Solar Trike

Battery Power Only

Solar Experiment


This solar tricycle was made for a solar contest at the Florida Solar Energy Center. In my mind, the obvious route to go was to make an electric tricycle and then add onto that setup to make it solar powered. The solar panels are only borrowed from the school, so after the experiment I will still have an electric tricycle I can ride around and enjoy. My partner and I ended up receiving the first place award in the Solar Innovation Contest at the EnergyWhiz Olympics.

Making an Electric Trike

First I need to make an electric trike before converting it to solar power. So I started with an used electric scooter that cost $30. I started taking it apart even before I snapped a picture.

The Parts I removed from it were the speed controller, throttle, key switch, motor, sprocket, and chain.

The next thing I needed was a tricycle. I got this antique one for a good price.

Next the tricycle was outfitted with the parts removed from the electric scooter.

The batteries are used ones bought for $5. They also were from an old electric scooter. They are wired in a series, providing 36 volts and they are rated at 12 Amps.

A motor mount was made and welded onto the back of the bike frame. The sprocket and chain came from the electric scooter. A ratcheting free wheel is in place so the bike still works with or without the motor engaged.

At this point the tricycle runs fine off of electric power and next comes the modifications for solar power

Adding Solar Power

The solar panels being used are 2- 18 volt, 4.72 Amp BP solar panels.

To carry the solar panels, a cart is built from an old tricycle. This cart will be dragged behind the electric tricycle. I had another old tricycle and removed the back end of it to make a cart from it.

The cart needed a new paint job, some new tires, and a new shaft, but that was about it.

Next the cart had to be connected to some swivel hitch on the tricycle.

To do this, a pipe was bolted inside what was left of the cart’s frame. Then the end of the pipe was flattened and a hole was drilled in it. The bike hitch was made out of a few pieces of metal and bolted in place on the motor mount.

Finally some wood was zip tied on the basket of the cart. This will eventually hold the solar panels along with bungee cords. Some reinforcements were also made to the basket so the weight of the solar panels could be safely held by the cart.


My partner and I won first place at the Solar Innovation Contest this was created for.