Frequently Asked Questions
How To Install Solar Panels
Solar panels are first connected to a solar charge controller and then from the controller to a battery. Controllers manage battery charging and also prevent current flowing back to a solar panel when dark.
Which Size of Solar Panel To Use
Solar panels are rated in Watts. If you wanted to trickle charge a 12V battery which is occasionally used a 10W solar panel can be appropriate as the battery will have time for re-charging between use.
Alternatively when appliances are in regular use higher rated solar panels are needed to re-charge batteries to supply the power at the same time appliances are used. Appliances are also rated in Watts with the power demands shown on the attached label.
Generally battery manufactures recommended not discharging a battery more than 50% to avoid damaging the internal lead plates.
Can I Use 12V or 230V Appliances
If using 12V appliances these can either connect directly to the 12V battery or the Load Terminal on a Solar Charge Controller taking into account the current used by the appliance is less than the Amp rating of the controller.
If you would like to run household appliances (230 Volts) then an inverter is connected to the 12V battery which then converts to 230V. Inverters are rated in Watts so a question of sizing an appropriate unit which is rated at least a third higher than the appliance. For example appliance rated at 1500W use a 2000W Inverter.
If using any appliance with sensitive electronics or with a timer mechanism then a Pure Sine Wave Inverter should be used to enable the appliance to function correctly. Inverters
Can I Link Solar Panels Together
If you would like more power solar panels can be linked together either in Series for increasing the Watts and Voltage to the combined output with Current as rated from a single panel or in Parallel to increase output to the combined Watts and Current with Voltage as per single panel output.
An example of linking in Series is where battery Voltage increases from 12V to 24V therefore higher voltage is needed for charging purposes. An example of linking in Parallel is where battery capacity increases from 100A to 200A and requires a higher charging current
Whether Parallel or Series connected for the solar panels the correct Solar Charge Controller must be used which will work with increased solar output.
Which Type of Battery To Use
For continuous discharging and recharging Deep Cycle Batteries are recommended as this type is designed for this purpose. 12V batteries
Can I connect Solar Panels and a Wind Turbine to my Battery Bank
Solar panels can use their own solar charge controller and a wind turbine use their own charge controller and connect both separately to a battery. Or connect solar panel and wind turbine to a Hybrid Controller and then to battery. Example