Basic facts for solar panels you will need to know. As you know the Obama administration is forcing huge numbers of coal plants to close nation wide and electricity prices are skyrocketing. Most people wont see the full impact of the rising costs of electricity until 2013. A few solar panels might help you out and you save some money depending, where you live and how much sunshine your area gets.
Solar panels produce DC power (Direct Current) Your local power company is AC current ( Alternating Current)
Your DC solar panels will need a inverter to change the from DC to AC to run your appliances.
You can use both DC and AC currents in your home or cabin.
To use just DC you will need to purchase only DC current appliances. They make many appliances which are run on DC.
It takes a lot of power to just run your home on purely solar power. Many people use alternative energy sources like Propane. Propane can be used to power refrigerators stoves and such.
Major appliances that use electricity – Stoves, refrigerators, furnace, air conditioner, water heaters. Alternative power sources can run these appliances like propane. My cousin uses propane for his washer and dryer which he set up himself. Propane can be expensive and the price seems to change season to year. You can purchase small propane tanks that hold 5 gallons of propane or 100 pounds. Propane companies will set up very large propane tanks that are stationary on your property.
I used portable propane heaters for a test one winter to heat my home. I only used the bottom floor of the home and closed up the upstairs. Size was around 1,100 square feet, I did not use entire bottom floor. I closed off the laundry room and another useless space area. Average winter temps were between 42 and 18 degrees. I used 2 small propane heaters I purchased from Lowe’s. I cant remember the BTU’s but they were top of the line heaters with high BTU ratings. I still had to run my base board electric heaters on average 3 to 4 hours a day, more so in the evening. The house was not insulated very good with the worse windows. With top of the line insulation, proper windows and with a size of 600 square feet, I think it would had heated the whole place, as long as it was an open room, with a loft bedroom above it. Heat rises and the loft bedroom of that size of a home/cabin would be doable.
I had to fill my propane tanks every 6 days. I ran the heaters on low to medium settings. If I had run on high settings I would had been re-filling the tanks every 4th day.
Conclusion- it was to expensive under my circumstances.
Ideal energy efficient place would be under 900 SQ feet with multiple methods of heating. Try finding property these days in the country where zoning laws don’t require any building under 1,800 SQ feet.
Solar Needs And Calculations
OK, I will make this as simple as possible with just the basics.
First off you need to know what your electric item’s watts are. Usually on the back of the item you will see the watts labeled. If it only has Amps labeled multiply the Amps by 120. if you live in a country that uses 220 multiply amps by 220. USA is 120. Example: 6 amps 6×120= 720 watts.
Determine your watts usage per day
electric clock 3 watts – Used 24 hours a day 24 hours x 3 watts= 72watts
electric blanket 200 watts -Used 4 hours per day 4 hours x 200 watts= 800 watts
lap top 50 watts – Used 4 hours per day x 4 hours x 50 watts= 200 watts
60 watt Incandescence bulb Used 5 hours per day 5 hours x 60 watts = 300 watts
NEXT add all the numbers up in last column far right for a total of 1372 watts per day used.
Using these items during this many hours and with these watts equals 1372 watts per day.
You will need solar panels that make over 1372 watts per day.
If you have 4 hours of sun per day and 4 solar panels which are 100 watts rated (they are rated per hour) you would produce 100 watts x 4 = 400 watts per hour. 400 watts x 4 hours = 1600 watts. This is enough to run the above items if all is perfect.
Never ever use sun hours per day for your area using summer sun light hours per day.. use winter sun hours.
Meaning, you need to determine which zone you live in and see the average hours of sunlight for winter Like January. your time zone may show 4.5 hours of sun per day in the summer but in the winter it might be 2.75 hours of sun. If you use the summer sun light time table you will run out of solar electric in the winter.
Find all products you want to use on solar.
Example: you found 7 items you want to use on solar power.
The total watts for those items is 1400 watts.
You know you need to produce over 1400 watts per day. It’s always best you produce over the amount of watts you need. What watts you don’t use will go into your batteries, that’s another subject.
Example you need 1400 watts per day. You determined your area gets 2 1/2 hours of sunlight per day in January.
You would need enough solar panels to produce over 1400 watts in 2 1/2 hours.
You have 2 400 watt solar panels, they would produce 800 watts per hour, in 2 1/2 hours of sunlight they would produce 2000 watts of solar power. You would have a extra 600 watts stored in your batteries for use at a later time for other items.
List of some electrical items with watts
table fan- 1-25 watts
vacuum cleaner – 200 – 1200 watts
washing machine – 500 watts
Iron – 900- 1200 watts
lap top – 20 – 60 watts
coffee maker – 800 – 1200 watts
microwave – 600- 1500 watts
19 inch color TV – 70 watts
Some items it’s best to just use DC power direct and not the AC current. That’s why some people set up their solar for AC and DC power.
Solar is still expensive but can help cut costs if done correctly. Remember, decide how many watts you plan to use a day and add them up. Make sure you calculated how much sun is given in your area by picking a day in January, example January 2. If your area gets 2.5 hours a sun a day you will need enough solar panels to gather your total watts in 2.5 hours. Don’t forget you will need batteries to store your electricity and other odds and ends.