Charging your e-bike battery can be quite a hassle during long adventure rides. After all, you can’t carry a huge generator on your shoulders, right? In this case, solar panels seem to be the best alternative, but can you charge an electric bike with a solar panel?
Yes, you can charge an electric bike with a solar panel. But as simple as that answer is, it requires that you use a powerful solar panel with a considerably high wattage. This will ensure you don’t smoke your e-bike’s battery while charging.
However, charging your e-bike with a solar panel can be quite tricky as it requires some knowledge about voltage and wattage. You’ll also need some additional tools to make it possible. So, without further ado, let’s get to it.
Can You Charge an Electric bike with Solar Panels?
The solar panel happens to be one of the most effective means to get your e-bike fully charged. And the quickest means to achieve that is by using the solar panel alongside an inverter. Connect the solar panel (no less than 100 to 200 watts) to the inverter. The power derived should be sufficient to charge your electric bike.
Electric bikes come in various voltages ranging from 24V, 36V, 48V, and several others. The logic is quite simple – the more the volts, the more electrical power it needs to get charged. Charging your e-bike adequately has a lot of benefits. It allows your e-bike to move faster for a relatively long time without running out of energy. So, you can’t afford to leave your electric bike uncharged.
Charging your electric bike with solar panels always involves the use of an off-grid power source. Outside the grid, production, storage, and transmission of energy take place. One of the commonest sources of off-grid energy is solar energy.
Can you charge an electric bike with solar panels?
The stored electrical power is suitable for charging electric bikes. Rather than wasting solar energy, this device creates an opportunity for you to charge an electric bike with solar panels.
There are various types of solar panels that you can use to charge an electric bike. Examples of these high-quality solar panels include ITEHIL Solar Panel, HQST 100 Watts Solar Panel, Newpowa 210 Watts Solar Panel, and others.
What Size of Solar Panel Do You Need to Charge an Electric Bike?
Solar panels come in various sizes and ranges. Also, electric bike batteries come in various sizes. Regardless of the diversity, most of these batteries have a capacity of 48 volts. If you intend to get a solar panel to charge your e-bike, you must ensure that the capacities of both devices align. If you don’t want to get your electric bike damaged, go for highly capable solar panels.
Perhaps the electric bike has a relatively high capacity, say 72 volts; for instance, you can use a combination of solar panels. This is usually the case with customized electric bikes.
Contrarily, you can use a combination of solar panels to charge electric bikes of average energy capacity such as 36 and 48 volts. The advantage here is that your electric bike gets charged fully in a short time.
For instance, if your electric bike’s battery has a capacity of 48 volts, you will need two to three solar panels that can produce at least 200 watts to charge it fully.
However, some e-bike chargers come with vibrant features, such as electric inverters. The use of an inverter allows the energy to be channeled in one direction because electric bike chargers work on alternating currents.
The amount of power obtainable from a solar panel depends on a number of factors.
Some of these determinant factors include geographical areas and atmospheric conditions. You can’t compare the intensity of the sun in sunny locations to snowy areas. The same thing applies to seasons. You will get extremely low wattage during winter and very high wattage in summer.
During a high-sun intensity season like summer, solar panels can gather as much as 600 watts of energy per day. This should be sufficient to charge at most two electric bike batteries.
What Do You Need to Charge an Electric Bike with Solar Panels?
Charging an electric bike needs physical effort. You can’t just buy solar panels, connect your electric bike’s batteries to them, and expect them to charge. There is some equipment you need to put together.
Some of these tools include:
- Solar Panels: You should know that the charging process is incomplete without solar panels. They are the most useful devices needed for the operation. Solar panels are suitable for harnessing the solar energy that comes from the sun and then convert this energy into electrical energy.
- Charge Controller: This is another tool you cannot do without. It is used to control the amount of voltage coming in from the output of the solar panels.
- Cables and Connectors: Connectors and cables are extremely helpful in charging electric bikes with solar panels. They are the perfect tools for bridging the gap between solar panels and e-bike batteries.
- Safety Kit: The reason you need safety devices is quite obvious. You can’t subject yourself to injuries and accidents caused by electrical shock. With a complete safety kit, you will get maximum protection.
How to Charge an Electric Bike with Solar Panels
Charging an electric bike with solar panels requires a step-by-step approach. Contained in the paragraphs below are the necessary steps one can take to ensure that your electric bike is properly charged. If you follow the procedures explained below carefully, you will be able to charge your e-bike in time. So, let’s get to it.
Connect the inverter and solar charge controller to the battery
This is the initial action you ought to take when charging your e-bike with solar panels.
Using a battery connector, you can safely connect your electric bike’s battery to the inverter and solar charge controller. To guarantee optimum safety, you should install a fuse on positive leads that connect the e-bike’s battery to the charge controller and inverter.
Get a solar panel and plug it into a charge regulator
This is the next step to take. With the aid of a cable, it is a lot easier for you to connect both the solar panel and solar charge controller. Again, you will need a fuse between the solar charge controller and solar panel to ensure safety.
It is often quite challenging to know if the panel has been adequately linked and installed. In this case, you need to check the solar charge controller’s screen to see if any figure appears there. If you see any figure there, that’s a success. The number is the value of the PV voltage.
Running a test on the solar charging unit
This is the last step you need to take to ensure that the electric bike charges fully. Many people fail to perform this last step. They assume that the battery will continue to charge after connecting the solar panel to the charge regulator. However, this doesn’t work. So, you can’t afford to miss this last step.
This last step includes placing your solar panel in the sun to assess the PV voltage. It would help ascertain that the solar panel is getting the right energy. This step will also indicate if the solar panels are effective enough to charge the electric bike’s batteries. If you want to determine whether the batteries are collecting power or not, you must link the charger to the inverter system.
So, what do you think- can you charge an electric bike with solar panels? If you carefully follow the steps above, you’ll not insure excessive expenditures. So, you can charge an electric bike with solar panels without emptying your bank account.
How Long Does It Take to Charge an E-bike’s Battery with Solar Panels?
Unfortunately, there’s no specific answer to this question. A few factors play a part in that case, and I’ll go through these factors below.
Sunrise till Sunset
Solar panels discharge electrical energy; however, they only function well when the sun rises. The solar panel stops generating electrical energy immediately after the sunsets. Thus, the number of hours you have can charge your e-bike equals the number of hours you have the sun above your head.
As cited in the previous paragraphs, the number of hours of sunlight differs from one place to another. While some areas get as high as seven to eight hours of sunlight daily, others can get as low as three to four hours.
The Intensity of Available Sunlight
If you are using a solar panel to charge your e-bike, your best chance is when sunlight is at its peak. If you stay in a place where the amount of sunlight is relatively low or it is a less-sunny season, you might need more than one solar panel.
also, the angle at which you set your solar panel also plays a part. Watch the video below to understand at what angle should your solar panel be.
Number of Solar Panels
If you have two or more solar panels, you can generate more power from the sun. With more electric power in the solar panels, the pace of charging becomes faster.
E-bike and Battery Size
The time used in charging an electric bike also depends on the size of the electric bike and its battery. Smaller e-bikes, particularly ones made for kids, have smaller batteries. These types of e-bikes take less time to charge fully.
For electric bikes that come in bigger sizes, you’ll need a bigger battery. Hence, it’ll take more time to charge.
Safety Tips for Charging E-bike Battery with Solar Panels
It is pertinent to note that while charging an e-bike with a solar panel one must prioritize safety. Some of these safety tips include:
- Avoid working with naked wires.
- Use electrical tapes to cover raw wire joints.
- Ensure there’s proper insulation of the e-bike’s metal frame from the electrical charging circuit.
- To avoid an incomplete circuit in the system, match the polarities with care.
- Handle the connectors and cables with care to prevent damage and fraying.
- Avoid dropping any of the tools from a height to prevent damage.
- Wear appropriate safety kits as recommended by safety bodies/policies.
- Use authentic, genuine, and safe products to maintain longevity.
- Ensure you keep kids and young children away from the solar charging system.
Can you charge an electric bike with solar panels? The answer is always a big YES, however, you have to follow the proper guideline. As long as you have a solar panel within your reach, you can charge an electric bike with the help of a few other tools as I discussed in this article. Now you can enjoy those long mountain rides without worrying about a dead battery.