Solar chargers can charge lead acid or Ni-Cd battery banks up to 48 V and hundreds of ampere-hours (up to 4000 Ah) capacity. Such type of solar charger setups generally use an intelligent charge controller. A series of solar cells are installed in a stationary location (ie: rooftops of homes, base-station locations on the ground etc.) and can be connected to a battery bank to store energy for off-peak usage. They can also be used in addition to mains-supply chargers for energy saving during the daytime.
Most portable chargers can obtain energy from the sun only. Examples of solar chargers in popular use include:
- Small portable models designed to charge a range of different mobile phones, cell phones, iPods or other portable audio equipment.
- Fold out models designed to sit on the dashboard of an automobile and plug into the cigar/12v lighter socket to keep the battery topped up while the vehicle is not in use.
- Flashlights/torches, often combined with a secondary means of charging, such as a kinetic (hand crank generator) charging system.
- Public solar chargers permanently installed in public places, such as parks, squares and streets, which anyone can use for free.