Solar panels on a bike! How?

Installing a solar panel on a bike may sound simple at first. But if we want to do long distances, we are tempted to embark a large area of solar panels and the installation becomes more complex. The creativity of each suntriper has given birth to many original solutions.
The table below shows the variety of combinations selected by the participants in the different editions of the Sun Trip.

Position of solar panels
Bike Type at the front roofing at the back on trailer
2 wheel bike classic Bike + ++++
tandem +
cargo bike ++++ + + ++
recumbent bike ++++ ++
3 wheel bike trike ++++ +
tandem trike ++++

In the Sun Trip, the regulation allows a surface of solar panels of not more than 2, 5m ², for a maximum power of 450Wc (visible panels). The installation of such a panel surface is not simple and can also steer the choice of the type of bike: tandem, cargo bike, reclining bike, recumbent tricycle (trike), or encourage to add a trailer. The constraints encountered sometimes require the designer to install a lower surface of panels, at the expense of the vehicle’s autonomy.

On the reclining/seated tandem of Raf van Hulle, the seating position at the front is sacrificed to accommodate a panel, supplemented by other panel on trailer (Sun Trip 2013, 2015, 2018). This front layout is found on cargo bikes, except for the cargo bike experienced in 2013 by Lionel Candille with roofing panels. In 2018, Éric Morel had a sign attached to the back of his cargo bike.

On recumbent bikes and trikes, the panels are frequently installed in “roofing” and are sometimes supplemented by a trailer panel.

On conventional bikes, the panels are very frequently installed on a trailer.

One exception, Daniel Jenni installed his “roofing” Panel on a classic bike for the Sun Trip 2018.