Setting up an offgrid or backup solar system isn't that hard. It's not really that expensive either. You can use it at a bugout location to power essentials or install it at your homestead for backup power when a storm hits. It's also easily expandable as your finances allow or needs dictate. This quick guide will use layman's terms and we want get into specifics. It's the bare bones basic solar setup.
☀️You'll need solar panels. For lights and charging small devices, a 100 watt panel and one deep cycle battery will do. If you want to also power some fans, TV, and a mini fridge, a 500 watt panel/s and 6 deep cycle batteries should work. Every device draws a specific amount of power per hour. Figure out what devices you'll be powering and calculate the total wattage needed. An average car/marine battery has about 1000 watts. So if you had one battery, a 100 watt solar panel would charge it completely in 10 hours if it had an unobstructed view of the sun the perfect angle. The sun has clouds and trees that get in the way, the angle will only be perfect 1 hour a day; so expect 50% efficiency.
👨🔧Next you'll wire the panels to a solar controller. It's too simple. A youtube video or even the broken English instructions card in a cheap one from Ebay is enough to get it wired up. So now you have solar panels setup outside with a wire running to you controller. There will be multiple ports on the controller. Typically 6 ports in 3 sets. Each set as a negative and positive port. You've now wired the "Solar In" port.
🔋Then you'll wire your controller to a bank of batteries either in series or parallel depending on your needs. Parallel offers the best options for an offgrid or backup scenario. This allows you to run multiple DC 12v devices from your battery bank. Think of all the smalls fans, phone chargers, LED lights, etc. So now you have solar panels setup outside with a wire running to you controller and then wires running from the controller to the battery bank.
⚡You'll then either connect your inverter to your controller if the load rating is more than your expected load and if the controller is specifically designed for this function but in some cases you should directly connect the inverter to the battery bank and add a fuse. This varies depending on your controller and energy needs. So you've either got an inverter hooked to a new set of wires coming from your battery bank or you've got the inverter hooked to a set of wires coming from the the controller.
🔌Finally, you can run 12v DC load from your controller if that option exists or battery bank if it's in parallel. You'll run your AC load from your inverter. Your AC load is going to be what powers standard appliances like you'd have plugged into your house sockets.
We have tried and tested solar panels and equipment from the following companies and can attest to their quality and customer service; @inergytek @bosswattsolar @powerfilmsolar @offgridtrek
For more info see our blog on #thelandbysuperesse at the link in our profile.
Photo Edited from original by @wikihow
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