Solar chargers are primarily used to employ solar energy to charge batteries or supply electricity to devices. They are generally portable and can charge lead acid batteries or Ni-Cd batteries up to 48 V and 4000 mAh capacity. Most solar chargers obtain energy from the sun only but some can also be charged by electronic appliances. Solar chargers consists of solar panels and thin films which converts solar energy into electrical energy to be used by electronic devices. Based on the type of panels used, they are classified as: Mono-crystalline solar chargers, Poly-crystalline solar chargers, Amorphous solar chargers and Hybrid solar chargers. Solar chargers are mostly silicon based however, there are several different types of solar panels which include tiles, films and limelight.
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Mono-crystalline solar chargers are the most effective with an efficiency of 15%, and so they produce more energy. They also require less space as compared to other chargers, lasts longer and perform better at low light. Poly-crystalline solar chargers have an efficiency of 13% and are cheaper to produce. They are cost effective as they are made from a number of smaller silicon crystals which are melted or recrystallized. Amorphous solar chargers have an efficiency of 7% and these are one of the least efficient charger types and consequently the cheapest.
These chargers work well at lower light levels and can even generate electricity from bright moonlight. They are made from non-crystalline silicon and are then transferred as flexible film onto another surface such as glass. Hybrid solar chargers have an efficiency of 18% and these are made from a mixture of amorphous and mono-crystalline chargers to generate the maximum efficiency. These are also known as HIT solar chargers (Hetero-junction with Intrinsic Thin Layer) and they are better suited in sunnier regions where the temperature often exceeds 25° C, which helps creating up to 10% more electricity.
Solar chargers provide the facility to charge electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc. even when travelling. The high dependency for portable power sources has exhibited a positive growth in the past few years and it is expected to significantly grow the demand of portable solar chargers in the near future. Rapid urbanization, coupled with the increase in consumer preference towards handy, lightweight and durable electronic devices are likely to drive the demand for portable solar chargers in the years to come. Rise in adoption of energy efficient and advanced electronics and the increasing penetration of high specification devices that drains the battery at a much faster rate has inclined the demand for portable solar chargers in the market.
The growing dependency to use renewable sources of energy over fossil fuels is expected to drive the solar chargers market in the future. The solar chargers are eco-friendly and do not emit any toxic materials to the environment as they are harnessed directly from the sun. Technological advancements and innovations in the nanotechnology and quantum physics sector will increase the electrical output of the solar chargers triple-fold. This in turn will lead to the growth of the solar charger market exponentially in the global market. Increase in the use of electronic devices and the shifting of consumers towards devices such as portable solar chargers that use natural resources is swelling the demand for portable solar charger across the globe. Moreover, rising concerns towards saving energy is anticipated to swell the demand for portable solar charger across the globe.
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Geographically, the solar charger market can be segmented into North America, Latin America, Western and Eastern Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East & North Africa and the Rest of the world.
Some of the key players operating in the solar charger market are Philips, Dxpower, Cobra, Solio, Goal Zero, Solar Frontier and Suntrica.