup system for your heating system.

You would want to reduce your energy use as much as possible because you actually pay more per kwh with alternate energy then you would off the grid. You can heat your home and hot water with solar thermal and use a tankless water heater as the backup. Line up the solar thermal panels on the lower edge of the roof and mount the hot water storage tanks high so you can use a passive loop then cover the rest with photovoltaics. Put a metal drain pan with a drain so leaks won’t damage your house. With a battery system, you’re designing for peak loads and you will have to research the weather websites to find out how many days in a row you might be without power and how may days you’ll likely have to recharge your batteries, designing for just overnight use would require a backup, perhaps a portable tri-fuel generator running off the propane. The websites will also give you a better idea of the hours of sunshine you’ll get and give you the degree heating and cooling values to estimate your heating and cooling requirements. You’ll want a separate battery house made with cinder blocks and well ventilated, batteries have a tendency to explode. You may want two battery houses in case one explodes. You also want to design the battery house so you can disconnect batteries for testing and move them around when charging to help equalize the charge. You’ll have to have a regular routine for inspecting and maintaining the batteries, ideally daily but once a week should work. It’s usually not worth it to do solar absorption refrigeration with a gas and electric backup and the solar air-conditioning can be quite expensive.

Don’t bother with a gas oven, ever since pilot lights were outlawed on gas ovens, they’ve used a glow plug which draws 300 watts constantly. Doesn’t really make much sense when the water heater still uses a pilot light. If you can find a really old gas oven then it may be an option. Wood ovens are a possibility.

It is possible to run an absorption refrigerator and air conditioning off solar thermal but the refrigeration would require over 400 fahrenheit temperatures so you would need a lithium nitrate or potassium nitrate ( fertilizer ) storage tank and use oil as the heat carrier, you would also need parabolic trough collectors. Note that lithium nitrate and potassium nitrates are also used in explosives so you’ll be on the terrorist watch list. Solar airconditioning can be done with just hot water and evacuated tube solar thermal collectors. Heating and hot water can be done with solar plate thermal collectors.

How To Make A Solar Power Generator For Less Than $300