Solar panel prices are at an all time low. From just 2016 to 2020 panel prices have dropped by up to 66%. Meaning, the panels themselves are now one of the cheapest components in a solar/PV system.
Remarkably, the technology keeps improving in terms of efficiency and performance, allowing you to get more for your money. That said, the decision to add solar power to your camping setup is an obvious one, and usually starts with the question: What size solar panel do I need when camping?
In order to answer the question above, you first need to know:
- How much energy are you using on a daily basis, and…
- How much time do you have to replace it?
MINIMUM PANEL SIZE
Naturally, your camping fridge plays a big role in your energy use over a 24-hour period; however, calculating that figure can be difficult when there are so many variables at play, including: The ambient operating temperature, the time of the day, how often you open and close your fridge, and of course, your preferred fridge / freezer temperature.
Typically speaking, a premium 12V camping fridge may use between 30A/h and 45A/h over a 24-hour period. Depending on daylight conditions, as well as your geographic location, most campsites have anywhere between 2- and 7-hours of usable solar energy.
Considering that an 85W panel produces roughly 5 amps per hour in ideal conditions, you would need at least 7-hours to replenish 35 amps.
Of course, the above calculation is radically simplified and based on minimum requirements as per: fridge size, performance, operating conditions, and how often you’re reaching for “one more beer”. What’s more, the calculations don’t account for non-ideal conditions such as:
- Dew / Dust on your solar panel
- Partly cloudy weather
- High ambient temperatures and additional strain on your fridge
- How many appliances you’re powering, and…
- The fact that you need to power your fridge at the same time that you’re recharging your auxiliary battery
This is why it’s best to upsize the panel to a 120W / 150W unit if you’re thinking in terms of minimum requirements.
What’s more, upsizing your panel size will help to produce enough energy to power additional camping accessories such as LED lighting, and/or a cellphone charger. In some cases, many campers may even opt for a 200W or 250W panel for an additional margin.
However, bear in mind that your regulator would need to be rated to this capacity, and that such a panel may be impractically large in the case of non-flexible units.
SOLAR SUPPORTED PRODUCTS FROM NATIONAL LUNA
Once you start calculating your energy consumption, it becomes clear that optimising your energy usage is far more practical than buying the biggest panel that will fit in/on your vehicle.
What’s more, some campers make use of a 220V inverter to power their camera and/or laptop chargers, without realizing that the inverter itself is drawing significant energy. If possible, it’s generally best to substitute your 220V camera / laptop charger with 12V USB alternative. This alone can eliminate the need for an inverter and cut your energy use in half.
On that note, it would be wise to increase your solar power to a 200W panel if you’re forced to use an inverter, and, to make use of a MPPT solar regulator as opposed to a PWM unit.
READ NEXT: What you need to connect a solar panel to a dual-battery system
Naturally, other energy cutbacks can be made in the form of efficient LED lighting, as well as opting for a fridge / freezer with high-quality insulation, compressor performance, and a correctly sized power cable. Other energy saving tips include…
- Always keep your camping fridge / freezer’s latches closed to ensure optimum seal performance.
- Never pack items around the fridge’s ventilation. Doing so will raise the operating temperature and use more battery power.
- Set your camping fridge / freezer’s temperature to a low setting while driving, then adjust the temperature to a more economical setting once you arrive at camp.
- Avoid parking your vehicle directly in sunlight.
- Keep your camping fridge as full as possible.
ENERGY EFFICIENT PRODUCTS FROM NATIONAL LUNA
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1) Does the quality of the panel make a difference?
Yes, panel quality can affect the performance and efficiency of your solar setup. Panels are typically divided into two options: Monocrystalline and polycrystalline. Monocrystalline panels are generally more expensive and better performing due to their structure. In other words: Monocrystalline panels generally produce more energy in relation to their size.
2) Does the quality of the regulator make a difference?
This will depend on several factors, but generally speaking a MPPT regulator will deliver more amps from your solar panel than a PWM regulator.
3) Does my battery type make a difference?
Yes, battery chemistry (and size) can play a significant role in the performance of your solar setup.
READ NEXT: What you need to connect a solar panel to a dual-battery system
English ArticlesSours: https://www.nationalluna.com/english-articles/what-size-solar-panel-do-you-need-for-camping/
Solar Panel For Camping Fridge
While camping does mean an opportunity to commune with nature, this does not mean you have to leave the comforts of modern city living behind. After all, it is always nice to sit down with a cold beer in hand and just enjoy your surroundings. And how do you keep your beers old while you are out camping? Why use a portable camping fridge, of course. And how do you power said camping fridge? With a camping solar panel.
What equipment do you need to camp with solar power?
- A self-sufficient solar setup may include:
- Camping solar panels
- Solar regulator
- Anderson to Anderson plug lead
- Alligator clips to Anderson plug
- Deep cycle battery
The way that these work together is simple: the solar panel absorbs power from the sun, which then flows into the connected deep cycle battery via the solar regulator, putting charge back into the battery. Also known as solar charge controllers, solar regulators are essential because they regulate the flow of power preventing damage to your battery from fluctuating charge or overcharging.
What size Battery do I need?
A popular choice with campers is a 120Ah deep cycle 12v battery. Most battery manufacturers recommend that a battery is not discharged more than 50% capacity to ensure the life of the battery. That means that you have 60Ah per day of usable battery life. If we go back to the example of an 80L fridge with some LED strip lights using approx 58.5Ah per day, it’s easy to see why you need a reliable solar set up to ensure that the charge is being returned back to your battery.
Please note that you must consider your battery’s requirement to maintain a certain level of charge (above 50% is optimal) to avoid any damage. Lithium-Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries, however, can be drained to 20% without any damage - and charge much quicker - the reason why they have a much heftier price tag. The Lithium Iron (LiFePO4) battery also has approximately 5000 charge cycles, compared to the 120Ah lead acid battery with only approx. 1000 charge cycle life. Additionally, the Lithium Iron is almost half the weight of the lead acid.
How do I calculate solar power requirements?
You really want to have a basic understanding of how much power your equipment is using, that way you will ensure you purchase the correct battery, solar regulator and solar panel for your usage. If any of these products are the wrong size and too small for your requirements you could end up with an unexpected flat battery, or worst case scenario, a damaged battery or solar regulator.
To calculate your usage most devices are labelled with their power draw; from there you need to estimate how long per day you will use the device to work out your overall power consumption.
What should you try not to power with solar?
Avoid using any major heating appliances like hair dryers from your power inverter. While devices such as power inverters and air compressors can draw a lot of power, usually they are only operated for small amounts of time, but they are energy-intensive and will quickly deplete your battery’s power. If you do utilise these devices, make sure you are monitoring your solar regulator to ensure you will not leave yourself with a flat battery.
What types of solar regulators are there?
In nearly all portable solar power systems that utilise batteries, a solar charge controller is required. The task of a solar charge controller is to regulate the power generated from the solar panels going to the batteries and keep the batteries charged without overcharging. If you were to overcharge your battery, it will at the very least significantly reduce the batteries life, and worst case scenario, damage the battery to the point that they are unusable.
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The Basic Guide to Camping with Solar Power
Using solar power while you camp and tour off-road can seem like a dark art, but creating a reliable system that fits your needs is easier than you think.
Technical information for this article has been provided by REDARC Electronics, winner of Telstra's 2014 Business of the Year award for their innovative solar and electronic power solutions.
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The benefits of camping with solar power
Solar power is a clean form of energy that’s natural, renewable, and best of all free. Using an adequate portable solar system allows you to travel to unpowered and remote locations without sacrificing items like fridges, LED camping lights, mobile devices and more. Meanwhile, camping in these locations will generally mean you can avoid paying heftier fees for powered sites. Additionally, swapping a generator with some portable solar panels means you don’t have to detract from the peace and quiet you went outdoors to find (simply so you can power your fridge).
What you need to camp with solar power
A self-sufficient solar setup requires camping solar panels for compactness and portability, a solar regulator, a deep-cycle auxiliary battery and an inverter if you’re planning to charge 240v appliances such as a laptop or television. The way these products fit together is simple: solar panels gather power from the sun, which then flows into the battery via the solar regulator. Also known as a charge controller, solar regulators are important because they prevent damage to your battery from fluctuating charge or overcharging.
Solar panels come in different forms: mono-crystalline, poly-crystalline and thin film amorphous. Mono-crystalline panels are more expensive but also more efficient than poly-crystalline, meaning out of two panels the same size, a mono-crystalline solar panel will gather more solar power. Amorphous panels need greater surface area compared to mono and poly crystalline panels, though keep in mind the greatest asset of an amorphous panel is that is can be rolled or folded in the form of new-age solar blankets for compact storage when not in use. This isn’t the case with mono or poly crystalline panels, as they are fragile and thus require lamination to glass for adequate protection.
An example of a thin film amorphous solar panel that is foldable and durable, perfect for four-wheel driving and camping.
Deep-cycle batteries are the obvious choice for storing solar power, as they can be regularly and deeply discharged without harming the battery’s capacity to charge and store power. Keep in mind it’s ideal to limit your deep cycle battery’s discharge to around 70-50% of its capacity at a time to extend its lifespan, while discharging below 20% capacity will have a negative effect on its lifespan. Meanwhile, using power inverters for camping is a must for those who want to power their 240v AC appliances with the solar power they gather. Inverters change 12v DC (battery) power to 240v AC (household) power, with pure sine wave inverters (as opposed to modified sine wave inverters) the recommended choice for those who want power that is consistent and without spikes and surges; similar to a mains power supply. When buying a power inverter for camping, ensure the one you are looking to purchase produces enough power to adequately support the appliances you’re using.
Calculating your solar power requirements
Calculating your equipment’s power usage is key to creating a solar power system that’s tailored to you. Without a basic understanding of how much power your equipment is using, you could end up purchasing the incorrect battery, solar regulator or wrong-sized solar panel. If any one of these products is too small you could end up with a flat battery earlier than expected, or worse, a damaged solar regulator or battery. To calculate your usage, keep in mind most devices will have its power draw on the label that’s on the product, after which you need to work out how long per day you will operate the equipment to calculate it’s overall power draw.
Here’s an example of a basic setup: to run a medium-sized fridge that draws 4amps and some LED camping lights that draw 0.25amps each, a 120W folding solar panel kit coupled with a 100amp deep cycle battery and solar regulator would cover your needs and then some. To find out what products you require to fit your needs, check out Redarc's Solar Calculator.
How much power do solar panels gather?
How much power your panels gather depends on their size, how they’re used and the amount of sunlight hours in a day. To start off with, the biggest misconception of solar power is that ‘all sunlight is created equal’. While the output of a solar panel is dictated by sunlight, other factors including geographic location, ambient temperature and time of year have an influence over how much power is on offer for your solar panels to gather.
Sunlight is standardised by the measurement of Peak Sun Hours, with this map highlighting the amount of sunlight Australia's varying regions receive on average per day.
In addition to location, solar panels have a slight loss in output performance above an ‘ambient’ temperature of 25 degrees Celsius, called the temperature coefficient, which accounts for a power reduction of -0.3% per degree Celsius. For these reasons, it always makes sense to overestimate your solar panel size when purchasing, which will account for unexpected or extreme weather, as well as when you’re staying in areas that have limited or interrupted sunlight. It’s important to note that amorphous thin film panels have less of a power loss from high temperatures, making their output more stable in high temperature regions compared to mono and poly crystalline panels.
These factors make it difficult to guarantee a pinpoint number that your solar panels will reap, though in general terms it’s safe to estimate that an 80W panel can supply between 4 and 5 Amps on a sunny day for most of the sunlight hours of the day (with an average of 8 sunlight hours in a day); for a 120W panel, this rises to between 6 to 7.5 Amps.
Mathematically, this would mean that a 120W panel system could supply 2.75 Amps continuously day and night running at no loss. In real world terms, this means that a 120W system linked to a 100Ah battery could supply power to a 50L fridge 24/7 and some camp lights for 6 hours a night for almost 5 days without any other form of charge. However, taking your battery’s need to keep a certain level of charge (to avoid damage to it), this number would settle at around 4 days off the grid when all is said and done.
What you should and shouldn’t power with solar
The most common equipment to power with a solar setup include 12v compressor fridges (which will account for upwards of 60% of your total power draw), camping lights, air compressors and inverters, which would then be responsible for charging 12v appliances such as laptops and televisions. When it comes to lighting, LED lights are preferable as their light patterns are highly focused and their power draw is minimal in comparison to fluorescent and halogen lights. Additionally, avoid powering major heating appliances like hair dryers from your power inverter, as these are energy-intensive and will waste your battery’s hard-earned power.
Solar panels allow you to be self-sufficient in remote areas by powering things like 12v compressor fridges and LED camping lights.
Using solar panels while camping
Maximising your solar panel’s power gathering ability is an all-important mission for any camper or tourer using solar power. For tourers, roof-mounting flat solar panels on your camper trailer or caravan is ideal, as this allows you to gather power as you travel. Meanwhile for campers, a folding panel or compact thin film panel is the best option to save space.
Positioning and aligning your solar panel(s) is key to optimising its performance output as well, as panels that are perpendicular to the sun will capture the maximum amount of solar energy. Even a small angle of 10-20 degrees off perpendicular will allow sunlight to be reflected off the glass, reducing the amount of power that can be created. This means it’s important to align your panels according to the sun’s position in the sky when possible, as this small effort can greatly affect how much energy your panels will accrue.
The same goes for dust that gathers on solar panels, which obstructs sunlight and detracts from a panel’s performance. This is a greater problem for mounted panels, as they are constantly exposed and have to contend with any dust kicked up from travelling off-road. To remedy this, regularly wipe them down with a microfiber cloth, as using a more abrasive material will potentially scratch and damage a panel.
Understanding solar power terminology
The relationship between Watts, Volts and Amps can be confusing when misunderstood, though basically:
Watts (Power) = Volts x Amps
Watts, volts and amps form the basis of most solar power jargon, though on their own or even in a formula probably won't make much sense to most campers. To get a better understanding of what these terms mean and how they fit into your understanding of solar power, we can relate them to one another through a simple solar power analogy:
A Basic Solar Power Analogy
A basic way to understand solar power is to liken a solar setup to a rainwater system. The roof of a house that gathers the water is the solar panel, and the water tank is the battery. The greater the size of the roof, or the more watts a solar panel has, the more water that can be gathered. The water tank is pressurised and connected to a hose, with the water pressure representing voltage and the flow of water (or the water flowing) in the pipe attached to the tank representing amps.
Watts - the amount of power the solar panel is producing, with the total wattage of the panel only able to be achieved in perfect conditions, for example the solar panel at the ideal temperature and aligned with perfect sunlight.
Volts - the pressure of electricity being produced by the solar panel, similar to the height of water stored in a water tank: the higher the water tank from the ground, the more voltage and so more force for the water to flow.
Amps - the actual amount of electricity flowing in the solar panel and cables. We call this flow current, which can be compared to the amount of water flowing into and out of a water tank. The flow of electricity will vary depending on the amount of sun on our solar panel or if the battery is full or empty, large or small.
Amp-Hour (Ah) - the steady flow of 1 Amp for one hour, 5 Amp-hour (5Ah) is a flow of 5 amps for one hour.
Here’s an example of how Amps relate to Amp-Hours: a battery with a 1 amp-hour capacity should be able to supply a flow of 1 amp of current for one hour, 2 amps for half an hour and so on. A typical camping or auxiliary battery size is 100 Amp-Hour, and if our camping light has a rating of 1 amp we would expect our light to stay on for 100 hours.
12-volt refrigerators are an invaluable appliance for anyone spending a lot of time outdoors, camping, or those interested in off-the-grid alternatives. One of the most enticing things about 12-volt refrigerators is that, with the right setup, they may be powered solely by way of a solar panel. So, the question now becomes, what is the best size solar panel for running a 12-volt fridge?
The best size solar panel for running a 12-volt fridge is 150-watts, with a 200-watt battery. In order to use your fridge during the night, energy produced by your panel during the daylight must be stored in a battery. 150-watts is large enough to ensure you are covered in the event of a cloudy day.
In this article, we will be exploring the feasibility of running a 12-volt refrigerator from a solar panel, the different options available to you when doing so, and everything else you need to know about the process in general. Next, we will go over the most optimal solar panel size needed to adequately sustain a 12-volt refrigerator. Finally, we will provide the reader with a brief buying guide and advice on buying a quality solar panel and 12-volt fridge.
Can I Run a 12v Fridge From a Solar Panel?
Those who are interested in the idea of running a 12-volt refrigerator from a solar panel will be pleased to learn that not only is it possible, but that it is surprisingly rather simple and straightforward.
However, before you jump right into it, you need to first understand a few basics about solar technology, how it works, and what to expect. A little bit of consumer research on the matter is essential, but the good news is that this article is designed to provide you with exactly what you need to know to get started immediately.
The first thing which is necessary to understand is how a solar panel produces output, and more importantly, the factors that influence their ability to generate power.
Solar panels are only able to produce electricity when directly exposed to sunlight. Through a process known as photovoltaics, the solar panel, through the use of semi-conductive materials from which it is constructed, draws in light and converts it into electricity.
Moreover, your solar panel will be subject to certain variables that may come to influence its efficiency. The most important factors that your solar panel will need to account for are:
- The positioning of your solar panel relative to the sun
- The temperature (hotter temperatures will pre-stimulate the solar cells [electrons], making them require fewer photons [energy from the sun] to be transferred into them in order to become energized.) Hotter temperatures will, therefore, generate less solar power. The temperatures must be rather extreme for this factor to become an issue.
- The quality and efficiency of the battery you are using for storage
- Power inverter quality (the inverter is a mechanism that converts direct current electricity into alternating current)
Since solar panels can only generate power during daylight hours, they require a battery to store their power for later use. This is the only way they can function solely off-grid.
The only alternative to a battery is to have your solar panel be connected to the power grid. At this time, you will essentially share electricity generated by your panel with the rest of the customers who rely on the power grid and will be credited for it by the power company at a rate that requires a comprehensive appraisal to calculate.
This article mostly deals with the scenario relevant to those who will be running their solar setup from a battery storage generator, entirely independent of the power grid.
What You Need To Know About Running a 12-Volt Fridge From a Solar Panel
Now that we have provided and established a general overview of how solar panels work to generate electricity, as well as a list of the things to consider when attempting to maximize their efficiency, we may now begin to take a closer look at how solar energy can function in specific relation to the powering of a 12-volt refrigerator, and clarify the most important things you need to know.
The good news is that you do not need to be an expert on solar panels, nor do you need to be an electrical engineer to set up a refrigerator unit to run on solar. A rudimentary understanding of a few basic concepts and formulas will be more than sufficient to accomplish the task.
Both solar panels and 12-volt refrigerators come in different shapes, sizes, and wattages. Knowing how to calculate the size of solar panel that is required for powering a particular 12-v refrigerator will have to be formulated in a way that any combination of the two can be definitively deemed adequate or inadequate.
The first thing that we must account for is to keep your food cold and safe to eat, your fridge will need to run 24 hours per day. On the other hand, the solar panel is only able to produce energy during daylight hours, so a battery/generator will be necessary to store and use power during the night.
Most batteries/generators are sold separately from solar panels. Always double-check that you have all the equipment required.
To determine the daily energy requirement for a refrigerator in the form of kWh (kilowatts per hour), we must first look at the specs on the product, which will be presented in the watts’ unit in most cases. Let us assume that our 12-volt fridge is rated at 60-watts and will be powered 24 hours per day.
The formula is as follows:
Wattage x time turned on in hours daily ÷ 1,000 = kWp
To provide an example:
60 x 24 ÷ 1,000 = 1.44 kWp
If the solar-powered battery/generator you are using is rated at 200-watts, provided the charge is full, it will have the capability of providing 4.8 kWp. This is more than enough to power your 12-volt refrigerator 24 hours per day.
RapidTables.com provides a free and easy-to-use calculator for converting watts into kilowatts-per hour. If you are unsure of your numbers, their calculator will immediately provide you the answer you are looking for.
As long as the amount of kWp output from the power source (battery/generator and solar panel) exceeds the fridge’s kWp requirement, you will have enough energy to power it with no problem throughout the day.
However, keep in mind that as discussed in the previous section of this article, many factors will influence your solar panel’s efficiency, and, therefore, a solar panel is never 100% consistent from day to day.
For this reason, you should always try to compensate for fluctuation by having a little bit more wattage available in your panel and generator than you need. If the margin is too small, you may run into unexpected problems, such as an unsunny week that leaves you with an insufficient amount of power.
The price difference between two solar panel units of the same brand and different wattages seems to be relatively small and reasonable for the value you will derive from increased power and reliability.
A Note on Food Safety
Food safety is very important for your health. If your fridge loses power for any meaningful duration of time, and your food thaws and becomes warm, do not consume it if it is not safe to do so. Fruits and, for the most part, vegetables should be okay to consume, but meat and dairy should be discarded immediately and without question.
Eating spoiled food can lead to very serious medical problems, such as E-coli, salmonella, botulism. Some of these ailments can be life-threatening and should be taken very seriously.
The easiest ways to determine if your food has gone bad is by the look of it (it may appear discolored), the smell (rotten, unpleasant odor), or by the texture (slimy, chunky, etc.).
If in doubt, throw it out.
What Size Solar Panel Is Suitable To Run a 12-Volt Fridge?
By this point in our article, we have covered the theory, formula, and all other relevant considerations that go into fitting a 12-volt fridge with a solar panel system. The reader should now be familiar with the basic concepts and will likely possess a general idea about how to set up this system.
At this time, we are now in a position where we may begin to talk about exact sizes, specs, and models of solar panels that are suitable to run your 12-volt refrigerator.
One of the most highly rated (4.5 stars out of 5 based on 1,190 customer ratings at the time of this article) solar panels available on Amazon is the Jackery SolarSaga 60W. Consider now that the average 12-V fridge is rated for around 50-60 Watts. This means a 60-watt solar panel is cutting it too close.
If you are to use a 60W solar panel to power, say, a 55W fridge, there will not be enough excess wattage to simultaneously charge the battery. As soon as the sun goes down and your fridge is forced to rely entirely on the battery-charged generator, your system will fail.
There are an innumerable number of factors to consider when determining the exact size of solar panel required. Furthermore, because the weather is always subject to daily and seasonal changes, which can not possibly be predicted with total accuracy, our only option when sustaining your fridge entirely off-grid is to err heavily on the side of caution.
Were we powering something like an air conditioning unit, we could take our chances on the power going out. Still, when it comes to food storage safety, we must make sure that the refrigerator remains powered at all times.
What we recommend here is to play it safe and go bigger than you think you may need.
A 150-W solar panel, combined with a 200-W battery generator, will be enough to sustain a 12-volt fridge of around 60-W day in and day out, provided nothing catastrophic occurs to inhibit the solar panel from conducting light photons.
Purchasing a second battery will further ensure that you are prepared for the worst.
Keep in mind that all of this assumes that you are completely reliant on this setup for survival over a long duration of time.
If you are only planning to implement this setup to go camping for a few days, or you are simply using it out on the patio for barbecues and social gatherings, the urgency of a perfect and consistently performing system will, of course, be relaxed.
Suppose you are planning to run other appliances off your solar pan, in addition to the 12-v fridge, simultaneously. In that case, you will require a larger solar panel and possibly a larger generator as well. This article assumes that you are only planning to run a single refrigerator off your solar panel/generator and nothing besides.
Whenever buying appliances, it is always important to take your time, understand your needs, and read many reviews from customers based on their experience with the product you are considering.
Never buy cheap refrigerators, batteries, or solar panels.
Understand that these things are an investment and will, over time, pay for themselves and then some if you purchase long-lasting, quality products.
Any experienced solar panel owner will tell you firsthand that the key to satisfaction is longevity. This means always cleaning your solar panel, storing it properly and out of the sun when not in use, and just taking overall good care of it. Proper solar panel maintenance will greatly help to improve the life and vitality of the unit.
Power, regardless of the source, is expensive. Anything you can do to reduce this expense long term, such as investing in solar panels, will make a big difference in your life for the better.
In regards to solar panels, they can be fairly expensive if we are to look only at the sticker price. Keep in mind; a solar panel is providing you with an alternative source of energy, one which, above all else, is renewable.
Think of a solar panel as a long-term investment and not a quick way to earn a dollar. With any solar panel, the idea is to eventually reach the break-even point. At this time, you will have covered the entirety of your initial investment cost and are now making an unfettered profit.
To actually profit on a solar panel, the panel must be sustainable enough to remain in good shape up to and beyond the point at which you have produced enough power from it that it essentially covers its own cost and then becomes a potential source of revenue whether directly or indirectly.
The last thing to note is that as a consumer, it is your duty and responsibility to make sure that you thoroughly read through and ask questions before committing to a product financially. Ensure that all the cords, cables, and connectors you will need to run your solar panel refrigerator setup are included. If not, they will need to be purchased separately. Planning ahead avoids any unexpected surprises upon delivery.
When shopping for a 12-volt refrigerator, the most important factors to look for are:
- The overall size
- The price
- The amount of space inside for storing food
- The temperature rating
- Whether or not it features dual temperature compartments (possibly a freezer)
- Its power consumption
- Its mountability
- The overall quality of the materials, design, and construction
One of the most highly rated 12-volt refrigerators on Amazon is the Whynter FM-45G Portable Refrigerator and for a good reason.
First of all, the Whynter FM-45G has an incredible amount of storage space, and its temperature range is very impressive, to say the least.
This product has a built-in freezer that is capable of reaching temperatures as low as -8°F! This opens a whole new range of food options as it will allow you to freeze meats, vegetables, and fruits to preserve them much longer than would be possible otherwise.
The amount of room to store food in this fridge is rated at 52 cubic feet, far more than most of its competitor products.
The product itself weighs 45 pounds, so transportation and carrying it to and from your vehicle and/or house is not a problem.
This particular fridge is rated at 65-watts, so it is still consistently within the range of our recommended 150-watt solar panel.
All-in-all there are many 12-volt fridges on the market that are great, and this is only one example. The most important thing is how it works with your own specific need, as everyone is different.
Some 12-volt fridges resemble coolers in their shape, while others are modelled to look like the more classical stand-up style kitchen fridge. The choice is optional and entirely personal.
Now onto the solar panel.
Solar panels can be a little bit tougher to select from since the general population seems to have less experience with them, hence less background information. Regardless, reading customer replies is the single most effective way to determine whether the product you are getting is good or not.
Our recommendation for a 150-watt solar panel unit is the Dokio Foldable Solar Kit.
One of the many incredible design features of this product, one of its most impressive by far, is its portability. The panel itself is only 2.4cm thick and is only 22 x 21” when folded up, so it can fit effortlessly into a track, a backseat, or a travel bag. The folded unit also features suitcase-like fabric handles so it can be carried with ease.
Unlike many other solar panels on the market, the Dokio 150-watt is waterproof, which is a very important factor when you consider that most purchasers will have plans to use it for camping, hiking, and other outdoorsy adventures where exposure to the elements is unavoidable.
This solar panel is perfectly suited for powering a 12-volt fridge on the go.
Because it is a fabric panel and not a hard one, it is flexible. This offers the user some versatility in positioning.
Finally, the last thing we need is a battery to store all the energy that we have accumulated during the peak sunlight hours of the day so that we may keep our fridge running strong throughout the night.
The Jackery Portable Power Station is the absolute top of the line in regards to solar generators.
To begin, this portable power generator is built specifically for rough and tough outdoor use. Designed with hikers, campers, fishers, and outdoor thrill-seekers in mind, this thing was built solid.
Another bonus is that the Jackery power station was also made to be used specifically in conjunction with a solar panel, which makes pairing the two quick and easy.
The power pack is rated at 200-watts, and has various outlets for multiple-purpose use. This means it has the versatility, and provided that you have the extra energy to spare, you can power more than just your fridge from this incredible piece of equipment.
In addition to your solar panel, this portable generator also can be charged by way of a car’s outlet or a wall outlet. This can come in handy on days when your panel cannot receive enough power from the sun, and you need to keep your fridge running.
The customer feedback on this product is overwhelmingly positive, so you can have no doubt that you will not be disappointed if you decide to settle on the Jackery power station.
Fridge solar camping power
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