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A Solar Panel on Your Car for an Off-Grid Lifestyle


Voltaic-Solar-Charger-Car-RoofBuilding a solar panel on your car and disconnecting completely from the grid is quite a challenge even for the most determined of us.

However, doing so in stages, starting from, let’s say, charging cell phones and laptops, does not have to be too hard. Here is a suggestion where to start and how to do it.

To make the most use out of your solar panels you would have to install them at a place where there is maximum incoming sunlight throughout the whole day. Unfortunately for most of us, the sides of house rooftops always face a single direction guaranteeing that for some parts of the day the sun will not be shining on the panels.

But how about making the panels mobile by building your own car solar panel? Now, that is really cool, especially when there is a way to do it without causing any damage to the roof surface and without having to drill a single hole. Yes, the panels will not be sufficient to charge up a huge battery to power your fridge and stove, but you can easily generate enough to charge up your laptop and smart phone with only solar power.


The materials you need do not include anything extra to the package deal you get when you purchase 17-watt solar panels. Thanks to the great initiative and instructions from Tafline Laylin over on Inhabitat, we can all benefit from this easy and highly efficient tip.

If you would like to follow the video tutorial, which you can find here, to the full, then you might want to opt for the 17W solar power kit from Voltaic Systems. The panels are light and waterproof, and come with V72 laptop battery suitable to charge tablets, cell phones, digital cameras and laptops, and the essential neodymium magnets that make the fitting to the roof possible. All these come at the reasonable price of $265.


I guess, the only limitation that I see is that in order for the car solar panel to work properly, without risk of any damage, is to use it only when the vehicle is not in motion. But taking into account that apparently one hour of sun exposure would guarantee an hour of laptop working time (I’m assuming this does not mean video streaming and the laptop is not the high-end fancy one), a car solar panel is perfect for camping, working trips, or any type of scientific field work.

Enjoy your new fancy car solar panel!

Image (c) Tafline Laylin

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