Goal Zero Nomad 13
Why Buy a Solar Power System?
You can use portable solar power systems for a variety of reasons, from emergency kits you can keep at home to smaller, lightweight kits that you can take miles away from the nearest wall plug. Solar power systems provide convenient energy that is clean and renewable. As long as you have sun, you have power. The lower wattage panels, such as Goal Zero Nomad 13 Solar Panel can keep your cell phone or laptop charged, while the larger emergency kits, like the Goal Zero Yeti or Renogy's Solar Suitcase, will keep the lights on or even power the inside of your recreational vehicle.
Portable Solar Power Systems: What to Look For
Remember, portable doesn’t always mean it is small enough to put in your pocket or backpack. In fact, many kits that advertise as portable are heavy briefcases or even blocks that roll on wheels. Choosing the right solar power kit depends on your required wattage, adaptors and accessories you need, and how much you’re looking to carry.
What are you going to be charging and how much power do you need? Prices will vary, and the wattage of the portable solar power system could be as low as 4 watts to as high as 1,500 watts. Don't buy lower wattage systems just to save money though. The lower the wattage, the longer it takes to charge. If you’re in need of power during an emergency, you can’t put a price on your peace of mind.
When looking at different units, pay close attention to how and where the power is stored. If you buy a solar power system to charge electronic devices, you might also need to purchase separate accessories such as USB plugs or wall-style sockets. Some systems are so basic that the only way to save solar energy is by using alligator clips and an external battery.
Weight & Compactness
This is the true value of your solar power system, and whether or not it truly is portable. You should pay close attention to the weight, especially if you’re considering a system for a road trip or a long-distance hike. A 15-pound solar panel adds a lot of weight when backpacking. If it’s a larger system for staying off the grid, you won't mind the weight if you keep the solar power unit in a cabin or RV. Consider how small it is and if it's easy to store.
A portable solar power system is the grown-up version of building a fort. With the right portable solar power system, you are only limited by your imagination. A fully charged system could allow you to write on your laptop under the stars or keep food fresh without lugging around ice. The right solar power kit allows you to stay plugged in without the leash of the grid.