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Obtain equipment and supplies to build a solar charged battery bank and energy supply setup that will provide a contingency source of electricity to power essential appliances, lighting, security implements, and electronic conveniences.
Panels are classified by watts. Small portable (fold-out) panels may range from 5 to 100 watts while larger stationary panels could range from 50 to 1000 watts each. [The + & - solar panel wires will be wired into the controller’s + & - input ports.]
A controller manages the incoming energy the panels obtain from the sun and safely optimizes the electricity to be directed to a battery. [Power supply + & - wires will be wired into the controller’s + & - output ports and then wired to a battery/bank]
There are many battery systems designed for charging from solar panels but the cheapest and most easily obtained batteries are 12v marine deep cycle batteries (about 1000 watts or 100 amp hours) found at auto part stores or supermarkets. Avoid starting/cranking batteries and use caution not to drain the battery below 50%. [For a 24v series, wires will be run from battery to battery alternating terminals from + to - with the remaining - & + terminals reserved for the load to be powered. For a 12v parallel, wires will be run battery to battery to the same terminals such as + to + and - to -, the load can be wired to any battery in the parallel]
Wire 2 or more batteries together in a parallel (more amps) or series (less amps, requires inverter) to create a bank of batteries. Parallel offers the best options for an offgrid or backup scenario allowing you to directly power 12v accessories without an inverter but it’s not as efficient for longterm use. [Wire your battery bank to your inverter either from any battery in the parallel or from the load end of a series. In some cases you may need to wire the controller directly to the inverter with a separate wired connected from the controller to the battery bank]
The inverter will convert the electricity into the proper current such as 110v (common household appliances/electronics) which will turn your DC power into AC.
These items can be purchased now as part of your readiness plan or obtained through scavenging/bartering after a LAE. 3x 100 watt panels and 2x 1,000 watt marine deep cycle batteries could power a mini fridge and two light bulbs for 3 years. Check the amp hours or watts that a device requires. Obtain the correct amount of panels and batteries to surpass that need by 15%. The angle of the panel, clouds/trees, and battery efficiency dictate you plan for more than you actually need.
That's it! Yes, there are other ways about it, there are more complex explanations too. This is a primer, just an intro. It's based on what we did for our on setup. Checkout our offgrid cabin by searching #thelandbysuperesse on Instagram at @offthegridguide. BTW, Off the Grid Guide also runs a helpful Telegram account...
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