The Top 5 Mobile Solar Systems & How to Build Your Own
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While most people associate solar power systems with large, fixed solar panels wired directly to a home or business, mobile solar systems offer a practical and affordable power solution for a range of applications.
As the name suggests, mobile solar systems offer the same advantages that you get with a residential or commercial solar power system but with the advantage of being portable. While their small size and portable nature might lead you to believe that they are incapable of supplying significant amounts of solar electricity, the truth is mobile solar systems are now more powerful than ever before.
Since it was first introduced, the technology has improved, and now the components are drastically more efficient than they once were. Even the most compact mobile solar systems are now capable of delivering impressive power outputs.
How Can We Help?
To help you get started with this exciting technology, we will explain everything you should look for in a mobile solar system, what you can use these systems for, and why they are becoming so popular.
From there, we will list five of the best mobile solar systems on the market today. We will even explain what components you will need if you would prefer to build your own DIY mobile solar power system!
What are Mobile Solar Systems Used For?
Since you can use an efficient and well-built mobile solar system to generate electricity from even the most remote locations, they are becoming popular among outdoor enthusiasts.
Anyone that enjoys mobile living and the ability to explore exciting, off-grid locations could benefit from the freedom a mobile solar system could offer, which is why they are becoming so popular with RV enthusiasts and those who enjoy exploring the country from the comfort of a camper van.
Food Trucks and Mobile Event Businesses:
Mobile solar systems are also proving to be quite popular with food truck owners, as they give you the ability to generate your own clean energy from anywhere that the sun is shining. Rather than rely on expensive, dirty, and bulky gasoline generators for all of your power needs, a mobile solar power setup would give you the ability to turn sunlight into usable electricity!
Even if you aren’t living the van-life, they are great for any off-grid living arrangement. A mobile solar system can even offer comfort and convenience to anyone living out of a tiny house or a remote, off-grid cabin.
They also work really well for emergency preparedness, as they give you the ability to generate your own power during lengthy power outages and blackouts. Since they are so portable, some people will even keep a mobile solar system in storage and assemble it when it is needed.
What to Look for in a Mobile Solar Power System
While mobile solar systems offer plenty of advantages over traditional sources of mobile power, you must know what to look for. The following are important features that can separate a low-quality system from one that can last for many years:
- Durability – Look for waterproof components that can withstand all types of weather conditions.
- Performance – The best systems feature highly efficient solar panels that can generate significant amounts of power. Typically, monocrystalline solar panels offer the highest power ratings, but it is also important to look out for a high-quality power inverter, charge controller, and high-capacity battery.
- Expandability – The ability to add solar panels and the option to upgrade components in the future will ensure that your mobile solar system will remain useful for years to come.
- Affordability – Do not get caught up in marketing gimmicks from overpriced brands. Prioritize quality over appearance. Price is not always an indicator of quality, so you should learn to differentiate the fluff from practical features.
- Portability – One of the key features of a true mobile solar system is its ability to travel with you wherever your next adventure takes you. Look for lightweight and compact components that offer convenient features, like carrying handles, folding designs, and built-in output ports.
The Top 5 Mobile Solar Systems
Now that you are familiar with what you should look for in a mobile system and how to use it, we can go over our top recommendations for the best mobile solar power systems.
Each of the following systems was selected because they come packaged with everything you need at an affordable price. They feature high-quality components and are portable enough to be a practical solution for anyone that values mobility.
The EcoFlow Delta Nomad Kit combines one of the world’s best-selling solar power generators with your choice of either two 200W rigid solar panels or two highly portable suitcase-style folding solar panels.
The Delta 1800W delivers a built-in 1,260Wh deep-cycle solar battery, which is incredible given the unit’s compact and lightweight design. It also comes equipped with an impressive internal power inverter rated at 1,800W and can handle surges up to 3,300W. An efficient MPPT charge controller with a built-in battery management system also helps prevent power drain and allows you to get the most out of the solar panels.
When fully charged, this little unit charges a standard laptop over 27 times or power a large refrigerator for over 15 hours!
The Delta also features a wide variety of practical output ports, including:
- 2 USB-A ports
- 2 USB fast-charging ports
- 2 60W USB-C ports (compatible with latest Apple iPhones and iPads, as well as newer Android smartphones)
- 6 standard three-prong AC wall-style plugs
- 1 cigarette lighter-style 12V DC carport
With unique features, like the ability to fast-charge the unit’s internal battery through a standard AC wall outlet or using pure solar power, the Delta Nomad Kit presents a versatile and reliable mobile solar system.
Put simply, the EcoFlow Delta Nomad Kit is ideal for anyone looking for an affordable yet powerful solar power system that can handle just about any mobile application.
Where to Buy
For those with greater power requirements, the Bluetti AC200P Solar Generator boasts a 2,000Wh lithium-ion battery and a 2,000W pure sine wave power inverter. Like the EcoFlow Delta Nomad Kit, the AC200P Nomad Kit comes with your choice of two 200W 12V monocrystalline rigid solar panels or equally powerful folding solar panels.
The package also comes with a 30’ MC4 solar extension cable and all of the clips and connectors you need to wire everything together. The rigid solar panels are perfect for RV enthusiasts, as they feature pre-drilled mounting holes and come with all of the brackets required to mount the panels directly to your vehicle.
Regarding the AC200P’s capabilities, this powerful solar power generator can act as a true all-in-one mobile power station. Thanks to its high-capacity LiFeP04 battery and a highly capable power inverter, the AC200P is capable of supplying power to even the most demanding electronic devices and appliances. It is so powerful that you can even use this portable solar generator to run air conditioning units, refrigerators, coffee makers, and more.
Other high-end features, like a smart touch LCD screen, a built-in battery management system, the ability to power 17 devices at once, and five recharge options explain why this is one of the most popular mobile solar system packages on the market today.
With two sturdy carrying handles and a total weight of just 57.3lbs, the AC200P can be the central component in any mobile solar system. Since the Nomad Kit includes two efficient solar panels and the Bluetti AC200P can handle up to 700W of solar input, you will always have access to reliable power, no matter where your next adventure takes you.
Where to Buy
For those looking for a budget-friendly mobile solar power system, the Bluetti EB55 Nomad Kit is an attractive option.
As you would expect from a Bluetti solar generator, the EB55 is a small yet powerful unit that offers features you would typically associate with far more expensive generators. Like its larger brother, it comes equipped with a built-in, ultra-stable LiFeP04 deep cycle battery. The 537Wh battery has an outstanding life cycle rating, and it can be charged and discharged over 2,500 times before it starts to show any significant signs of degradation.
Despite its small size, the EB55 comes equipped with a massive 700W power inverter, which offers up to 1,400W of surge protection. This little unit can handle electronic appliances with a large start-up load, like blenders, power tools, and toasters.
It even features a top-mounted wireless charging pad, a USB-C fast-charging port, and eleven other output charging options. With that said, the EB55’s most impressive feature is how quickly the internal battery charges. Using dual charging, you can connect the unit to a standard AC wall outlet and the included solar panel to fully charge the battery in just two hours!
Since the Nomad Kit pairs this little unit with a highly efficient 200W folding solar panel, it is the perfect option for anyone that is in the market for an extremely compact and portable mobile power system. While it is the ideal solution for those traveling in camper vans and skoolies, at just 16.5lbs, it is even a practical option for tent campers.
Where to Buy
This All-in-One Off-Grid Solar Kit is the perfect option for anyone looking to install a mobile solar system in a food truck, camper van, or RV. It comes with everything you need for a semi-permanent setup, but each component is light enough to be a practical solution for mobile living.
You get a powerful AC inverter that can support 2,400W worth of continuous power and handles surges of up to 4,800W. To generate power, you get four 200W monocrystalline solar panels for a combined power rating of 800W. In terms of storage, this convenient kit comes with two BigBattery 12V OWL LiFeP04 deep cycle batteries. Since it is a complete package, you also get the appropriate cables, fuses, brackets.
Even if you are new to solar power, having everything you need in one convenient package means you can install your system quickly and without any unnecessary stress. While this kit was primarily designed as a semi-mobile solar power system, it is also a practical solution for anyone looking for reliable backup power for their home or an off-grid cabin.
Since the components are packaged together in one neat bundle, the total price is much lower than buying each piece of equipment separately. Overall, it offers outstanding performance and excellent value, so why not start saving money by outfitting your mobile home, food truck, or RV with this complete mobile solar power system?
Where to Buy
For those with serious power requirements, this HBK All-in-One Solar Kit delivers everything you could ever need. Not only does it come with each and every piece of equipment you would need for off-grid power, but the entire system is also easy to set up and install.
Essentially, this versatile and reliable solar kit offers three things anyone looking to install their own mobile solar system should look for – simplicity, value, and performance.
The package includes the following components:
- 6 x 360W monocrystalline solar panels, for an incredible combined power rating of 2,160W!
- 1 x BigBattery 48V 5.3KwH HSKY LiFeP04 Powerwall Battery Bank
- 1. x Growatt 3,000W Combined Solar Inverter and Charge Controller
It also includes all of the brackets, mounts, solar extension cables, connectors, fuses, and combiner boxes you need to get your new system up and running.
What we really like about this solar kit is the fact it is stackable and easy to expand. If you need more power and storage down the line, you can incorporate more solar panels and batteries, as the Growatt inverter/charge controller can handle an additional 2,000W of power.
Whether you want to add a high-capacity mobile solar system to an RV, set up a versatile off-grid power solution for emergencies, or reduce how much you have to rely on your local grid, this kit offers everything you need at a great price!
Where to Buy
How to Build Your Own Mobile Solar System
To build an effective mobile solar power system, you will need to purchase solar panels, a charge controller, a battery bank, and an appropriate power inverter. You may also need other components, like mounting brackets and additional wiring, but understanding the four main pieces of equipment is a great place to start.
There are countless types of solar panels to choose from, and you can find them with a wide range of power ratings. For a mobile solar system, you will need to prioritize portability and efficiency. While some of the larger and more rigid panels work great for residential systems, they are not always practical for mobile systems.
We recommend looking at something like this 200 Watt Eclipse Solar Panel Suitcase, as it offers two collapsible monocrystalline solar panels in one portable package. They are highly efficient and work great for most mobile solar systems.
You will also need a battery bank to store the electricity your solar panels generate. While you can purchase one or more deep cycle batteries, another option is using a solar power generator that acts as an all-in-one unit. These convenient generators contain a battery, a charge controller, a power inverter and usually feature a variety of output ports.
Power Inverter and Charge Controller
If you opt for standalone components, rather than a solar generator, you will need to purchase a power inverter and a charge controller. Since solar panels generate direct current or DC power, you will need a unit that is capable of converting that electricity into AC power.
The AIMS Power 10,000W Pure Sine Inverter is highly adaptable and can work with just about any type of solar power system. Best of all, it is practical for mobile solar systems, as it is fairly compact and does not weigh as much as the larger units.
A charge controller will regulate the flow of electricity through your mobile solar system, which is important for the safety and integrity of your battery. The Victron SmartSolar MPPT 100/50 Charge Controller is a great option if you plan on running either a 12V or 24V battery system. Not only does it feature programmable smart charging, but it also has Bluetooth compatibility and can be controlled through a smartphone.
Whether you choose the convenience of a ready-made mobile solar system or prefer to assemble your own, having the ability to generate and access renewable power from even the most off-grid locations gives you a sense of freedom that you have never experienced before.
Remember, you can always start with a fairly basic system, then upgrade and expand your components until you meet more of your power needs with solar energy!