In a disaster, batteries to power devices, you may need, will last a day or two at most, and then everything goes dead. But with a solar panel, an inverter, and a battery, needed communication devices such as cell phones and creature comforts such as laptops, and lights can all be run and /or recharged for an unlimited amount of time.
As history has shown us, in a disaster, help may take weeks to arrive.
Although solar panels will produce usable power even in cloudy weather, the amount of power will depend on the wattage rating of the panel. A solar panel less than 50 watts would be a waste of time. Wanting more than 100 watts may require more than one panel.
Although 50 to 100 watts are not enough to allow you constant use of your devices, it is enough to allow you emergency use over a long period of time. The more panels you have the more power you can generate. But remember, if you are using this system you are in the middle of a disaster. This system should be transportable.
Also a 12 volt solar panel needs to be connected to a 12 volt battery. The raw voltage that a solar panel will produce can be as high as 20 or more volts. This will cook a device that requires 12 volts even though the solar panel is rated for 12 volts. The battery acts as a regulator and will keep the voltage from the solar panel within acceptable limits.
To use the solar panel, just point it in the direction of the sun.
An inverter is a device that will change 12 volt dc battery power into 110 ac power. That way you can plug your devices directly into the inverter to use or recharge. Like the solar panel an inverter will have a wattage rating. You must determine the maximum wattage you will need. The inverter needs to have a wattage rating greater than the maximum watts to be used at any one time.
The last part of this emergency power system is the battery. The battery is needed to regulate the voltage of the solar panel and also to supply power at night or when the sun is not available.
The type of battery needed is a deep-cycle battery. A deep-cycle battery is designed for constant charging and discharging.
Putting It All Together
To connect the solar panel, inverter, and battery follow these instructions. The positive wire from the solar panel and the positive wire from the inverter will be connected to the positive terminal of the battery. The negative wire from the solar panel and the negative wire from the inverter will be connected to the negative terminal of the battery. If these are not connected correctly, damage will occur.
To learn more about connecting your solar panel goto 6pie.com.