There are a number of reasons why someone would want to build their own solar power generator system, common uses include being able to use portable appliances like laptops, radios, or even a ryobi saw. You can go out to buy a readymade solar generator, but what’s the fun in that if you could make one yourself?
Buying all of the components needed for your solar power generator isn’t difficult. Everything you will need is available from your local electrical store, you should be able to get everything you need for under $400. The exact price will depend on the quality and brand of parts that you use. Solar power generators allow you to use electrical equipment wherever you are in the world, whether you are on a boat or camping outdoors.
Creating your Own Solar Power System
The first component which you need to buy is a small solar panel, one about 12-16 volts will do the job nicely. You should be able to find such a panel for less than $200 at an RV supply store. You should then buy a deep cycle 12 volt battery, you can buy either a gel, or lead and acid battery. I suggest a deep cycle battery if you are planning to use this system for a long time. You should be able to buy such a battery for around $50.
You need to buy a box to protect the battery from the elements, animals and children. You should then purchase a 12 volt DC meter. You also need a DC input, all of these things can be found in your local electronics store. You can then use this system to power small DC appliances such as laptops and PDA’s.
If you want to run AC appliances with your solar power system then you need to invest in an inverter to convert the generated DC current into AC. You should be able to find these inverters in automotive stores, however you should decide how much power you require before buying an inverter. To get an idea of which one to buy add up the number of watts that you intend to use at any one time.
You should connect the meter with the DC input to the battery box, carefully choose insulated wire to attach these together. When connecting anything to a battery make sure you always connect the negative poles first. When connecting the solar panel make sure you do this in the same way.
Once you’ve wired everything together you should shut the lid and aim the solar panel in direct sunlight. Normally batteries that are flat will take around eight hours of sunlight to charge. Nearly flat batteries can charge in as little as 3 hours. Such a system cannot be expected to provide enough power for a whole house, however it can supply enough power for individual small appliances.
Solar power systems are very easy to expand, should you decide you ever need more power you can add extra panels into your array. If you do add more panels you should also consider a circuit breaker to handle this extra load.