Solar & Green Energy

 

Solar Power - Simplicity

At Battery Business we like to keep things simple, and affordable.

We stock a range of fixed (rigid) solar panels:

We will also build folding units to your specification.

Call us for prices on these because stock levels change quickly.

We also sell flexible panels with the cells embedded in polymer - capable of curving around a cabin roof. 3.5mm thick, no rigid frames and in a range of sizes. These are now available with an ETFE coating to better cope with Australian conditions.

These panels can be fitted with eyelets, adhesive backs or even zips, so they can be zipped into a bimini. These panels are built to be mounted to withstand people sitting on them, or even a bit of footfall if necessary.

Solar In Action

If you drive north on the Pittwater Road, past Vuko Place, you might see our sign – especially at night. It is illuminated by one of our solar systems, comprising:

Interestingly, this has functioned for almost 5 years with barely a hiccup. We've replaced the battery, once (but we do use 2nd hand batteries as we recycle around 2 ton each week), and we've replaced the panel, once, when a very large tree branch fell through it. Other than that, it hasn't missed a beat.

Wiring a Solar Panel for LED Lights

solar wiring diagram

The regulator does all the thinking. When the solar panel is producing power (ie it is daytime) then the regulator sends the power to the battery to charge it, but only if it needs it. When the solar panel stops producing power, the regulator knows it is dark. It waits 10 minutes (just in case it is just a cloud passing overhead), then it switches on the floodlights and keeps them on for as long as we want (5 hours at the time of writing). This uses about 10% of the battery capacity each night, which is recharged in less than 2 hours the next day.

So, a very simple system, with the regulator living in the box with the battery, a few wires, and good, powerful lighting, from a solar application – not the bluey-white dull glow that most solar stake-lights seem to produce.

Solar calculator

If you been considering solar lighting, or upgrading from the push-in solar lights with a little panel on the top, this might be the solution. It’ll cost less than $60 for a 10amp regulator (suitable to run quite a few 12 volt lights and string after string of Xmas lights), allow $250 or so for a battery and box, and allow $200 for the solar panel and cable.

All you need to add are your choice of lights (and we’ll talk through the options and power requirements with you) and you can install a reliable, self-contained light source in your garden, down the driveway and steps.

If you want to calculate your own solar requirements, Here's how:

  1. Work out your requirement in amps (watts = volts multiplied by amps so a 60 watt appliance running on 12 volts is using 5 amps per hour):
    • a typical camping fridge uses as little as 1 amp per hour once it is down to temperature (although older and bigger fridges tend to be hungrier)
    • a typical radio uses less than 1 amp per hour
    • a small fluorescent tube uses about 1 amp per hour
    • a 50cm LED striplight will use less than 1/2amp per hour
    • an LED dome light can use less than 1/5th of an amp per hour
    • an LED garden light will typically consume well under 1/2amp per hour
  2. Using the above, estimate how many amps you are likely to consume (on a 12 volt system, just divide the total wattage of all the items by 12)
  3. Choose a battery that has enough amperage for:
    • 40% more than you think you'll need, if you are using it for camping, on a weekend boat, or other situations where it will be "cycled" occasionally
    • 100% more than you need, if you are using it for garden lights, or in another situation where it will be "cycled" every day
  4. So, a couple of examples:
    • Camping trip for 2 days, with a fridge (say 25 amps per day), three LED lights each using 1/2amp per hour for 4 hours each day (3 times 1/2 times 4 per day), and a radio for 4 hours per day (4 amps) - 35 amps per day, 70 amps over the 2 days - add 40% (28amps) - a deep cycle battery of 100amps or more would be adequate (less would do if you can recharge from the car or solar)
    • 12 garden lights, each drawing 3 watts (divided by 12 volts = 1/4 of an amp) -so total of 3 amps per hour, for 6 hours per night - total consumption 18 amps, but add the same again (deep cycle batteries prefer not be to be cycled TOO deeply), so a 36amp battery would do the job, but a bigger battery would be even better (and not much more expensive). You could also recharge the battery via a solar panel so let's allow 5 hours of good sunlight on average, your panel needs to replace the 18amps over 5 hours, so 4 amps per hour will be just enough which, at 12 volts, means that you'll need a panel of 50 watts or bigger (4 amps times 12 volts = 48)

The good thing with batteries and charging systems is that the mathematics is quite straightforward, and we'll be very happy to work through your individual requirements and show you how a simple system can be designed to suit your needs.

We also supply a wide range of solar panels, both fixed and folding/transportable, regulators and control systems to charge boat and caravan batteries, LED lights and the accessories needed to make a neat and reliable installation. 

We don’t do domestic rooftop solar power installations, or systems feeding back into the electricity grid. Our solutions will always have a battery in the loop somewhere, so you can capture free energy and use it when and where you want, without worrying about someone moving the goalposts on your investment!