The All-in-One Solar Kit Powering Your Multitasking Needs
Americans used more renewable energy than ever before in 2016, but the Trump Administration is still keen on cutting funding to renewable energy technology even as the solar industry struggles to meet growing demand by bringing ever-better innovations to market.
Is this just a case of more politicians being out of sync with reality? Probably, but it does not change the fact that many people want better ways to integrate renewable technologies into their budget, their career, and their personal lives.
Look at the challenge of balancing solar with a 21st-century lifestyle. There are plenty of home solar systems (including rooftop panels and battery storage) available for a range of budgets and electricity needs, but outside the home, there are not many good all-in-one solar options available for travelers, digital nomads, or backpackers.
This is a big problem for most customers. If you are lucky enough to find a mobile solar product claiming to have an energy storage component capable of charging your phone, tablet, and laptop, more often than not your find ends in disappointment. Either the solar panel charges the battery too slow, the battery has a low capacity or is incapable of storing energy properly, or that convenient inconvenience will cost you more than buying the panel, battery, and accessories separately.
Fortunately, there are now all-in-one solar solutions like the 20W Phoenix Generator by Renogy, which seems to hit a sweet spot combining power with portability and performance.
Some of the features I like most:
- The Phoenix’s 16Ah lithium-ion battery pack is replaceable, unlike any comparable solar generator I know. So when you finally run through its estimated 1,500 battery cycles, you still have a 100% functional tool instead of a 100% sad paperweight.
- The Phoenix (like all Renogy products) uses monocrystalline panels instead of the less durable, less rugged, and less energy efficient polycrystalline and CIGS alternatives (though the latter two have begun to close the gap in years past somewhat).
- Renogy packs two 10W solar panels (expandable to 120W) and a 16Ah battery with four 5V USB outlets, two 12V DC outlets, and a 12V cigarette socket combined in a single compact 13lb package.
- I think it’s fun to generate my own electricity, and with the Phoenix’s 10W panels expanded up to
120WI could power my own office. A Phoenix can recharge your iPhone in about 2 hours, a Samsung Galaxy in 1.5 hours, an iPad in 4 hours, or a laptop in about the same time it would take at the office. You can even charge multiple devices at once if need be.
You can get all of these options and more for $700 though the Phoenix is currently on sale for $574 with coupon code “PHX574.”
That is still a lot of money for those of us who use Groupon as a verb and Craigslist as a supermarket, but here is one way to justify the price tag: the Phoenix offers much more than its cheaper competitors.
More power, more portability, more performance, and more reliability means that you have more options than you would with a pocket-size panel or a simple USB battery charger. You can stay on the trail for a few extra days, take the laptop or tablet camping (or—you know—just enjoy nature), or have a reliable backup even if the electricity gets shut off at home for more than 24 hours.
Besides, do you really want to play the “Hope this isn’t a cheap knockoff” game when pulling your backup battery out of the emergency preparedness bag or turning on the solar generator 8 hours into your outdoors vacation?
I wouldn’t either.