Are Portable Solar Panels Worth It? Portable panels Vs generators

A foldable portable solar panel near a window, charging Power-Bank.

As the world gets mindful of the environmental change crisis, more individuals are-accepting a green way of life. These have supported the sustainable energy industry with mechanical advancements arising each day. Hence, portable solar panels are currently more common than ever.

So the big question is, are portable solar panels worth it? While portable solar panels may not be just about as monetarily efficient as fixed solar panels, they are amazingly adaptable, particularly for outdoor activities. 

This article will analyze whether portable solar panels are worth it from an environmental, ease of use, mobility, and commercial point of view.

Are-Portable Solar Panels Better Than Petrol Generators?

A SU7700 Generator on white background

Unlike portable solar panels, petrol generators-do produce stable electricity, capable of supplying power to any electrical device. They are much more efficient compared to portable solar panels in some ways.

On a side note! If you’re in need of a reliable and high-performance portable solar panel, We strongly recommend the Jackery SolarSaga 100W  Portable Solar Panel  (Amazon Link).

With a high conversion efficiency and foldable design, this solar panel is easy to transport and set up, making it perfect for outdoor activities like camping, hiking, and RV trips.

The US solar cell technology used in this panel ensures that you get the most efficient and reliable solar charging possible.

There is also a 60W option that is more affordable (Amazon Link)

However, various features weigh out portable solar panels as more reliable compared to petrol generators. The table below lists the aspects of each item.

Portable solar panelsPetrol Generators
Light-weighted.Mostly Heavy.
Depend On weatherProduce Consistent Power.
Carbon-Emission Free.Emits Carbon Dioxide.
Only need Sunlight.Require fuel (petrol) to produce Electricity, No-fuel, No Electricity Generated.
Portable.Most Not Portable.
Can Power devices compatible with the panels’ power output rating.Can Power A Modern RV or your entire home assuming correct sizing and constant supply of fuel.
Maintenance is noiseless and clean.Maintenance-is noisy and dirty.
Great for off-grid.Not suitable for off-grid-depends on fuel consumption, and not portable.
Sunlight is unlimited and free to use.Fuel Price is an extra burden to add.
Portable solar panel versus petrol generator

How Much Power Can A Portable Solar Panel Generate?

Voltage Reading

The ability of portable solar panels to generate electricity depends on their size and the power output rating for each respective solar panel. There are many brands and types of portable solar panels in the market that you can choose from that suit your needs.

The table below provides a list of examples for different size portable solar panels, the power they produce, and the devices they can power.

Item NameWattWeightCompatibilityPrice
BEARTWO Portable solar charger50Wh0.21KGiPhone, Samsung, Android phones, Windows phones, GoPro camera, GPS, tablets, and most USB charging devices.$44.99
Schumacher SP-400 4.8W Solar Battery Charger/ Maintainer4.8W1.8KGCharge your 12V battery. Great for boats, cars, motorcycles, trucks, RVs, and more.$85.42
GOSUN SolarPanel 10 Portable Solar Phone Charger10W0.1KGSmartphones, Ipads, Bluetooth speakers, etc.$79.00
Goal Zero Nomad 20, Foldable Monocrystalline 20 Watt Solar Panel20W2.26KGPhones, Power Banks, Headlamps, Lighthouse Lanterns, Small USB devices, Small Power Stations.$229.76
PERC Monocrystalline Thin Lightweight 30W Flexible Solar Panel30W0.6KGBoats/Sailboats, Yachts, Marine applications, RVs, Expedition Vehicles, Commercial Trucks, Trailers, Tent, Caravans, Off-Grid Applications, Remote Communication sites, and other irregular surfaces.$82.60
Goal Zero Boulder 50 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Panel50W5.6KGCamping, worksites, off-grid events, and backup power at home when the grid goes down, can be mounted on vans, vehicles, sheds, and more.$246.24
YLOVOW Solar Panel 120W Mono Outdoor Portable Charger120W1.3KGSuitable for outdoor activities, emergency, and outdoor working, phone, mobile power bank, laptop, tablet, GPS, camera, USB fan, USB lamp, etc.$278.67
GGX ENERGY 200W Mono Solar Cells Panel Portable Folding Solar Bag Solar Power200W7KGEco-friendly and travel-friendly solution for keeping your car, RV, truck, boat, or UTV’s 12V battery charged, for camping, traveling, boating, and more!$279.99
Types of portable solar panels and their power output

What Is The Global Market Size Of Portable Solar Panels?

In 2018, the size of the global portable solar panel market was been-valued at US$433.8 million. Various organizations such as the World Bank, International Finance Corporation, and Global Off-Grid Association have made supportive initiatives to increase access to portable energy to people living in areas not having access to electricity.

The depletion of energy resources causes an increase in the demand for portable solar panels. U. S and Germany have focused on the production-of carbon emission-free solar energy following the issues countries are-facing in terms of fossil fuel depletion.

The graph below shows the market trend for portable solar panels from 2015 to 2025

Source: Grand View Research – Market Size of portable solar panels

The graph clearly shows that as of 2015, there has been a consistent increase in the portable solar panel market. There are three types of portable-solar devices to compare. These includes:

  1. Foldable Solar Panels
  2. Small Portable chargers
  3. Backpack Solar chargers

Foldable solar panels have become popular, followed by small portable charges and then Backpack solar chargers.

Many people have gained increased awareness on health issues regarding maintaining a healthy lifestyle; this has caused more people to involve in outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, climbing, and many more.

For example, as indicated by The Outdoor Foundation, climbing is the fourth famous game in the U.S., trailed by trekking, running, and fishing. According to the report, 44.9 million individuals partook in climbing in 2017.

Mini-portable solar chargers held a majority of the market share in 2018. The foldable portable solar panels are-foreseen to grow at the quickest CAGR of 22.0% over the estimated period.

The U.S. military is progressively moving towards environmentally friendly power resources to reduce its reliance on oil energy. Such-is predicted to increase the use of-portable solar panels and chargers in the next few years.

Are-Portable Solar Panels The Cleanest Energy Source Available Today?

Comparisons made by the American Chemical Society have concluded that solar tech devices produce less life-cycle air emissions per GWh (Gigawatt per hour) than the commonly used fossil fuel-generated electricity. As such, it is one of the cleanest sources of energy today.

A paper released by the-International Renewable Energy Agency and the International Energy Agency Photovoltaic Power System Program states that, on top of far surpassing the energy compensation time, more than 90% of the materials in current solar panels can be-reused into the next generation.

As the impact and effect of solar power development, researchers and manufacturers around the world; effectively seek to make sustainable, better solar energy innovations.

Are-Portable Solar Panels Environmentally Friendly?

A mini portable solar charger-charging iPad

In general, portable solar panels produce electricity that is clean and free from carbon emissions. It is by far one of the most efficient alternatives to fossil fuel. Most companies have shifted to solar energy since they are cheaper and are environmentally friendly, meaning less carbon emission with the potential of generating electricity to cater for electrical devices.

Portable solar panels depend on the sun to generate electricity. It implies that they are not creating any ozone-depleting substances or adding to a worldwide temperature alteration, therefore, have no impact on the environment.

Also, check out Are Solar Panels Bad For The Ozone Layer? Are They Good or Bad For The Planet!

Do Portable Solar Panels Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emission?

Creating electricity using portable solar panels can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, especially carbon dioxide (CO2).

Greenhouse gases are delivered when petroleum derivatives are scorched, lead to rising worldwide temperatures and environmental change. Environmental change now adds to genuine ecological and general medical problems in the North East, including extraordinary climate occasions, rising sea levels, and biological system changes.

By going solar, you can diminish interest in petroleum derivatives, limit greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce your carbon footprint. In general, using solar panels can decrease home carbon footprint by 80% in a year.

By How Much Do Portable Solar Panels Reduce CO2 Emission?

The efficiency of a typical photovoltaic cell is about 15%. It can change over 1 for every 6 of solar energy into power. Photovoltaic systems produce no noise, there are no moving parts, and they don’t discharge harmful substances into the climate.

Also, they produce several times less carbon dioxide per unit compared to the energy delivered from fuel fossil technology. In the United States, for example, 31% of greenhouse gases produced come from electricity production.

16.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide are produced a year for the United States alone. With this amount, solar energy is expected-to counterbalance such an amount of carbon dioxide.

For instance, in New York, a typical household uses 7,092 kWh of power every year. By deciding to purchase solar panels and portable solar panels, a clean source of power-will replace the same amount of fossil fuel byproducts that would result-from consuming around 5,200 pounds of coal every year.

How Portable Are Portable Solar Panels?

Portable solar panel charging phone on a white sandy beach

Portable solar panels are actually what their name recommends, small-size panels which can be-taken anyplace. However, one limitation is their limited power output, although they are perfect for driving little devices in a hurry. Besides, their versatility is the key element.

The panels vary in size, yet even the biggest-size panels-can all effortlessly find a way into a typical size vehicle for transportation. For example, a RockPals 100W foldable portable solar panel is perfect for campers.

It is compatible with most solar generators in the market. The Rockpals 100W can be easily transported in vehicles since they can be easily folded to save space and makes it easier to carry.

On the other hand, a BEARTWO portable solar charger weighs less than half a kilo. This mini-portable solar device is-capable of charging; smartphones, iPhones, GPS, Tablets, GoPro Cameras, etc. The BEARTWO is the ideal choice for people who prefer to go off-grid with less stuff to carry.

Portable Solar Panels Compared To Rooftop Solar Panels

Whether you are running a standard rooftop solar panel or a portable solar panel, there are few variations that these products have in terms of their nature. The table below shows the differences between a rooftop panel and a portable solar panel.

Portable Solar PanelsStandard Rooftop Solar Panels
Portable- can be moved (portable)Rigid – Cannot be-moved
No cost for installment requiredHigh-Cost for-installment.
The size of devices to charge depends on the power output for each type of portable solar panel.Electricity Produced is capable of powering large-devices such as:
TVs, Fridges, Funs, Lights, Heaters,
Best for Campers, RVs, Hikers, hunters, and fisherman, etc.For Home use only.
Easy MaintenanceMaintenance can be expensive and requires specialists.
Easily adjusted to get more-sunlight.Rigid, cannot-be-moved
Easy to useHas few technical procedures
Portable solar panels compared to rigid rooftop solar panels.

What Are The Best Ways To Use Portable Solar Panels?

Portable solar panels are-helpful for some smaller activities, yet they will not have the option to provide sufficient electricity to your home. In case you are searching for a modest quantity of on-the-go solar power, portable panels are a great option to consider.

Here is a portion of the situations when portable solar panels may be appropriate for you:

RVers & Campers

RV and Camping using portable solar panels
RVeing and Camping using portable solar panels

A portable solar panel is a good option for RV users and campers -who are keen on spending long hours and days off-grid (known as boondocking).

With a couple of portable solar panels, you can power up a solar generator at whatever point the sun is sparkling and utilize that energy to run a few devices while out traveling.

Even better, RVers can charge batteries or watch TV while traveling outdoors or while camping; and not spending a dime on electricity. Portable solar panels have created a new dimension in bringing your home activities into the outdoors.

Portable panels permit you to leave that boisterous gas-controlled generator at home and appreciate the tranquil normal-scene you are going through.


A mini-portable solar charger, charging phone

Portable panels are not only helpful for genuine travelers. You can buy little solar chargers that fit in a backpack or your pocket and use them to get power from the sun. These portable gadgets do not produce and store a lot of energy, yet you can utilize them to re-energize a phone or a PC.

Not at all like portable panels utilized for outdoors and RVs, solar phone chargers are typical across-the-board gadgets, which means you do not have to do any additional setup to begin using solar energy.

Just spot your charger in the sun to gather power, and fit your phone or other gadgets into the charger when you need to control it up. They are perfect for hikers and adventurers who move around a lot with manageable luggage.

Fishers/sea goers

Portable foldable solar panel on a kayak

Portable solar panels are a great companion for fisherman and those who want to spend the day cruising at sea. They are an incredible alternative for keeping your small freezers cool and reduce costs in fuel consumption. 

The WAECO portable solar PS80 is one good example. They are very efficient compared to other portable panels. It has a power output of 80W, a voltage of 12V, and weighs 10KG. The package contains carrying bags and connection cables.

The casing is-produced using aluminum, and the panels accompany solid flexible stands permitting you to unreservedly-change the boards for ideal points to the sun. 

WAECO portable solar panels accompany an inbuilt 10 amp voltage controller that goes about as a keen switch between the battery and the portable solar panels and will guarantee your battery charge is-kept at a maximum.

Hunting Lodges

Hunter and dog on a hunting trip

One of my favorite uses for portable solar panels is off-grid hunting lodges. Portable solar panels are a great match if I’m using a shelter that doesn’t already have access to the electricity grid. The Nomad 100 is a good match for such activities.

They are light-weighted and can be carried along as a foldable pack, making it easier for hunters to get their smartphones and other electronic devices charged and kept up to date while going off-grid.

Emergency Support


Blackouts are an irritation, best-case scenario, and hazardous even from a pessimistic standpoint. With portable solar panels, you can remain a stride in front of the storm with the items you need to keep the lights on, small freezers running, and all your fundamental gadgets charged and prepared.

A blackout doesn’t need to spell a crisis for families who depend on medical gadgets. Plan for the unforeseen with a reliable power outlet that you can rely upon, regardless of whether at home, outdoors, or out and about, have a simple to-snatch load with the basic things like food, water, force, and light to last you around 72 hours.


Having considered the environment, ease of use, mobility, and commercial point of view-portable solar panels are worth it. From a mini-portable solar charger to a 100W or more portable solar panel, you can surely get your electronic devices charged at no cost, no environmental impacts, with no effort at all. All you need to do is plug in your electronic device; let the system do its job.

Whether you are going camping, hiking, fishing, and so forth, portable solar panels are great companions, saving you time and effort instead of worrying too much about where and how to power your devices when going off-grid.


I am a very well-experienced techie civil engineer who’s extensively interested in solar panel technology and even more captivated by the potential of solar panels in supporting individual residential units.

Recent Posts