Building your own solar panel charger for your phone using scrap materials is a fun DIY project that can save you money while also being environmentally friendly. With just a few basic components, you can harness the power of the sun to charge your devices.

What You'll Need

To build a solar panel phone charger, you will need the following materials:

Solar Cells

The key component for any solar panel is the solar cell or photovoltaic (PV) cell. Solar cells convert sunlight into electricity. You can salvage these from broken solar garden lights or small solar panels. You will need 6-9 cells in series to generate enough voltage to charge a phone.


You'll need some basic electrical wiring like copper wire to connect the solar cells together into a panel. Solid core and stranded wire will both work. You'll also need a DC charging cable or USB cable to connect the panel to your device.

Support Structure

To mount the solar cells, you can use a rigid backing like plywood, plastic, or plexiglass. Make sure it is weatherproof. For the frame, aluminum bars or scrap wood will work.


Use a strong weatherproof glue or silicone sealant to mount the solar cells and protect the wiring. Make sure it can withstand outdoor conditions.

Voltmeter (optional)

A voltmeter can help you test that your solar panel is generating enough voltage before connecting your phone. But it is not essential.

Constructing the Frame

The frame holds all the components together into a solar panel. Follow these steps:

  1. Cut the backing material to your desired panel size. 10x6 inches is a good size for phone charging.

  2. Cut two long pieces and two short pieces from the aluminum or wood bars. Assemble into a rectangular frame and glue into place atop the backing.

  3. Seal the edges with silicone sealant to weatherproof it.

The frame should now be ready to install the solar cells and wiring.

Connecting the Solar Cells

Now it’s time to wire up the solar cells:

Waterproofing and Wiring

To make your solar panel truly weatherproof and safe to install outside, follow these final assembly steps:

And that's it! You now have a fully functioning DIY solar phone charger from scrap materials. Just plug in your phone and set the panel in direct sunlight to start charging. Enjoy free power from the sun.

Usage and Maintenance Tips

To maximize performance and longevity of your DIY solar panel, follow these usage and care guidelines:

With proper construction and care, your homemade solar panel charger can provide free renewable power for your phone for years to come! It's a very fulfilling green project that anyone can undertake with a little time and ingenuity.