Charging an ebike with solar seems a completely logical thing to do. After all, it represents totally free travel, without even plugging the bike battery charge into a house socket.
But is it as simple as that?
There a few of things you really need to know before you try to charge your ebike with solar, if you don’t want to fry your bike batteries.
The easiest way to charge an ebike with solar panels is to connect between 100 to 200 watts solar panels to an inverter and use that to power your existing ebike charger. If it’s intended to charge the ebike at night, then add a solar battery charger and a 50Ah lithium phosphate battery.
Typical Electric Bike Battery Capacity
Electric bike batteries usually are available in four voltages: 48V, 36V, and 24V. More volts equal greater power.
E-bike batteries are typically 36V, with some models having a 24V battery and others having a 48V battery.
Electric bike makers specify these as they provide a tremendous cost to power ratio for their products.
You are looking at custom-made electric bikes when you reach the 72V range, which generally results in a powerful bike that will not be categorized as a standard bicycle.
72V batteries are also considerably more expensive than 48V batteries.
Another factor to consider when designing or operating a high-capacity electric bicycle is the possibility of being shocked.
Your skin can protect you from electric shocks up to a voltage in the range of 40V – 45V.
However, electrical shock can occur at 72 volts, and in some states, this is a regulatory issue and is always a safety concern.
Suppose the power output of an electric bicycle goes above the acceptable 750 Watts. In that case, the bike will be categorized as a scooter which usually requires insurance, registration, and a license plate.
When shopping for an e-bike for the first time, determining which battery is the best fit for your needs can seem like a daunting tas.
The first thing to know about electric bike batteries is that they are described in terms of amp-hours and volts.
Electric bike batteries can be found in various voltages, namely 48V, 36V, and 24V. In general, higher voltage equals more power.
Battery voltage is directly proportional to car horsepower—the more volts in the battery, the more power will be delivered to your bike.
The advantage of a high voltage is that it has more power, allowing your electric bike to go faster for a longer time.
Amp-hours, abbreviated as AH, is the other element of an electric bike battery.
Amp-hours measure the amount of current that a battery can produce in an hour at a usable voltage or the amount of capacity that a battery has in terms of storage capacity.
The higher the number of amp-hours, the greater the distance you can travel on your battery.
Given that most e-bikes are equipped with a capacity of 48V, how many solar panels would be required to charge this battery fully?
But, even more importantly, when you acquire the right solar panels, the question is whether the charger will charge your eBike’s battery as fast as power outlets do.
To answer this question, we must first take into account the battery’s capacity. It isn’t enough to simply know the battery voltage.
As a result, for a 48V eBike battery, you would require a charger with at least two solar panels capable of producing at least 200W.
But the best feature of a standard eBike charger is that it includes an inverter, which is necessary because eBike chargers operate on alternating current.
There is only one thing left to do: select the appropriate plugin type for your electric bike, and you are ready to ride.
The most important feature is that many eBike chargers can charge a bike at the same speed as a standard power socket.
1. Connect the Inverter and Solar Charge Controller to the Battery
To begin, connect the inverter and solar charge controller to the battery via a battery connector.
To ensure maximum safety, it is recommended that a fuse be installed on positive leads that link the battery to both the inverter and the charge controller.
2. Install a Solar Panel and Connect It to a Solar Charge Regulator
Next, hook up the charge controller to the solar panel using the included cable. Again, including a fuse between the two is the safest course of action in this situation.
A number for the inbound PV voltage will appear on your charge controller’s screen, signaling that the panel has been successfully installed and connected.
3. Testing Your Solar Charging System
To ensure that your solar panel is charging, place it in the sun and check the PV voltage on the voltage regulator.
This indicates that the solar panel has been effective in charging the batteries. Now you must connect your charger to the inverter outlet to determine whether it is receiving power.