Solar Power

An Under Utilised Resource

When we hear the words solar power we would often think of solar modules on the roof of a house, or building, producing free power from the sun’s rays. But there is more to solar power than just a grid tied system on a residential or commercial property. It is a resource that is often overlooked for other purposes but the reality is that the technology to harness the suns power has evolved rapidly over the last few years.

With this in mind there are untapped areas of the market that electrical contractors are missing out on though, especially in the rural areas. Often it goes into the too hard basket if it is too difficult, or expensive, to get a power cable to a location to power some lights, an automatic gate, a water pump etc. The list goes on.

Solar power systems are all about sizing up the correct module for the voltage required to charge the battery. Basically, we have modules designed for 12v systems and modules designed for 24v systems. The charge controllers generally do both 12v and 24v systems. Lastly there is the battery. It needs to be sized up to meet the load of the device being powered. And it must be remembered that we don’t like to discharge the batteries below 50% as it will damage them over time. In essence, the system needs to be designed correctly for the purpose its use. Now let’s look at a few examples of where solar power can work well and be a very cost competitive solution.

Acustomer wants an automatic gate at the front of their rural property to control the access onto their property. These devices generally run off either a 12-volt or 24-volt system. They are used infrequently during the day so you don’t need a very large system to power this. It could be just one small solar module, a charge controller, and a small battery. Now if we can get power at the gate then we can also think about having a security camera there or an IP intercom so visitors can call the owner when they arrive.

Solar lighting is another area that has opened up in recent years. There are plenty of low-end options available in the super stores, or on the internet, but I’m talking about reliable solutions that will generally store enough power to operate all night. Now when I say work all night everything is dependant on the number of times the sensor is triggered of course. Generally around rural properties there is no street lighting, so it is always pretty dark. Unless you take a torch with you then you are walking blind. Lighting up key areas or pathways where no power exists is now possible with the advent of solar powered lights. The MightyLite Solar options have been a good solution for pathways and sheds, and still are. We now have the Sun Synk Eclipse all-in-one solar LED lights available in 4 sizes. With the higher wattage outputs we can now do large areas or driveways as well.

In summary

The reality is that with the solar technology of today there is no reason why we cannot power up devices, or light up areas, where no power cables exist. Especially with lighting as the fittings are all low wattage, high lumen output LED types. The key to a successful solution, and a happy customer, is about getting the design correct in terms of the battery storage and the power available for the duration you require it. Guess work doesn’t cut the mustard. For all technical enquiries contact your local Powerbase Branch.