How to run a booth with portable solar panels? Let’s start with the beverage industry. Over the past few years, we have seen a shift in the beverage industry as it aims to be environmentally friendly. We’ve noticed improvements in the way beverage store owners recycle water to minimize water usage, natural processing methods are more widely used due to taste and reduced environmental impact, coffee roasters have grown for their coffee, and Beverage shop owners have identified more sustainable packaging options to start offering discounts for individuals carrying reusable cups.
So what do you get when you combine the eco-drink movement with America’s food truck craze? The answer is the Solar Beverage Stand!
If you run a beverage stand and want to lower your carbon footprint, keep reading this article to learn more about how to set up and run a beverage stand using portable solar panels and generators.
What are Portable Solar Panels?
As the name suggests, portable solar panel systems are small solar panels that you can carry around to generate electricity. They are easy to install and power, just like regular rooftop solar panel systems. Depending on their size, portable solar panels can generate up to 350 watts of power.
Portable solar panel systems use the sun’s rays to generate electricity with the help of photovoltaic cells. The panels consist of batteries and are available in a variety of sizes. Plus, they can easily be carried around and kept in the vehicle for easy transport.
In addition, portable solar panel systems include other components such as batteries, solar charge controllers, inverters, brackets, and storage boxes. Among the essential components to run an off-grid system are portable solar panels, batteries, inverters and charge controllers.
This portable solar power system is mainly used for powering, heating and lighting appliances. You can get mobile solar panel systems in various forms. However, they usually come in the form of a folding suitcase panel kit. The system is used as a replacement for generators, which are often uncomfortable and loud.
How to set up and run a beverage booth with a portable solar panel system?
Here’s how to set up and run a portable solar panel beverage stand.
Step 1 – Know Your Electricity Needs
The first thing you need to do when you plan to set up a beverage stand with solar panels is to know your electricity needs.
In terms of scale, solar energy is a very flexible energy source. You must first consider how big your system is, i.e. how much power you need.
Therefore, you should start by listing the devices you wish to power your beverage stand with portable solar panels. This can include a mobile charger, some LED lights, an espresso machine, a smoothie blender, a mini fridge, or anything.
Now add up the power requirements of these devices. Assume the power requirements are as follows:
- LED light: 30W
- Espresso machine: 750W
- Blender: 400W
- Mini fridge: 80W
Step 2 – Select Solar Panels
After calculating the total power required, it is time to decide on the type and size of solar panels. Suppose your total energy requirement is 1260W considering the above appliances and equipment.
In this case, it is recommended to use 6 solar panels of 220W, providing a total energy equivalent of 1320W. This way, you can account for unpredictable sunlight levels and efficiency losses.
You can choose between flexible solar panels, regular solar panels and rugged portable solar panels. While all solar panels basically work the same way, they all have their own set of benefits. Rigid, regular solar panels are the cheapest, while flexible panels are very portable and durable.
Portable solar panels come with protected edges to make them more durable. It is easy to set them in the correct position using the mounting brackets. Therefore, it is very convenient to install a portable solar panel system using portable modules. Portable foldable solar panels are another more compact option.
Step 3 – Get the battery and charge the controller
You will need a battery to use the solar energy generated by the panels at night as well as a charge controller to ensure safe battery charging. Before choosing which size battery to buy, you need to decide how much power you need to store. The 6 220W 19.8V panels we decided would produce close to 4.4 kWh, assuming you get 6 hours of full sun. Assuming the panels are connected in series, the total voltage will be 118.8 volts (19.8 x 6).
To get a battery that can store the entire 4.4 kWh, you need to perform the following calculations to get the battery capacity in ampere-hours (Ah):
Wh ÷ V = Ah
Therefore, (4.4 x 1000) ÷ 96 ≈ 45.8 Ah
To maintain a buffer for battery efficiency and depth of discharge, it is best to choose a 50 Ah battery. Different kinds of batteries are available for solar kits. However, to minimize maintenance hassles, you should opt for lithium-ion or lead-acid batteries.
Solar charge controllers are essential for optimal and safe charging. To calculate the right charge controller for your needs, all you need to do is divide the net energy produced by your portable solar panel by the battery voltage. This way you can get the current rating of the charge controller. However, you should multiply your answer by a safe value to account for changes in portable panel output power. Remember that the voltage of the charge controller should match the voltage of the solar cell.
Of the two solar charge controllers, the PWM charge controller is cost-effective but less efficient. The cost of charge controllers has dropped significantly over the past few years. Nonetheless, we strongly recommend that you set up your solar panel system with an MPPT controller to get the most out of your system.
Step 4 – Invest in an inverter
Inverters convert DC power from portable solar panels or batteries to AC power. Typically, most appliances and electronics, including coffee makers, blenders, refrigerators, and more, use AC power because that’s the power the grid supplies to the house.
These appliances and devices cannot run on the DC power generated by the panel, and if you try to run them directly from AC power, they will be damaged instantly. So you need an inverter to convert the DC to usable AC.
The input rating of the inverter needs to be lower than the combined power of all the electronics you will be using in your beverage booth. Also, the nominal voltage of the inverter needs to be the same as the nominal voltage of the inverter.
To run a beverage stand effectively, your portable solar panel should be well-equipped to handle the total power of all the appliances you will be using at all times. Also, you need to keep a safety buffer for unpredictable energy surges and size the inverter 20% higher than the total power of all the appliances and equipment you will be using at a particular time.
Step 5 – Complete the Wiring
The final step is to install the most important part of the portable solar system to power the beverage stand. Since you’re using a 24-volt panel, you can easily connect them in series by connecting the positive terminal of one panel to the negative terminal of the other.
When connecting the panels, make sure they are not exposed to sunlight, as DC power can be dangerous. It is very important to connect or disconnect portable solar panels safely.
Why Invest in Portable Solar Power to Run a Beverage Stand?
Now that you know how to run a beverage stand with solar panels, let’s see if the technology is really worth it.
- Minimal maintenance
Portable solar panel systems don’t have any moving parts, which means you don’t need to replace or lubricate moving parts like bearings. Thorough cleaning and cleaning every few months is all the maintenance your system needs. This means you can serve your customers delicious beverages without worrying about system failure due to malfunction or lack of maintenance.
- Easy to use
The only thing a portable solar panel needs to generate electricity is sunlight, an inexhaustible and sustainable resource. Furthermore, this abundant resource is available almost everywhere in the world. So you can use portable solar panels to generate electricity to power your beverage stand no matter where it is located!
Portable solar panels, like the ones we sell at SOUOP, have a convenient foldable design, so you can fold them up and put them away without a problem. This is something other portable energy systems such as portable fuel generators cannot provide.
- Green energy
One of the biggest drawbacks of conventional energy sources is that they are not environmentally friendly. Fortunately, portable solar panels don’t require any dangerous fossil fuels or chemicals to operate, which means you’re not harming the environment while using them.
- No noise
Portable solar panels make very little noise when they work. In fact, some models are completely silent, making them ideal for both outdoor and indoor use. When you use a portable solar panel, you can create a relaxing environment for yourself while working and preparing coffee for clients.
Last few words
Portable solar panels are something every beverage stall owner should invest in due to the huge benefits they offer. Regardless of the initial investment cost, portable solar panels are less expensive to operate than fuel-powered generators. Plus, you don’t have to invest as much in maintenance, which means you can focus on making the best drinks for your customers!
At SOUOP, we have a huge range of portable solar panels and products that you can use to run a beverage stand – and more!
Buy SOUOP for all your solar energy needs.