TO: ALL WOOD COUNTY ARES MEMBERS (OFFICIAL)
ALL ARES AND NON-ARES AMATEURS ANYWHERE (INFORMATION)
FROM: KEN HARRIS WA8LLM ARRL DISTRICT 3 EMERGENCY COORDINATOR
WOOD COUNTY EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS INC.
WOOD COUNTY BULLETIN NR 17.05 DATE: January 29, 2017
SUBJECT: THE MISSING LINK
While reading an article about Solar Panels, There was a little information missing. The article talked about using solar panels to get off the grid. The grid they were talking about is the commercial power system grid.
The article was interesting and did give information about solar panels and how they work, but failed to give the complete picture. The author of the article said that after he got several panels built, and in operation, that the power company meter reader was surprised to see the electric meter was running backward, indicating the solar panels were producing more electricity then the author needed, and was putting the excess power back into the commercial power grid.
There was a missing link in the author's system that he didn't include in his article. He failed to tell about storing the Direct Current electricity from the Solar Panels into batteries, converting the Direct Current from the solar panels and batteries into Alternating Current, and making sure the Alternating Current was in phase, and synchronization with the commercial power grid.
The article doesn't say anything about how much power the solar panels will produce, or how many of them are needed. A general rule of thumb of power from solar panels is: a panel 12 inches by 12 inches, or about 144 square inches, will produce about 5 watts of power. It will take about twenty, 5 watt solar panels to produce 100 watts of power, and that is when the sun is shining bright on them. They don't produce any power at night, and very little on a cloudy day. Don't get all excited about trying to put the power company out of business by using solar panels. Solar panels are good source of back-up power, or when commercial power is not available, like a remote tower site, while camping, and for Field Day. Another rule of thumb is the solar panels should provide four or five times the amount of power then you need to operate your equipment. If your equipment needs 100 watts of power, then be sure your solar panels will produce 400 or 500 watts.
Also don't forget about storing the power you aren't using right now. You need to have a fairly large bank of batteries to store power to use at night and during the days when the sun doesn't shine bright because of the clouds.
The author of the article was trying to sale a book on solar power, and left out the missing links.
Ken Harris WA8LLM
Wood County WV