How to Connect a Solar Panel to a 12V Battery

Updated March 23, 2017

Using solar panels to power small electronics may afford you a sense of security when dealing with an emergency situation. Solar panels can also be used to charge 12-volt batteries found in vehicles or portable "jump packs." Solar panels work by converting the energy produced by the sun into usable electricity. Connecting a 12-volt solar panel to a 12-volt rechargeable battery can be accomplished without special tools or skills.

Examine your surroundings for a proper place to situate the solar panel. Choosing an area that features direct sunlight will yield the best results.

Determine the type of electrical connections your solar panel may have. If available, utilise the solar panel's cigarette adaptor when charging a vehicle's battery; place the solar panel on the dashboard, in direct sunlight. Certain portable "power packs" may feature a cigarette-lighter port for charging.

Connect the solar panel's colour-coded alligator clips to the corresponding terminals on 12-volt, rechargeable-battery applications. The "red" alligator clip connects to the "positive" battery terminal. The "black" alligator clip connects to the battery terminal marked "negative."

Things You'll Need

  • Solar panel rated for 12-volt operation
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About the Author

In the spring of 2008, Blaze Johnson decided to share his expertise through writing. He studied business administration at a local community college and runs his own driveway mechanic service, specializing in computer-controlled vehicles and custom car audio installs. Johnson also serves as the de facto computer repair person for his family, friends and coworkers.