Wednesday, July 14, 2021

How to set up a solar panel


Here I will document my own learning is solar setup. I will update this post as I learn more.
I don't distinguish the way of panels use: whether on a vehicle, on a building or just separately. The main accent is of how to combine three main components: a panel, a controller and an invertor.

Choosing equipment

Criteria for any type of equipment:
Find certain brand on Amazon, and check:
- average reviews rating
- number of reviews
- the price (whether the current store overprices a lot)

How to choose a solar panel

Temperature Coefficient

The lower the better.


Warranty of 25 years is usually provided by manufacturers. No warranty is a bad sign.

Monocrystalline vs Polycrystalline

Mono is more efficient and hence more expensive per square. So if we have much square space like on the building roof, we can use poly. Or, if we have less space like on the vehicle roof, we can use mono.



How to choose a battery


Safety. Some batteries are toxic when charging or discharging. It is fine to keep a AGM/GEL/LiFePO4)
 battery in a living space.
Warranty. It should be.
Temperature range.
Review rating on Amazon.

Types of batteries

Flood lead acid (or wet cell) batteries

They take lots of space, need regular maintenance. Disadvantage when we have a lack of space like in the vehicle (unlike a building). Charge slow. Trademarks: Trojan.

Sealed Lead Acid (AGM) batteries

Resistant to cold, easier to maintain. Trademarks: ExpertPower, Renogy, Universal, Mighty Max, WindyNation.

Gel Batteries

Great both for extreme heat and cold. Resistant to physical damage. Charge fast.

Lithium-Ion (LiFePO4) batteries

Best for solar. No maintenance required for about 15 years. Charge fast. Doesn't take much space. Easy to install.  Trademarks: Renogy. 

How to choose a controller

Ampers of the controller = next available value not less than (total watts of solar panels divided by voltage of the battery).
150,200,250,600 V
Manual and auto EQ
Built in GFP and arc fault
Online status monitoring
Hyper VOC extend VOC limits
12-72 volt battery charging
Solar, wind and hydro MPPT modes

How to choose an invertor

Wattage of the inverter should be as total wattage of solar panels. 


Cover with a blanket

Cover the solar panels with a heavy blanket so that no sunlight is reaching the panels. This is important so that when we connect the wiring we don’t burn out the charge controller or any of the other electronic devices. Only uncover the solar panels once we are finished setting up the entire solar system and have all of the electronic cables in their proper position.

We can multiply power by using stackable batteries and solar panels.

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