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Solar panels for a car: characteristics, features of operation
Solar panels for a car: characteristics, features of operation

The ongoing struggle for environmental cleanliness and environmental safety has provoked the development and mass production of solar panels, which have found application in various industries. The automotive industry has not been left out either - small solar-powered electric cars today do not surprise anyone.

Working principle

A solar-powered car is equipped with an electric motor, the power source of which is a solar system that converts solar energy into electrical energy. The principle of "p-n permeability" of the elements of a silicon solar battery causes the formation of electrical energy according to a certain scheme:

  1. Upper n-layer includes phosphorus, lower, p-layer, boron. The "P-N conductivity" of a photocell is determined by the so-called "p-n junction" formed at the boundary of two layers.
  2. Negatively charged electrons are formed in the upper layer of the battery under the influence of sunlight, positively charged - inbottom layer. An electric field and a potential difference are formed between the layers due to the presence of a certain number of particles with different charges. The flow of electric current through the circuit is possible only if there is a load between the electrodes connected to the battery, while positively charged particles will move down, negatively charged ones - up.

The above scheme can be used as a drive for a mechanical transmission of a car, provided that an electric motor and third-party devices responsible for the operation of individual systems of the car are connected, as loads for a solar battery.

solar panel on the roof of the car

History of Solar Vehicles

The origin of the automotive industry, specializing in the creation of vehicles on solar batteries, fell on the middle of the 20th century. Due to the lag in technology and the inability to create energy-intensive batteries and powerful solar panels of compact size, the development of this area was suspended, resuming only in the 90s. The increased efficiency of solar systems made it possible to increase the amount of electricity produced, a new generation of energy-intensive batteries made it possible to create an energy reserve sufficient for long trips.

New types of electric motors, transmissions, body structures and materials have played a significant role in the development of solar-powered vehicles. Today, vehicle transmissions are produced on the basis of parts with minimal rolling resistance, elementsbody - made of lightweight and durable plastic. The motors used are brushless units based on poles made of magnetic rare earth materials.

Motor-wheels were another invention that gave impetus to the development of this industry. Their technology involves the placement of an electric motor on each of the driving wheels, which significantly increases the overall efficiency of the transmission mechanism.

The emergence of flexible solar panels and an increase in the energy absorption area has affected the increase in the power of solar panels for the car battery.

solar powered racing car

Average car price

The high price of vehicles using solar systems as an energy source is due to the complexity of their assembly and single-piece production. Automakers developing such models do not disseminate information about technologies, machines and their price. Despite this, the cost of cars already put into serial production - for example, the Astrolab model from the French company Venturi - is about seven million rubles.


Before classic internal combustion engines, solar-powered vehicles have a number of advantages:

  • Environmentally friendly due to the absence of harmful emissions.
  • Unlimited energy from the sun.
  • No need to build recharging stations and filling stations
  • Long service life.
  • Affordable and free energy.


The wide introduction of solar batteries into operation is hampered by the following disadvantages:

  • The high cost of batteries due to the need for innovative technologies and piece production.
  • Compared to internal combustion engines, solar-powered racing cars have lower speed and shorter range.
  • The operation process is complicated by the lack of services and repair services specializing in solar systems.
small electric cars powered by solar panels

Self installation

Installation of solar panels on a car is feasible with your own hands, subject to the availability of the necessary hand tools, knowledge in the field of mechanics and electromechanics and free time.

Conversion of solar energy into electrical energy is carried out in a collector placed on the car body. The battery stores the generated energy.

The battery charge level, the consumption of stored energy and the current consumption of the electric motor are regulated by an electronic control unit installed in the car. A mechanical transmission drives the wheels of a vehicle by converting electricity into rotational motion.

When installing solar panels, it is desirable to use factory-made structural elements. There are only two requirements for the body - strength and low weight. Its dimensions depend on the dimensions of the main components and the roof-mountedsolar battery car. The technical characteristics of the battery, electronic unit and electric motor must correspond to the power of the selected panel.

Optimal placement: car top

The minimum area of ​​the solar system to obtain the required power is 1 m2, which explains the frequent placement of solar panels on the roof of the car. Panels are attached to the roof surface with special brackets, silicone glue or Velcro. The solar battery is chosen by the car owner based on the goals set: for example, for an audio system and other decorations in the car on a solar battery, it is enough to install a compact panel. Such a station will not have enough power to charge the battery.

installing a solar panel on a car

Dashboard placement

Foldable solar panels can be installed on the dashboard and stored in the luggage compartment. The body of the element must be made of durable plastic resistant to high temperatures. Batteries made of unreliable and cheap material can warp when exposed to direct sunlight and high temperatures.

Solar panels for car battery charging are connected in two ways:

  • Standard - via cigarette lighter.
  • Through battery terminals.

Before installing and connecting, you must read the instructions offered by the manufacturer of the solar battery. The cause of damage to the solar system and electrical equipment of the car in most cases is incorrectbattery connection.

solar car interior decoration

Battery charging rules

The current value when charging lead-acid batteries should not exceed 10-12% of their capacity, which affects the battery recharging time. A high-quality and reliable battery with a capacity of 60 A / h is charged with a current, the maximum value of which is 5-6 A. With such indicators, the average charge time is 10-12 hours. The risk of battery failure increases if the charging time is reduced or the specified parameters are significantly increased.

Solar panels minimize all risks due to the fact that their maximum current strength does not exceed 1-2 A. The battery has enough power up to 7 W to maintain the battery's performance, while solar batteries with a power of 50-70 are required to fully charge it. Tue Such systems are equipped with controllers that regulate the technical characteristics of the panels and maintain the performance and integrity of the battery.

A 50Ah battery can be fully charged in 7-9 hours using a 40W 20V solar panel.

The optimal length of solar panels installed on a car should be one meter, voltage and power - 12 volts and 15 watts, respectively. Experts strongly recommend purchasing a controller or similar control device that can protect the vehicle's on-board system and battery from reverse or excessive charge. Solar panels are often combined into a single chain in order to increasepower and are placed on the roof of the car with its sufficient area.

Model Overview

The network offers a wide range of photo solar panels for a car, however, with a rich choice, not all panels have the proper quality and reliability. Experts propose to dwell on three popular models of solar systems with the necessary characteristics.

solar battery for car battery

Solar panels Sunsei SE-500

Popular and demanded solar system model with compact dimensions - 38x36x3 cm. The manufacturer offers a waterproof case for storage and transportation in the kit.

The power of small solar panels does not exceed 7.5 W, the current is 0.6 A. The Sunsei SE-500 are mounted on a tripod and keep the car battery running for several hours, provided the engine is turned off.

The battery is charged both with the engine running and with the engine off. The solar panel comes with a cigarette lighter plug and terminals. Judging by the reviews of the solar panel for the car, many consumers install Sunsei on diesel boats, trucks and tractors.

The disadvantage of the SE-500 solar panel is its low power, offset by the combination of several elements into a single network.

SunForce battery

Solar panel model from a Canadian manufacturer. The nominal dimensions of the battery are 97x35x4 centimeters, the voltage and power are 1.5 A and17 W respectively. Complete with cigarette lighter plug, terminals and 7A/12V controller.

Despite its size, it can be easily installed on the roof of light vehicles, boats, trucks and special equipment. An additional advantage of the model is the ability to work in fog and rain.

Panel TCM-15F

Portable solar panels for a car with a flexible body, 15 W power, 1A voltage and compact dimensions - 60x27x0.5 cm. Due to its small size, the panel can be easily folded and securely mounted on the roof of the vehicle. The hermetic case of the solar panel has sufficient reliability. Specifications provide a fairly high efficiency of 22%.

solar powered car photo


Car owners in their reviews of solar panels for a car point out the need to purchase a complete set of equipment for a solar system, including panels, a vibration-resistant and durable case with an aluminum surface that removes heat well, a controller and a battery. The latter works only in tandem with lead batteries and must have a rated power of 12 volts. Effective and uninterrupted operation of solar panels is possible only if they are perpendicular to the sun's rays. Ideally, car owners are advised to purchase a special system that tracks the position of the sun and finds the optimal angle of the battery in automatic mode, but this type of design costs a lot whenassembly.

When installing a solar battery on a car, it is desirable to take into account the characteristics of the selected model, car battery and on-board network. Manufacturers of solar panels in the kit supply detailed instructions for installation and operation of products with nominal values ​​of power, capacitance and voltage. Standard equipment may also include a controller, battery terminals and a cigarette lighter plug.

Car solar systems are not a complete replacement for the battery, but they allow you to recharge the battery and provide power to the main electrical equipment of the car. The best way to use a solar battery is to recharge the battery in emergency situations. A full charge of the battery is possible only with the help of a mains charger.

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