Building your own solar panel charger from discarded materials can be a fun and rewarding project. With just a few basic components and some simple tools, you can construct a fully functional solar charger on a budget. In this comprehensive guide, I will walk you through each step of the process to build your own low-cost DIY solar panel charger from scraps.

Gather the Necessary Materials

The great thing about this project is that most of what you need can be salvaged from old devices or purchased very cheaply. Here is what you will need:

Solar Cells

This is the most important component. Solar cells are responsible for converting sunlight into electricity. You can salvage these from broken solar garden lights or small panels. You will need at least 6 cells connected in series.

IC Voltage Regulator

The voltage regulator IC helps provide stable 5V USB output from the variable input voltage from the solar cells. The LM7805 is an easy to use and cheap option.

USB Port

Any type of USB port like from an old phone charger will work. This will provide the 5V USB output to charge devices.


You will need various gauge wires to connect all the components. Solid core wire works best.

Soldering Iron and Solder

Soldering gear is necessary to link everything together electrically.

Cardboard (Optional)

Cardboard makes a great free and custom sized base for mounting the solar cells and components.

Hot Glue Gun (Optional)

A hot glue gun can neatly hold all the pieces in place.

Connect the Solar Cells in Series

The first step is to connect all the solar cells in series. This increases the voltage output which is needed to effectively charge devices.

You now have a solar string ready to provide electricity!

Wire and Solder the Other Components

Next, wire up and solder the other components to complete the circuit:

Refer to a circuit diagram for exact connections. Neatly arrange and secure all the components once wired up.

Mount the Solar Cells and Test

Now it is time to mount the solar cells to capture energy. For a basic setup:

If it works, congratulations on making your own functional solar charger! You can now customize or enhance it.

Tips for Improving Efficiency

To optimize your solar charger, here are some helpful tips:

With some experimentation and learning, you can upgrade your basic solar build into a robust off-grid power system. The possibilities are truly endless!


Building your own DIY solar panel charger from scrap materials is a fun, inexpensive project. Following the steps outlined above, anyone can construct a functioning solar charger with minimal tools and components. While it requires some basic technical skills, the end result is a free renewable energy system you can use to power devices anywhere. Use this guide to jumpstart your own unique solar creation! Let me know if you have any other questions along the way.