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Plug in Solar Power? Options
#1 Posted : Tuesday, December 02, 2008 3:35:39 AM
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Yes it very much possible and  it is done.If you want to run a few lights at night and maybe a tv to cut your power bill you make yourself up a solar power jig and hang it in a south window or outdoors.A solar power jig consists of a 100 watt solar panel an (x) amount of 12v batteries, a charge controller, for however much power you want to store and a 12 vdc to 120 v ac inverter.Mount them (the cells ,controller& inverter) on plywood,make it so it'll hang in the window. When you want to cut your power shut the main breaker(or pull the main fuses)to your house off,plug an extension cord from your inverter to your house receptacle and shut off the breakers that control the big loads(hot water heater,motor loads like the furnace and electric stove)Now you're on solar power.Remember you only have so much power available.You wont be running your microwave or anything large off of it,but yes you can run compact flourescents and alarm clocks and such.This is'nt legal to do I  think because if you turn your main breaker on you'll end up destroying your equipment but if you're careful it is possible yes.The only way you can pump power back to the utility is if you use a 'synchronizing' inverter which puts the sine wave 'in step' with the utility wave coming into your home.Otherwise if you mix the two you will have a dead short circuit and it could cause a fire.

#2 Posted : Tuesday, December 02, 2008 5:42:30 AM
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No it isn't really possible as simply as your question asks to plug and play from a solar panel. Solar panels produce DC current and your house (if normal) has wiring and electronics  running on AC current. So DC can't be plugged into AC but must be "inverted" from DC current to AC current and the two also need to be synched, as close as possible to 60 Hz AC for North America. This is done via the inverter. The better the inverter, the better the quality of power. Not all inverters work with all appliances/electronics. Modified sine wave inverters are the least expensive but not all electronics like modified sine waves. The Grid's AC power is a pure sine wave and good quality inverters can produce nearly pure sine wave power, good enough to not harm any electronics.

As mentioned in the previous answer, at minimum to run AC electronic items from a DC solar panel (no AC panels made), you need an inverter, a charge controller, cables, 2 deep cycle 6 volt batteries at minimum, and a few other items. It can be fairly straight forward once you get your head around how it works, but it isn't always that inexpensive to do it right. But that's without knowing your iintent or budget.

I'd suggest reading Home Power Magazine, www.homepower.com . They have some free basic PDF articles that you can download to get you introduced to what's required. Your library may have the issues, and to subscribe is not that expensive. It's a great resource.

Also you can check out:  www.builditsolar.com and their projects pages and Backwoods Solar newsletters, http://www.backwoodssolar.com/


#3 Posted : Tuesday, December 02, 2008 5:42:30 AM
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Posts: 134,494

I currently lease the house where I am living. 

Is it possible to devise a non-permanent solar installation which can provide power to the house by plugging into an external wall socket?

If it is possible, how would I accomplish this?

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