Black is a color that emits radiation as heat and light, and absorbs radiation from the sun that is visible to the human eye. Black may also be used to absorb, rather than reflect or transmit, light. This article will investigate what black solar panels are and how they work.
Solar panels are devices that convert solar energy into electrical energy. They are made of various semiconducting materials like silicon which absorb sunlight which then generates electric current when an external circuit is connected between their electrodes. Solar panels have special cells that are usually encapsulated in glass or plastic, these encapsulated cells may be made of inorganic materials like silicon, potassium and magnesium but for different reasons the cells commonly used to form a solar panel are based on a type of semiconductor called cadmium telluride (CdTe).
An important property of CdTe is that it does not contain any heavy metals like lead or cadmium. This is because it allows for a continuous process of doping between layers which makes the cell more effective in absorbing light energy. The common semiconductors used as solar panels are silicon and Gallium Arsenide (GaAs).
Patrick C –
I’ve had a breezeway stickup camera that needed to be recharged about every two weeks (dogs). I wasn’t expected for this to keep the charge given how often my camera records, but when I set it up I was at 56% battery, that evening I was back at 100%. Already bought a 2nd solar panel for my side yard stickup.
Dr. J –
Got this on a whim for a camera I have installed in a spot that isn’t very accessible – most of my cameras are mounted where I can get to them to change out batteries.For the stick up cams, installing this panel is simple – mount the stalk, slide on the panel, then remove the rubber plug on the back of the cam and plug it in. For mine it took a few minutes for “Device Health” to show that the panel was connected.For those complaining about the cord length – yes it’s somewhat an annoyance to have to deal with all the extra wire, but it would be even more of an annoyance to be forced to locate the panel somewhere far away from the camera (direct sun is best) and have the cord not reach.My usual experience with solar panels is the panel coating tends to cloud up and the solar portion fails, so we’ll see how this one fares.
Belinda Wilson –
I got tired of getting out the small ladder so I could reach the camera to take out the battery and charge it. So I came across this and got one. Now I’m wondering why I didn’t do this sooner. It’s working great. Easy to hook up. And we’ve had a lot of rain and clouds lately and it’s still charging. So, it doesn’t seem to take much sun for it to work.
I own a lot of Ring gear, a mix of 6 versions of their cameras, camera/spotlights and doorbells and have owned some of my Ring gear for over 5 years. This was my first purchase of a battery powered Ring camera/light with the solar array accessory. I installed the set up the spring of 2021 – my impressions are below:Pro:-The solar array and Ring battery spotlight cam combo are conducive to an easier installation process than a wired Ring camera because you obviously don’t need to install a 110v outlet or have proximity to one to make the installation.-The 13 foot connection cord allows for a variety of installation scenarios. In my case, I ran the cable under my vinyl siding around a fireplace chase with the solar array on the sunny side and the camera facing my back yard.-Inconspicuous appearance, does its job well. One important tip here – charge the battery to 100% BEFORE installation using the supplied USB cable and any USB power port. I bought an extra battery and it took me between 5 and 7 hours to charge each battery to 100% using the power cord. Do NOT rely on the solar panel to charge from 40% when the batteries arrive to 100%.-The solar array has kept my pair of batteries at between 99%-100% since I hooked it up about 3 weeks ago. My solar panel is in a very sunny, unshaded spot and it gets between 8 and 12 hours of sun a day.Con:-More expensive than the wired version, especially with 2 batteries. But the ease of installation, not needing a 110V outlet and the long power cord decrease labor time and the power is off the grid.- It’s possible that many of the 1-2 star reviews for the solar array not working may be simple connection issues and not understanding how to set up the power draw the camera uses within the app.-I think the solar array needs a LOT more sunlight than Ring claims which is 2 hours a day. I’d bet it’s more like like 6-8+ hours of direct sun. Your results may vary depending on your location for the solar panel and the amount of sun it receives.I saw a 1 star review that had the solar array mounted under and eave/soffit on a home. That’s NOT going to work. The solar array needs full access to the sun so be thoughtful about the mounting location and under an eave is not a good choice for location.You also may need to adjust the power usage settings on the app – it basically has a low, medium and high power draw set ups. Understand the app, the settings and choose the right settings for your situation.Make sure you press the solar panel cable into the camera with enough pressure to fully seat the cord plug in the back of the camera. Then check “solar status” on the device health page (see photo). When I took the screen shot of the device health page I attached in the photos, it was raining outside and there was no solar charging going on – see the message from the app. If that “connected” note does not show up on the app, the array will not work properly. I have had the solar array cut out once since I installed it but got it quickly fixed.I wiggled the solar cable a bit on the back of the camera and it immediately came back online on the device health page on the app. I removed the solar array cable from the back of the camera and put a small dab of dielectric compound on the metal cable end and reinserted the cable. Dielectric compound improves electrical connectivity, prevents metal oxidation and helps waterproof the electrical connection. The array has worked fine ever since I added the dielectric compound.Your experience may vary based on location factors but based on my 5+ years of Ring experience and the performance of this particular solar camera package, I’d recommend this Ring solar array and camera without hesitation, especially where 110V outlets are not available or expensive to install AND you understand how to properly place the solar array and use the app settings. Hope that helps!
FakeSpot user –
I got 4 of these “refurbished” ones that were listed as used “acceptable.”. They were in excellent condition, though. I didn’t expect them to still charge my StickUp Camera Battery without direct sunlight but it seems to charge when there was minimal sunlight… like there was a shadow of a palm tree over the solar panel but it still charges, slowly but it did. My battery went from 37% at 5 PM when I installed it to 39% at 8 PM after the sun had already set an hour before. I checked again the next day around 5 PM and noticed that my batteries were already at 100% charged (I installed 4 of them on 4 different cameras). My wired doorbell didn’t even charge the doorbell battery to 50% after a day. Someone did a horrible job with low power to my doorbell but I can’t find the origin (the transformer) anywhere, so I just let it be and it finally charged to 100% after 10 days. These solar panels charged my StickUp Battery Cameras in less than a day, so I’m really happy with the result. I, of course, install these in direct sunlight (direct most of the day) but part of the day, the palm tree casts its shadow over the panel near sunset.
Got this and the stand to hold it on, it was easy to put together, I had bought the ring security camera and it came with a free battery camera, which I was dreading to have to keep charging the battery. My husband put it up and it works great, haven’t had to charge the battery once. Saves a lot of time and trouble.
Alfredo Perez –
I just had this panel for a little more than a week and so far so good! It keeps the battery fully charged and worry free of having to disassemble and then recharge the battery of the camera. It’s really convenient and hassle free! It gives you peace of mind knowing your ring camera has unlimited charge!
I’ve had up for a few days and it seems to keep the battery charged. Easy to install and cord is very long. I have the panel fairly close to the camera, so a shorter cord would have worked for me. I am pleased so far and I am considering buying a second one. I have 2 cameras wired that work great and 2 cameras that I keep having to switch the batteries. I bought one panel to see if it would work and so far it has. Time will tell. Pleased so far.
Tom G. –
Was tired of changing batteries on our ring spotlight cam. We’re changing batteries about every three days. I have it set high for high recording times and wanted to try a solar charging system. I saw this on sale and gave it a try. Super easy to install and appears to charge the batteries with only a couple hours of direct sunlight. Great for the summer we’ll see how to do it has no winter.
Roger G. –
Had a battery stick-up cam so I thought I’d try the solar panel to keep it charged. It is a south-facing wall, so no problem. Like the stick-up cam, I mounted this to the metal siding with a magnetic camera mount (same threads) so just attached it to the mount and slapped it to the siding. Couldn’t be easier.