What Size Solar Panel Do I Need to Charge a Cell Phone

Solar power can be a great way to charge many of your devices and batteries, from appliances to vehicle batteries. In fact, you can even charge your cell phone with solar power!

What Size Solar Panel Do I Need to Charge a Cell Phone?

When it comes to the size of the solar panel that you will need to charge your phone, you will not need one that is as large as one that is required for larger appliances!

A smartphone only uses about 2 or 3 watts from the battery when in use, and the battery is able to hold a charge of around 1440 mAh– the equivalent of 5.45-watt-hours. 

To charge your phone properly, you will need to have a solar panel that has at least 5 watts when charging, though output of 10 to 15 watts of charging power is ideal. This may also help you charge your phone faster.

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Additionally, it is also important to note that the voltage of the solar panel should at least match the voltage of your phone’s battery when it is fully charged. If it is too low, for instance, you will never be able to fully charge your phone with solar power if its battery charge gets to be too low. 

While this is not the usual way to charge a phone, it can be a great use of solar energy, especially if you already use solar energy for other devices. Read on to learn more about the kinds of solar chargers that you can use for your phone, as well as the size of solar panel that you will need if you want to charge your phone in this way. 

Types of Solar Chargers

There are specific kinds of solar chargers that are designed for use with phones and other such small devices. There are two main types of chargers, which we will discuss below.

Direct Solar Chargers

First up is direct solar chargers. This type of charger, as the name suggests, sends the power directly from the sun’s rays to the device that you are charging– in this case, your cell phone. 

Battery Bank Solar Charger

A battery bank solar charger differs from a direct solar charger in that it collects the solar power in an external battery pack instead of transmitting it directly to the device you want to charge. The external battery pack is not exclusive to the solar energy system– rather, it can be charged by sunlight or by simply plugging it into a wall outlet when necessary. 

How Do Solar Chargers Work?

If you are planning to use a solar panel or solar charger, it is important that you also understand how these devices work. Essentially, a solar panel is able to convert energy from the sun into usable charging power that you can then use to charge your phone.

The solar energy system uses sunlight to make electrons move in a circuit– this in turn creates a current that can charge your phone battery or the battery of any other device.

Solar energy does depend on a few factors, such as the sun exposure that is dictated by weather patterns. On cloudy days, there will not be as much solar energy to be collected as on sunny days when the sun is unencumbered by clouds and other types of weather.

These sorts of factors are important to consider when thinking about using solar energy to charge your devices, especially your phone- after all, you would not want to be without your phone if you were on a camping trip, for example! 

How Long Does a Solar Charger Take to Charge a Phone?

It is hard to say exactly how long it will take for a solar panel or solar charger to charge your phone, because it depends on a few different factors. For instance, environmental factors like changing weather patterns can affect charge times, as can the amount of charge left on the phone and the size of the panel being used. 

What Size Solar Panel Do I Need to Charge a Cell Phone?

When it comes to the size of the solar panel that you will need to charge your phone, you will not need one that is as large as one that is required for larger appliances!

A smartphone only uses about 2 or 3 watts from the battery when in use, and the battery is able to hold a charge of around 1440 mAh– the equivalent of 5.45-watt hours. 

To charge your phone properly, you will need to have a solar panel that has at least 5 watts when charging, though output of 10 to 15 watts of charging power is ideal. This may also help you charge your phone faster. Additionally, it is also important to note that the voltage of the solar panel should at least match the voltage of your phone’s battery when it is fully charged. If it is too low, for instance, you will never be able to fully charge your phone with solar power if its battery charge gets to be too low. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a small solar panel charge a phone?

Yes, you can charge your smartphone with a small solar panel. Luckily, a phone does not need a lot of energy to charge, so it is pretty easy to charge a phone with a solar panel of any size. Generally, it requires around 7.5 watts of solar power to charge a phone. 

How do I choose a solar charger for my phone?

When it comes to choosing a solar charger for your phone, you will want to make sure that the charger is made with quality materials and also has the output needed to charge your phone– for instance, it is said that a phone only needs around 7.5 watts of solar power to charge. There are plenty of comprehensive lists of the best solar chargers for phones out there, too, so you can always use those as a jumping off point in your research! 

What size solar panel do I need to charge an iPhone?

There are smaller solar panels available for purposes such as charging your iPhone, rather than just the larger solar panels that are used to charge appliances such as RV batteries, refrigerators, or microwaves. You will need a solar panel that provides at least 5 watts when charging in order to charge your phone successfully. It is generally recommended that you choose a solar panel that has 10 to 15 watts of charging power so that you can charge your device faster. 

Is it good to charge a phone with a solar panel?

If you are trying to charge your phone with solar energy, you should be careful about how you do it. This is because, when the output is not well controlled, it can cause damage to your phone. For instance, it could supply too much voltage when the sun is out in full force. However, you can avoid this by utilizing a charge controller and avoiding charging the phone directly. 

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