Installing solar panels on a bike

Installing signs on a bicycle raises many problems. The solutions are many and varied, as we can see during the various Sun Trips.
The designer is led to make choices, according to his priorities, his taste and his budget.
Most often, priority is given to a type of bike (classic, recumbent, cargo bike, trike …) the solar equipment will then have to adapt to it.

But sometimes, other constraints are chosen as priorities and guide the design:
– have a large solar surface, to capture a maximum of energy,
– have a large capacity battery, to store more energy in poor weather,
– design a very light vehicle to easily climb the mountains,
– design a very solid vehicle, to avoid breakage during long journeys,
– have a foldable vehicle easily for transport.

We dream of the ideal vehicle, light, solid, powerful, with a long range. Very quickly, you realize that all these wishes conflict with each other. Increasing the surface area of ​​the panels and the supporting structure contributes to weighing down the vehicle. Likewise, with increasing battery capacity. Lightening the vehicle as much as possible can make it too fragile to face the road and vibrations.

Since 2017, I wanted to have a vehicle that can be taken by train: I opted for a classic bike and a folding single-wheel trailer. In 2018, I tested a folding bike with a foldable trailer to be able to take the vehicle on international buses. The maximum area of ​​panels that I managed to install on a trailer was 1.5m², corresponding to a power of 300Wp.


I have not explored the possibility of installing panels on the bike, on the roof, as did Daniel Jeni during the Sun Trip 2018. Maybe I would try this idea one day?

Preparation of the Sun Trip 2020 Lyon-Canton

I wanted to have the maximum authorized solar surface, 2.5m². For this I first considered using a cargo bike and then a tandem.
Finally, it was thanks to Guillaume Devot of Déclic Eco that the idea of ​​using a recumbent bike came to life. Installing 1m² of panels on the bike completes the 1.5m² of trailer panels.
But a concern remained: would this configuration be easy to drive on the road, even in the case of a strong side wind? Experience has shown me that it is.

It remains for me to test the efficiency and solidity of the supporting structure of the panels on the bike.
The trailer structure has proven itself in 2018 and 2019 over 6000 km. It’s reassuring because I could observe that the vibrations and shocks of the road, over thousands of kilometers, really test the load-bearing structure of the panels.

For learn more about choices adopted by other participants in the various Sun Trips

D-5 before the Sun Trip France!

In the last issue of Télérama magazine, the article entitled “Happy traveling differently” offers the reader to “give character” to his vacation by visiting Bourgogne-Franche Comté.
For my last test trips, I followed this advice with a tour of Southern Burgundy. Because testing your solar bike does not prevent you from discovering the heritage and the landscapes!
The excellent sunshine of yesterday allowed me to cover 207 km in just over 6 hours.

July 8:

July 7:

Training with the Solarduino Bike 2020 solar bike

Two months is the time, from May 11 (deconfinement) to July 11, to test and test my new solar vehicle. You have to work hard!
The challenge # 1: taming the recumbent bike, for me it’s brand new! Know its road behavior with the solar roof, with the trailer, in turns, potholes, in gusts of wind.
I also have to test the mechanical part, in particular the supports of the solar panels on the bike as on the trailer.
Finally, I need to know my new engine, its performance, its consumption …
A beautiful program!

Voir en plein écran

Date GPS Dist.
km
Déniv+
m
Durée
H : mn
Vitesse
km/h
Conso
Wh
Solaire
Wh
Régen
%
08-07 207 1290 06:11 33,5 1536 2456 4,1
07-07 103 800 03:08 32,9 707 1264 2,3
01-07 82 965 03:00 27,3 592 985 8,7
30-06 132 1245 4:15 31 881 955
27-06 55 768 1:55 28,5 370 424
26-06 72 430 2:19 31,1 465 441
23-06 157 1395 5:15 29,8 1085 2171
20-06 63 170 1:44 36,3 420 76
19-06 29 130 0:51 33,4 208 52
17-06 108 617 3:21 32,1 713 443
16-06 65 570 2:04 31,1 461 287
15-06 72 590 3:20 25,2
24-05 111 710 4:20 25,4
21-05 93 705 4:25 21
DateGPSDist.
km
Déniv+
m
Durée
H : mn
Vitesse
km/h
Conso
Wh
Solaire
Wh
21-01937054:2521,0
24-051117104:2025,4
15-06725903:2025,2
16-06655702:0431,1461287
17-061086173:2132,1713443
19-06291300:5133,420852
20-06631701:4436,342076
23-0615713955:1529,810852171
26-06724302:1931,1465441
27-06557681:5528,5370424
30-0613212454:1531,0881955
01-07829653:0027,3562176