A solar car battery charger (also known as a "trickle charger") is designed to maintain the charge of a 12V storage battery. Besides automobiles, these batteries are also used in trucks, RVs, tractors, riding lawn mowers, motorcycles, electric fences, deer feeders, garden fountains and many other applications. And for less than $50, a basic version (less than 2 Watts) can keep your 12V battery fully charged so that it starts quickly, even if it has not been used for several months.
For equipment that is not used on a regular year round basis (like RVs or boats) this can mean a significant savings in both time and money. Anyone who has ever had the experience of trying to start a riding mower (or a boat) for the first time after a long winter of sitting idle knows how annoying it is to hear that metallic click of a dead battery instead of the engine's roar. It's time-consuming to have to stop what you're doing, hunt for a pair of jumper cables, find a car that's available to hook up to, and get your battery started. It's even worse if your battery won't take the charge and you have to buy a new one.
A solar trickle charger can help you avoid that scenario. And a heavier duty version (5 W or more) will not only keep your 12 V battery charged, but can also be used to recharge your mobile gadgets, like cell phones and digital cameras. These larger solar powered battery chargers often come with the additional connectors that are needed, such as battery clamps, male and female cigarette lighter adapters, and 10 foot cables.
Thin-film solar cell technology allows these larger portable solar panels to roll or fold into sizes small enough to fit into a glove compartment. There is even a 20 W version that weighs less than 1 pound and provides enough power to charge a laptop (using a 12V powerpack). So, you can find a solar car battery charger to fit whatever you need, from simple battery maintenance to powering up a complete mobile office.
All prices are in USD.