Build Your own Portable Solar Generator for less than $150

I moved this post to it’s very own page.
Read how to build your Portable Solar Power Generator.

Want to build your own portable solar power generator to take with you on camping trips or for use in an emergency? I’ll show you how below, it’s easier than you think. Goal Zero’s version of this cost $400 and doesn’t include any solar panels! Depending on what you include yours will cost under $150 by buying inexpensive parts from


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18 Responses

  1. Hi Tom, I used it to connect the solar panel to the charge controller so I could disconnect the panel and put it inside the Plano box. You could also use the Anderson Power pole connectors but this disconnect it easier to use.

    Moved the blog post of this project to it’s own page to avoid duplicate content, everything lives here now.

  2. Tom says:

    One more thing: you posted a link to “CES 10 Gauge 2 Pin Quick Disconnect Harness”…I don’t see this in your videos. Where do you use it?

  3. Tom says:

    Thank you!. The parts started arriving the mail, and I’m looking forward to getting started.

  4. How to Determine the Fuse/Wire Size for YOUR Project

  5. Hi, sure no problem. I’ll add the fuse to the parts list. You want to size the fuse to the smallest wire size in your solar generator. If you use 12 awg wire, use a 15 amp fuse. When in doubt size it smaller to protect yourself. It’s easy to replace a fuse vs melted wire or fried components. Does that answer your question?

  6. Tom says:

    Can you please offer more info about the kill switch and fuse. The fuse was not on the parts list or linked to an amazon product. Thanks!

  7. It would of course vary by how discharged the battery was and how sunny the day was but from my experience I’d say about 3 hours. When I charge 18v tool batteries the Fast Chargers pull 85 watts and charge in 45 mins. If the panel is in the sun while I charge I can do 3 batteries no problem.

    If you get 2 panels, you NEED the 18ah battery. You won’t be happy with a smaller one.

  8. Craig B says:

    Sounds good. Thank You
    Do you know how long two panels would take to fully charge the 18 (larger battery) on a normal sunny day??

  9. ACC is just any 12v Accessory like a cigarette lighter or a light, really anything you want.

  10. Yes you could increase the solar output by doubling the panels to 2×10 watt panels. Wire them in parallel to retain the 12 volt output and double the amp output giving you 20 watts.

    You could put a piano hinge on the 2 panels and have them fold out.

  11. Craig B says:

    Could I hook up two panels to this to charge quicker? One on each side of the case and then detach and place in the sun.
    Thank you

  12. larsfox says:

    ACC is shorthand for “accessories”, just like the ignition switch in your car.

  13. Chuck Wilson says:

    What is a “12V ACC”? I didn’t see it on the parts list, but it is on the schematic.

  14. hugh connelly says:

    Great stuff, can you give some details about usage? Like it will power a lamp for xx hours, or run a TV for xx hours, etc. Would it power a refrigerator? What’s the biggest appliance it would power?

  15. Thank you for putting up such a clear tutorial, with a list! Very, very nice. I pinned it (which I hope is ok) to share it with even more people, as it is so well done.

  16. GPSchnyder says:

    Saw that there are 5Watt Solar panels that are even smaller. Is there a way to get USP-Powerbars connected toone of these 5Watt ones? Don’t need 110v, just USB, as all the stuff I use will run on it? And the USB-Power Banks are even smaller, so I could build a smaller Power station. So, are there charge controllers that you can put an usb to directly? As the USB-Powerbars can be charged via USB too. If the Powerbar hat three or four USB-Ports it would be the best. And you can take one powerbar with you and charge the other…

  17. Terry says:

    WoW! Thank you!!! This will be my first ever DIY solar project. You’ve made it so accessible—-I really appreciate it.
    Peace, Terry

  1. March 2, 2014

    […] I am fascinated by solar DYI projects! […]