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I Love Electricity

285w Pickup Truck Solar Power

First, R.I.P. 97 Tacoma. The frame broke in two at 18 years of age 🙁

(I recycled the solar array from that truck into another cool project.)

So I bought myself a shiny new 2015 Tacoma, with the 2TR engine, essentially the newer version of the amazing 3RZ I had in my ’97. Long live the 4-banger!!

My first order of business was getting a new tonneau that fit the larger bed, and a new solar module. Top priority was a perfectly flat cover, so I could more easily fit a huge solar module. A SolarWorld 285w module sits atop my Undercover tonneau!!


I carefully measured out the placement so that it was centered, applied the e6000 industrial adhesive, and let it cure.


It’s a beautiful thing!


It’s really a beautiful thing!


A pair of DEKA 8A31 AGM batteries in parallel stores the energy. Notice the careful attention to the parallel wiring scheme to keep balance. The loads are drawn diagonally so to be evenly distributed amongst the pair. If you look very closely, you can spot the circuit breakers. I prefer these over fuses, because I can reset them.


This SunSaver MPPT controller works pretty well, but being limited to 15a it clips the power if I produce over 200w. Therefore I will be upgrading to a 30a MPPT charge controller in the near future. A 25a controller would be sufficient, but I want to oversize so it runs cooler and not be maxxed out.


A 1000w PURE SINE Xantrex inverter, which can charge power tools or even run a small microwave.


A pair of LED flood lights provides ample lighting in the bed.

Update July 2016: I replaced the lead batteries with a Lithium battery, and the Sunsaver MPPT with a Blue Sky MPPT.  More info here!