Power banks are portable battery packs that allow someone to charge their tablet or mobile phone, even without plugging them in a socket. Sometimes, it’s only when you desperately need to charge your phone during an emergency that you realize how helpful it is to have a power bank in your bag.
However, you don’t have to wait for emergencies to happen to have them with you. Power banks are easy to carry around since they don’t add much baggage weight. You’ll find several types of power packs in the market these days and solar power banks are one of them.
How Do Solar Power Banks Work?
It’s essential to note that solar energy is the most environmentally friendly and sustainable way to generate electricity. A solar power bank uses a small built-in solar panel for charging a rechargeable battery. This panel is a photovoltaic cell made of silicon and other semi-conductive materials.
Thin film solar cells are second-generation cells where the solar power producing photovoltaic material is coated as a film on a substrate such as glass or plastic material. These films are incredibly thin at just a few nanometers, which is 20 times thinner than regular crystalline silicon PV wafers.
This makes thin-film solar panels highly flexible and lightweight, allowing them to used in a wide range of applications. Cadmium telluride (CdTe) is the most common thin-film solar technology, while copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS), and amorphous thin-film silicon (a-Si) are also used.
Thin film solar cells are particularly utilised in portable applications since they are extremely light compared to other PV technologies. They are used in hand-held devices such as calculators, mobile phones, emergency lights, power packs, etc. However, thin film solar cells are less efficient when compared to other PV technologies. A typical mono-crystalline silicon cell provides an efficiency of 24-27%, while a thin film solar cell provides a maximum of 17-22% efficiency.
While it loses in efficiency, it gains in lower costs and low-light situations. Thin-film has much better resistance to shading so performs very well in shaded locations such as tree-lined avenues, urban low-rise buildings. Similarly, thin film solar cells perform the best in consumer gadgets such as power packs that are always kept in shaded areas. Read more about thin film solar cells here.
Solar Power Banks vs. Regular Power Packs
A power pack contains a lithium-ion battery since lithium is a substance having a high tendency to lose free electrons. A lithium-ion battery has a high capacity of enduring numerous cycles of fast charging and discharging, which makes it an excellent tool for charging your electronics.
There are many kinds of power banks on offer today including regular power packs and solar power banks. If you’re looking for something that’s worth your money, which one should you choose? To help you decide, this post compares regular power packs and solar power banks based on several factors:
Portability And Sturdiness
Some regular power banks are as light and slim as your mobile phone. They’re portable, which means that they can get easily packed in any bag. Solar power banks also offer you the same portability as regular power packs.
Solar power banks and regular power packs are both built as sturdy as possible, too. You won’t be worrying about them getting damaged even if you have many items in your bag. Since most of their models have silicone rubber casings, they’re both safe from almost all forms of hard surface contact. Solar power banks and regular power packs are equal in this aspect.
Both solar power banks and regular power packs have a high-power capacity and can be used for charging your mobile phone numerous times. You’d surely agree that charging your gadget when traveling can get problematic, not unless your long-distance journey very often passes by coffee shops where free phone recharging is allowed. But, most travelers aren’t that lucky. Fortunately, power banks can help you get rid of the hassle.
By bringing a solar power bank, you can relax and enjoy your adventure, knowing that you won’t always have to look out for charging opportunities. So solar power banks come out as the better choice over regular power packs since recharging the former is more convenient.
If you’re traveling for a longer time, your power pack will eventually need to be recharged so that it could stock power again. A regular power bank will require you to still plug it in a socket once it’s empty. On the other hand, a solar power pack only has to be taken out in the daylight for it to regain its power. When it comes to bringing you complete convenience when traveling, solar power banks clearly stand out.
Having the ability to restore the power of a power bank even without plugging it into a socket only means one thing – you’re saving a significant amount of electricity. Being environmentally friendly is the most important advantage of solar power banks over regular power packs.
Some models can even be charged by exposing them to fluorescent light. So you would be reducing your carbon footprint on Earth by not using electricity for charging your power bank. Without any effort, you’re contributing to the fight against climate change while enjoying your devices’ functionality. It’s clear that solar power packs have the edge when it comes to environmental friendliness.
Solar power banks and regular power packs may be equal in terms of portability. Still, solar power banks edge any other types of power packs when it comes to convenience when traveling, easy recharging, and environmental friendliness. Solar power cuts your electric bill and carbon footprint. So, are solar power banks better than regular power packs? Based on the factors above, this post thinks that’s certainly the case.