How Can I Power Small Appliances in My Home Using Solar Energy?

When you consider all of the items in your home that use electricity, the list, as well as the cost, can be daunting. Many people are beginning to use solar energy for at least some of the power required in their

households.

Solar energy can help power some of your small appliances, particularly if those appliances are in a certain area of your home. For example, you may want to provide solar power for many of the electronic devices in a home office to protect them in the event of a power failure. To do this, you can buy or build your own solar power generator. An Internet search will provide a wide range of generator suppliers. However, you can build your own unit, often for less than $400.

Here is one way to build your own generator. You can make or purchase solar cells to make a solar panel. New cells are available from many retailers, or you may consider buying used or slightly imperfect cells at significant discounts on eBay. Next step: Purchase a deep-cycle rechargeable battery, one that is at least 12 volts. These batteries are often used for boats or recreational vehicles. Be sure to buy a container for the battery to cover any terminals that might be accessible. You will need to obtain a 12-volt DC-power meter.

Then, buy a DC input, which will allow you to run DC-powered appliances. Many appliances are A.C. powered, so you will have to purchase an inverter, which will convert the D.C. power to A.C. Before buying the inverter, estimate the amount of power you will need. Wattage is usually found on most electrically powered items, usually on the bottom or back of the item. You can also find typical wattage for many items on the Internet. Combine the wattage of the items you plan to power with your generator, and then buy an inverter with at least that wattage.

Attach the meter and the DC input to the top of your battery, using a drill. With insulated wire, attach your meter to the battery wing nut terminals. Be sure that you connect the negative pole before the positive one. In the same manner as you connected the meter, connect the DC input and finally the solar panel to your battery.

When you place your solar panel in the sun, note that it can take up to eight hours to power a never-used or dead battery. Allow about three hours to charge a weak battery.

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