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Hello, I know little on solar power for the home. I understand that it is possible to convert power to chemical form then use it as electricity. My question is, what elements are involved and how is the sizing being done? I need the power design to power lights (say 10), TV and radio.
And got the following answer:
First of all, the conversion is chemical to electricity, as in the chemistry of a car battery which provides an output voltage. To meet your needs, you need to figure how much useful sunlight you will have per day. Such sources as the Weather Channel, or National Climatology office can supply that to you. You need to determine the total load. Just add everything up, and that is the load you need to have sufficient energy to provide power for. If this works out to be, let's say 200 watts, then you need at least a 200 watt solar panel, provided that you have enough sunlight from the time that you get up in the morning, until you go to bed at night. Count on it, you won't have enough sunlight for your needs, unless you live up in Alaska. Even then, there is part of the year where there will not be enough light at any time of the day. What you need, for full 24 hour coverage is a battery bank, and unless everything will run on 12 or 24 volts, then you need 1 or more inverters. With inverters, you lose 10% in conversion loss from DC to AC. Batteries should be RV, Trolling motor, or best yet, electric fork lift batteries, or the reasonable equivalent of such as these. I would recomment at least double to quadruple the total energy need for the solar panels, and to multiply the battery capacity by the total load supply that you have figured out, for at least a 24 hour run time. All of that, then multiplied by 90% to know how long the system will provide power, IF you use any DC to AC inverters. Within reason, the larger the battery bank, the better. Do NOT use regular car batteries, they will not last as long as you need them to last, unless you understand the difference between cranking amps, and reserve amps. Another point is that auto batteries are simply not designed for this kind of service.