Now that global warming is becoming more of an issue, everyone is doing their best to lessen their carbon emissions. As a result, the use of eco-friendly products has become more popular.
Because solar power is abundant, it is one of the cheapest sources of energy. That is why in this article, you will learn how to build a DIY solar generator to get your own solar power supply, letting you save money from your electrical expenses.
In addition, having a DIY solar kit is convenient during power outages, as you’ll no longer have to rely on grid power. You might even have enough power to run your electrical appliances.
- What You Will Need
- Procedures On How to Build a DIY Solar Generator
What You Will Need
DIY solar generators will need to do three things: harvest energy from sunlight, store said energy somewhere, and then convert that energy into usable electricity. So these will be the items that we will need for a DIY generator:
Solar panels can typically range from 200 watts t0 400 watts, so determine your energy needs. The higher the wattage of your solar panel, the more expensive it will be, but it will also take less space.
For example, if you have a 250-watt solar panel, 8 of them would be able to produce 2Kwh of power if fully exposed to the sun. But if you have a 400-watt solar panel, you will only need five of them to produce the same amount.
If you want to make a solar generator that can be carried around for when you go camping, use portable and foldable solar panels.
Solar charge controllers
To prevent your batteries from discharging to your solar panels, you will need to use a solar charge controller. It will only let electricity flow into one direction, which is to your battery, and acts as a valve so electricity will not go back to the solar panel at night.
It will also prevent your battery from overcharging when it becomes fully charged.
Opt for an MPPT charge controller since it can match the voltage requirement of your batteries even when your solar panels have fluctuating voltage throughout the day.
There are two types of batteries, lead acid batteries and lithium-ion batteries.
Lead-acid batteries are cheaper and can be either GEL or AGM, but the best type of batteries would be lithium-ion batteries. LiFePO4 batteries are the safest kind of lithium batteries. A lithium battery may be more expensive, but its reliability and battery life are better than any lead-acid battery. It’s also a deep cycle battery.
Be sure to match the overall voltage of your batteries with that of your inverter.
Since house appliances work on AC power, you will have to convert the DC power from your battery into AC using an inverter. But you need to size your inverter first. To do this, you will have to calculate how much energy you want and divide that with the efficiency of your inverter.
So, for example, if you want to use 600 watts of power and the efficiency of your inverter is 80%, you will have to use a 750 VA inverter. Since 850 VA inverters are available, this is no problem.
I often go for a pure sine wave inverter since its power conversion is efficient, making my electrical supply clean.
AWG cables and a breaker
We will use AWG cables to connect your devices and the breaker for control and safety.
For AWG cables, use the list below.
- 3/0 gauge – 200 amps
- 1/0 gauge – 150 amps
- 3 gauge – 100 amps
- 6 gauge – 55 amps
- 8 gauge – 40 amps
- 10 gauge – 30 amps
- 12 gauge – 20 amps
- 14 gauge – 15 amps
Use the amps of your device so you can know what wires you will need for them.
Size your breaker by calculating your inverter’s maximum continuous current output and multiplying it by 125%. If the result has a decimal point of 5 or higher, round it up. If not, then round it down. It will be the size of your circuit breaker.
Procedures On How to Build a DIY Solar Generator
If you have all the proper materials, we are finally ready to build a solar generator, so let’s get started, shall we?
Step 1: Ready your batteries first
Before you build your own solar generator, you need to charge your batteries first. This is so we can avoid over-discharging in our first use. For your batteries to have a longer life span, you must not let them discharge for more than 70% of their overall capacity.
Step 2: Connect your batteries
Since you might need a great amount of power, the current output of your battery will be high, so your AWG cables have to be large too. You can use 3/0 or 1/0 cables to connect each battery. Connect your batteries in parallel so we can preserve the voltage no matter how many batteries you have.
Step 3: Connect your batteries, solar charge controller and solar panels.
The next connection you are going to establish is your batteries and your solar charge controller. So, connect the positive of your battery to the positive output of the solar charge controller. The same goes for the negatives.
If you have a battery bank, connect the positive to one end of your battery bank and the negative end to the opposite end for balance charging.
Next is the solar panel connection. Connect your solar panels to the solar charge controller — positive to positive and negative to negative.
Step 4: Connect your battery to your inverter
After connecting all of those components, you can now connect your batteries to the inverter. Connect the positive to one end and the negative to the opposite end to the DC input.
Step 5: Connect your inverter, breaker and panel board
You are now ready to use your own DIY solar generator. So first, connect the AC output of your inverter to your breaker. The breaker will ensure that we can protect our system if ever there is a short or overload.
After that, connect the breaker to your desired connection on your panel board. Do not forget to turn off the mainline when connecting.
You are now ready to try out your homemade solar generator.
If you want a DIY portable solar generator, you need a big enough case to put all your major components. Strap your batteries to one end so there will be enough space for the other devices.
Glue your solar charge controller inside and strap your inverter and breaker near the outlet. Make holes for the wiring on your case, seal it with silicone sealant, and your DIY solar generator kit is good to go.
Just make sure that the case is shockproof, durable and weatherproof.
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We all need to do our part in being eco-friendly for Mother Earth, which is why we showed you how to build a DIY solar generator so you can generate power using alternative energy and lessen your consumption of fossil fuels.
Follow the DIY solar generator instructions above to start using solar power today. Your solar energy storage and power station will be useful during a power outage.