To be prepared I have tried to invest in things that give me some measure of help if things go wrong. I have also had power outages at my apartment so having a small backup solar power set is also a practical necessity.
Living in an apartment has its own set of challenges. You don’t have the ability to attach solar panels to the roof or put them outside like you might if you had a house or condo. This means that it has to be portable, and be something that you can use through a window or even hanging out of a window. I hang mine outside of a window since I am on the first floor and no one cares what the back of my window looks like.
I know not everyone who lives in an apartment can hang things outside their window, but you would probably get the same effect if you opened your window and hung it from inside. I tried that at first but the power collection was less, so outside the window is best for my situation.
It didn’t cost much money to get started. First I had to buy some paracord. I chose this: Extremus True Mil Spec 5040 Paracord, It had great reviews and would easily hold up the lightweight solar panels outside.
Then for the solar panels I bought 1 60W COOCHEER and 1 120W CHAKOR. I bought both of these solar panels because of their excellent reviews and they seemed a good value for the money. For the solar generator I bought this: BEAUDENS Portable Power Station, Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery LiFePO4, 2000 Cycles. I liked several things about this. It had an MPPT controller which is a fancy way of saying that it handles power coming in and going out in a superior way. You want this if you have solar power. I also loved that it had a lithium iron phosphate battery which gives you 4 times the reliability as standard lithium ion batteries. Many solar chargers only last 500 cycles or 2 years if you charge them each day. This could potentially last 10 years, and they will even replace the battery. That is very environmental.
Update: I had to buy this: Omnihil 10 Feet Long Male to Male 5.5mm x 2.1mm Plug DC Power Adapter Extension Cable 20AWG 240V. This was because the included 9v cable is very short and doesn’t give you any distance between this solar generator and your solar panels. It was reasonably priced and it shipped quickly. It gave me the length I needed to put the BEAUDENS in a sheltered place. Lithium batteries don’t handle heat well, so keeping them away from direct sunlight will extend the life of the unit.
The downside to the BEAUDENS is that the display doesn’t really give you much information. Other units will give you more information. Still I liked it so much that I bought a second one so that it can run the second solar panel that I have. With these two units I can charge my laptop, run my internet router and provide light with my NowLight. This is a great start and all this cost was $600.
The solar generators are useful besides emergency power. If you have to do something for a professional reason like give a demonstration or play music with speakers, these could do the job. These things can help in professional ways as well. They also include a power AC adapter so they can power up from the wall if you don’t have solar power. At the very least, they provide an easy way to store power for when you need it. Why not just get a cheaper UPS? Well I have a UPS and they are heavy and not lithium. If you bought a UPS that is lithium the costs will be similar without this functionality. In addition a UPS automatically turns on the power when its gone, and a solar generator allows you to turn on the power or not. Its a matter of choice.
I like UPS but I like solar generators better. You can charge this with your car cigarette lighter as well if you want in case you are traveling and need it at your end destination. This is the future of batteries.