Portable solar panels are designed for easy access to free solar energy in remote areas. The material used in solar panel manufacturing is susceptible to water.
A drop of water can destroy the panel’s core, weaken the panel surface, or worst-case scenario, the system will not work when needed.
Hence, the portable solar panel manufacturer considers these aspects while developing portable solar panels. Therefore, most solar panels are covered with a waterproof layer, making it resistant to water, dust, and environmental damage.
Solar panels are a handy tool every campaigner carries with them while traveling in a remote area.
It provides an energy source for electronics, gadgets, cell phones, and equipment. The design of the solar panel makes it compact. You can carry the large-size product in the backpack easily.
The modern solar panels are made of high efficient material that can capture more energy from the solar rays.
It is easy to assemble and doesn’t require technical skills to operate. Put the solar panel in the open area under direct sunlight and let the solar rays generate the electricity for your equipment.
Do all portable solar panels come with waterproof covering?
No. The users are given options to choose from waterproof and non-waterproof solar panels, depending on their needs. You will experience a significant price difference in both solar panels. The waterproof solar panels are a little costly and may not suit your budget.
The idea of a waterproof solar panel is to protect it from rain or water splash. People who go camping in the forest, near the river in the rainy season, would require a waterproof solar panel.
The portability of getting solar panel wet is high in such conditions.
However, do not confused typical roof mounted solar panels with portable solar panels. The roof mounted solar panels are all waterproof.
Nowadays, most of the well known portable solar panel brands are making their portable solar panels waterproof as well.
Portable solar panels component
No matter how much care you take of your portable solar panels, there will be a situation when your solar panel gets wet.
You should remember that, even if you are carrying a waterproof and portable solar panel, there will be occasions when the solar panel comes in contact with the water.
The water can go inside and damage the components.
For example, the charging port which conducts the solar energy from the output terminal would require an open case. The charging controller is necessary for charging your equipment; hence there will be a vulnerability in the mechanism.
The probability of the water entering into the panel is significantly less in the waterproof solar panel, but you cannot rely on it entirely.
It is advisable to protect your solar panel from the water even if it is waterproof. Avoid using it in the rainy season or deep water. The waterproof solar panel can protect the equipment to some extent, but it lacks 100% safety.
However, some manufacturers are offering portal solar panels with 100% waterproofing technology.
You can even use these solar panels underwater at a certain depth. These innovative solar panels are a great choice if you want a product that would not bother you while using it.
How do portable solar panels perform in extreme weather conditions?
The portable solar panels are manufactured using materials that protect the equipment from the high temperature. Highly durable fabric is utilized to protect the component in the -40°C to 90°C temperature.
An efficient and toughest glass panel is used on the surface to catch the sun rays and direct it to the solar panel.
The panels’ top surface is covered with a water-resistant material, which gives it waterproofing ability. The covering is specially designed using various materials for the panel.
All the materials used in solar panel manufacturing are tested in the laboratory for high temperature, cold, water, and accidental impact. The rigorous testing and effective use of science make the portable solar panel a useful tool.
You can comfortably place the solar panel under direct sunlight to charge the batteries.
Note: Not all the solar panel charging controller are waterproof; hence, you avoid them in the rainy season. Keep the charging controller in the well ventilated, dry space.
Cleaning the portable solar panel is straightforward. Use the cloth to wipe out the dust particles or water droplets dwelling on the board.
Do not forget to remove the charging cord, batteries before you clean the panel. After the cleaning is done, close the charging port to avoid dust particles entering the small port cable connection area. The dust particles may get trap in the cable section if not handled carefully.
Can portable solar panels Resist Rainwater?
Since the portable solar panel’s primary job is to provide clean energy in remote areas, solar panels are generally used in open space under direct sunlight. It must be manufactured to endure environmental damage.
Water-resistance is an essential part of any solar panel design. The probability of the solar panel getting wet during the use is high when carrying the product with you in remote areas such as rain forests, riverside camping, mountain climbing, or a road travel journey. Thus, portable solar panels are made to resist Rainwater.
Each solar panel design undergoes the lab test before it is manufactured and make available for sale. The experts test the panel component creating a severe condition in the lab.
These tests include thermal cycling, humidity test, cold weather test, accidental damage, heat resistance capability, hail test, water pressure, leakage, and many more. This test ensures the product design is ready for sale.
Any flaws in the solar panel design solved during the lab test, and the final product are made available.
Note: Rain water resistant does not mean that your portable solar panels are 100% waterproof.
Why do you need to know about waterproof solar panels?
Raining is a natural phenomenon that may occur anytime during your travel. You may not like to stop your journey due to non-accessibility to your essential gadgets in such a condition.
The portable solar panel manufacturer understands the challenges one can face in the rainy season; hence, producing the portable panel that performs perfectly and generates solar energy even in the rainy season is imperative.
The frames on the solar panel are made of water-resistant coating glass panels. The water droplets, dust particles move away from the board, and It doesn’t stick to the surface.
You can leave your portable solar panel in the open place during camping and come back after a few hours to get your charged battery pack. Solar panels will work efficiently and provide you instant charging facility during your travel.
So no worries about the rainy days. The rainwater resistant portable solution panel will be with you to keep your electronics running.
Although these solar panels are protected from Rainwater, you do not take this for granted and avoid 100% emerge your solar panels in water.
Remember, solar panels are made for generating electricity. The water can damage the devices when it comes to contact with water.
If the water enters the solar panel module, it may corrupt the application. The core component, such as wires and solar cells, are preserved under the protective covering and metal frames.
The charging port could be exposed to the water, making it an easy target for the water to enter the core module. Carefully close the charging port and any other ports which can become a doorway for the water to enter the main module.
Follow the guidance provided in the manual while using the portal solar panel in the rainy season.
Compared to the roof solar panel, the portable solar panel is quite handy. You can take a solar panel wherever you want and get instant access to electricity. Not all solar panels are waterproof, so check the specification before purchasing them. Also, there will be a significant price difference, so make your decision based on your need. Some manufacturer offers waterproof covering separately with the panel that protects the device from getting wet. You can consider all the available options and make a wise decision.
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Eng. Matthew Joseph Nandirio is the Founder of walkingsolar.
After graduating from the University of Houston in 2002, matt started working as a Solar Electrical Engineer for several multi-national solar energy companies.
He has a wide range of experiences including solar system requirement analysis, planning, maintaining, debugging and even solar device development through research.
He now shares his 20 years of expertise through his articles on the walkingsolar website.
Further, he is also the author of two books on Solar Technology, “Solar Power for Villages” and “DIY Solar System for Dummies”.