Writing reviews is something I enjoy doing, and this time I've taken the time to check out the field of solar power chargers. I am a huge fan of the renewable energy concept, but like most families, my family is heavily dependant on the conventional energy sources. When I started looking, my thoughts were, I would feel so much better if we gave less money to the power company, at the same time supporting this free, renewable power concept in my own home. Even if it's just for the solar powered charging of our laptops, and the other small appliances. At first, I was under the impression that I should consider just the charging kit that best suited my budget.
How naive was I? There is much more to consider and a few things to learn in order to find the best solar charger on the market. Here is where my extensive research finally brought me - Sunforce 50048 Solar Charging Kit.
It didn't take much time to find out that there are several important points to consider prior to purchasing a solar charger:
Purchasing a solar panel set based solely on price, or on other partial considerations could lead to problems in their future maintenance and operation. In the following, I will explain each of the above points separately and also in relation to the desired model - the Sunforce 50048 60-Watt Solar Charging Kit.
While amorphous solar panels suffer from lower performance as compared to the crystalline panels, they have a number of advantages that make them the preferred choice of many manufacturers. They can be extremely durable (some can even be flexible), with stable power output regardless of the outer temperature and conditions.
What's more important they can have substantially lower production costs. This reflects on the price of the solar panels, so our desired Sunforce amorphous solar kit can provide clean and very affordable power. Unless you can afford to completely disregard the price, the amorphous power chargers are the best choice for you. Not to mention that the crystalline silicon based solar cells are all made in a so energy intensive way that the beneficial environmental impact is impaired during the first, say, ten years of operation.
This solar kit is so flexible that it generates electricity on cloudy days, bad weather and even in shady environments. It is intended to be used outdoors, so you can put it on the roof of your house. It is ideal for power generation in your home, but I've seen people mounting it on top of their boats, vans, and recreational vehicles. Also, you can use it with tractors, all-terrain vehicles, electric fences, and more. These panels are durable, they function in a wide temperature range, and even can resist impact from larger pieces of hailstones. This Sunforce 50044 60-Watt Solar battery charging system comes in handy if you plan to use your electronic devices in the wilderness, far away from the main power grids.
There are a number of things you can run with this solar kit. Directly from the panels you can run variable speed direct current (DC) motors, such as pumps and fans. You can actually run a lot of things with it. Here you are limited only by your imagination. If you want to use it for lighting, you would have to use LEDs (for instance, 5 Watt LEDs) to draw from the battery power, as they are low voltage bulbs and can be very efficient in this system. Or, you can use a compact fluorescent bulb. You should also be able to convert your stereo line to operate on 12 volts, or alternatively via the supplied inverter. Some small size or portable TV sets (power of around 30-40 Watts) have also the possibility of using12 volt sources. You can also charge you laptop, cell phone and bluetooth devices, or power your landscaping pump.
Converting sunlight into electricity is what these solar panels do. As hey do not store power, you would have to have an extra 12 Volt battery. When not running anything, your solar panels should be used for recharging this 12-Volt battery (not included) to store power for later use.
This Sunforce 60 Watt kit is extremely easy to set up and and you do not need any special knowledge. It is a great equipment for learning about solar power or just as a first step to start building your future mega solar system.
With the supplied inverter, the power from the battery could in principle be distributed to plug in devices with standard 110 Volt appliances, but do not expect to plug your vacuum cleaner or similar devices. Have in mind that the inverters are generally not so efficient at small loads and that this particular one has a maximum power output of 200 Watt.
When the batteries are fully charged, the Solar charge controller LED will start blinking, as the voltage fluctuates from the discharge/recharge processes. The included Solar Charge Controller has to be on to prevent the batteries from overcharging, or against discharging at night.
The Sunforce 50048 60 Watt kit is available on the Ambientweather website for $377.88 but you shouldn't be paying any more than $300 for this charger. The cheapest we have found it is on Amazon, currently selling this solar charger for less than $250.
One thing which is great with this Sunforce solar kit is the fact that there's everything you need to get going, except the battery. It includes 4 amorphous solar panels, each of them having power of 15-Watt (4x15=60). There is also included a PVC mounting frame, one 200-Watt inverter, and one 7-amp Solar Charge Controller with an ultra-bright blue LED charging indicator. Lastly, there is a wiring kit for easy installation. What's not included is the battery. You can plug this kit to charge any 12 Volt battery.
This kit has been given great reviews with an average of 4.5 out of 5 on Amazon. Here are some of the comments to date:
There are hardly any complaints for this solar kit. Some consumers claim that this solar kit provides less than 60 Watts of power. This is true, as often the extracted power will be lower than the ideal value declared by the manufacturer. This difference can be due to the weather conditions, or some other additional factors. Still, this is a standard practice of almost every other solar panel manifacturer to put there just the ideal value. The other drawback is related to the PVC tube frame supplied with the panels. It could be subject to damage by UV light, after years of operation, so some extra care while mounting the panels might be needed with regard to this point.
You can buy this Sunforce Solar KIt from Amazon. At the moment they include free shipping and by comparing prices with all the other merchants online, Amazon.com have the best deal. Click here to view on Amazon.
The best online source for reviews is to look for people who have actually purchased this kit is Amazon. Click here to read more
Gregor is a nature lover and environmentalist.
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