Solar panel charger is a term usually used to refer to a portable type solar panel.
Some of the most popular solar panel chargers are for small devices like smartphones, tablets, and different USB devices.
There are also larger solar panel chargers used to charge 12 volt batteries in Rv’s, boats, cars, golf carts and more.
Let’s look at some of these solar panel chargers, and what they do.
Ultimate Solar Panel Charger Guide: Everything You Need To Know
What Is A Solar Panel Charger
As mentioned at the top of this guide – a solar panel charger is a term usually used to refer to a portable type solar panel.
Compared to home solar panels that feed power via an inverter into your mains supply, or back to the grid, solar panel chargers will charge a battery of a vehicle or device.
These devices and vehicles (with 12 volt batteries) will usually run on DC power, as opposed to mains and grid electricity which is AC.
Types Of Solar Panel Chargers
There are several different types of solar panel chargers:
Cell Phone Cover Solar Chargers – a specialised type of solar charger that comes as a phone cover
Folding Solar Panels – come in smaller 5-30 watt, and larger 80-120 watt + models. The smaller models you can carry around, and the larger models fold out and pack away
Flexible and Bendable Solar Panels – made of thin film laminate and usually come in 50 and 100 watt models. Can be permanently, or temporarily fixed to a surface
Rigid/Solid Solar Panels – usually 50 and 100 watt solid solar panels, that are permanently mounted or fixed to a surface
What Are Solar Panel Chargers Used For
Cell Phone Cover Solar Chargers – a specialised type of solar charger which charges your cell phone
Small Folding Solar Panels – charge mobile and handheld devices like smartphones, tablets, radios, LED lights, GPS systems, and USB devices if they have a USB output
Large Folding Solar Panels – charge 12 volt battery setups in Rv’s, boats, cabins, cars, motorbikes, golf carts etc., or large AC devices with several panels and an inverter
Flexible and Bendable Solar Panels -arge Folding Solar Panels – charge 12 volt battery setups in Rv’s, boats, cabins, cars, motorbikes, golf carts etc., or large AC devices with several panels and an inverter
Rigid/Solid Solar Panels -arge Folding Solar Panels – charge 12 volt battery setups in Rv’s, boats, cabins, cars, motorbikes, golf carts etc., or large AC devices with several panels and an inverter
How Do Solar Panel Chargers Work?
Solar panel chargers work by absorbing the energy from the sun, when they are in the sunlight directly.
The smaller solar panel chargers will have built in solar controllers/regulators, whilst the larger solar panel chargers have separate solar controller devices.
A solar controller regulates the amount of voltage and current coming from the panel into the battery, to protect the battery from overcharging damage.
What Are The Best Solar Panel Chargers?
You can read more about each type of solar panel charger in the following guides:
Small Folding Solar Panels (for handheld and USB devices)
Solar Panel Charger Accessories
Read the manufacturer instructions for a clear idea of which accessories to get, but common accessories might include:
A solar controller
Cables and extension cables
Specific connections and attachments
LCD display for panel and battery health and performance
Inverter (for powering AC devices)
Solar Regenerator (for storing DC energy to use when the sun isn’t out)
Solar Panel mounts – such as tilt racks, and pole mounts
Solar Panel Charger Mounts
You can read more about solar panel charger mounts in the following guides: