Solar Energy has been around ever since the sun came into existence. However, humans have discovered the technology to convert solar energy to electrical energy in the last 300 years.
However, the use of solar energy as a primary energy source is fairly recent. With the many conversations, around sustainability and renewability that we’re now having, solar energy plays a very significant role.
Many citizens are now finding alternate ways of powering their houses via solar power to reduce their carbon footprints. They’re doing so by installing solar panels to power their house or even by opting for solar chargers do different devices.
Here’s where the solar charge for electric bikes comes in. People who use electric bikes may also want a sustainable way to charge their bikes besides using an environmentally friendly method of transport.
These chargers are available in various shapes and sizes. They also have different applications and benefits. There are also other methods of using solar panels to charge your electric bikes that people may not be aware of.
Electric bikes require a fair amount of electricity to recharge. To fully charge an electric bike’s battery, you would need an uninterrupted supply of electricity for 90 minutes. This period is fairly long, which is why many conscious bikers are looking for alternates to it.
There are many aspects that one should look for when looking for a solar charger for electric bikes. We list all that you need to know, below.
What Is a Solar Charger?
A solar charger is a combination of a solar panel and a battery pack in a single device. These devices are similar to any other battery pack except that they have a small solar panel constantly saving solar energy using a pack.
Solar chargers are usually small in size and thus you don’t have to worry about carrying these chargers around. They have an internal battery that you can charge using the energy stored in the integrated solar panel.
These devices do not enable very quick charging; however, they can save your life in case of an emergency.
Furthermore, with these solar chargers, you don’t have to worry about charging the charger or battery itself because the panel is designed to catch sunlight when you’re out, which means that the battery is ready to use when you need it.
What Is a Solar Charger for Electric Bikes?
A solar charger for electric bikes is similar in operation to a normal solar charger however, the way that it’s used and its capacity is often greater than normal chargers. The setup for solar chargers would be very similar in mechanism to that of a normal charger; however, the size is bigger.
Since the battery of an electric bike is generally 250wh- 750 wh, you would need a much bigger solar panel and an equally big battery pack to charge an electric bike. It could still be portable but it would be rather bulky.
Solar chargers for electric bikes make sense because the decision to use an electric bike comes from a place of eco-consciousness for many people. Having a charger that also follows the same ethos will have daily commuters and customers of the electric bike feel that much more satisfied with their journey.
Is it Possible to Charge Electric Bikes with Solar Energy?
It is possible to charge electric bikes with solar energy. We have come so far with solar technology, that we can charge complete houses with it so electric bikes are not difficult for us. You’d have to consider several factors when buying a solar charger for an electric bike. However, this is still possible.
Why Do You Need a Solar Charger for Electric Bikes?
A solar charger doesn’t cost much, and it’s an insurance policy. No one wants to be lost in the wilderness without any charging, and that’s where the solar charger comes in.
If you aren’t on a restricted budget when buying your electric bike, you might not want the added expense of a solar charger along with your normal charger. However, if you can handle the expense, you should purchase a solar charger.
A solar charger is lightweight and portable, it fits right into position on your bike and you can carry it easily. You’ll feel safe knowing that you have an extra charger with you in case you get lost on one of your winding trips.
If you’ve taken you’re bike with you whilst camping, you’d know that you have an entirely charged battery at your perusal if you wish to book it out of there. You won’t be stranded, and you won’t have to pedal a very heavy and completely loaded bike.
If you’re very interested in saving money and saving the environment, these solar chargers are the way to go.
Firstly, you don’t have to use any extra electricity from your own home to charge these solar chargers.
Secondly, you’re making an eco-friendly decision by letting these chargers get charged by sunlight. Sunlight is a renewable energy resource, and one of which we don’t make maximum use of.
Using these solar chargers means you can save money from your electricity bill while making greener decisions.
The solar charger does have some shortcomings; for example, it doesn’t work as well when the weather is cloudy instead of sunny. However, there are some great solar chargers out there nowadays that still perform acceptably.
There are very different technologies available within solar panels so that you can overcome these shortcomings. Manufacturers are also incorporating these into solar chargers; thus, you should look into different solar chargers before you make your decision.
If you live in a place where it rains a lot, you may have to consider a solar charger type that’s different from the one you would get if you live in a sunny area.
Factors to Consider Before Buying a Solar Charger for an Electric Bike
As stated earlier, a solar charger for an electric bike has two major components: the panel and the internal battery. So, when you’re looking at a solar charger for electric bikes there are other things that you’d have to take into account to understand if a solar charger is the best choice for you.
In terms of the solar charger, the internal battery of the charger should have significant wattage. If it doesn’t, you’re might not have a charger that can support the journeys on your bike.
It’s best to have wattage in this charger that allows for your bike to have at least one full charge for your electric battery in case something goes wrong.
However, some people don’t feel the need to own a solar charger that can provide such great power. Instead, they want something that can only help them in emergencies after which they can charge their electric bike by regular means.
You would have to look into the wattage as it also helps you identify how much power your solar charger can provide to your electric bike so that you can complete your journey. The wattage also depends on the electric bike you own.
Apart from wattage, you should also note the capacity of the solar charger’s internal battery. The greater the capacity, the more charge can it provide to the electric bike. This means that it can change the speed with which you’ll travel.
You also have to choose whether you want a smaller panel or one that’s bigger. Bigger panels generally have greater capacity compared to smaller ones.
These big panels also charge your devices more quickly. Hence, if you have a portable panel with your solar charger and that panel has a greater capacity, you’re likely going to get back on the road again very easily. You may have to look at the capacity of different panels under different conditions.
Because as we stated before, some panels perform well even in cloudy conditions while others need peak sunshine to perform. So, depending on the time of the place you live in, you can pick a few chargers.
You should know the output power of your solar charger. Knowing the output power will help you have a better idea of what you can expect from the solar charger.
You have to ensure that the output power that’s written on either the panel or the solar charger is one that you can charge your vehicle with, to the degree that you want.
Manufacturers have different ways of describing the output power. Some of them mention amperage through one port. At other times, they describe maximum power through both. If you don’t look at one or more of these carefully, you’d have a problem as you won’t get the appropriate solar charger.
Another practical consideration for you to note is the location that you’d be using these solar chargers in and so if you’re likely to use it in a bright, sunny place, it will charge quickly and easily. Its power output will be very clean and uninterrupted as a result.
However, if you’re more likely to use these chargers up in the mountains or somewhere that the weather is always overcast, the output power may dwindle due to weather conditions.
You must understand the purpose of your solar charger before you buy it. You might want a solar charger that you can whip out during emergencies to get to your next location. This would change your requirements for a solar charger.
If you want your solar charger to be your only charger so that you can lead a more environmentally conscious life, you’d need something with a greater capacity and is durable.
If you want a solar charger for a backup but have enough energy to recharge your electric bike completely, pick one with a greater capacity. In any case, you must define the purpose of your solar charger before you jump to make a purchase.
Solar chargers are expensive so you must ensure that the one you get is durable. Durability in solar chargers would entail durability in their solar panels. The solar panels should be functioning at optimum capacity.
Durability also means that these solar chargers are not easily damaged. They should occur in a protective case so that the wear and tear they undergo doesn’t affect their durability.
Some solar chargers use solar panels in a blanket-like device so they’re protected from external factors and don’t face any harm.
Solar chargers are generally very easy to install but since there’s a vast variety of chargers available in the market, you should ensure that installation is a factor you look into. If you’re not well-versed in how your electric bike works, you’ll likely have to enlist the help of a bike mechanic to help you install the solar charger.
This will likely cost you extra money, resulting in a much more expensive purchase. Instead, if you use a solar charger that’s easy to install, you’ll have to spend less money and have it be more convenient.
Benefits of Solar Charger for Electric Bikes
Electric bikes require a lot of power for you to use the motor and pedal-assist mode. These bikes come with very bulky batteries and motors to provide more ease to the rider. However, these batteries also need to charge so they can be functional.
Charging via the normal electric chargers is a very convenient thing for most customers. All you need to do is plug them into the wall supply and you’re good with charging. However, this uses up electricity and energy from your home.
To avoid this, many people opt for a solar charger. Solar chargers for electric bikes are powered by solar energy as the name suggests.
There are many benefits to charging from a solar charger instead of a regular charger, and we have stated these below.
1) They are environmentally friendly
The supply you get in your home comes from power stations that burn non-renewable sources of energy and are likely not sustainable. For this reason, they’re not good for the environment as these power stations release many harmful gases into the environment that contribute to Global Warming.
Most people opt for an electric bike because they’re better for the environment than other modes of transport, and due to this reason, they should also opt for solar chargers. Solar chargers use solar panels to use the sun’s solar energy.
2) They are convenient
Unlike power banks, solar chargers don’t need to be charged themselves. All you need to do is keep these chargers in the sun after you’re done using them, and they’ll charge themselves. You don’t have to plug it into a socket.
What’s more interesting is that they catch light anywhere. Hence, unlike any other charger, these chargers don’t stop charging as long as the sun is out.
3) They are available in the market
Several people think they need to build or assemble their solar chargers using solar panels and batteries but this isn’t true. They can assemble their solar chargers. However, there are many solar chargers for electric bikes available in the market.
These solar chargers also likely have all the technology and smarts of a well-thought-out product. Hence, you don’t have to worry about making the right decisions in many regards.
4) They are compact and portable
You can take solar chargers with you not, on the go. Many solar chargers are foldable and compact so you can carry them on your electric bike or even in a bag, and unravel it when you need help. They’re a foul-proof insurance policy to have and, due to their size, you don’t even feel like they slow you down.
There are many factors you should consider when buying a solar charger. However, the most significant aspect to consider is whether you should buy it. Then, you should ask yourself if it fits your budget because there’s no use in breaking the bank over an insurance policy. You should also consider what purpose they will serve for you in the long run. If the purpose seems logical to you, you should buy a solar charger for electric bikes.
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I am Michael, an avid rider and bike expert. I am here to provide, biking tips and expert advice on in-depth bike reviews covering features, capabilities, price range, and much more. Specially on electric bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes, etc. I will provide honest product reviews, along with expert advice on purchasing, training, and maintenance. Check out my complete profile.