With the massive increase in energy prices throughout the UK, it is probably a good time to look at ways to cut your electricity bill.
You don’t need to go out and spend £10’s of thousands on powering your entire home with expensive solar roof panels, massive batteries and inverters. You can cut down your electricity bill by powering the smaller things, such as laptops, lights, Alexa, charging your mobile or even powering your TV with a small portable solar power station. At the end of each month, you will notice a much lower electricity bill. Portable solar power stations will return the cost of the unit within just a couple of months.
You could start off with the basic Jackery Explorer 240 and a 100 watt solar panel, this would provide enough juice to charge a 60 watt Macbook Pro 5 times with around 6 hours of sunlight. This would be from using the power station fully charged from the start and running the 100 watt solar panel to fully charge the power station a second time in the same day.
If you are going away camping for the weekend, you might consider getting a more powerful power station such as the EF Ecoflow Delta Max which has a massive 2016Wh and can run devices up to 2400 watts. That would be enough to power a fridge, TV and charge laptops and mobiles multiple times for the entire weekend. Add a couple 160 watt solar panels and you wouldn’t need to worry about living off grid for as long as you wanted to stay camping!
How long can my device run on a portable solar panel station?
Obviously there are many factors involved to determine the amount of time you can run a device on solar power. During the winter, solar panels will not achieve the same power as during the sunny summer days. You need sun but solar panels do work on cloudy dull days, they just cannot generate the same amount of energy without direct sun light. The working time of your device can be calculated using this simple formula:
Working time = 240Wh x 0.85 / operating wattage of your device.
We basically use the Wh (Watt Hours) of the power station battery multiple it by 0.85 and divide it by the wattage of your device. So take our 60 watt Macbook running on the Jackery 240 Explorer, we would do 240 x 0.85 / 60 = 3.4 Hours. The MacBook would run for 3.4 hours on a fully charged battery with 240 watt hours.
The higher the Wh rating on a solar power station determines the length of time you can run your device. Obviously the higher the watt hours the more solar panel power you will require. If you are using a 500Wh power station, ideally you should use a 120 watt solar panel and expect a charge time of 5 to 6 hours. You must also make sure that the solar panel is compatible with the power station. You need to make sure it has the correct voltage otherwise you could end up frying your battery. Most solar power stations either come with a solar panel or advise you on which solar panel you should use with the station.
Does a solar panel work on a cloudy day?
Most modern photovoltaic or Monocrystalline solar panels will work perfectly fine on wintery cloudy days but you will notice a depreciation of output between 10-25%. You may also be surprised to see less depreciation in output after rain simply because the rain will wash away any obscuring dirt, keeping your solar panels in optimal condition.
Do solar panels work through glass?
Although sunlight will pass through a window, hit the solar panel and generate energy, you will lose around 50-70% of output compared to having your solar panel in direct sunlight. Always try to keep your solar panels outside and in a place which has the most hours of direct sunlight to achieve optimal performance. One of the benefits of having a portable solar power station is that you can charge it outside until fully charged and take it inside to power your devices, disconnected from the solar panel. The higher the watts per hour will power your device(s) for longer.
Can I charge my EV with portable solar power bank?
Technically yes you can but you would need at least 2000Wh and don’t expect to get any more than a couple of miles added to your car. Charging your EV via solar panels requires a complete home setup running roughly a 4KWh system with around 20 x 300 watt roof solar panels. To charge your EV via solar panels you require a lot of space for the panels and a large storage battery and inverter. Portable power stations are simply not made for EV charging.
How can I save money on my electric bill with Ofgems’ new price cap?
Using solar panels alongside a portable power station will generate free electricity that can be used to power devices, cutting down the cost that would normally occur having them plugged into the mains. We have developed a simple strategy that works for people that have an Economy 7 meter installed. Whilst the sun charges your portable power station during the day, you can charge via the mains during the night using your cheaper economy 7 tariff. So basically you will use your Economy 7 night tariff in the daytime and electricity generated by solar power during the evening.
What are some reputable companies where I can purchase a portable solar power station in the United Kingdom?
There are currently eight reputable companies that offer low cost portable solar power stations available to UK consumers through online stores such as Amazon and eBay. We have to mention that we offer links to both Amazon and eBay products throughout our website and earn affiliate commission should you visit one of the links to a product. We are affiliates of both Amazon and eBay. Through lots of research and consumer reviews, we recommend the following companies for purchasing a solar power station.