Seems like everyone these days are
talking about renewable energy, and the big name in renewable energy is solar
energy. With the world’s oil reserves running out, we’ve got to do something
quick or we’ll be left in the dark—literally!
Here are some quick facts about
solar energy you might find useful in determining if solar energy is right for
Does living off the grid conjure up reruns of Grizzly Adams and Little House on the Prairie? You’re not alone. Many people think that living off the grid means giving up all your modern conveniences and moving, essentially, into the past.
Many other people think only crunchy granola types live off the grid. You know the ones wearing hemp clothing and dreadlocks?
In fact, off the grid means simply that you don’t buy energy from municipal sources. You are not connected to the“grid,” or the system that powers most of the homes and businesses in your neighborhood. It doesn’t mean that you have to give up your TV or your air conditioner or even your microwave. Unless you want to, of course!
If you are planning a DIY solar install and don’t have experience you might want to read this first and avoid the ten most common mistakes that others have made:)
For now, in no particular order:
Mistake 1: Voltage drop and the length of cables
For most people they select the core voltage of their planned solar system as being 12 or 24v because that’s which voltage their batteries / battery banks or solar panels run at. However there is at least one other aspect( probably many more ) that need taking into account.
When you transmit power through cables it is degraded slightly, this can be calculated to a formula and is known in electrical worlds as voltage drop.
Best practice is to place the charge controller, batteries , inverter and panels as near to each other as possible in your design.
If you transmit the low energy DC voltage from your panels and batteries it can degraded by as much as 10 or 20 % over an extended length of 5 or 10 meters. You will also need to calculate the correct thickness of cable to transmit that power with only a small loss, the larger the cable the less loss.
If you transmit at mains standards 220-240v AC here in europe then there is a wider acceptable range of loss that will be more efficient over longer distances.
For accurate examples and formulas to work out voltage drop , see these electrical links:
The problem most of us face when we want to convert to solar power is the cost of professionally installed systems. A typical system can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and you might not see a return on that investment for years to come. But there are cost effective alternatives out there for the do-it-yourself type who wants to take advantage of the power of the sun, and to do his or her part to protect the environment.
Say Hello to Renewable Energies
It’s not as difficult or complicated as you might think. Given the proper instructions and tools, even a teenager can build solar panels. The parts aren’t complicated or hard to find. In fact, most of them can be picked up at your local hardware store. If you want it even easier, you can purchase a kit that contains everything you need to build solar panels to power small appliances, tools in your workshop, or even your entire home.