Build Your Own Low-Budget Solar Power System
This book is designed to address the concerns of those whose only desire is to build a simple, small-scale solar energy system but don’t know where to start (or end!). We’ve been living off the grid for well over ten years now and the most common inquiry we get is from people who want to set up a small solar energy system to power a cabin or camper, or to keep a refrigerator and a few lights on if the grid goes down. Some have already tried and ended up with woefully inadequate systems lacking the power and balance needed for off-grid life. But there’s more to off-grid living than watts, volts and amps. It’s important to understand how a solar power system works and how to size it properly for the job you want it to do. In this book I’ve condensed all the information you need to design your own simple, off-grid, solar power system. I’m not going to teach how to build your own solar panels but I’ll tell you how purchase factory components to build the system that fits your needs the best and hopefully save you a lot of frustration and cash while putting it together. We’ll see how to understand watts, volts, amps, and ohms and how they apply to deciding how many solar panels you need, the watt ratings you’ll have to have for your inverter and charge controller and even how many batteries you’ll need for your battery bank. You’ll learn about resistance, and how it affects your solar power system. I will explain with diagrams and text the differences between sine wave, modified sine wave and pure sine wave inverters and how that applies to you. I’ll explain charge controllers and the reasons for and against PWM vs. MPPT vs. single-stage vs. multiple-stage controllers and which is best for you. I’ll tell you a little secret about “efficient” vs. “less efficient” solar panels that will keep you from wasting money on something that’s a relatively minor issue. Even if you don’t want a “whole house” system you’ll learn how to put together balanced small-scale power systems at whatever size you can afford. We’ll also look at solar power “kits” and I’ll show you how to put together your own that outperform commercially available kits and get more power for less money. My goal here is to simplify that which has been made complicated. I want you to be able to pursue your dream of independence from the grid without spending enough money to break the bank. It can be done, and for less than you may imagine!