Short #47 – Solar (Podcast)
By viewer request, Bryan talks about some solar system basics in this short podcast episode.
Solar energy is an up-and-coming power source that will continue to emerge. However, oil is still very inexpensive, so the USA still depends on it quite cheaply. Many consumers also don't like the high up-front costs associated with solar energy. Photovoltaic energy creates a differential that moves electrons.
Many customers also object to the bulkiness and lack of aesthetic appeal of solar panels. However, in places with unstable electrical grids like Haiti, using the sun as an energy source makes a lot of sense.
American homes with panels can backfeed the grid, which makes the electrical company owe you credit for sending their energy back. The panels also store energy into batteries in areas with a weak electrical grid. However, these batteries can potentially be dangerous and expensive. Lead-acid batteries are commonplace in third-world countries. People use that stored energy at night when the sun can no longer power the panels. You need to calculate panel space, battery size, and peak solar times to create the most efficient system possible. Automatic shifting inverters can kick in and act as reverse charge controls that charge the batteries in both directions.
If you were to build an off-grid system, you can set up battery banks, use a charge controller, and connect the system to an inverter or even a generator to provide additional power; your goal is to look for energy gains. Some batteries are rated in amp-hours, so you need to know what that terminology is and how it affects voltage. Panels are often rated in wattage. Be careful about bucking phases; you do NOT want to do that because it is unsafe. You also don't want to use solar on refrigerators or freezers for hot pull down.
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