When the electricity grid is not available solar panels and batteries are a trusted, reliable and well understood solution for power in remote locations.
Solar panels ranging from 5Watts to 300Watts find application in off-grid situations and batteries with capacity to run small lights through to whole buildings for days.
A simple remote power system has 3 major elements:
Solar Panels, sized to match the battery voltage requirements, number of days of power to be stored and load variations. When remote power solutions are not situated on a building, ground or pole mounting structures are used to orient the panels to the ideal generation angle and direction.
Regulators take the DC power generated by the solar panels and manage the charging of the battery. Every battery technology has a different charging requirement and to get the most out of the battery the charging approach is managed with sophisticated algorithms in the regulator. Additionally solar regulators can also manage how the solar module best harvests power given changing sunlight conditions. Where the electrical power load is AC an inverter charger can also be used to provide AC power.
Batteries for solar application are different to automotive batteries in many ways. Firstly they have to be able to discharge slowly and for longer rather than in short bursts only occasionally when starting a car. A typical solar battery will charge each day and significantly discharge each day. When a system is being designed the depth of discharge is a critical battery life factor. The cycling nature of the charge and discharge requires a different design of battery. Solar batteries can be divided into two main types, wet cell which require regular maintenance attention and sealed technology batteries which include Gel and Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM). When your system is being designed Power partners will determine the best technology option for your application.