Make it big and efficient.
You may have used one of these tiny, cheap and foldable
“solar chargers” before and wondered why it “doesn’t really work”.
The explanation in four words: Solar Panel real estate.
Just as a boat won’t sail in the wind if its sail is too small,
you are not going to gather a decent amount of
energy from sunlight if your panel is to small.
That’s why we’re so generous about our solar modules at Element5.
What’s The Minimum Power my Charger should have?
Basically, you should avoid purchasing a solar charger with
a solar module delivering less than 2-3 Watts.
This is because you’re never going to generate a satisfying
amount of energy for your Smartphone or Notebook within a reasonable timeframe.
At Element5, you will only find solar modules producing 4 Watts or more of energy.
With this amount of power, we can ensure you a fun and motivating experience of energy harvesting.
Expect the energy storage battery to be able to store around half the Watts your module is generating if it’s a specially designed high-quality solar battery (like the Kal or eJaguar).
Expect that yield to be lower when the battery is not specifically designed for solar use, like the ones you will find in most cheap “Solar chargers” or “Solar Bags”.
A more powerful solar module will shorten your charging time and allows for a better experience.
Forget cheap mini-chargers, they’re not even worth the materials they’re built from.
A mini solar-module, combined with a cheap battery from China, possibly even used behind windows is a programmed failure.
Save yourself time, nerves and resources by passing on cheap, plasticky “solar chargers”. Instead, invest on a solar charger with decent power, 1.5 Watt and more, that is actually able to offset its production energy during its lifecycle.
As of today, Element5 uses Solar Modules of 4 Watts and more for all their Solar Kits and Solar Bags.
Using that power, approximately three hours of direct sunlight will result in a full smartphone charge, if you take an iPhone5 as reference.
For a practical approach on why a “cheap” solar charger won’t work,
read our breakdown on a simple Solar Charger in Our Blog.
Make it work.
The concept of storing solar energy seems pretty straightforward:
Generate it with a solar panel and store it within a battery.
But there are many more points you have to consider:
What energy source are you going to use?
A good battery for use with solar energy has been designed specifically for this field.
Because the input of energy from a solar module varies upon the intensity of sunlight and shadow, a solar charger needs to be able to deal with that situation.
Our Kal and eJaguar batteries are designed for exactly this field of use and are superior to any normal external battery you can recharge at your wall outlet.
Why should my Solar Charger include a battery for energy storage?
It’s always good to have a battery in between your device and your solar panel. It will buffer some electricity to give you the exact output power you need for your Phone, Tablet or Laptop. Most important: Energy stored within this portable battery will give you the possibility to recharge your device even during night or on a very clouded day. And, it can also count your harvested energy to earn you rewards.
What devices do I want to charge with my solar energy?
Smartphones, Tablets and Laptops do have different energy needs.
You can charge Phones and Tablets via USB, given the output energy is sufficient.
Laptops, which operate on higher currents, will need special energy outputs.
This is why, at Element5, you are going to find two types of batteries:
Our light and easy “Kalhuohfummi” for phone and tablet charging, as well as
the powerful “eJaguar”, which will also recharge your Laptop.
What defines a good solar battery?
We suggest an USB outlet with at least 1.4 Ampères at 5 Volt for Smartphone and Tablet charging.
You will find such an outlet on our Kal and this will ensure you satisfying charging of your phones.
Our eJaguar outputs up to 2.1 Ampères at 5 Volt, which will charge your devices even faster.
Things you will want on your portable battery:
A) A charging indicator that shows if your battery is getting any charge from the solar panel and is gathering energy
B) A charge display that will show you how full your portable battery currently is
In Element5 batteries, all of this information is accessible through the simple press of one button.
So why would anyone offer a solar charger without battery?
Most suppliers of inferior solar chargers or solar bags don’t have bad intentions:
They just don’t know better and lack the experience.
They often forget designing a solar charger consists of so much more than just connecting a solar panel to a battery.
What do I get if I buy Element5?
Element5 has been designing and manufacturing Solar Bags and Solar Kits since 2006.
During these years, we have gathered quite a lot of experience and have learnt a lot about our field.
At all times, we are working with international Universities and Technology Institute Partners to make sure we are working with the most advanced electronical standards.
Make it fit.
The way from Sun’s energy to your mobile phone is long:
Sun to Electrical Energy via Solar Module: Efficiency: 6-12%
Module to Battery:
– E5 Way (Voltage transformer inside battery): 85%
– Competitor’s Way (Voltage transformer to 5V, then again in Battery): ca. 55%
Battery to your device:
– E5 Hi-Quality Solar Ready Battery: 90% (e5 eJaguar and Changers Kal)
– Other Batteries: ca. 75%
So you see, there are many points we need to consider in order to deliver a smooth energy transmission.
You can expect to get around half the rated solar module energy into your phone at the end.
Only if we make the components play together really well, we can actually harvest solar energy to the fullest.
Element5 understands how to combine the three components: Solar Module, Energy Storage and your Device in order to get a fun and useful charging experience. That’s also why we support the use of industry standards, such as USB or DC Cables. Often, the best cable to use to charge your device is the one it was shipped with.
Learn all about how to recharge your Phone, Laptop or DSLR Camera using your Element5 charger.
Learn all about how we make sure you’ll love your Element5 solar charger for your solar experience.
Learn all about our products for your own, self-made solar energy production and energy storage.