Solar lighting components
When selecting components for a solar lighting system follow these steps:
- Estimate how much light you need, choose an appropriate LED light, calculate the power used by the light unit in one day (night)
- Choose a battery with enough capacity to provide at least three times the daily power consumption and then still have a reserve of about 50% charge.
- Select a solar panel that will recharge the battery in less than 4 hours of full sun.
- Use a suitable solar regulator that is able to process the maximum amperage of the solar panel
Use adequate electrical cable to minimise voltage drop losses and
choose wiring connectors, switches and fuses that comply with safety
A typical solar lighting system is shown below. A solar panel provides power to keep the battery charged. The charge controller, also known as a solar regulator, keeps the battery properly charged and it also controls the power used (the load) by cutting off power if the battery charge runs too low. Some include lighting control that only allows the light to come on at night.
A solar panel is installed on a roof - pole or ground mounted is also available.
It is is wired to a 12 volt battery via a controller which regulates the solar charge going to the battery and may include a timer to activate the lights if required.
The controller is therefore the heart of the system, the central component controlling battery charge and lighting power.
Once the solar lighting system is installed it does not require any ongoing maintenance, the solar panel will keep producing electricity during the day and the controller will regulate the charging of the battery to keep it fully charged while switching the lights on at night and off at dawn.
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