SOLAR PANELS FOR LEISURE

The purpose of this page is to give a brief overview of the benefits, and answer a few questions in the use of photovaltic solar power for the leisure market, i.e camping, caravan, motorhome, sailing etc.

WHY USE SOLAR POWER?
If you have the need for electricity and mains power is not available you will be reliant upon battery power (usually 12V DC). If you need power for anything other than a short period, you will need to recharge the batteries for continued use and to avoid damage.

Batteries can be recharged by a vehicles alternator, a petrol/diesel generator, Mains 240V supply, or Solar Panels. Often the former methods are either not available, inconvenient, or too noisy.

IS SOLAR POWER PRACTICLE IN THE UK?
Most solar panels don't actually like heat, they work best in bright cool sunlight. Even in hazy conditions they still produce significant output.

In recent years solar technology has progressed rapidly as has its use in many areas, these include leisure, traffic control, lighting, electric gates, irrigation, grid connect systems etc. The considerable investment in solar by government for use on various roadside equipment and signs etc is testament to the practicality and cost benefits of solar installations in our climate.

As a result of this rapid growth, the solar panel has now become more affordable to the public. The cost benefits of solar power can only continue to improve as the alternatives get scarcer and more expensive.

WHAT CAN IT BE USED TO RUN?
Virtually anything electrical is the short answer! The limitations are dependent on many factors, but include: battery capacity, number size and type of solar panels, the amount of power your appliances consume plus how long they will be used for & of course the amount of exposure the panels have to sunlight. We could go much deeper into this subject but it is beyond the scope of this overview.

HOW CAN I OPERATE MAINS APPLIANCES FROM A 12V BATTERY?
It is probably best to use 12V low power appliances where possible. Many mains items can be operated using an inverter. These mostly produce 230V AC. There are a massive choice of inverters, choosing the right one depends on a number of factors, again beyond the scope of this article. Generally speaking it is not practicle to operate appliances that mainly produce heat. Ocassional use of travel kettles is about it, unless you have a massive system!

HOW DO I GO ABOUT MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICE
Putting a system together that works is fairly easy for those with basic elecictrical knowledge. However unless you have a very good understanding of Solar and electronics, it is very easy to make costly mistakes.
It is quite easy these days to source the components, but to get the most out of your system much knowledge or research is neccessary.

ARE SOLAR POWERED SYSTEMS SAFE?
All electrical circuits are potentially dangerous. The output of a car/leisure battery may be only 12V but could easily vapourise a spanner etc that is accidentally connected across the terminals. Even the smallest inverters could electrocute you if faulty or incorrectly used. A few solar panels connected in series could produce a dangerous voltage.

ADVICE

At RPS SOLAR we are not just here to sell solar panels. We will soon be in a position to supply most of the parts and accessories you need. We will also be happy to offer advice and help. 
An installation service will also be available depending on requirements.

 
 
  Site Map