Solar energy is the conversion of sunlight into usable energy forms. Solar photovoltaics (PV), solar thermal electricity and solar heating and cooling are all well established solar technologies.
These technologies are becoming more common. Although solar power currently accounts for only around 3% of the world’s energy generation, its use is growing rapidly.
China currently has the largest solar energy capacity, at 130 gigawatts, with the United States at more than 62 gigawatts. Yet many other countries are also working on expanding their capacity for solar power generation rapidly.
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How does solar charging work?
To catch the energy coming from the sun and to convert it into electrical energy, there are several steps involved.
Photons from sunlight carry enough energy to push electrons from their orbit in some elements, especially silicon, the material used in most solar cells. The ability of photons to disentangle electrons is called the photoelectric effect.
The first step is creating an imbalance between positively charged and negatively charged particles in the silicon. This is done by adding boron and phosphorus. The imbalance created by adding these impurities creates an electrical field in the silicon. When photons strike the silicon, the electrical field pushes the electrons toward the front of the solar cell, creating a negatively charged side. The protons that are left behind on the other side of the cell surface create a positive charge.
When the two sides are connected, using an indirect circuit like the terminals of a solar battery charger, the electrons flow into the load and create electricity.
Solar battery chargers don’t directly charge the lithium-ion battery in your cell phone or iPad. Instead, they usually charge an internal rechargeable battery. This is charged through the solar modules, and their charge is, then, redistributed to your gadget so that an external electrical source is not required.
Are solar battery chargers effective?
It is easy to see the benefits of solar battery chargers – they allow you to recharge gadgets and even car batteries without an external electrical source.
There are also some subtler benefits. For example, once manufactured, solar cells do not generate any emissions, waste, or byproducts.
Although solar chargers function very well, they do have some limitations. Firstly, the power of a solar battery charger cannot be compared to a regular battery charger. These chargers are not as powerful, so it takes more time to charge the batteries.
Secondly, a solar charger gives out minimal current, so it is more useful for maintaining a charge rather than charging a completely dead battery. So, you must be careful if you are thinking of relying entirely on a solar battery charger.
Using solar battery chargers in smaller devices is still more comfortable than using them in bigger ones.
Solartab is an excellent example of such a product. It has a 13,000 mAh battery, which is more than any average smartphone and has an output power which is the minimum amount that a smartphone uses. This advanced solar charger stores enough power to be used later. The device can be carried around easily because it is flat and can easily fit next to an iPad. Moreover, the Solartab solar phone charger is so good that it only takes two hours to charge a fully discharged iPhone 6 completely.
However, you’ll need to feed the charger with 12 hours of direct sunlight to charge it completely.
Solartab is efficient as a solar phone charger, but for charging a 12 Volt battery, things work slightly different. To charge a 12 Volt battery, you require around 10 amps of DC input every time there is an output of 100 watts.
A 10 amp charger will need about 6 hours to recharge a completely dead battery. Similarly, the requirements will be higher for a 24 Volt battery.
Nevertheless, there are many advantages to solar chargers too. One of the best things about them may be that they are low-powered, so they work well as maintenance chargers.
A solar battery charger can also be a lifesaver in case of sudden battery discharge. It can help in prolonging the battery life of a stationary vehicle. And of course, they are also eco-friendly so they can help you reduce your carbon footprint.
So, it can be worth the investment, after all.
Some of the best 12 Volt battery chargers are DuraVolt 20W Marine Solar Battery Charger, Battery Tender Solar Charger, DuraVolt Magnetic Battery Maintainer, and some others. Other good ones are NOCO Battery Life 2.5-Watt and ALLPowers Portable Solar Battery chargers for cars.
How to choose the right solar charger?
With so many solar chargers available in the market, it can be hard to choose a good one. Some specifics that you should look for when choosing the solar charger for your power requirements are:
An efficient battery charger harnesses the solar energy quickly, so you don’t have to worry even if there is not enough sun. Hence, they are useful in winters as well when you have comparatively less sun.
Solar chargers are available in different sizes. However, the more power you need, the bigger the size of the charger. If you’re looking to charge your car battery, you can go for a 12 Volt battery charger because it is lightweight and usually easy-to-carry.
They can be kept easily inside a car, and you can carry it around easily. Moreover, it has enough capacity to sustain bigger things like cars, bikes, boats, etc.
Usually, solar battery chargers have power between 2 to 18 volts. The ones with higher powers can be charged quickly, but the ones with lower powers don’t pose a risk to overpower your battery.
Cables & Connectors
Having a solar battery with multiple connectors gives you various options to choose from. You must also choose the size of the power cable.
If it is too small, you might find it hard to plug it into your charger.
The solar battery charger is a great invention that can help us become more eco-friendly by harnessing solar energy. So, investing in it can be the right move towards reducing your carbon footprint and making the most out of the sun.