Practical Photovoltaic Applications

Solar electric technology has come far enough that powering your house is now within the realm of practical photovoltaic applications.



070 photovoltaic applications 4 chainsaw
A solar-powered chain saw quietly cut all the Pratts' firewood last winter.
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070 photovoltaic applications 2 power inverter
A power inverter can change 12-volt DC current into 110-volt AC power. 
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070 photovoltaic applications 3 electric rototiller
Richard Pratt uses a 12-volt Sears electric rototiller (unfortunately, this model has been discontinued) when he cultivates his garden.
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070 photovoltaic applications 1 solar panel
Photovoltaic applications can including supplying electricity to a house, as this panel of cells from ARCO Solar is doing at the home of Richard and Maureen Pratt.
PHOTO: T.J. BYERS AND MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
070 photovoltaic applications - diagram 3
Hooking panels up in series boosts the system's total voltage.
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070 photovoltaic applications 5 teel water pump
The Pratts irrigate their vegetable patch with the help of this sun-energized Teel water pump.
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070 photovoltaic applications - diagram 2
When a single panel can't meet the current needs of a motor, several panels have to be wired together in parallel.
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070 photovoltaic applications - diagram 1
In a basic setup the solar collector and motor are connected directly.
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070 photovoltaic applications - diagram 4
Groups of panels wired in series to match the voltage of a device can then be wired in parallel to increase the available current, as long as they're added in increments of the total voltage .
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070 photovoltaic applications - diagram 5
As long as they match the voltage of the system, any number of batteries may be connected in parallel. When wired in series, the batteries again need to match the panel voltage.
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070 photovoltaic applications - diagram 6
A small inverter can work with a 12-volt input current, but larger inverters need higher voltages to compensate for internal power loses.
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070 photovoltaic applications - diagram 7
Diagram shows a method of connecting photovoltaic panels to complement an existing wind generator system.
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