Building Blocks of Solar Part 6 – Batteries for Solar!

Batteries for Solar Off Grid or Hybrid System

OK everyone, we have covered solar panels, a solar array, and charge controllers, so the logical next step is for us to discuss batteries.  Over the lifetime of your system, Batteries will be the most expensive part because the ones that are cost effective when starting a system don’t last very long and the ones that last a relatively long time are prohibitively expensive.   Batteries are the center cog of any system because they store the excess energy produces by your source(solar array, generator, or even the grid) and then distribute that energy when generation falls below need. Continue reading “Building Blocks of Solar Part 6 – Batteries for Solar!”

Building Blocks of Solar Part 5 – Solar Charge Controllers

Hack My Solar Blog Post

Charge Controllers, what are they?

OK so we have covered what solar panels are, and how to design a solar array,  but what happens once your panels are generating power?  Well you obviously want to get them into your battery bank, but other than some very specific situations, you will charge your batteries through a charge controller.  So what is a charge controller…in essence, it is the device that regulates the amount of energy, both in terms of voltage and amperage, that goes from your solar array to your battery bank. Continue reading “Building Blocks of Solar Part 5 – Solar Charge Controllers”

Building Blocks of Solar Part 4 – Sizing a Solar Array

Hack My Solar Blog Post

Sizing a Solar Array

A Solar Array is just a fancy term for your solar panels, which themselves are combinations of solar cells, combined into a single system.  Today we discuss “sizing a solar array.” The first step is determining what your needs are.  It is always good to eliminate or reduce some parts of your usage before determining the size of your solar array.  For example at our house we got rid of our drip coffee maker and began buying roasted beans, hand grinding them, heating water on a propane stove, and using a french press.  The amount of electricity we need to make our Continue reading “Building Blocks of Solar Part 4 – Sizing a Solar Array”