With the recent introduction of plug-n-play solar chargers into the market, solar power is within the reach of just about anyone.  You no longer have to be a technician or a tech savvy “do-it-yourself-er,” to be able to harness solar energy.

What exactly is a plug-n-play solar charger?  In its simplicity, it’s usually a solar panel combined with a battery pack, sold as a unit, which is capable of collecting solar energy and storing it in a battery. That’s all there is to it.

The feature that makes this type of set-up so useful is that you can use it to power or recharge your electrical devices, laptops, power tools, radios or even TVs, from the battery pack.  The solar power and battery pack are sold together, so you don’t have to worry about compatibility, cables, watts or voltages, or any of that.  And you don’t have to wonder whether the setup will work or not.

By using the battery pack, instead of trying to power your equipment directly from a solar panel, you ensure that you have a steady flow of power or electricity flowing into your equipment.  Even on a sunny day there can always be a few clouds.  When they move in front of the sun it there would be a decrease of solar energy being picked up by the panels, which would momentarily reduce the amount of electricity being produced by your solar charger.  But if your equipment is connected to a battery pack (which is in turn connected to a solar panel) the battery would take up the momentary slack in solar energy.

There are other advantages to using a plug-n-play solar charger kit, besides its steady flow of electricity.  Because of the fact that the solar panels charge the battery pack, you will be able to make use of solar energy at any time, night or day, regardless of weather conditions or available sunlight.  You simply ensure that the solar charger is charging during daylight hours, and then charge your laptop, cell-phone, iPod (or whatever you need to charge) at night while you are sleeping.

A little known fact I will throw in is that many people think solar chargers and solar panels only work in hot climates.  Not true.  Solar panels collect solar energy far more efficiently when they are cold.  Thus, ironically, they operate more efficiently in colder temperatures.  This fact makes them perfectly suitable for just about any climate.  All you need is daylight.

There are some factors you have to take into account with such a solar charger setup:

1. Whether or not the battery pack is capable of powering the device you want to power

2. How long it takes for the solar panel to fully charge your battery pack.

Once you know that, you can decide whether you have found the right solar charger setup for you or not.

There are now a wide variety of  ready-to-go, plug-n-play solar charger systems and do-it-yourself packages available, to suit anyone’s needs.  They are used for small portable power units,cell phones, camera batteries, iPods, and laptops, etc.  They are also used for larger systems which give remote or emergency power for AC and DC appliances such as radios, small TVs, cabin lighting and much, much more.

Plug-n-play devices and do-it-yourself kits are a great way to get started using solar energy at an affordable price.  They bypass the need for advanced electrical knowledge, and keep things simple.