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Maverick of Maverick Solar put the IkePak together to help his son after Hurricane Ike. He did not spend time doing extensive calculations, but just used what was readily available — he runs a solar energy company, so he probably has a few relevant things available — or easily obtained at the local WalMart. The wheeled Igloo cooler holds a marine battery, a 400W inverter, a solar charge controller, an inline fuse for protection, and most of the wiring. It provides enough power for a few CFLs, a small TV, and a cell phone charger. The total cost was ~ $360; the most expensive item was the $175 20W solar panel.

Additional pictures and details are the link below.

IkePak [Maverick Solar]

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8 Responses to How-To: Portable Solar Power

  1. Old Coot says:

    A very clever use of a wheeled ice chest. Nice job.

  2. Powerenz.com says:

    Nice little system. We lots of different portable solar power systems we have built over the years also. Check us out if you are interested in portable solar power.

  3. Paully says:

    What are the most efficient solar cells (ie watts per square foot) out right now?

  4. ambush says:

    Its best not to get the most efficient ones, because unless space is at a huge premium you can get many more watts per doller by getting less efficient ones.

  5. Billy says:

    The Sanyo HIT series seems to be the most efficient PV modules that are readily available to consumers. Their efficiency is around 17%. Most others are around 14 – 15% efficient and produce 200W – 230W per module. Rough dimensions are around 35″ x 65″.

  6. I think this is the must read article for those who are really worried about their energy expenses..Keep it up and keep posting.

  7. David Bryan says:

    Laurie, this article is about an affordable version of a very expensive, per watt, energy source. It’s great for what it’s good for, but it ain’t for reducing energy expenses.

  8. Jim K. says:

    I built a system just like this over the summer. Portability wasn’t the main priority except for the fact that I rent and want to be able to take it with me easily when I move on. It’s working out well for my use. All of my rechargeable devices and batteries get their juice from it, as does a small bedside lamp, a shortwave radio and a scanner. Best part for me is that the solar panel was free (gotten from an estate that was being dumpstered) the deep cycle battery was scrounged from my office where someone had bought the wrong battery for a backup system, and I had the cooler. A few bucks worth of wood and hardware and a little sweat equity and I had my system.

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