Photo courtesy of SRP.
5 cool facts you didn’t know about solar power
Everyone knows that solar power is a popular way to power modern homes, including homes off the grid. However, there’s a bit of mystery surrounding how solar power works, what it’s capable of doing, and its limitations.
If you’re curious to learn more about solar power, you’ll find these five facts informative.
1. You can power a standard AC unit with solar power
You’ve probably seen those little swamp coolers that look like a cube and sit on your desk. While these will run for a long time with a simple solar powered power bank, they’re not actually air conditioners.
If you’re going to survive the hot Arizona heatwaves, you need a real air conditioner. The good news is that you can now run a standard AC unit using solar power.
There are plenty of genuine air conditioning units on the market that can be converted to use solar power. For instance, if you have any kind of AC, including a standard HVAC unit, you can get a SunTrac solar panel system from Intelligent Design in Tucson. The SunTrac solar power system will run your existing air conditioning unit using energy from the sun that supplements the use of electricity.
The way the SunTrac system works is pretty genius. The sun’s energy is added to the refrigeration cycle, which makes the air compressor work less. While you’ll still be using electricity to power your AC, SunTrac turns your AC system into a hybrid solar system.
2. You can store solar power for later use
Many people don’t realize that solar power must be stored for use at night or during a power outage. Solar energy is used as it’s harnessed. However, storing solar power harnessed from the sun requires having a battery. While solar batteries are easy to obtain, they can be costly and it matters what battery you buy.
Lithium batteries are popular because they’re lightweight and easily rechargeable. Lithium batteries can also hold a charge much longer than other types of solar batteries.
Having a battery for storing power is crucial for every homeowner investing in a solar power setup. It doesn’t make sense to waste or send excess unused power back to the grid, even for money.
3. Solar power banks can power appliances
Most mid-to-large sized power banks are capable of charging appliances like refrigerators and freezers. You might already have a power bank capable of powering your appliances without realizing what it’s capable of powering.
It’s important to remember that with most power banks, powering a hair dryer for 20 minutes will drain the battery, while you could power a small refrigerator for a whole 24 hours on one charge. It’s important to know what the power output is for your appliances, because the size of the appliance can be deceiving.
If you don’t already have a solar powered power bank, check out the power banks made by Inergy. The company has been a leader in solar power for many years and they’re about to launch a new product that allows you to stack multiple batteries (up to 96) and connect a bunch of solar panels to speed up charging time. Currently, they’re offering a 10-year warranty for their batteries, which are designed to handle 3,000 cycles.
4. Most solar panels are compatible with multiple systems
The company that produces your particular power bank probably makes their own solar panels. Branded solar panels can be pricey and they’re not always necessary. Solar panels come in a variety of attachment types, and if you can find another solar panel that works on the same attachment, they are interchangeable.
The good news is that you can find generic solar panels that are of equal or greater quality that cost less than branded versions. The key is to do your research to find out what solar panels are the best quality.
5. You don’t need direct sunlight to capture solar energy
Although direct sunlight will capture more energy, you don’t need direct sunlight to capture solar energy. If you’re in the United States, your solar panels need to be facing south to capture the most energy, but other than that if there’s even a little bit of sun, you’ll capture some energy.
Solar power is the future that’s already here
Now that the price of solar has come down greatly, we are living in the age where almost everyone has access to solar power. We are guaranteed to see the technology for capturing and storing solar power advance in our lifetime.