Solar panel expansion card

while going through some topic here, i had a idea. Why not make a expansion card connected to a small solar panel, it would be interesting for people working directly outside in the nature or family who live in a camping car. we can also make a small one next to the laptop 16 keyboard. (note that i don’t know anything about pc except building one) What do you think?

Given that laptops don’t like heat/sun and solar panels need it, you would need to have a longer cable so that your laptop can stay in the cold while the panel is charging your device.

Especially the Framework 16 won’t make much sense to me: Depending on the workload it will probably eat up to twice as much energy as the Framework 13 (I’m just guessing) and I really don’t see myself gaming in the wild using a solar panel.

What high-CPU+GPU-intensive tasks can you do outside which make sense to have a solar charger?

I would instead go the powerbank route: There are good solutions for quick-charge big powerbanks that will last days on your laptop. You won’t have the hassle of clouds and alike as well.


Are you aware how much area you’d need to even break even at idle?

Asuming perfect angle and sun (~1000W/m2) and a 21% efficient solar panel you get 210w per square meter. If you covered the lid of the 13" perfectly you’d get 14W in a best case scenario, sounds not too bad but that’s at noon in summer with the lid perfectly angled to the sun. A tiny liver next to the keyboard would not do much even if it isn’t covered by your hand and perfectly aimed at the sun.

There are foldable solar panels that charge powerbanks for camping, that’s probably a better solution and you can also use it for other stuff.


the short answer is that for this sort of usage you’re much better off with a big power bank and then moving the issue to how to actually charge the power bank. if you want a small solar panel, the market doesn’t offer great choice. i have a cheap 28W one which is enough to charge a phone (slowly since it doesn’t have full PD output) and show off at the park every now and then. if you can get a big powerbank and you have space then you can go wild on the solar panel size but you will need a specialised solution

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And thanks to usb PD laptop power banks are actually quite common and easy to get, plus the framework even charges off old school 5v ones (slower of course but depending on your use the 10w of a generic 5v 2a charger/powerbank can keep you above water).

God I love usb PD XD

A solar panel lid would make much more sense than a card IMO, as a passive feature, not to actually charge the laptop, though.

The math just isn’t kind to things like this, even if assume the lid faces the sun at the right angle at all times.