BioLite’s mission is to empower people and do good for the planet by providing access to renewable energy in the developing world, especially in East Africa. Until now, BioLite has mainly done this by creating products for sustainable cooking, home lighting, and low-power devices.
BioLite has historically sold energy-efficient smokeless fire pits, wood stoves for cooking, headlamps, lanterns, and small battery banks in the consumer market. But, they’ve recently stepped up their game by releasing their most powerful battery bank yet, the BaseCharge 1500 Rechargeable Power Station, a 1,521 watt-hour rechargeable battery. To go along with the BaseCharge, BioLite released their largest portable solar panel yet, the SolarPanel 100, a folding 100-watt solar panel.
I’ve been testing the BaseCharge 1500 and the SolarPanel 100 for the past month. Between the massive battery capacity and the unlimited recharges from the sun, these have expanded what off-grid living can look like without installing huge solar panels on my vehicle.
The BaseCharge stands out in a crowded market of portable power stations with its intuitive features. The rechargeable battery is about as simple as possible, and the solar panel is just as easy to hook up as plugging in your cell phone.
With the BaseCharge 1500, I’ve been able to power everything from a television to a fan and even a refrigerator. While working remotely, I powered my laptop for weeks on a single charge. For reference, a BaseCharge 1500 at capacity will recharge a laptop over 20 times and can power a 45-liter cooler for 37 hours.
The BaseCharge has a built-in inverter and three 120-volt/1200-watt AC wall plugs. It also has two USB-A and USB-C ports, as well as a USB-C in/out powered delivery (PD) port for up to 100 watts of power to energy-hungry USB devices. You can also recharge the battery with this USB-CC PD port. For the overlanding and RV devices that require DC power, it has one 12-volt carport plug and two 12-volt DC barrel ports. All three of these plug-in options are 120 watts, too. If you want to charge your phone wirelessly, the BaseCharge also supports this, but only for one device at a time.
The BaseCharge has a 30-volt/400-watt maximum high-powered port (HPP) for charging the battery. This device comes with a charger to plug directly into the wall at home. The SolarPanel 100 has an integrated power cord that also plugs directly into this port.
The most unique feature of the BaseCharge is its digital display. This display tells you how many hours until the battery will be empty, as well as battery percentage and input/output watt usage. When charging, the display also tells you how long until fully charged.
On the display, you can see in real-time how angling the panel at the sun affects how much power you can draw from sunlight. Using the integrated sundial to point the panel directly at the sun, you can watch the number of input watts rise. The SolarPanel has integrated Velcro kickstand legs to aid in positioning the panel to get maximum wattage. With the BaseCharge 1500, you can chain up to four SolarPanel 100s together for 400 watts of power from the sun.
With a single SolarPanel 100 in ideal conditions, the number of input watts feeding into the BaseCharge could, in theory, reach 100. However, with real-world testing in sunny Colorado, the power coming from the SolarPanel usually hovered around 30-50 watts unless I was very deliberate with adjusting the angle of the panels. This is the case with other solar panels, too, but it’s worth noting that BioLite’s solar panel is no different in this regard.
Whether you’re living off-grid, want a backup power source for your home, or both, the BaseCharge will help you keep the lights on.
$1,699 | bioliteenergy.com
If you need less battery capacity, BioLite also offers the slightly smaller BaseCharge 600 ($700). For further details, visitbioliteenergy.com
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