Solar power is relatively inexpensive to produce and clean, meaning there’s no need for fuel, which at times may be in limited supply after a disaster. Portable solar panels convert sunlight into electricity using photovoltaics to power small- and medium-sized devices. Some off-grid homes can also take advantage of a photovoltaic system to generate backup power in the event of an emergency. Here are a few solar power protector options to back you up when the grid goes down.

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1. Earthtech Ultimate 1800 Watt Generator Kit
This 1800-watt generator from Earthtech Products is a viable alternative to a gas-powered generator. With this solar-powered unit, there’s no noise and no fumes. The unit’s battery boxes store 400 amp-hours of backup battery power to run lights, appliances and other electronics. The five solar panels need only 12.5 hours of charge time to be able to power a residential home. An LED display indicates live monitoring and how much power you have in reserve. (; 877-548-3387)

Dimensions: 40.16 x 26.37 x 1.57 inches (panels)
Weight: 100 pounds (with batteries)
Wattage: 100
Panel Type: Polycrystalline
MSRP: $3,189

2. Thunderbolt Magnum 1.5 Watt Solar Battery Charger
The temperature is below zero, the oil in your vehicle’s crank case is like paste and the battery is lifeless. Don’t panic—Thunderbolt Magnum’s 1.5-watt solar battery charger mounts on your dashboard or windshield via suction cups to soak up any available sunlight. Once in place, the unit plugs into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter to revive your 12-volt battery or keep it charged until you need it. (; 800-423-2567)

Dimensions: 13.75 x 4.75 x 0.5 inches
Weight: 1.6 pounds
Wattage: 1.5
Panel Type: Amorphous crystal
MSRP: $20

RELATED: 8 Portable Generator Benefits

3. Bushnell PowerSync SolarWrap 250
Bushnell’s SolarWrap 250 is lightweight and compact, and it can easily find a place in a bug-out bag. The flexible solar cell rolls out from an integrated protective case. A high-capacity Li-Ion battery stores power any allows for the charging of small devices like a camera, MP3 player, smartphone or GPS. It takes about six hours in the sun to fully charge the battery. (; 800-423-3537)

Dimensions: 9.12 x 2.4 inches
Weight: 9.2 ounces
Wattage: 5
Panel Type: Amorphous thin film
MSRP: $155

4. Solio Bolt P&L Kit
Solio invented handheld solar charging devices a decade ago, and the Bolt P&L Kit has everything you need to power-up a phone and turn the lights back on. The kit includes the Bolt battery bank with two solar panels and Alva USB-powered LED light, all packaged together in a convenient canvas tote bag. The Bolt is palm-sized and the Alva is a 25-lumen light perfect for reading or cooking. The Bolt will also charge a dead phone in about
90 minutes! (

3.5 x 3.5 x 1 inches (Bolt) 6.25 x 3.25 inches (Alva)
Weight: 8.9 ounces (kit)
Wattage: 5
Panel Type: Monocrystalline
MSRP: $100

5. Goal Zero Yeti 400 Solar Generator
Unlike gas-powered generators, the Yeti 400 can be used indoors since there are no fumes and no noise. Consider this generator a mini and silent power plant for when the power goes out. The battery is powered by three solar panels, or it can be charged prior to an event from a wall outlet. The Yeti 400 is powerful enough to run small appliances, laptops and CPAP machines. (; 888-794-6250)

Dimensions: 10.25 x 8 x 8 inches
Weight: 29pounds
Wattage: 300
Panel Type: Monocrystalline
MSRP: $460

6. Voltaic Array Solar Laptop Charger
The Voltaic Array Solar Laptop Charger is part solar cell that charges a storage battery and part backpack. The bag part holds 1,500 cubic inches of gear while the solar panel and battery charge when in direct sunlight. This might just be the ultimate bug-out bag for communications since the array is designed to charge smartphones, tablets, laptops and cameras. (; 212-401-1192)

Dimensions: 16.5 x 10.5 x 1.25 inches
Weight: 3.6 pounds
Wattage: 11
Panel Type: Monocrystalline
MSRP: $389

7. Global Solar Sunlinq 1
The Sunlinq 1 is a super lightweight and portable solar panel that folds up and can fit inside a knapsack or even a cargo pants pocket. Plug your phone, laptop, GPS or any other portable electronic device directly into the Sunlinq 1’s USB port for instant charging. Built-in grommets allow you to hang or mount the panel for optimum sun exposure. The panels features copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS), a thin film that is flexible and durable. (; 520-546-6313)

Dimensions: 9 x 14 inches
Weight: 4 ounces
Wattage: 2
Panel Type: Copper indium gallium diselenide
MSRP: $65

8. XD Design Port
The integrated suction cup sticks to any window, and the built-in 1,000 mAh rechargeable lithium battery stores enough power to charge your cell phone. An easy-access USB port is also built into the device for use at home, in the office or in a vehicle. When everyone else’s phone is dead, make sure you can stay is touch with your loved ones as you make your way out of the disaster area. (

Dimensions: 15.5 x 1.4 inches
Weight: 6.4 ounces
Wattage: 1
Panel Type: Monocrystalline
MSRP: $60

9. Wagan Solar e Power Cube 1500
The 1,500-watt Solar e Power Cube is self contained, and its five solar panels open up like flower petals during operation. Two AC outlets and two USB outlets provide power for all portable electronics as well as microwave ovens and conventional refrigerators. The battery can also be charged via a wall outlet. This is an all-in-one unit so setting it up is simple: Wheel this unit out into the sun after the storm and you will soon have power. (; 800-231-5806)

Dimensions: 20.8 x 20.8 x 14 inches
Weight: 84 pounds
Wattage: 1,500
Panel Type: Monocrystalline
MSRP: $1,300

10. Renogy Solar Emergency Kit 100
This 100-watt emergency kit has solar cells housed in a suitcase-type case, making it extremely portable. The unit’s stand also allows the panels to be adjusted. A 1,000-watt off-grid inverter, a 12-volt battery and inverter cables are included in the kit. The kit will power small appliances and electronics as well as essential home medical equipment. (; 800-330- 8678)

Dimensions: 20 x 27 x 3 inches
Weight: 33 pounds
Wattage: 100
Panel Type: Mono crystalline
MSRP: $650

11. KISAE Technology 1800W Home Solar Kit
This 1,800-watt home kit is easy to set up anywhere with a simple modular design that allows you to upgrade and add more panels if the grid stays down for an extended period of time. The kit includes an inverter, a battery storage case and solar panels with all the necessary wiring. Use it in your bug-out vehicle or an RV that you have transformed into a bug-out vehicle/shelter. (; 604-630-8680)

Dimensions: 36.5 x 26.9 x 35.6 inches
Weight: 76 pounds
Wattage: 1,800
Panel Type: Monocrystalline
MSRP: $1,300

12. Aspect Solar Sunsocket Solar Generator
The award-winning Sunsocket Solar Generator actually tracks the sun for maximum panel exposure throughout the day. The entire unit comes housed in a case the size of an attaché case, then it folds up inside for easy portability. Use this to recharge electronic devices like phones, GPS units and laptops, or use it to charge larger batteries for additional power needs. (; 877-717-7778)

Dimensions: 16.5 x 20.2 x 4.2 inches
Weight: 25 pounds
Wattage: 100 output/ 60 Panel
Panel Type: Monocrystalline
MSRP: $1,999

This article was originally published in the SURVIVOR’S EDGE™ Summer 2015 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.

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