Foldable Solar Panels: Function, Efficiency, Types, Pros, Cons, and More

If you thought solar panels were only for residences, industries, and commercial settings, then you might have been wrong! 

You’ll be glad to know that with technological advancement, there are some solar panel variants that you can carry during camping and hiking for charging your gadgets. These are known as foldable or portable solar panels. 

Now you don’t have to worry about charging your phones or laptops when they run out of battery. 

Thanks to the foldable solar panel, it provides solar energy for electric appliances to work even during a remote trip. In other terms, you don’t necessarily need to be in a specific location to use solar energy.  

Sounds fascinating? Let’s learn more about foldable solar panels.

How Does a Foldable Solar Panel Work? 

Similar to a normal solar panel, a foldable solar panel transforms the energy from the sun’s rays into electricity through a charge controller. This controller is then attached to the device’s battery to charge it. 

You must ensure that the solar panels face the sunlight and that the sun rays fall directly on the panels. This will help the panels convert the energy appropriately and use it to charge your devices. 

Once done, you can fold it up, put it in your bag, and carry it to the next location you’re headed to. 

The Efficiency of Foldable Solar Panels 

Now that you know how it functions, let’s help you understand the efficiency of a foldable solar panel. 

Usually, the efficiency will range from 21.5% to 23.55% if it’s a good foldable panel. You’ll be able to charge your solar panels during the sunlight peak hours. 

If you want a good energy-efficient solar panel, consider buying a monocrystalline solar panel. Why?

We’ll help you understand that as well. Keep reading for all answers that are yet to come.  

Types of Foldable Solar Panels 

Now, let us look into the types of foldable or portable solar panels. Generally, a foldable solar panel comes in three categories: monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin film. 

  • Monocrystalline

Let us discuss monocrystalline foldable solar panels first. These solar panels are made from a single silicon crystal. 

Hence, they are more efficient than polycrystalline ones. They are better than thin film foldable solar panels too. Putting it out simply, these panels produce more energy than the other two types.  

  • Polycrystalline 

Unlike the Monocrystalline panel, a polycrystalline foldable solar panel comes in a blue shade. These panels are made of many silicon crystal fragments, making them less efficient than monocrystalline modules. 

  • Thin Film 

As the name suggests, these solar panels are thinner than the other two types and are less efficient. 

This factor also makes them the cheapest kind. The thin film portable solar panels are made of many materials, like amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride, and copper indium gallium selenide. 

Pros and Cons of Buying a Foldable Solar Panel 

Before deciding which one to buy, you must know the pros and cons of buying a foldable solar panel. Here are the three pros:

  • – It is portable; hence, you can carry it with you. 
  • – Another feature is that it is easy to hold and attach to the device. 
  • – It has an extremely practical design that allows you to charge your devices anywhere during the daytime. 

But, there are cons too. The ones that shouldn’t be missed are as follows:

  • – These solar panels cannot work when there’s very little sunlight. In other terms, they need a decent amount of sunlight to generate energy. 
  • – The charge time required by these panels is higher than the conventional charging mode. 

How to Choose Foldable Solar Panels? 

Confused about which foldable solar panel to buy? Follow the tips specified below to make the right selection: 

  • – Determine the purpose behind the purchase. Whether you want to buy solar panels to charge your phone, laptop, LED bulbs, or for other purposes, buy the appropriate kind that will serve your needs.
  • – Next, understand how many days or hours you need the solar panels. If you need solar panels for three days, you must buy ones that provide sufficient wattage for three days. 
  • – Understand if you want solar panels in the future. If yes, you need to buy the ones with a good lifespan despite they might cost more. 
  • – Ensure to know how much energy the solar panels can supply. You would not want to invest in a solar panel that does not work for as many hours as you need. 
  • – Consider the cost factor and buy the one that fits your budget.
  • – Decide how portable you want your foldable solar panel to be. For instance: If you want to take it backpacking, you can get the one that is suitable for emergency charging. However, if you want it for your RV, you can buy the one that can be placed on the roof.

Uses of Foldable Solar Panels 

Now, let’s discuss where you can use portable solar panels!

Well, these panels are made with the intent to provide solar energy in places where there is no electricity. 

This means that you can take them with you to the beach or when you’re camping or hiking. You can carry them to remote areas. 


A foldable solar panel is indeed an amazing invention that has made it easier to carry solar energy on the go. 

Now that you know everything about a foldable solar panel, do not delay in making a purchase.  


Q. Are foldable solar panels worth buying?

Yes, foldable solar panels are practical, convenient, and portable; hence, they are worth buying if you wish to use solar energy even while you’re travelling. 

Q. Are foldable solar panels effective?

Yes, foldable solar panels are effective. Although they might not be as effective as a full-sized conventional solar panel, they are effective. 

Q. What is the average lifespan of a portable solar panel?

The average lifespan of a portable solar panel is up to 25 or 30 years. It depends on the quality, type, and brand.