THE SECRET TO “UNLIMITED” PORTABLE ENERGY: PAIRING WIND POWER AND SOLAR POWER
One of the best ways to obtain consistent energy outdoors is by using renewable energy sources like wind and solar power.
Anyone living off the grid knows that having a reliable source of energy is crucial. With both wind and solar power, hikers, campers or explorers can have an “unlimited” supply of portable energy – perfect for when they are far away from civilisation.
Keep reading to find out how wind power and solar power can be utilised concurrently to create “unlimited” portable energy!
Why Should We Pair Wind Power and Solar Power
Pairing wind and solar power outdoors may sound challenging, but it can be done with relative ease.
The Benefits of Combining Wind Power and Solar Power
On top of reducing dependence on oil and gas, wind and solar power have long been considered clean energy sources, and their potential has only recently begun to get better. In recent years, wind turbines have become smaller, quieter, and cheaper, allowing people pursuing outdoor activities to carry around wind turbines wherever they choose to go.
Similarly, solar panels are also getting better and more efficient. Because of this, people in remote areas or the wilderness may prefer to generate their portable electricity with wind and solar power instead of relying on traditional generators.
Pairing wind power and solar power works very well as it means that individuals do not need to worry about cloudy weather conditions affecting their ability to produce portable solar energy. Even on a cloudy or rainy day, simply turn on the portable wind turbine when there is enough wind blowing and nature will be able to take care of everything else.
Pairing wind power with solar panels lets you get more out of any portable energy-generating exercise. By combining two renewable portable energy sources, you can create a system that produces more energy than either alone and can amass large amounts of power to use at any time.
Increases the Efficiency of Charging a Power Station
Pairing both portable wind turbines and solar panels can significantly increase the amount of portable energy produced compared to just one type of energy production.
For example, charging a portable power station throughout the day could require a lot of energy from just solar panels, leaving little room to charge anything else. However, pairing wind power with solar panels can allow for charging multiple devices simultaneously around the clock.
The Best Times to Use Portable Wind Turbines
The timings for harnessing wind power can vary depending on location. It’s best to harness and utilise wind power when wind speeds are high but not too strong.
When using a wind turbine outdoors, the first crucial step would be to begin looking at wind speeds in the area. This can be done by using an anemometer, or by consulting websites that specialise in live wind speed updates. On average, a wind speed of 9 miles per hour (mph) or 4 metres per second (m/s) is suitable for portable wind turbines.
While timings may vary, a pro tip would be to look for weather and wind forecasts in specific areas to ensure that the wind turbine can work to its fullest potential to generate portable energy.
The Best Locations for Portable Wind Turbines
Wind power is generated from the movement of air. Wide open spaces are ideal locations for wind turbines, especially if they are located far away from buildings or any large structures. These areas tend to receive stronger winds due to the lack of obstructions that block the wind flow, making them perfect for generating portable electricity.
Apart from obstacles potentially blocking a wind turbine, another thing to consider would be surface roughness, a parameter used to describe the roughness of the surface of the terrain around the area. The rougher the terrain, the more the wind would be slowed down, and as a result, would hinder the wind turbine’s ability to effectively generate portable energy.
As a quick rule of thumb, areas with high elevation tend to work better with obtaining wind power as the wind flow tends to be less obstructed and tends to be stronger.
It is also important to note that some places are unsuitable for wind turbines due to local laws. If this is the case, individuals must find out if the area allows placing the portable wind turbine. To do so, contact the relevant local authorities responsible for that area. For example, campsites could be under the purview of the forestry department or a local government, depending on the country.
Using Wind Turbines at Night
One beautiful feature of the portable wind turbine is that it can be used both during the day and the night, unlike a solar panel. This is because it is not limited by the hours that the sun is in the sky – regardless of the time of the day, as long as there is wind, a portable wind turbine would be able to generate electricity.
This means that pairing both solar panels and wind turbines is a highly effective way to stay in charge and store portable energy around the clock.
It has been noted, however, that during the day, due to surface heating from the sun, wind speeds can be more erratic and stronger. Conversely, during the night, because there is no longer any surface heating; there is less turbulence and, therefore, surface winds tend to be slightly weaker but more constant, even though its direction will tend to veer more often. This means that a wind turbine with 360-degree adaptability is extremely important for night-time usage.
When storing portable energy at night, individuals can use batteries and portable power stations. Portable batteries can store energy for about two days before needing recharging.
On the other hand, portable power stations can store much more power for longer. Some even last for weeks.
When deciding between the two options, it is best to go with what works best for your situation. Batteries are suitable for smaller applications, while large power stations are better suited for heavier usage.
The Best Times to Use Portable Solar Panels
Similar to wind power, there are times when using solar panels is most effective - unlike wind turbines, solar panels generate their energy directly from sunlight and can only be used during the day.
Solar panels are most efficient when the sun is shining directly overhead. In the morning, sunlight intensity can be low. However, the radiation increases through the afternoon until the evening. This means that the amount of portable energy produced by a solar panel increases over time and peaks in the late afternoon.
Typically, solar panels can generate electricity anytime from 8 am in the morning, till about 5 pm in the evening. However, it should be noted that the hours with the best electricity output are between 10 am to 3 pm.
Portable Solar Panel Orientation
When planning on using portable solar panels, it is important to know how to orientate them. The best way to do this is to first check the orientation of the sun. Ensure that the solar panels are directly facing and are perpendicular to the direction of the sun during the time of its use.
In the morning from 8 am to 11 am, the solar panels should be set up facing the east, in the midday, flat on the ground, and in the evening from 3 pm to 6 pm, facing the west.
To get the most out of solar panels, individuals should aim to keep them exposed to sunlight for extended periods of time. This way, the panels will absorb as much light as possible.
The Best Places to Harness Solar Panel
In addition to knowing how to orient the solar panels, individuals must consider where to place them. There are many different places that can harness solar power while outdoors.
One of the most common places is directly on an open field. These areas have direct access to the sun and usually have flat surfaces. When trying to set up a solar panel while out in the woods, look for clearings in the forest canopy where there are spots of uninterrupted sunlight – ensure that as the sun moves, shadows cast from the trees do not cover the solar panels.
Contrary to popular belief, the efficacy of solar panels can be greatly reduced when it is too hot. Just like any other piece of electronic equipment, it can overheat, and as a result, stop working or end up working poorly. As such, it is recommended to find a place that is sunny but also not above 30°C.
It is also notable that similar to portable wind turbines, solar panels are most efficient at higher altitudes. This is because the UV rays from the sun increase with altitude. This would suggest that using a solar panel on a snowy mountain would provide optimal results as it is cooling, yet high enough to harvest strong UV rays.
Additionally, it was also found that portable solar panels work best in places with light winds and low humidity.
How to Pair Wind Power and Solar Power
Pairing wind and solar power together is highly recommended because even if one system may not work well due to weather conditions, the other may still be able to work.
Especially when exploring, individuals should try to avoid situations where they have to rely on only one portable power source. For example, relying on only solar power can be a bad idea. This is because if it rains or is a cloudy day, solar panels will become highly ineffective. This is also true when relying only on portable wind turbines – if there is insufficient wind, the turbine would not be able to work.
The best way to pair wind power and solar power is to set both up during the day and leave the wind turbine to collect energy throughout the night, allowing for portable energy generation and storage at all times.
In the best-case scenario that the weather is both sunny and windy at the same time during the day, both types of energy can be harvested and stored for later use. Even if it is not both sunny and windy at that specific time, having options while out exploring is always better than having none.
Therefore, it is important to plan ahead. Bringing along a portable power station while exploring is always the best way to harness wind and solar power. This is because any excess power can be stored and used at a later time.
In addition, by charging a portable power station with both wind power and solar power, individuals can rest assured that they will have ready access to portable energy around the clock.
Infinite Portable Energy Sources
While there are many sources of green energy available; in particular, wind and solar power can be used hand in hand.
Combining wind and solar power can help users save more time charging up devices while making the most of their outdoor experiences.
Texenergy’s Portable Off-Grid Wind Turbines can charge devices of up to 18V. In addition, their portability allows them to be paired with Portable Compact Solar Panels or other high-capacity solar panels to ease the process of charging essential devices in outdoor settings.