I have done it. I have stepped into the world of solar power. Not in a big way mind you – just a baby step.
I just picked up a Harbor Freight 45 watt solar panel kit. After doing some research I decided to start out with this kit. It is not the cheapest dollar per watt kit out there – but was not bad at all. I paid $136.00 for the whole kit – and now I will add an inverter, batteries, and auxiliary equipment.
I am no expert when it comes to solar stuff. I know you need the panels, a voltage regulator/controller, an inverter, and batteries. To summarize – the panels convert energy from the sun into electrical energy and the controller regulates the current charging the battery.
The battery? Stores the energy that the sun provided. The inverter converts the energy stored in the battery from DC to AC current to power…..whatever.
Well – my solar panels are on the roof, wires run, charge controller running and inverter installed. Just one problem – the system will not fill the role I originally intended. I am usually pretty good at math – but in this particular situation I failed to recognize the results of a simple math equation right in front of me.
First off – my plan was to use the solar panels to charge couple of marine batteries which would then power a very small refrigerator. The fridge is needed for my sons insulin in the event that the grid fails. Here is the problem:
Solar panels produce 45 watts of power for every hour of good sunlight (approx 8)
Refrigerator consumes 140 watts of power per hour 24/7.
Power needed = 3,360 watts daily
Maximum power supplied from solar panels = 360 watts daily
Obviously I am way shy of getting the power that is needed. I just did not so the math at the beginning. In order to make this successful – I need a total of 10 of these systems. That is not going to work.
To accomplish what I have set out to do – I will have to rethink this project. I need more power – so a larger system is needed. I also need to source a lower power consumption refrigerator.
Another option is to seek alternate types of refrigerators to start with which consume little to no power.