Another large-sized solar charger and battery system is about to hit the market, as an off-grid solar generator in a briefcase.
When it comes to portable solar power, the market is flooded with small chargers sized for personal electronics, but for those who want to provide power for larger devices, such as laptops, the number of choices isn't nearly as big. However, recent entries into the large-sized portable solar charger market, such as the SolPad Mobile, are working to change that, and a newly release device from Renogy (the folks who brought us the Lycan Powerbox last year) looks to be a decent contender as well.
The Renogy Phoenix solar generator is designed as an all-in-one portable power solution combining 20 watts of solar panels, a 16 Ah lithium-ion battery, and a pure sine wave 150W AC inverter into a single briefcase-sized unit (16.24” x 11.95” x 3.94”) weighing in at just 12.8 pounds. The 'briefcase' opens up to deploy the two 10W solar panels for charging the internal battery, or can be used in the closed position after charging to just access the 110V AC (the standard current available from home and office outlets), the single 12V 12.5A (auto cigarette lighter format) port, the double 12V 3A ports, or the four USB 5V 2.4A ports.
The Phoenix is also expandable (or chainable, if you prefer) by connecting additional external solar panels to it (up to 120W total) for reduced charging times or to provide more solar input during daylight hours, and the battery can be charged via solar inputs, grid power (AC input), or from a vehicle's 12 V output. A small LCD screen displays the battery's current level, as well as the output levels, a 3W LED light offers illumination for small tasks, and the 14.8V battery pack, which is rated for 1500 charging cycles, can be replaced once it hits the end of its useful life.
"Our vision has been very clear, we want to simplify solar power by making it affordable, reliable and easy to use. We want to impact the world through clean and safe energy products that are appealing and plug-and-play." - Yi Li, CEO of Renogy
The small form factor of this solar charger makes it a good fit for not only off-grid excursions and events such as picnics or tailgating, but also as an element of an emergency preparedness kit, where it can serve as a micro power plant in the event of a blackout or natural disaster. The Renogy Phoenix solar generator is available exclusively through Amazon, where it is currently priced at $588 (full retail price is $699), and more information is available at Renogy.com.