Building a portable solar generator is an option definitely worth considering as the use of solar power is gaining prominence around the world.
People are giving priority to saving the planet and saving their bank accounts in the process and to begin with a smaller project like a portable solar power system is an excellent way to start on your way to renewable energy independence.
A portable solar generator can be used to supply the electrical needs of a particular appliance to reduce your electric bill or perhaps packed up for a weekend in the woods.
With a few basic components, you can have your very own portable solar power source independent of your local utility company and you will find that a portable solar generator can pay for itself within a few short weeks.
Portable Solar Power System - Parts Required
In order to put together your portable solar generator you will need several different devices. Most of these are easily found locally and cheaply and some can be created at home.
• Solar Panels
• Charge controller
• Power Inverter
• Appliance that requires power!
The above parts list contains the most basic units you will have to purchase to create your portable solar generator. If you have an unlimited budget, there are other components you can use as well but these are the minimum.
It is important to note that you can actually build your own solar panels - this is one simple way to cut down on the overall costs of your portable solar power solution.
One of the most important parts for correct operation of a portable solar generator is the charge regulator. This handy little device regulates the amount of power that is added to or withdrawn from your battery. This device all at once prevents your battery from being overcharged, or overly drained, both of which can severely limit the lifespan of the battery. In the case of overcharging the charge controller can actually prevent accidents.
Some people have used regular car batteries for their portable solar power system, and for a short time, this can work. However, car batteries are not recommended for continuous charging and discharging at the levels required by solar panels. There are batteries specially made to withstand this kind of constant use without wearing out quickly or posing a safety risk. If you are in a position where you need to save money you can opt for a deep cycle marine battery, which is a happy medium between the two types of battery.
One thing you should know about the batteries is that they perform best in warm temperatures. Storing yours in a battery box is the best way to accomplish keeping them warm in colder temperatures.
The energy stored in the battery from your portable solar generator is direct current or DC power. As you probably already know the appliances in your home do not run on DC, they require alternate current or AC power. A power inverter is the device required to make the necessary adjustments and allow your appliances to be solar-powered.
One device you may want to consider when planning your portable solar power project is called a system meter. This will tell you at any given moment how much power is stored in your battery or batteries. They can also give you a good idea of the power load you are currently carrying, which is helpful in determining if you will need more solar panels and/or batteries to power your current appliances.
The final part of your portable solar power system is an appliance to power. Any appliance in your home or vacation spot will run on solar power. Many people choose to power draining appliances such as air conditioners and hot water heaters with portable solar generators. Or you will see a worthwhile reduction in your monthly power bill by running just your fridge in this way.