Many people are scared when it comes to solar power because they don’t understand
it and how it works.
I will try make this explanation as simple as possible as asked by a regular newsletter
Think of a solar panel as a sun powered battery charger. (We will refer to a 12V
system for this newsletter)
1) Sunlight hits the surface of the panel and this solar energy is captured by the
cells and wiring that is laminated in the panel. This power is DC power the same
as power stored in batteries.
2) This captured energy must be stored or used right away, 99% of recreational users
store this power in batteries for use later on lights and fridges.
3) The energy is transferred to a battery from the connections on the back of the
panel via copper wires.
4) Control or regulation of this power is done by a solar regulator which is placed
between the panel and the battery.
5) Power is then stored in the battery and is available to use. Some solar regulators
are more advanced and can control loads and charge rates etc but this will be covered
in next week’s newsletter.
Note: Sizing of solar panels is covered here in newsletter 48 of 2009 - LINK
The first picture below shows a typical connection of a 80W panel to a 12V battery
via a solar regulator.
The second picture shows how to connect more than one panel to the system.