R&D emphasis is on compact models that can support mobile and outdoor gadgets.
Suppliers of portable solar power systems in China are diversifying selections to attract buyers from different segments. In doing so, companies hope to expand their footholds in North America, the EU, the Middle East and Africa. A number are also exploring opportunities in the domestic market.
Under this strategy, many companies are releasing miniature products that can support mobile devices such as smartphones, game consoles, MP3 players and notebooks. In this line, the panel, charge controller and other components are usually integrated in one unit. These can also be built into compact flashlights, lanterns and radios.
Zhejiang Shengbo Electronic Co. Ltd has a series that utilizes environment-friendly Li-polymer batteries. Products are compatible with various USB gadgets, including mobile phones, MP3 and MP4 players, and digital cameras. They are protected against overcharging, overdischarging and short circuit.
One model, the SB-2109, features a 2,000mAh battery. Fitted with a magnet on the back, it can be mounted onto a metal surface when it has to be exposed to sunlight. The device is 116x48.4x25.7mm.
A smaller unit, the SB-2110, is designed to power gadgets with voltages of 5VDC Â±0.5V. Measuring 65x40x19.55mm, it has an internal battery with a capacity of 48mAh.
Quanzhou Jintion Electronics Co. Ltd offers a system that measures only 100x50x18mm and weighs 89g. Meant for mobile phones, the HB005B model comes with a 45x90mm PV module and a 200mA charging current.
Among suppliers focusing on power kits for emergency situations and outdoor activities, several are releasing scaled-down systems, which are more portable and easier to store. A set usually includes at least one panel, a charge controller, battery and inverter.
Most models have USB ports for electronic gadgets. In addition, these can support small appliances such as refrigerators, TVs, radios, DVD players and fans.
For greater user convenience, some suppliers are offering sets with foldable or flexible solar arrays. A number are following suppliers of miniature power packs and integrating the balance of systems in a single device.
At Wenzhou Golden Sun Photovoltaic Co. Ltd, the selection includes a kit with a foldable 80 or 100W PV module. The 12V 20Ah battery, 500W sine wave inverter, and 10A controller are built into one charging unit.
Quanzhou Jintion offers the H006B model in suitcase form. It comes with two 12W panels, a 300W solar charge controller and two 12V 17Ah batteries.
The product can power four 5W LED bulbs for up to four hours. It can support a 200W load for one or two hours.
Makers are anticipating overseas demand to be strong in coming months. Qingdao AST Solar Technology Co. Ltd, for instance, sees exports in the line increasing 9 or 10 percent this year.
Approximately 70 percent of portable solar power systems from China are fitted with monocrystalline silicon panels, while 30 percent use polycrystalline types. This is because modules in the first group have higher efficiency ratings, enabling units to support greater loads for the same size.
Power specifications reach 200W. Versions for sets last between 20 and 25 years. Those for designs with built-in batteries and chargers have service lives of five to 20 years.
For batteries, options include lead-acid, NiMH and Li-ion variants. The first is common in kits, while the last two formulations are popular in integrated packs.
Prices for solar power kits start at $30 but can exceed $200, depending on the capability of the balance of systems.
Between $30 and $200, the selection includes sets with polycrystalline panels having efficiency ratings of 14 to 16 percent. The service life of the modules does not surpass 20 years.
More expensive sets come with monocrystalline panels. The modules are 15 to 17 percent efficient and last 25 years.
Power systems for mobile devices go for $5 to $20.
Model: Solar Charger/SB-2110
Note:This article was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.
All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.
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