Can You Bring Solar Panels On A Plane?

Harnessing the sun’s power through solar panels has revolutionized the way we think about energy, from remote locations on Earth to the International Space Station. But when it comes to air travel, questions arise about the feasibility and regulations of bringing solar panels on a plane, as passengers increasingly seek to maintain sustainable practices while on the move. Historically, the transportation of solar panels has been subject to a myriad of regulations, primarily due to concerns about the size, weight, and safety of transporting such equipment.

As air travel expanded in the 20th century, so did regulations regarding what materials and devices could be brought aboard commercial flights. With the advent of portable solar panels, avid travelers and those working in remote areas sought ways to keep their electronic devices charged without relying on traditional power sources. This led to the interest in bringing solar panels on planes as checked or carry-on luggage. Airline policies and aviation safety guidelines had to adapt to accommodate these devices, balancing passenger needs with strict safety protocols.

In modern times, with the push towards renewable energy sources and eco-friendly travel, the presence of solar panels in transit has gained even more importance. Each airline may have specific policies regarding the transport of solar panels based on factors such as the dimensions of the panels, the type of solar cells used, and the configuration of the accompanying batteries and connectors. The air transport of solar panels is also influenced by international safety regulations, particularly pertaining to the handling and storage of lithium batteries, which are often an integral part of portable solar power setups. This remains a dynamic and evolving subject as technology advances and air travel continues to adapt to contemporary demands for sustainability and innovation.

can you bring solar panels on a plane

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Can You Take Solar Panels On A Plane?

When considering whether you can take solar panels on a plane, it’s important to understand the airline’s regulations regarding size, weight, and type of equipment. Generally, small portable solar panels used for charging devices may be allowed in carry-on or checked luggage, but larger panels typically exceed carry-on dimensions and must be checked in. Additionally, the lithium batteries often associated with solar power systems may have specific restrictions due to their potential fire hazard. It’s crucial to check with the airline prior to travel and comply with all safety guidelines to ensure a smooth journey. For a more detailed exploration of the rules and tips for traveling with solar panels, continue to the next section where we delve into the intricacies of flying with this type of equipment.

Understanding Solar Panel Restrictions on US Domestic Flights

When it comes to traveling with solar panels on US domestic flights, passengers must adhere to specific guidelines pertaining to their size, capacity, and whether they are installed as part of a device or carried as spare parts. It’s imperative to consult the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for the latest travel information.

Carry-On vs. Checked Baggage

  • Solar panels can typically be carried on board or checked in, provided they meet TSA and specific airline requirements.
  • Portable solar panels without batteries are generally allowed in both checked and carry-on luggage.
  • Solar panels that include integrated batteries must satisfy FAA regulations for lithium batteries if carried onto the plane.
  • When in doubt, travelers should reach out to the airline before flying with any type of solar panel equipment.

Lithium Battery Regulations

  • Lithium batteries, often a component of solar panel kits, are subject to stringent rules due to their potential fire risk.
  • The FAA limits lithium-ion batteries to a rating of 100 watt-hours (Wh) per battery in carry-on bags. With airline approval, passengers may carry up to two spare larger batteries (101-160 Wh).
  • Batteries installed in personal electronic devices can be checked or carried on, but spare batteries must be in carry-on luggage only.
  • Battery terminals should be protected from short circuits by covering them with tape or placing each battery in a separate plastic bag.

Solar Panel Kit Inspection

Travelers should be prepared for solar panel kits to undergo additional screening. TSA officers may ask for the item to be removed from carry-on bags and inspected separately. This may include turning on the device to demonstrate its functionality. Non-functioning or damaged batteries may not be allowed on the aircraft.

Packaging and Handling

  • All solar panels and accessories should be packed securely to prevent damage during transit.
  • It’s recommended to keep solar panels in original manufacturer packaging when possible, to provide clear information about their specifications and to ease security checks.
  • If original packaging is not available, ensure clear labels and documentation for the panels and batteries are present.

Safety Tips for Carrying Solar Panels on Flights

  • Double-check all TSA and airline policies ahead of time, as regulations can change.
  • Properly label all equipment with your contact information in case it needs to be examined or gets misplaced.
  • Avoid packing solar panels in luggage that will be tightly filled or under pressure to prevent accidental damage.
  • Consider using carrying cases designed specifically for sensitive electronics and solar equipment.

For the most current information on traveling with solar panels on domestic flights in the USA, refer to the official TSA guidelines on their website.

Pros ✅ Cons ❌
Portable power source for remote locations. Size and weight restrictions may apply.
Eco-friendly energy alternative. Risk of damage during transit.
May not require special approval for carry-on if within size limits. Potential additional fees for oversized or heavy baggage.
Can charge devices without relying on grid power during travel. Requires careful packing to meet safety regulations.
Good for places with unreliable electricity supply. May be subject to airline’s hazardous material regulations.

International Air Transport Association (IATA) Guidelines

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) provides guidelines for the carriage of portable electronic devices (PEDs) with solar panels, as they fall under the category of dangerous goods due to their batteries. These guidelines are designed to ensure safety on board aircraft and are followed by airlines worldwide. When flying internationally with solar panels, passengers and airlines must adhere to the regulations set forth by IATA, especially concerning lithium batteries, which are commonly used in conjunction with solar panels.

  • Portable solar panels with batteries must be carried in carry-on baggage.
  • Spare batteries must be protected from short circuit and carried in carry-on baggage only.
  • Installed batteries must not exceed 100 watt-hours (Wh), and spares must be limited to two batteries not exceeding 160 Wh each.
  • Approval from the airline is required for batteries that exceed these limits.

For the most current IATA guidelines, please refer to the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations manual or visit the IATA website for more information.

Country Specific Regulations

When traveling with solar panels, it is crucial to be aware of the country-specific regulations that may apply. Each country may have its own set of rules and restrictions regarding the transportation of solar panels, especially when it comes to the batteries used to store the energy they collect. It is essential to check the regulations of both the departure and destination countries, as well as any countries through which you may be transiting.

United Kingdom

  • Refer to the UK Civil Aviation Authority for guidance on traveling with solar panels: UK CAA website.


  • European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) provides regulations for member states: EASA website.



  • Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) offers guidance on portable electronic devices: CASA website.

New Zealand


  • Each country in Asia may have different regulations; consult the respective civil aviation authority’s website for details.


  • The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore provides information on traveling with solar panels: CAAS website.

10 Airline-Specific Regulations for Flying with Solar Panels

Airlines may have their own additional regulations when it comes to flying with solar panels. It is important to review the airline’s policy before traveling to ensure compliance with their specific rules. Below are examples of airline-specific regulations, but always check with the airline directly for the most up-to-date information.

American Airlines

Delta Air Lines

United Airlines

British Airways


Air Canada

  • Air Canada’s policy on portable electronic devices can be found here: Air Canada website.


  • Qantas outlines its battery carriage requirements at: Qantas website.

Air France

  • Visit Air France’s baggage information for details on electronic devices: Air France website.


  • Emirates’ guidelines for batteries and electronic devices can be found here: Emirates website.

Singapore Airlines

Understanding Solar Panel Travel Restrictions

Before attempting to pack any solar panels in your luggage, it’s vital to be aware of airline travel restrictions. Solar panels are typically acceptable for travel; however, always verify with your specific airline for their rules regarding such items. Solar panels with built-in batteries may face additional scrutiny due to their energy storage capacity.

Choosing the Right Solar Panel for Travel

Select a solar panel that is lightweight, flexible, and designed for portable use. Panels meant for stationary installations are usually not suitable for travel due to their size, fragility, and weight.

Packing Solar Panels in Carry-On Luggage

Packing solar panels in carry-on luggage can be ideal as it allows for better handling and reduces the risk of damage.

  • Check the size limits for carry-on items set by your airline and make sure that your solar panel fits within these dimensions.
  • Use the original manufacturer’s packaging if possible, as it is designed to protect the panel during transport.
  • If the original packaging isn’t available, wrap the panel in bubble wrap or a foam pad to provide cushioning.
  • Place the panel in the center of your suitcase, surrounded by clothes or other soft items, to add extra protection against impact.
  • Avoid placing heavy items on top of the panel to prevent cracking or bending.

taking solar panels through airport security

Packing Solar Panels in Hold Luggage

If the solar panel does not fit in your carry-on or if you choose to check it, special considerations should be taken:

  • Use a hard-shell suitcase for the best protection against impacts during handling.
  • Utilize the solar panel’s original packing materials or, if not available, cushion it with substantial padding materials.
  • Secure the panel in place with straps or additional luggage items to prevent it from shifting around during the flight.
  • Clearly label your suitcase as “Fragile” to encourage careful handling by baggage personnel.

Additional Tips for Travelling with Solar Panels

  • Consider investing in a portable solar charger or a foldable solar panel that is specifically designed for travel use.
  • Double-check connections, screws, and fixtures to ensure everything is tight and secure before packing.
  • For added security, include a tracker in your hold luggage in case it gets lost or misdirected.
  • Always inform the airline at check-in that you are traveling with solar panels, especially if they have an integrated battery.

Alternative Energy Devices for Air Travel

When considering alternatives to solar panels for air travel, portable wind turbines and hand-crank generators are viable options for renewable energy on-the-go. Compact, foldable wind turbines can harness energy in windy locations, while hand-crank generators offer manual power generation at any time. Additionally, portable battery packs and power banks charged through renewable sources provide a convenient way to store energy for later use. Travelers might also consider kinetic energy chargers that convert movement into electrical power, ideal for charging small devices during a hike or walk. It’s important to check airline regulations for each device, as some may have restrictions or require prior approval for carry-on or checked luggage.

FAQ’s About Can You Bring Solar Panels On A Plane?

Travelers interested in sustainable energy often wonder about the feasibility of transporting solar panels by air. Concerns typically revolve around size constraints, safety regulations, and airline policies. The frequently asked questions below aim to address common concerns and provide clarity on the rules and guidelines for taking solar panels on a plane.

Is it allowed to carry portable solar panels in your carry-on luggage?

Yes, portable solar panels are generally allowed in carry-on luggage, provided they meet the airline’s size and weight restrictions for carry-on items.

Can I check in large solar panels with my baggage?

Larger solar panels can often be checked in as oversize or special baggage, but it is essential to check with the airline beforehand, as size and weight limits, as well as additional fees, may apply.

Are there any restrictions on the wattage of solar panels I can bring on a plane?

There are normally no restrictions based on wattage for solar panels without integrated batteries. However, for panels with batteries, airline regulations about battery size and watt-hour capacity will apply.

Do I need to declare solar panels when passing through airport security?

It is not typically required to declare solar panels when going through security, but it’s a good idea to inform security personnel to avoid confusion during x-ray screening.

What kind of solar panel batteries are prohibited on planes?

Lithium batteries with more than 100 watt-hours may require airline approval, and those exceeding 160 watt-hours are usually not permitted on passenger flights.

Will my solar panels be covered by insurance if I check them in?

If checked in, solar panels might be covered by travel insurance or the airline’s liability policy, but coverage limits can vary. It’s recommended to check with your insurer and the airline prior to travel.

How should I pack my solar panels to ensure they are protected during the flight?

Solar panels should be securely packed with ample padding in a hard-shelled case to protect against impacts and rough handling during transit.

What if my solar panel is part of a larger system, like a solar-powered generator?

For solar-powered generators, regulations surrounding batteries apply. The entire system must be dismantled, with the solar panel and generator packed according to airline policies for similar devices.

Can I use my solar panels during the flight?

No, you cannot use solar panels during the flight due to airline safety regulations and to avoid causing disturbances to flight operations or other passengers.

Are there any airlines that do not allow solar panels at all?

While most airlines allow solar panels, policies vary, and there may be specific airlines with more restrictive regulations. Always check with your airline before packing solar panels for your flight.

Packing It All Up

In conclusion, the possibility of bringing solar panels on a plane is subject to airline regulations and the physical dimensions and characteristics of the solar panel. Small, portable solar panels used for personal electronic devices are generally permissible as carry-on or checked luggage, provided they meet the airline’s size and weight restrictions. These compact panels are often seen as no different from other electronic devices, and as long as the batteries associated with them are in compliance with TSA guidelines—carry-on for lithium batteries, and proper packaging for spillable batteries—they can be brought aboard without significant issues.

For larger solar panels, which might be considered oversized or overweight baggage, prior approval from the airline is crucial, as is proper packaging to prevent damage. It is important to note that some airlines might not accept larger solar panels due to space constraints or potential hazards. Therefore, it’s essential to contact the airline ahead of time to discuss the specifics and to understand any additional fees or documentation that might be required. By thoroughly researching the airline’s policies and preparing accordingly, travelers can ensure a smoother experience when flying with solar panels, keeping their eco-friendly power sources close at hand.