What You Need to Know About Trail Camera Solar Panels

What You Need to Know About Trail Camera Solar Panels

- Creative XP Brand Team

Before we begin: Why would I want a trail camera solar panel? 

Before diving into this article, we want to explore some reasons why one might purchase a solar panel for a trail camera in the first place. According to the NRA, many hunters opt for a trail camera to survey their hunting areas and potential targets without ever stepping foot into the woods. By doing this, hunters are given a great advantage over their game as they learn their patterns and hiding places from miles away. 

Common Concerns about Trail Cameras Batteries

Although trail cameras are overall beneficial to your hunting experience, there are also a handful of issues that people run into along the way. Oftentimes, their main downfall is their short, unreliable battery life. Generally, the batteries go strong for two to three weeks — but then they die. Each time the batteries die, you need to tend to your cameras to replace them. This is frustrating, we know. But what if there was a way to recharge your batteries without making several treks to your cameras? Luckily, there is! We introduce — solar panels. 

Solar powered trail cameras, or cameras that run on energy from solar panels, have become extremely popular. These cameras and their panel counterparts get a great reputation thanks to their convenience, easy set-up, and energy efficiency. Continue on below to learn more about what exactly portable solar panels are, how they produce energy, and what their noteworthy benefits are. 

What to Know When Using Trail Camera Solar Panels 

  • How do solar panels produce energy?

Portable solar panels like the one found in the 2022 Trail Camera Solar Panel Kit by Creative-XP work to charge your trail cameras. In short, solar panels produce energy through panels laden with monocrystalline solar cells absorbing and storing photons, or light from the sun, that are later converted into an electrical current. These electrical currents stay reserved in the panels until the battery in your camera runs low. Once this happens, the energy stored inside the 2400 mAh lithium battery is used to recharge the battery within your wireless trail camera when needed. It’s really that simple! 

If you’re curious to learn more, we’ve got you covered! Below are some commonly asked questions about solar panels and how they work: 

  • When should I use a portable solar panel?

Generally, you should use a portable solar panel to charge the batteries within wireless cameras that are in remote locations or that you don’t tend to often. This includes cameras that operate via cellular network, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth. Simply connect the panel to your trail camera, and let the sun’s energy do the rest!

  • How long do solar panels last?

According to reolink.com, well-kept solar panels can last for more than 25 years. You can care for your solar panels by cleaning them from time to time and covering them with 1-inch of plexiglass to prevent weather damage.

  • Why do camera batteries die so quickly?

Oftentimes, wireless batteries die 25% faster than non-wireless cameras. Think of your cellular camera in terms of your cell phone - when your phone is constantly searching for service plus sending and downloading images, you probably find your battery’s life drains very quickly. As it turns out, all of these processes are extremely draining for any battery. Similar to your phone, the wireless camera is always searching for service signals to send through to your device, making it clear why the battery dies 25% faster than wired cameras.

  • Do solar panels need direct sunlight?

The short answer is no, they do not need direct sunlight. But it is helpful for peak charging efficiency. Although placing them in direct sunlight will charge them faster, photons from the sun will still reach the panel whether in direct or indirect sunlight. If you are looking for peak energy efficiency, we recommend placing your panels away from dense tree coverage and orienting them in the direction of the sun.

  • Do solar panels work on cloudy days?

Yes! Although you might not see the sun directly, you can trust that there are rays of light peeking through and reaching your panels. As we mentioned above, your panels are capable of charging even when not placed in direct sunlight. Additionally, the energy reserve inside the panel’s lithium ion battery is designed to kick in on days where there is less sunlight.
  • Can solar panels get wet?

Yes! Solar panels are generally waterproof, so moisture from humidity, snow, and rain will not damage them. Additionally, they are resistant against other weather conditions including freezing temperatures, hail, and high winds, to name a few.

Compatible Trail Cameras for Solar Panel Charger

Benefits of Solar Panels for Trail Cameras

Now that you have a sense of what solar panels are and how they work in tandem with your trail cameras, let’s delve into a few key benefits of solar panels and how they can help to enhance your overall experience. 

1. They’re good for the environment.

Oftentimes when a battery dies, we throw it away. Where does that battery go after we part ways with it? Most likely, your battery will make it into landfills, dumps, and even the ocean. By choosing solar panels, you are using clean, renewable, and natural energy to recharge your batteries. A win for both you and the environment? Can’t beat that! 

2. They won’t disturb wildlife.

Both trail cameras and solar panels are well-loved by wildlife enthusiasts because they are small, quiet, and easy to blend into the surroundings. Because of this, the animals in the area can remain completely undisturbed. 

3. They will save you money.

Although solar panels might seem more expensive upfront, they will ultimately save you money in the long run. Solar panels can last for more than 25 years making them a great long term investment.

4. They will save you time

Having a reliable battery means more flexibility for you! Now you can leave trail cameras miles away from your home without having to physically check on them. By using solar energy, you will no longer have to trek out to your cameras to recharge or replace your batteries. On average, your solar-charged battery will last about 6-10 months, whereas wireless cameras without them only last about 2-3 months. 

Our top pick: We love the Creative XP trail camera solar panel kit thanks to its stellar 2400 mAh battery designed for tons of solar storage.This panel works extremely well with the GlassRaven cellular trail camera designed to take all the electricity it needs from the lithium battery, while remaining charged for months at a time.

Man setting up solar panel charger for trail camera

Tips for Setting Up Solar Panels for Trail Cameras

By now, you’re probably wondering how to pair your panels to your trail cameras. Below are some key steps to help you install your panels properly:

Step 1: Mount your camera and solar panels to a sturdy tree and angle upwards to face the sun. Try to place the panels out of dense tree coverage to prevent additional sun blockage. 

Pro tip: Use this CreativeXP detailed step-by-step guide for setting up your trail camera.

Step 2: Plug the charged solar panel directly into the camera’s battery box. This is how the energy stored within the panels will recharge the camera. We recommend the GlassRaven 2400 mAh solar panel thanks to its ability to charge all 9-12 volt cellular game cameras. 

Pro tip: Although you might not need them, we suggest adding the camera’s recommended batteries as an extra precaution in case your solar panels are not producing enough energy.

Step 3: Untangle and organize any cables to prevent snagging or accidental unplugging. Consider stapling or fixing the wires to the tree to ensure they are carefully tucked out of harm’s way. 

Step 4: Check camera images on your device to ensure it is placed in the correct position. If not, reorient the camera until you achieve the desired angle. 

Put Your Solar Panels to the Test 

If you are someone who constantly uses a trail camera, solar panels might be the right route for you. Lasting for more than 25 years, solar panels use energy from the sun to charge your trail camera batteries. By using solar panels, you can save on time and money while also doing your part to help the environment. 

We recommend checking out the Creative-XP website if you are interested in learning more about solar panels, trail cameras, or other hunting-related products. 


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