solar power

Cost Of Solar Power Systems Hinges On Amount Needed

Depending on your needs, solar power systems can be designed for everything from a hunting cabin in the middle of nowhere to an entire home in the city. There are four main components to all solar power systems that use the photovoltaic process to produce electricity. This is different that thermal systems that use the heat from the sun for certain functions, such as heating water.

In addition to the photocell panel, a charge regulator will be needed to connect to the battery so that when the battery’s charge gets low, the solar panels can automatically send power to them. Conversely, the regulator will protect the batteries from damage due to overcharging. The third component is the battery pack itself. It can be one to several batteries in which power is stored during the solar power systems use. Last in line is a power converter that changes the 12-volt direct current from the battery to 120-volt alternating current, used by most electric appliances.

The amount of power needed will determine the number of panels needed to provide adequate power for the solar power systems being designed. While the panels are not cheap, they are designed for durability and without negligent damage should provide power for many years. The storage batteries used are deep cycle, able to withstand hundreds and even thousands of drain and charge cycles.

Calculating Solar Power System’s Requirement

To being understanding the size of the solar power systems that may be needed, how that power will be used is the first step. All solar panels are rated by watts, similar to the rating of light bulbs. Since they are all 12-volt output, calculating the amperage is a simple formula. Knowing that volts times amps equals watts, and a 12-volt solar panel produces 60 watts, it can be figured out that the panel is capable of just over three amps.

Based on this, it is easy to understand why solar power systems do not work well for units that draw a lot of amps, such as appliances with a heating coil such as electric heaters, furnaces or air conditioners. However, there are 12-volt versions of many of this type of appliance that can be used, provided the solar array is large enough to produce the required amperage.

With all solar power systems, the panels can be wired into a series or parallel, depending on whether an increase in volts or amps is desired. While one system may provide more watts and power more items, the other way will allow powering more power-intense appliances for a shorter period of time.


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solar power