How to Build a Solar-Powered Raspberry Pi
This guide will show you how to power your Raspberry Pi using solar panels. Powering your Pi using solar power will allow you to build green Pi projects powered by the sun. And with the right solar panel and battery, your project can also run continuously, forever.
Building a solar-powered Pi is a surprisingly easy task. Here's a breakdown of how we'll do it:
Power management board (HAT)
Depending on what Pi project you're planning, you'll want one of the great HATs for the Raspberry Pi. A HAT or power management board is connected to your Pi 3, Pi Zero, or any other model of Pi. This board will handle solar charging and monitoring of the battery, optionally performing a safe shutdown if power somehow gets too low—though this should never happen.
Solar panel and battery
A solar panel and battery are connected to your power management board.
Let's get technical
Because I know some of you might be thinking this: technically speaking, you can power your Pi using a solar panel without needing a battery. However, this would assume a lot of factors:
- The solar panel is very large
- You live in a very sunny area
- The solar panel outputs exactly 5V, plus ample current
- You don't want to run your Pi when it's cloudy or dark
Therefore, I recommend your solar setup include a battery. I live in sunny Florida, and it still isn't consistent enough here to do without it. This guide will cover the inclusion of a battery (and the power management board to charge it), but a battery isn't strictly necessary if you want to get technical. :)
But I digress. Let's get started!
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