Preparing an solar panel design is no walk in the park. With so many things to consider, it is easy to become overwhelmed. To ensure that your solar system design is perfect, you will need all the help you can get.
This article sheds light on the detailed information that will help ensure that your DIY off-grid solar system can address your energy needs. This article also unveils six steps to designing the perfect off-grid solar power system.
Ensure that your home is energy efficient
Let’s face it, designing an off-grid system is somewhat expensive.
One of the most effective ways to cut costs is to improve your home’s energy efficiency. An energy-efficient home is free from old appliances with poorly working mechanisms that can increase energy consumption dramatically.
So before you start preparing your solar panel design, you must replace the energy-hungry appliances in your home with energy-efficient alternatives.
When preparing a solar system design, most people focus on the number of solar panels and batteries they need. They need to realize that the first step to preparing a successful off-grid solar system is calculating their energy needs. When you have a clear picture of the amount of load the system will carry, it will be easier to determine the number of solar panels you will need for the project.
Figuring out how much power you need is easier than you think. The following tips will give you deeper insights into your energy needs.
- Prepare a list of all the loads or appliances the system will carry.
- Record the power requirements of each of these appliances. Prepare a list of instruments that may be turned on simultaneously.
- Add the figures
Narrow down the number of batteries you need
Batteries are an integral part of any solar panel design, as they store the energy collected by your solar panels.
While a solar power system can function without batteries, you must remember that its output will be unstable. Also, its power must be used as soon as it is collected.
Regardless of the number of solar panels and inverters, living off the grid is possible if you have batteries.
If it’s your first time preparing a solar panel drawing, you will likely need help figuring out the correct battery for your system.
Batteries are presently available in the following voltage.
To choose between them, you must carefully consider the energy needed to run your home.
If your solar system design is for a shed with a few appliances, a 12V battery will be perfect for you. A 24V battery is an excellent option for homes with a few heavy-duty machines. If you want to live off-grid, you should opt for a 48V battery.
Now that you know the battery to purchase, you may consider the number of batteries suitable for your solar panel design. Below are some factors you should consider before making a final decision.
- Weather Pattern– all you have to do here is to figure out the frequency at which you have cloudy or low sun days in your region. If you have a lot of “multiple sunless days,” it will be in your best interest to purchase more batteries.
- Your Energy needs- purchase more batteries if you need energy that lasts two or more days.
- How much energy do you use– It makes sense to buy more batteries if you are a heavy energy user.
Solar Panel Design: Storing your batteries
Another thing to consider when putting together your solar panel design plan is the area where you store your batteries. While you have the freedom to store your batteries in an insulated room or a standard room, there is something you must keep in mind.
Batteries stored in cold areas are less efficient. This means that they won’t be able to perform as well as batteries stored in an insulated room. Batteries should be stored in areas at 25-degree Celsius. If you live in North America and other cold regions, investing in more batteries is wise.
Solar Panels- Figure out how many will be able to address your needs.
The success of your solar panel design is intertwined with the number of solar panels you use.
Below are some tips that will help you put things into perspective.
- Your energy requirement– Figure out how much energy is needed to power your home.
- How much sunshine– Find out the amount of energy the sun delivers in your region. Sun-light hours is the number of hours solar radiation worth a thousand watts is delivered to a square meter surface in an area. Experts refer to this as sunlight hours. In many regions, the sun-hours start from noon.
While preparing your solar panel drawing, it is wise to work with the worst case scenario. if you will be using your off-grid solar system all year round, it is best you use the number of sun-light hours you will get in the season with the least amount of sunlight hours when doing your calculation.
Choose a suitable solar charge controller.
A solar charge controller is an integral element in a solar panel design, as it regulates the amount of volt delivered to the battery. Also, it prevents batteries from overcharging. It can also stop storms from discharging.
Solar charge controllers are available in different sizes, shapes, and price ranges. You should first learn about the two types of solar charge controllers to narrow down the one that will be perfect for your solar system design.
- Maximum power point tracking (MPPT)
- Pulse width modulation (PWM)
If your built solar system includes a 48V battery, you should opt for an MPPT controller. An MPPT controller should be used if the voltage from your solar panel is different from the battery bank voltage. The PWM controller should be used if your solar panel’s volt matches your battery bank’s voltage.
Solar Panel Design: Pick an inverter
An inverter, a vital part of a solar panel design, helps convert DC to AC. You may not need to purchase an inverter if all your devices use a Direct current. However, if some of the appliances in your home use AC electricity, you should opt for it.
Another thing you should give thought to is the type of AC electricity your appliances use. In South America, Europe, and Africa, the standard 230V. In North America, the standard is 240V.
Regardless of the area you live in. It would be best if you choose an inverter that is configurable.
Generally, inverters are designed to work with a particular battery voltage. Find out if your system uses a 24V, 12V, or 48V battery.
If you plan on upgrading your system, you need to keep it at the back of your mind that your present inverter may need to be fixed with the new system. You must purchase an inverter that can work with it in the future.
Solar Panel Design: Ensure that the system is balanced
For your solar panel design to effectively address the needs of your home, you have to ensure that the system is balanced. Here are a few things you can do to stabilize your solar system.
- Choose the suitable wire– To pick the correct wire, you first have to check the amperage rating of your solar system design. Choose a wire that can easily handle the load of the system. For example, if the system delivers ten amps, you should choose a 12 amps wire.
- Breakers and fuses – They prevent the appliances connected to your design from getting damaged. You should install breakers and fuses.
- The area you mount your solar panels– Don’t mount your solar panels in shaded areas.
Indeed, you now know how to build your solar panel desi. Applying the tips discussed in this article will help ensure that your system solar panel design addresses your unique needs. And if you need help figuring out how to make solar system work ideally, you should consider consulting an expert.