If you are hesitant about investing in a residential solar power system, small solar panels may be just what you are looking for. Less expensive than larger panels, they are also much less powerful; as an introduction to solar energy, however, they can be perfect for the homeowner who isn’t quite ready to completely solarize his or her home. den nang luong mat troi
Small Solar Panels Don’t Create a Lot of Energy
As you can imagine, a small solar panel will generally have fewer watts than a larger panel. Experts at the Solar Guide, for example, note that a two square foot panel would typically produce about 50 watts, while an eight square foot solar panel would generate more in the neighborhood of 190 watts. Panels are priced per watt, and you should be able to get a rough idea of the type and number of household items a particular panel will be able to power from the item description. For comparison purposes, let’s use the average California installation of 3100 watts, which typically powers an entire residence. Next to that example, 200 watts certainly doesn’t seem like it will power much more than a couple of light bulbs. For example, the Grape Solar 880 watt system, according to the product’s manufacturer, is capable of powering a 15 cubic foot refrigerator and nothing else. As mentioned previously, the cost of these smaller panels represents a much smaller investment than would a large panel array, and are infinitely expandable, as well.
Small Solar Panel Kits
The Grape Solar 880 watt system is one example of a small solar panel kit that may be used as a sort of “starter” solar system for homeowners. More commonly, these types of kits are used by recreational vehicle owners and boating enthusiasts to power on-board components and appliances by keeping the battery bank fully charged. These particular kits usually contain panels rated anywhere from 50 to 440 watts, depending upon how heavily the vehicle or boat is used as well as how many appliances are on board. Larger, more powerful systems will also need a greater number of batteries as well as an inverter. The panels in these kits are generally the 12-volt type, since most boat and RV components and accessories use 12 volts of DC power. Inverters become necessary when appliances run on household current, or AC power.
Small Panels are Great for Remote Areas
Another common use for small solar panels is to power an off-the-grid lodge or cabin. This is a low-cost and low maintenance method of keeping a backup battery bank charged in order to power several DC appliances. Free Sun Power shows an 800-watt system that closely resembles the Grape Solar kit, using eight 100-watt panels. For an emergency power backup system, a configuration of several 150-watt panels are often used, depending upon the power needed. For outdoor accessories such as security lights, electric fences or water fountains, much smaller panels are often used. Smaller still are the solar panels that power electric exhaust and vent fans, as well as solar cell phone and laptop chargers. In fact, backpacks, laptop carrying cases and messenger bags are now available with built-in solar panels with which to charge your mobile devices. Small-scale solar living is gaining momentum with each passing day!