Solar panels at the cottage

What if in the country for some reason, there is no electricity? You can, of course, to adapt and to such a life, enjoying the time-tested technology: lighting using candles and kerosene lamps, food storage cellar dig, carry buckets of water and heat in the fire, away from the TV, etc. to give





However, this "rest" is unlikely to be truly comfortable: sooner or later still have to look for ways to generate electricity using alternative energy sources

. More often than not think about it in the following cases:

there is no way to connect the cottage or country house to the mains;

electrical connection is unreasonably expensive;

substation constantly occur accident, because of which there is no light for a long time;

site allocated too little power and it constantly is not enough (usually it happens in the horticultural associations with the old power grids);

I want to save on excessive power bill.




The most simple and affordable alternative energy sources - solar panels. Solar cells based on silicon, connected to an electric circuit for converting the energy of sunlight into electricity, was invented in the United States and began to be used in the US and Soviet space satellite in 1958. Nowadays they work portable equipment (calculators, thermometers, flashlights), space vehicles, electric cars and boats, even developed an airplane that will fly through the energy produced by solar panels.




Many countries have established large solar power plants, and the French government plans to lay 1,000 km of roads built with solar panels to every kilometer of such a coating provides electricity to 5000 people (excluding heating). Solar panels have been used even in medicine: in South Korea, a tiny solar cells are implanted into the patient's skin for a smooth operation of implanted devices such as pacemakers. This long experience and extensive use of solar panels demonstrates the reliability, efficiency and high performance of this technology.




In this article I will talk about their own experience with the use of solar panels in the country. First of all, it should be noted that in order to meet the needs of a small country house in the power required to assemble an entire mini-power station, which, except the solar panels, includes batteries for charge storage, a controller for controlling the system and an inverter to convert DC to AC.

Solar

In the Russian market of solar cells (solar panels) of domestic, European and Chinese production. At our country house installed domestic solar panels - we bought them directly from the manufacturer in Zelenograd. In Moscow, it operates a number of specialized companies that offer as separate elements for self-installation of solar mini power plant, and a full set of required equipment delivery and installation of turnkey. Specialists of these companies provide professional tips and advice, calculate for each client the necessary capacity and structure of the system.

Solar cells have an unlimited service life. They generate a direct current voltage of 12V. Depending on the size of the panels come in different capacities. To build an autonomous solar mini power plant, you need to buy a few solar panels. The exact number of batteries (or rather, their necessary power) is calculated based on the required power consumption of the potential you. In the summer sunny days, the maximum efficiency of the panels. In cloudy weather, the panel also generate electricity, but in smaller numbers. This must be taken into account when calculating the capacity of the system, if you plan to use it not only in summer but also in winter.




Battery deep discharge

The electrical energy which is produced by solar panels is stored in batteries. For efficient operation of the system is best to use special gel battery deep discharge, which do not require special maintenance, tight and safe installation inside the house. For a small country house with minimal energy consumption requires a minimum of 3-4 battery with a capacity of 100-120 Ah each. They are reliable, durable and can withstand many charge cycles and deep discharging.

battery charge controller

Between the solar panels that produce electricity, and batteries that accumulate the energy, set the controller. Controllers vary in performance and cost. Ironically, it is the main element of solar control mini-power station: the controller protects the battery from complete discharge and overcharging, which are very dangerous for them. In the case of an unacceptably low battery discharge controller disconnects the load. In that case, when the batteries are fully charged, the controller does not provide power from the solar panels to enter the batteries.



Inverter

Solar cells produce direct current voltage of 12V, while much of the electrical work on AC 220V. Therefore, the solar mini power system includes an inverter that converts 12V DC to 220V AC. It is best to use more expensive inverters, which give the current so-called pure sine wave ( "pure sine"). Cheaper inverters, modified sine wave generating current may not be suitable for certain appliances.

Electricity Consumers

As a rule, individual outlets for appliances (consumers), operating from DC (12V) and AC (220) are installed in all the solar mini power plants. From DC can operate energy-efficient lighting, water pumps, refrigerators and even televisions. The rest of the equipment requires AC 220V. If possible, choose the equipment that consumes less energy as possible - on the market of home appliances there is a huge choice of energy-saving devices

. Own experience and impressions

In our small country house from the solar system has worked successfully for several years, until an opportunity to connect to the electricity grid. Of course, when after the installation of solar panels, we were able to include the normal light, refrigerator, water pump, antenna and television, it was a miracle.

However, it is necessary for the system to constantly monitor and maintain it in the correct, working condition. For example, the pins on the junction of the wires from the solar panels to the charge controller periodically oxidized and no longer qualitatively conduct charge. Therefore, they must be periodically cleaned and re-connect.

If this is not done, the charge from the battery enters the battery is not fully, mini power supply accumulates less electricity than was calculated, and when the normal (designed for it) load no longer cope: the discharge rate becomes faster charge rate. In addition, if the system is low cost and very powerful, what appliances need to understand very clearly can be included at the same time, and what - no

. While my husband and I had the opportunity to travel frequently to the country and to monitor the solar panels, everything worked well and no problems. But when the duty to maintain the system in working order rests on the shoulders of our elderly parents started having problems with its functioning, because they do not have enough knowledge and experience. As a result, it was decided to use will be able to connect to a conventional power supply so as not to burden them with unnecessary worries.
Based on our experience, I can say that to gather enough budget autonomous mini-power station with solar batteries is quite real. And it really will work reliably and efficiently, providing the basic needs of a small country house. However, in order to maintain it in good condition, you need to carefully consider and periodically its diagnosis and prevention.

Author: Irina Kirsanov

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