Solar generators are becoming increasingly popular among homes and institutions wishing to create green and clean energy. With the main reason behind the rise in the need for the use of green energy being its reliability, it’s a clean source of energy, and it might also make you money in the long run, not to mention the environmental friendliness of this energy source.
One of the most effective ways for you to enjoy the use of solar energy is definitely through investing in a solar generator. The solar generator refers to the device that captures solar energy through the use of solar panels.
This generator allows for the conversion of solar energy into electrical energy that’s stored in a battery before release and use in running your home appliances via an inverter that will convert DC electricity into AC for use at home.
Here are some great examples of solar generators (click for more info on Amazon):
Given the power and the function of the solar generators, they are also called power stations; but you need to keep in mind that the only role of the solar generator is to store the energy that’s generated by solar panels.
In this article, we’ll look at all the important components that you need to make use of to set up the solar generator and incorporate it into the solar panel/ energy system. Keep in mind that the setup of the solar generator is largely affected by the type of solar generator you use to choose and what you need to use the generator for.
The reason for this is that in as much as some of the solar generators need little or even no installation, especially the generators used driving, camping, or the generator intended for backup power use, other generators require complicated installation procedures, especially if the plan is to use the solar generator to run your entire home or luxury RV.
In the latter case, you would need to install the solar panels to the roof then install the regulator, followed by the connection of the deep cycle auxiliary battery and the wiring of the inverter.
The setup of the solar generator will also depend on the generator system you like – either off-grid or on-grid.
Configuring the solar generator in the grid-tied system
You need a photovoltaic array, an inverter, and a backup generator.
- Photovoltaic array – this is sized in the same way as the grid-tied solar energy system because your generator would be irrelevant in case the grid power system went off.
- Inverter – converter solar energy DC electricity into AC for home or RV use.
- Generator – this is the power storage unit.
Besides these three, you would also need the critical circuit sub-panel. This circuit is powered up at all times, regardless of the power status on the grid.
There is also the critical circuit which will set the critical power loads for your appliances and lighting.
Setting up solar generators in an off-grid system
To set up the best off-grid solar generator system means that you are setting up a system that would allow you to run with zero dependence on the grid or the local utility company. It’s a good option if you need a reliable emergency power backup system, if traveling the country in your RV or if camping for extended periods.
All you need to do is to determine the total maximum amount of power you will need to run your appliances and essential devices, then have a 4-deep-cycle set of batteries plus either 2/ 3 solar panels. The full installation of your home’s solar generation system will also come in handy.
Below, we look at the important components of this setup
You need a good number of solar panels for the charging of the batteries. Generally, the mono-crystalline solar panels are more efficient, but pricey, while the poly-crystalline panels are less efficient though more affordable.
But to make the right decision, the first thing that you need to do is to make sure that the solar panels chosen are of the best quality. It’s a good idea to invest in the aluminum-framed solar panels because these tend to be more versatile, they are corrosion-resistant, long-lasting, and they often come with longer warranty periods.
It’s also important to keep in mind that the best solar panels are designed specifically for use in the battery’s long-life cycles.
A charge controller
Also called the voltage regulator, and it’s the component that will protect the batteries from overcharging. This controller will also lower the risk of a reduction in the battery’s life.
They are an important component and work with some of the best high-voltage solar panels in the regulation of the maximum voltage input, ensuring that the input doesn’t exceed the maximum capacity given. This voltage regulator, however, causes power losses of between 20-60% of the solar panels’ rating.
The upside is that even though solar panels are designed to put out only a limited amperage even with diminished voltage, the amperage never exceeds the rated number. To determine the amperage put out by the solar panels, W = volts x amperage (Ohms Law).
An inverter is an important component in any portable solar system because it converts DC into AC, meaning that you won’t have to worry about not finding a 12V charger for your device. The converter makes use of the pure sine wave energy; hence its use with sensitive devices.
You need a high-amp-hour deep cycle battery for your strict-solar-recharge or off-grid use because this battery discharges deeply on the regular, which means that it’s used at its maximum capacity. Keep in mind that using high-power appliances means faster discharge of power, meaning that you need a high amp-hour battery if you need to run more devices.
Note that most of the solar generators make use of Lithium-ion batteries, but there are others that make use of the lead-acid batteries.
You also need a 12V DC meter mounted to the solar generator for you to easily keep track of the power stored in the generators, and to also make sure that it has enough energy for powering all your appliances.
Installation of the solar panels
You need to generate as much power from the sun as possible, and that means optimal positioning of the solar panels – south-facing orientation and angled at 30 degrees. And if your house has East and West-facing roofs, then you could install the panels on both sides for the roof for maximum coverage all days long.
Setting up solar generators in an on-grid system
This is the simplest installation process, and the first thing you need to do is to install the solar panels the connect them to the grid inverter. You need to connect the inverter to the existing electrical network next. The on-grid system is quite efficient, and it would be a great option if you wish to lower your electricity bill and to go 100% green.
- Layout the battery where it will be used and ensure that the DC meter readings are visible. Install the outlets taking into account the plugs, chargers, and appliance accessories
- Ensure that the outlets have a big backing and that they all fit in once the battery and the inverter are in the box. They ensure that everything works smoothly.
- Connect all your electrical components. Use insulated wires, and connect the DC meter to the battery terminals; starting with the negative terminal then the positive. Next, use your insulated wires to connect the outlets to the battery following the same negative-positive system, ensuring all connections are tight in place and well-secured.
- Next, connect the solar panel to the battery, either temporarily or permanently. Use the quick-connect plugs for a temporary connection, or you could connect your solar panel directly to the battery, the same way you fixed the other electrical components.
- Confirm that all the wiring is done correctly and all components well protected.
- Test the solar generator – For this, you need to leave the solar panels out in the sun for some time then begin the tests. With long solar panel power lines, it would be possible for you to set the solar panels out in the sun while keeping the battery box where it wouldn’t be exposed to the elements. This is the most ideal setup since the solar panel is the only component that needs direct sunlight. With the solar panel under direct sunlight, check the readings on the DC meter – it should show readings reflected on the solar generator. If the readings are accurate, leave the solar panel out for a few more hours for the battery to charge to capacity.
How to use the solar generator
With the solar generator charge, it’s time to use it to power up the lights and your devices. Keep the solar panels mounted when in use.
Take the appliance that needs powering and plugs it into the right outlet. It should either start charging or start running. Keep monitoring how long charging takes and the amount of electricity that remains on the generator. If charging, check the time it takes for the device to charge fully. Do this for all your other appliances to learn more about the power in the generator.
The best solar generator is eco-friendly, and it leads to long term savings, it’s convenient and runs quietly. But before you buy one, it’s a good idea to have a rough estimate of the power requirements of all your appliances to ensure that the solar generator stores enough power to run your home or RV.