solar power to recharge battery?

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Last seen: 11 years 1 month ago
Joined: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 - 10:42
Points: 8
solar power to recharge battery?

Hello everyone

I'm new here. A couple of weeks ago I purchased the new Trek FX+ here in Atlanta, GA.

Love it so far.

I'm wondering, has anyone considered using solar power to recharge the battery while riding?
I have a friend who is training to be a solar installer, and I haven't run it by him yet, but figured I'd ask this community first.

I have enjoyed all of the resources and discussion here.


jdh2550_1's picture
Last seen: 10 years 5 months ago
Joined: Tuesday, July 17, 2007 - 09:35
Points: 2335
Re: solar power to recharge battery?

Hi Kerry,

The best way to recharge your battery by solar is to have a decent sized solar array in a fixed location (such as at your house or place of work) and charge the bike from there. If you're out using your bike during the day so it's not sitting in the right place during the sunlight hours then consider getting a second battery pack and charging that while using the other one and then swapping them.

Putting solar panels for use on a moving vehicle is very tricky. The universities who do the solar races build very big flat vehicles so as (a) to get enough square footage of panels and (b) to ensure the panels get hit by sunlight. It's much easier and more effective to build a stationary solar array and charge a battery (or if you have a big enough array use reverse metering to feed the grid and then draw from the grid when you need it).

If you simply "must have" a portable solution then I've seen various designs that fold out for use when stationary and pack away when riding.

However, I don't think I've seen an effective solution for actually charging while riding.

Hope this helps.

John H. Founder of Current Motor Company - opinions on this site belong to me; not to my employer
Remember: " 'lectric for local. diesel for distance" - JTH, Amp Bros || "No Gas.

Last seen: 5 years 1 month ago
Joined: Monday, June 22, 2009 - 12:24
Points: 524
Re: solar power to recharge battery?

Charging while riding is a fairly big problem, as it becomes impractical to maintain optimum sun exposure of the solar panels while riding! When panels do not have a direct, unobstructed view directly towards the sun, the amperage available decreases noticably! Because of this, and the reality that most of us find turns and curves involved with traveling any significant distance, actual power generated from a mobile solar array can be much less than the panels RATED output. With the above in mind, the other problem is WHERE will you mount a solar array large enough to make a meaningful contribution to your battery pack? If your vehicle is powered by 36 volts, and averages 5 amperes current draw, or 180 watts, you panels would need to generate at least that much power to break even!Because of this, and the size of a suitable, panel array (say, 400 or so watts) installing such a large array wuld have significant aerodynamic and weight effects! A 400 watt array could, in good conditions, be expected to provide around 150-250 watts in a mobile application, but it would present a surface are of about 50 square feet, and probably weigh at least 70 pounds!--Charging from solar while parked is much more feasible, as optimum placement for solar enertgy capture is easier to maintain, allowing a smaller solar array.--Bob Curry

Robert M. Curry

Last seen: 12 years 4 months ago
Joined: Sunday, December 9, 2007 - 01:20
Points: 22
Re: solar power to recharge battery?

here is link that show a small scale solar charging

Due to the customer's requirement and trailer size restriction. This system will only able to re-charge for 1/4 of the energy in a day.


Last seen: 11 years 2 weeks ago
Joined: Thursday, October 23, 2008 - 11:37
Points: 289
Re: solar power to recharge battery?

Yes Ive done it on a 36v scooter, (which used 3 x12v SLAs)

the Trick is to use 3 panels (I used 14w thin film rolly powerfilms) each connected individually to each battery.

Thats much better than adding all panels in series and charging all batts in series for 4 reasons. (Balancing, less resistance to solar panels etc ect)

Works great, I leave my scooter in yard and its always full and ready to go, also gives me slightly more power and range.
I have the thin panels on rods poking out nearly a meter behind the seat, I did try having them as kind of a roof over my head but they flapped too much!

Last seen: 5 years 8 months ago
Joined: Friday, December 1, 2006 - 09:01
Points: 712
Re: solar power to recharge battery?

Nice tight installation detailed at:

He claims his scoot hasn't seen an outlet for 700 miles since the install.


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