The Solar Power Expert Blog

Solar Power Generator

by Chris - January 25th, 2011.
Filed under: Projects. Tagged as: , , , , .

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A solar power generator is a term commonly given to a solar panel, charge controller, solar power batteries, and an inverter bundled together into an integrated package – effectively creating a solar power supply. It may optionally have solar powered lights. While these units can be designed to match the output of a gas generator for a short period of time, they can not run continuously off of solar power like a gas generator can run continuously on gas. A fact which several manufacturers have caused confusion about.

Solar Power Generator

Solar Power Generator Block Diagram

Several solar power companies exist, and many more are entering the market, to create these subcomponents. It is always possible to build your own solar power supply or solar power generator out of discrete components. However, many prefer the convenience of an integrated system. The advantage of a discrete solar power generator is scalability and flexibility, but there are many mistakes and headaches that can be avoided by buying an integrated solar power supply.

If you are looking to purchase a solar power generator, here are a few things you should check into:

  • What is the capacity of the solar power batteries in amp-hours (AH)?
  • What type of chemistry is the battery pack? If lead acid, the unit will be very heavy. If Lithium, it will be very expensive.
  • Is it possible to upgrade the batteries later? If so, can you do it or would that void the warranty?
  • What is the watt rating of the solar panels?
  • What is the panel voltage?
  • Is it possible to add more solar panels in parallel to the origonal one?
  • What is the max continouous output rating of the inverter?
  • How long can the batteries supply this much power

These are not easy questions to get answers to. However, if you ever want to upgrade or have someone repair your solar power generator, then they’ll need to know this information. Without this information, your solar power supply will be a throw-away item. If possible, shop with solar power companies that make products that are repairable and come with excellent warranties. If you build your own solar power generator, then you should figure out the answers to the above questions before purchasing anything.

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