Radio & Energy

Portable Solar Panels For Your Balcony or Patio

If there’s one significant negative aspect about electronics, it’s that they need electricity in order to function.

Now that may not be a negative thing now, but it will be if and when the power grid goes down.  To help yourself prepare for that, you’re going to need to need to have a self-sustaining power source on hand that you can turn to keep your property, house, and electronics powered.

Now there are two choices that you can pursue here.  The first will be to purchase a solar generator from a company to be installed on your property.  A far cheaper option, on the other hand, will be to instead purchase the items separately by buying everything you need for a solar system from various online vendors.

l needThe portable solar panels you buy can then be set up on your patio or balcony to help provide power to your home and property.  Let’s go over all of the components that you will need:

Solar Panels

First, you will need to buy the actual portable solar panels.  There are two primary kinds that you can go with: the polycrystalline and the monocrystalline.

Between the two, the monocrystalline is slightly more efficient, but this is only because it’s an older and more mature technology while the polycrystalline is still evolving and being developed.

That being said, either will work and provide your house with enough watts to create power.

Power Inverter

Most of you reading this should be at least somewhat familiar with what a power inverter is.  For example, when you plug your laptop or phone into the cigarette lighter in your car, that’s a power inverter, and they’re pretty much the same when it comes to solar power as well.  The only difference is that they are designed to handle much more electricity.

The capabilities of inverters are measured in watts, with some inverters being ranked as low as less than a thousand watts, and others were up to over fifty thousand watts. It’s up to you to research how much power you need for your home so you know the best kind to get.

Controllers

The next thing you are going to need is the controllers, also known as the charge controller.  A typical controller will cost less than fifty bucks and is capable of handling around three hundred and fifty watts or so.

What does the charge controller do?  Essentially, it allows your power inverter, batteries, and panels to work together.  It also keeps the batteries from becoming overcharged, which is a major plus.

Sometimes, the charge controllers will be sold with the solar panels, and that would be very beneficial to you because then you know that you’re buying a controller that is going to work well with your panels.

Now one MAJOR concern that you need to be aware of with solar panels is that you cannot connect your inverter right to the batteries without the charge controller.  If you do, you’re going to drain the batteries out immediately and reduce their lifespan down considerably, and potentially even to zero.

Bypassing the charge controller means that you’ll need to get a power inverter that comes with its own battery protection, which is not as common.  Buying a charger controller may only seem like an extra step (and extra cost), but it’s actually very important to ensuring that your entire solar panel runs well.

Batteries

Next up, let’s talk about the batteries.  The average battery for a portable solar panel unit should offer one hundred amps an hour, and assuming that’s at twelve volts (which is average), then you’re looking at around twelve hundred watts per hour.  You should be able to purchase them for only a couple hundred dollars or less.

Tips For Using Your Solar Panels

Now that we know the different tips you’ll need to follow for your portable solar panel system to work on your patio or balcony, let’s cover some basic tips for using your solar panel for the first time.

The first tip to know is that your solar panel system will still be able to create power even on a grey and cloudy day.  The only thing is that it’s going to create considerably less power, at around twenty to thirty percent of what it normally would.  Therefore, for these days, you’re going to need to demand less from your electricity than you would on a sunny day.

But what if it’s a cloudy day and you still really want or need to use more power than your solar panels are capable of currently providing?  The answer will be to chain your batteries together with all the positive terminals connecting to one another and all of the negative terminals connecting.  You’ll need around four batteries total, and you’ll be able to produce more power even on a cloudy day.

The next tip to follow is to keep your portable solar panels clean for maximum efficiency and to get the most out of your investment.  Never use a sponge or soap when cleaning your solar panels.  Instead, use a soft cloth or a wash rag in biodegradable soap.  Keeping your panels clean may seem like a major hassle, but honestly, it only needs to be done about once every week, and that way you know they’ll be running as efficiently as they can be so they don’t lose money.

Finally, the last tip is to monitor the performance of your panels on a day-to-day basis.  Keep a journal where you jot down the amount of power that the panels produced for that particular day, and take a note of the day’s weather as well (sunny, overcast, cloudy, raining, snowing, etc.). This is by far the best way to detect abnormalities in your system (such as your panels producing unusually low amounts of power on a sunny day) so you can then investigate and take steps to promptly correct it.

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