Category: solar panels

Cool Your Home with Solar Panels!

Do Solar Panels Cool Your Home?

On these hot summer days, the sun shines directly on your roof and has a heating effect that permeates into your home. Is it true that solar panels can cool your home? Absolutely!

A study conducted by the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering completed tests with various solar panel layouts and tested roof temperatures with thermal imaging.

Thermal Imaging

Solar Installation in Vancouver. Roof Thermal Imaging & Cooling effect!

Researchers discovered that exterior roof temperatures were 5 degrees Fahrenheit cooler with solar panels, as the panels blocked direct sunlight from hitting the roof. Also, the solar panels contributed to lowering roof temperatures because the panels themselves were reflecting the sun’s heat away from the building. Overall, the solar panels “reduced the amount of heat reaching the roof by about 38%!”

 

In addition to cooling your home during the Summer, solar panels also add an insulation value in the Winter by helping to keep warm air inside your home. How great is that? These factors alone make your home more energy-efficient and are estimated to provide a 5% payback of the solar panel system cost!

To learn more, visit our page for more information.

Do you have more questions about solar panels? Contact us today as we’re happy to answer your questions and even provide you with a Free Estimate!

Can You Connect Solar Panels Directly 2 Battery

Can You Connect Solar Panels Directly To Battery?

 

A typical solar system has a charge controller situated between the solar panels and the battery. But is it that necessary? Can you connect solar panels directly to a battery? What would happen if you do?

A solar panel generates up to 20 volts, which is higher than the 12 volts required by a battery. Connecting the solar panels directly to the battery could overcharge and damage the battery.

What Happens If You Connect Solar Panels Directly To A Battery?

When sunlight hits the cells on a solar panel, it produces a chemical reaction and generates direct current (DC). The solar panel transmits this current into the battery. The current is used to charge the battery and can also be used to run appliances and other devices.

If the solar panel is directly connected to the battery, all of the currents are placed in the battery. A 12V battery needs only 12 volts, at most 14.4.V to charge. A 12V solar panel produces up to 20V.

If you put 20 volts in a 12-volt battery, it will overcharge. This is going to damage the battery and whatever device or appliance is connected to it.

By installing a charge controller like the Renogy 30A Charge Controller, this can be avoided. You place the charge controller between the solar panels and the battery, and it will regulate the current flowing into the system.

Why A Charge Controller Is Needed To Connect Batteries To Solar Panels

A charge controller manages the electrical current going into the battery, keeping it at a safe level. This device ensures the battery charges at the optimum level without the risk of overheating or overcharging. Some of the most important features of a charge controller are the following.

  • Display: the controller should display the solar panel amps, battery bank voltage, and charge level.
  • Customizable lighting control: for simplified operation
  • Auto low voltage connect / disconnect: turns on when the battery is charged and turns off when power is low
  • Multistate Charging: adjusts the battery power according to the battery’s charge level for optimum performance.

The battery installation depends on the solar panel system design. A lot of home solar panel systems today come with an inverter that simplifies battery configuration. If your system does not come with battery expansion capability, you have to replace the inverter.

Lead-acid batteries are the most widely and with good reason. Their electrical storage capacity is large and they discharge fast. However, lead-acid battery levels should not drop below 50% as it will shorten the lifespan.

Lead-acid batteries often have 2 V voltage and are made up of cells that generate the required power. In solar power batteries, that is 12 volts. These are called deep cycle batteries because they charge during the day and are discharged at night.

Sot the best way to avoid this is to install a charge controller. The controller will protect the battery and ensure only the right amount of current goes into the system. The following step-by-step guide shows you how it is done.

How To Connect A Charge Controller To A Battery And Solar Panel

Instead of connecting a battery directly to a solar panel, you should install a charge controller between the battery and the solar panel. The solar panel will charge the battery with current but the controller ensures only a safe amount goes into it. The following steps show how it is done.

Required Tools And Materials

  • Solar panel
  • Charge controller
  • Battery charge
  • Inverter (if you will use AC powered appliances)
  • Cable, wires, and connectors (these should be included in your solar panel kit)
  • Crescent wrench
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Electrical tape
  • Wirecutter
  • Eye protection (goggles are recommended when working with lead-acid batteries)
  • 12V deep cycle battery – we recommend 4.0 kWh Royer Lithium Battery 310 AH (LiFePo4)

The basic steps are:

  1. Connect the charge controller to the lead battery.
  2. Link the lead battery into the inverter.
  3. Connect the charge controller to the solar panels.
  4. To run, use the inverter to convert DC to AC, Clamp to the battery and turn the inverter on.

Step By Step Instructions

1. Prepare all the tools and materials. Set up the solar panel so you can link them to the main connector later on. Layout the panels first. Depending on your setup, an extension cord may or may not be required.

The wires should be covered for protection. If the battery is not yet charged, do this first. It’s a good idea to charge the battery while you set up the solar panels to save time. Make certain the battery’s negative terminal is on one side and the positive terminal on the other.

If your battery is already parallel, proceed to step 3. If not, cut the cables and make some jumpers. The bigger the inverter, the longer the cable, but chances are your solar panel already has cables ready.

2. Hook up the charge controller onto the lead battery. There should be a wire on the controller that you can hook up or clamp onto the battery. The inverter must be turned off first. If the controller is waterproof you can position it anywhere. If it isn’t, make sure it is in a secure location.

Charge controllers come with digital displays for easy access to your system, so the best place to install them is in your RV. When installed properly, you can use the controller to monitor the energy situation in your RV.

3. Hook up the lead battery to the solar inverter. The battery can be configured parallel to the other batteries in the system. To add more batteries, connect them with cables. Make sure the cables are linked to the proper terminals.

4. Link the battery controller to the solar panel. Run the line from the panel to the controller and it should be set. Depending on your setup, an extension cord may be required to connect the components.

Tips And Warnings

To test the system, turn on the inverter to convert DC to AC. Clamp to the battery and then activate the inverter. If everything is in order the system should run fine. Try different devices and check for signs of problems. Here are some more suggestions:

  • If you already bought a solar kit, follow the instructions given. Keep in mind that some of the steps in your solar panel kit may differ slightly. If you don’t want to manually put the whole thing together, look for solar panel system kits that require very little setup.
  • Double-check the wiring and cables. Make certain the connectors are tight and in the proper locations.
  • Run a test first to see if it works. Keep an eye on the charge controller and check if it’s controlling the voltage.
  • If the system does not run, check the wiring or if there is a loose screw somewhere. It is also possible the batteries are not installed correctly so look there first.
  • Your solar system kit comes with a manual and troubleshooting guide so use that as a reference.

How Long Does A Solar Panel Take To Charge A 12V Battery?

The charging time depends on the solar panel watt capacity and how much sunlight is available. It also depends on the battery and how much power is required.

A 12V 100ah battery holds up to 1200 watts. A 100-watt solar panel can produce 600 watts with six hours of sunlight. So if the weather is ideal, a 100W solar panel can recharge a 12V 100ah battery in two days.

That assumes the two days have full sunlight so the solar panel can produce 100 watts for six hours. In reality, this can only happen under the most ideal situations. Passing clouds, shading, and other factors affect solar power output. if the conditions are not good, it might take 3 days or so to recharge the battery.

What Are The Parts Of A Solar Power System?

Now, let’s take a look at the 4 main components: the solar panels, the charge controller, the inverter, and the battery. The following information makes it clear why you should never connect the batteries directly to a solar panel unless it runs off DC power.

Solar Panel. These are the most recognizable parts of a solar system. Also called solar stations or solar cells, these are available in different configurations. The most popular solar panels are those with 36 cells, capable of producing 18 to 21 volts.

Inverter. Solar panels produce direct current (DC) which is then stored in the battery. To use this power for home appliances, you need an inverter to convert it into an alternating current (AC). The inverter must be joined to the battery before it is connected to other AC appliances or devices.

Your solar battery generates 12-volt power, but the inverter changes this into 120 volts, making it usable and compatible with electrical devices. Inverters come in various forms and some are bundled with portable solar system kits.

Battery. The battery serves as the repository of all the energy that the solar panel produces. For RVs and home use, a 12V, deep cycle battery is recommended. These batteries can handle several discharges, which is what you’ll be needing. Without the battery, there is nowhere to store all the power the solar panel generates.

Solar Charge Controller. A battery charge controller acts as a voltage regulator for your solar power system. Think of the voltage regulator that you use with your computer and you get an idea of what a batter charge controller does.

Conclusion

Connecting solar panels to the battery is a simple, straightforward process, provided you know the steps. A lot of the mistakes people make is not taking the time to learn how a solar panel system works with batteries. By understanding the process you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble.

Solar panels: a ray of hope as UK energy prices go through the roof

Demand is growing as more of us work from home. But does the £5,000 outlay for installation pay off?

Cleaning up … but the slope of the roof alone can have a big impact on savings
Clean energy … but the slope of the roof alone can have a big impact on savings. Photograph: Simon Dack/Alamy

With energy bills on their way up again from April, homeowners are looking skywards to try and ease the pressure on their budgets – by installing solar panels.

The latest change to the regulator’s cap on default tariffs means, from spring, that the average annual dual-fuel bill will go up to £1,971, an increase of 54% on current levels.

And with homeowners increasingly working from home, and therefore using more energy during the day, many are looking at installing panels to cut costs, and even earn from the energy they generate.

Thomas Newby, chief executive of Leeds-based renewable energy company egg, says they received the same number of inquiries in the first nine days of this month as they did in the whole of November.

“Many consumers are still on fixed deals but which will likely come to an end shortly, so I expect we may see a further increase in demand in the coming year,” he says.

What it costs

Solar panels convert energy from the sun into electricity. Stronger sunlight creates more electricity, which can then either be used in your home or exported to the national grid.

But installing them comes at a cost. The average bill reaches almost £5,000 and rising labor bills and shortages of photovoltaic panels mean prices are going up.

Domestic systems are generally made up of between 10 and 15 panels, each of which generates between 200W and 350W of energy, according to the Energy Saving Trust, a charity promoting energy efficiency. The more panels on the roof, the higher the installation cost but also the potential for more energy.

The average price for an installation of a 3.5kW system is £4,800, including labor. This tends to be about 12 panels.

“This is the average size for domestic systems in the UK,” says Brian Horne, senior insight and analytics consultant at the Energy Saving Trust. “The amount you pay for installation will be influenced by the size of the system, and will also be affected by any difficulty with access to your roof.”

This price does not include the cost of a battery, which allows solar energy to be stored for use at a later time. They range between £1,200 and £6,000, according to GreenMatch, which compares green energy products.

Although prices for solar systems have come down over the last decade, the increased cost of labor as well as the shortage in panels from China recently, has sent costs on the way back up, says Newby. “That’s as a result of some increase in material prices but, more generally, it is labor. That’s a big part of the job.”

Planning and permissions

The ideal roof for solar panels is south-facing. East- or west-facing roofs yield up to 20% less energy; north-facing ones are the least productive and deemed to be impractical in the UK.

For a 3.5kW system, you need room for 15 to 20 sq meters of panels. The best results will be achieved from a roof angled at 30 degrees. Most UK roofs are between 30 and 45 degrees, according to consumer group Which?.

Solar panels are classed as permitted developments so in most cases will not require planning permission. However, if you live in a listed building or a conservation area, there may be restrictions. It is best to contact your local council to be absolutely clear.

When solar panels are to be installed, the company which brings electricity to your home – the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) – must be informed. The Energy Networks Association has an online tool that, by entering your postcode, will tell you which company operates in your area.

If a solar system is above a certain size, prior permission is needed from the DNO and can take up to three months to obtain, according to Newby. After the preparation for putting the system in place is complete, installing the panels can take one to two days.

Read More…

Different EV Charging Connector Types

Let’s start with AC. There are two types of AC plugs:

  • Type 1 is a single-phase plug and is standard for EVs from America and Asia. It allows you to charge your car at a speed of up to 7.4 kW, depending on the charging power of your car and grid capability. 
  • Type 2 plugs are triple-phase plugs because they have three additional wires to let current run through. So naturally, they can charge your car faster. At home, the highest charging power rate is 22 kW, while public charging stations can have a charging power up to 43 kW, again depending on the charging power of your car and grid capability.

Two types of plugs exist for DC charging:

  • CHAdeMO: This quick charging system was developed in Japan, and allows for very high charging capacities as well as bidirectional charging. Currently, Asian car manufacturers are leading the way in offering electric cars that are compatible with a CHAdeMO plug. It allows charging up to 100 kW.
  • CCS: The CCS plug is an enhanced version of the Type 2 plug, with two additional power contacts for the purposes of quick charging. It supports AC and DC charging. It allows charging at a speed of up to 350 kW. 

Now, what do you do if you live in Europe and drive an Asian car like the Nissan LEAF? Well, you need a cable that connects the type 2 plug of the charging station with the type 1 outlet of your vehicle (type 2 to type 1). The maximum speed will be up to 7.4 kW.

To summarize:

Four types of plug exist, two for AC (type 1 and 2) and two for DC (CHAdeMo and CCS).
Type 1 is common for American vehicles, it’s a single-phase plug and can charge at a speed of up to 7.4 kW.
Type 2 is standard for European and Asian vehicles from 2018 onwards, it’s a triple-phase plug and can charge at a level of up to 43 kW.
CCS is a version of type 2 with two additional power contacts. It allows very fast charging.
CHAdeMO can be found in Asian cars and allows for high charging capacities as well as bidirectional charging.