Hopefully, as you’re reading this you’re able to cast your mind back to some memorable times you’ve spent out there wild camping this summer, away from it all and relaxing in the warm sunshine and metaphorically speaking; ‘re-charging your batteries’.

Since the beginning of time, the power of the Sun has been the ultimate source of energy here on Earth, but the recharging your batteries started to move from the metaphorical to the literal when humans started to harness this power and learned how to convert it into other forms of energy and in particular electricity using solar panels. This technology has evolved massively over the past 200 years ever since a 19-year-old Physicist called Edmond Becquerel in 1839 realised whilst coating platinum electrodes using silver chloride led to a rise in voltage once exposed to light.

Edmond Becquerel (1820 – 1891) the French physicist who invented solar panels.

Leap forward to the beginning of the 20th Century and the better known Albert Einstein published a paper on the photoelectric effect that later went on to win him the Nobel Prize. The first solar rooftop system wasn’t implemented until 1884 in New York when a gentleman called Charles Fritts used panels made from selenium that only gave a 1% efficiency, not very much when compared to components used to make solar panels today that produce efficiencies well in excess of 20%.

In fact, the very name ‘solar panel’ is a bit of a misnomer because they actually work with any type of light, however, it’s only sunlight that’s the real viable energy input seeing as it’s delivered all over the planet for free. It’s this technology that our Swedish friends over at CTEK recently put to great use to make our lives as wilderness explorers even more comfortable and enjoyable.

If you’re a subscriber and regular reader of TURAS Magazine you’ll know we took delivery of CTEK’s new revolutionary CS FREE, (the world’s first multi-functional truly portable battery charger and smart maintainer with Adaptive Boost technology letting you charge and maintain any 12v lead acid or Lithium battery wherever you are). Indeed, you may have seen the short film we produced at the time, (CHECK IT OUT BELOW) showing us using it to restart my Land Rover Defender in under 15 mins after I came out to find it with a totally flat battery on my driveway during the lockdown.

It was impressive stuff (the CS FREE, not me in the film!) and at the time thinking forward to when we could get back out there into remote spots to wild camp, it was clearly going to deliver some real peace of mind if you ever found yourself in the same predicament but out in the middle of nowhere on a wild camp rather than sitting outside your house.However, with the CS FREE being a multi-functional portable charger with both USB-C and USB-A ports I’ve used it widely this summer when out and about as a power source to charge up my phone, iPad, camera batteries etc. whilst off wild camping and far from any wall plug charging points. Although once charged up the CS FREE holds a its charge for up to a year, inevitably when away for several days and using it to charge various peripheral bits of kit, it ends up needing re-charging itself, and this is when the solar panel charge kit accessory really comes into its own giving you the ultimate freedom and endless source of power away from the mains.

The panels are made from really tough fibreglass which are simply unfolded when removed from the carrying case that usefully doubles as a stand to hold the panels in position when being used.

The solar panels feature intelligent and extremely efficient silicon cells with a specially developed safety box to ensure that the kit delivers exactly the right amount of power to protect your battery and devices from excess voltage. They’re waterproof (always useful in a UK summer), weather-resistant and very durable and really are the perfect partner to the CS FREE as it connects together in seconds with just two clearly marked connectors. Then you simply just position the panels towards the sunlight and within an hour it can have your CS Free unit fully charged back up.To be honest, being no Albert Einstein myself after having read up a bit on solar power although I can kind of grasp the theory how it all actually works is still a bit beyond me – but at the end of the day all I really need to know is that these things don’t just deliver you power wherever you are but and real freedom peace of mind to go wherever you want safe in the knowledge that whatever happens, you’ll always have light… and