Solar Energy Review

A Review and Thoughts from my Research

The cost of Solar Power has dropped significantly 10 to 15 % per year.
Expected to increase 30 % by 2018.

Wind and Solar
Wind and Solar Working Together

Solar panels are a major function of an electrical system that can power your home at no cost.  Purchasing the Panels, charge controller, batteries, and power inverter are the only costs besides the mounts and wiring.

Wind & Solar together like in this picture can help each other when one or the other is lacking.

I like solar panels on my home so that I can eventually go off the grid of depending on the electric company’s for my electric power needs.  A typical kit you can purchase from Harbor freight for 125.00 with a coupon is basically for a sunny area of the country.  This is due to it’s low amp charge controller that allows a small portion of energy to the battery.  Also the solar panels themselves are only 15 watts a panel.  You do get three of them equaling a total amount of 45 watts.  But this is weak compared to the solar panels you can get with say a 340 watt panel.

My advice would be to purchase a kit from harbor freight to experiment with especially if you are in a sunny climate.  Then go on to more powerful systems.  I personally have a harbor freight kit and the first thing I notice is it has trouble powering the battery due to my overcast climate in Ohio.  SO, I am first advised to get a much more powerful charge controller between 60 amps and 100 amps.  I prefer to get the larger 100 amp so I can grow with higher amp panels.

There are two kinds of charge controllers.  One is a pwm and the other is a mppt.  The mppt is the one I will choose due to its advanced features and it will save the excess electricity by not wasting the excess.

Some panels can even collect a little energy from very little sun through the clouds IF it is a much higher amperage one.  I would also be careful of buying more batteries at first due to the harbor freights limitations to charge more than one or two.  Battery purchase is last in purchasing.  I would focus on the charge controller first.  Personally I would get the highest one I could afford and get an mppt one.

My major purchase was the power inverter.  I did not hold back and bought the best one harbor freight could offer.  It is a whopping 5,000 to 10,000 watt.  Larger than any I’ve seen in the youtube videos.  Therefore as it converts dc to ac power, it also handles the surges of wattage output that appliances push to it.  If the appliance pushes more than the inverter can handle them it will not allow the appliance to run.

In future efforts I would like to help the solar system I’m running with Wind Power.  I see it as when the batteries are draining on cloudy days, then the wind can take over and ‘help’ the solar panels when they are not getting enough sun.  Also, if it is windy and sunny out the batteries will be fully charged.  But the main idea is when one is down say a cloudy day then the wind turbine will be charging the batteries in absence of the sun and visa versa.

The Solar Panel System I Envision.

I am thinking of a large battery bank of say 10 to 20 batteries.  More batteries can cover more appliances for a longer period of time.  The Solar Panels would need to be higher wattage say 340 watts.  Also many of them.  There is a mathematical formula to calculate the ratio.  If, given enough batteries wired in series for higher voltage AND wired in parallel for longer lasting amp hours then you could power an entire house.  Not to forget to power these many batteries you will need many solar panels at a higher wattage say 340 watts each. Newer, cheaper break-through materials are being invented as we speak to absorb the sun like a sponge !!  Purchase a Higher Amp Power Inverter to carry the load. Obtain a ‘good one’ meaning ‘Sine Wave’ not modified sine wave.


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