Topic

BUILDING YOUR OWN HOME SOLAR POWER SYSTEM

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Solar Panels

These are the core of your system. They can be mounted on your roof, on stands in your yard, or on poles, depending on the sunlight in your area and your personal needs. Decide how many standard 90 watt solar panels you need. A typical house will need about a dozen. Once you pick a number, increase it by 30%. Everyone uses more power than they think.

Solar Panel Mount

Your solar panels need somewhere to live. It doesn’t matter if you put them on your roof, in your yard, or up on poles above your house. Pick what works best for you. The mounts are angled to best access the sun. For extra efficiency, you can buy some with levers and timers which will change the angle of your solar panel slightly so it best follows the sun over the course of the day.

Battery Box

If you’re storing your rechargeable batteries outside, you’re going to need a safe place to keep them secure from the elements. The battery box is also where you’re probably going to mount a lot of your other electronics, such as the charge controller, system meter, and main DC disconnect. A lot of people find it handy to build what looks like a bus stop or a small, open air shed for their battery box. If that seems like too much hassle and expense, they upgrade to the indoor safe varieties of batteries. If you store your batteries indoors, you’ll still need a box to safely contain your array and provide a place to mount your electronics.

Inverter

The power coming from your solar cell is in the form of direct current. You’ll need an inverter to convert it into alternating current to use it in your home. You should be able to connect a quality inverter to the breaker box in your home and thus connect the power coming from your solar units to the actual electrical system of your house.

Home Solar Kits

If you’re concerned about getting all the right pieces or fitting them all together, you can buy a wide variety of home solar kits. These cost a little more than piecing things out individually, but you’re guaranteed to have all the parts you need and electronics designed to work well together. Most people recommend you use a kit the first time you add solar capacity to your home. Once you learn from it, you can always buy your own parts to add later. One of the great things about solar power is you don’t have to change over your entire home electrical system all at once. You can do it a bit at a time, dictated by your budget and enjoyment for do it yourself projects.

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