First I should clarify – there are solar panels, solar chargers and solar generators. We have featured several tutorials showing how to build cheap solar chargers. These are simple to build as they are basically just a solar panel that produces electricity and charges when the sun is out, but when the sun goes in, it does nothing. This tutorial is to build a simple weatherproof solar generator – when the sun is shining the panel produces electricity AND then charges (and tops up) an internal battery so you can store the electricity to use later. To be fully weatherproof I would probably make a little cover to go over the external socket, just to keep it dry.
A solar generator like this would be awesome for camping, fishing and emergency preparedness etc. With it you can power lights and other small devices. Check out the full build tutorial below.