The whole idea behind power banks is to have access to power even when you are on the top of a mountain with no scope of getting a power socket. But what if these power banks run out of juice in the middle of your hike?
Well, that can be a true nightmare unless you have a solar power bank! These innovative power banks can recharge themselves anywhere you have sunlight reaching them. But how do they work, and are they worth the money? Let’s discuss these things in detail.
What Is a Solar Power Bank?
Solar power banks are just like regular power banks, except they have a solar panel attached to them. Using this solar panel, these power banks can recharge themselves using sunlight instead of electricity. Not only does it remove the need for a socket to be charged, but it is also a very environmentally sustainable product as it draws power from an abundant natural resource.
Working Principle of a Solar Power Bank
A solar power bank works on the principle of harnessing solar power and storing it for later use. There are different types of power banks which we will discuss in detail later, and all work on the same principle.
Every solar power bank has three main working components. First is the solar panel, second is the solar controller, and third is the batteries. We will go through each of them one by one and discuss their roles in the working of this type of power bank.
- Solar panels: Solar panels are responsible for drawing energy from the sun. As a general thumb rule, more solar power panels will result in more power drawn from the sun, resulting in faster charging times.
- Solar Controller: The solar controller has a very important role in the working of the power bank. It prevents overcharging of batteries, which maintains their quality and battery life, use after use.
- Battery bank: This is the battery pack that stores all the energy drawn from the sun to be used later on.
Types of Solar Power Banks
There are three main types of solar power banks:
- Power bank with embedded solar cells. These power banks often consist of only one panel, and they are therefore more compact but have longer charging times.
- Power banks with external foldable cells. They have a folding solar panel configuration that increases the solar area and allows it to charge much faster.
- Dedicated solar cells. Dedicated solar cell power banks consist of solar cells that can directly charge your devices or another power bank. They have the largest area and, therefore, have the fastest charging times.
The only drawback of foldable power banks is that they cannot store any energy because they do not have any battery storage and hence will not work after the sun goes down.
All three of the power banks provide their own positives and cater to different demographics of consumers.
How Are Solar Power Banks Different from Regular Power Banks?
The most significant difference between a solar power bank and a regular one is the battery capacity. Solar power banks tend to have larger battery capacities than regular power banks, but the trade-off is a larger size.
Unlike regular power banks, solar power banks can recharge themselves by harnessing solar power. However, they only do so when kept in direct contact with the sunlight and usually have long recharging times.
The solar power banks offer more functionality and might come in handy if you’re away on a long trip. But at the same time, they also tend to be more expensive than regular power banks.
Solar Power Banks Vs. Regular Power Banks
Advantages Of Solar Power Banks
Solar power banks have practically unlimited charging capabilities. As long as you are able to get direct sunlight, you will be able to harness its power and charge your devices. Therefore, it eliminates the need for an electrical socket to a huge extent.
Apart from being abundant, sunlight is also free, which means that your charges and recharges will be too. All you have to do is keep the charger out in the sun with your device plugged in and let it perform its magic.
Since solar energy is renewable, it makes the solar power bank a great option from an environmental standpoint. Using solar power banks will greatly help reduce your carbon footprint while having practically unlimited energy at your disposal.
Disadvantages Of Solar Power Banks
Solar power banks can be up to 2-3 times more expensive than the regular chargers but are also financially more viable in the long run.
Even if you ignore the cost factor, solar power banks recharge themselves very slowly, and a typical phone may take up to 7 to 8 hours to get fully charged on a solar power bank.
Solar Power Banks Or Regular Ones?
Choosing between a solar power bank and a regular power bank completely depends on your use case. If you are a regular commuter and are looking for a power bank to charge your devices in case of an emergency, you’re better off with a regular power bank.
However, if you are someone who loves outdoor activities and needs a power supply to keep your phones charged over long treks in the wilderness, investing in a solar power bank will prove to be great for you in the longer run.