Over the past few decades, energy from the sun has been utilized as one of the most valuable sources of renewable energy. Thanks to the governments and environmental bodies, most people are now using solar energy at their homes.
The fantastic thing about using solar power is that it helps lower the growing power bills. After all, with the increasing standards of living, having a way to cut on cost is advisable.
When it comes to using energy from the sun, you will need some skills to set up the system. The technical bit is dependent on the size of your solar panel or the output. In other words, the higher the load, the higher the technicality. In most cases, one can easily set up the solar system, without the need for professional assistance.
Without saying much, here is a guide on how to connect a solar panel to your car battery. But, before we dive into the step-by-step procedure, there are items you need, and they include.
4 Tools You Need Before Charging Your Car Battery With A Solar Panel
1. Solar Panel
The solar panel is an integral part of your solar system. It’s the equipment that you will need to help trap the heat energy from the sun. It converts the heat energy from the sun into electricity. A solar panel contains the photovoltaic cells, which help with the whole process. Solar panels can be found easily at a hardware or electronic shop near you.
Currently, the panels come at a low price as the government is trying to encourage people into using solar energy as an alternative source of electricity. When it comes to shopping for a panel, it’s advisable to go for one with a high power rating.
But, you can still pick one rated 12 volts because it can help with the car battery and is less expensive. You can as well choose the 16 volts solar panel as it produces more current and thus fast charging.
2. Charge Regulator
You don’t necessarily need a charge controller. But, since we are dealing with a car battery, we shouldn’t take chances. You must have in mind that your car’s battery isn’t designed to deal with the frequent recharge and discharges as it’s the case with the cells in the solar system.
A charge controller can be found at an electronics shop near you. The device is quite affordable and guarantees protection to your car battery. The controller is designed to disconnect your car battery from the solar panel once the battery is charged ultimately. When it comes to choosing a charge controller, it’s advisable to go for one with a max power point tracking.
A controller with this feature utilizes the energy from the solar panel to the maximum. Also, you must consider the number of panels you intend to use. The consideration is because the controller you use should be in a position to handle the total current from all the solar panels combined.
A battery acts as a storage unit for all the energy harvested from the sun. Therefore, you will need to have a battery connected to the solar panel for it to charge. Now that we’re dealing with a car battery, you can go for a 12 volts deep cycle battery. The good thing with deep cycle batteries is that they can handle the numerous charges and discharge cycles.
Unfortunately, most car batteries aren’t designed to deal with the repetitive drainage. As a result, you’re advised to choose the battery wisely to avoid picking a cell that will disappoint you sooner than you expected.
When it comes to harvesting the energy from the sun, you will need an inverter in one way or another. You must know that energy is stored in a battery in the form of direct current. Most household item requires alternating current, and that’s where an inverter comes into play.
Inverters are quite affordable and come in different sizes. When it comes to choosing one for your system, it’s advisable to pick an inverter that has enough sockets to accommodate your power needs.
Ways To Set Up My Car Battery With a Solar Panel
By now, you’re aware of the necessary items you need to connect your car battery to the solar panel. Using wires, you will combine both the battery and the board. If you’re using a single board, the connection isn’t as much complicated as it is with two panels.
With your panel’s manual, you can smoothly perform the link and get your car battery charging. Here are the four stages that your car battery goes through until it reads full.
1. Bulk stage. The bulk stage is the first step when it comes to charging a battery using the energy trapped by your solar panel. This stage launches whenever your car battery hits low-charge. In other words, it starts when the battery goes below 80%. During this stage, the photovoltaic cells present in the panel puts as much amperage as possible.
2. Absorb step. Second in the guide is the absorb stage, which initiates when your car battery reaches 14.4 to 14.8 volts (charge levels of between 80-90%). The absorb stage is dependent on the charge rate. This second stage stops whenever the number of amps entering the car battery reaches a specific number.
3. Float stage. The second last step is initiated whenever the charge controller minimizes the voltage to your set value. The stage is accomplished whenever the battery in question hits a charge level of 100%.
4. Equalization stage. The last step you ought to consider is the equalization stage, which is done periodically. From an expert’s point of view, it’s usually a controlled overcharge stage. This stage is essential when it comes to dealing with a car battery.
You must have in mind that the energy from the sun isn’t constant as it’s with the electricity. At times, the heat from the sun may be high, while on other occasions, it’s low.