Living Off the Grid: Solar Power for Homes, 1994 Guide
Incremental improvements have made solar power for homes a more viable alternative than it was in the 1970s, when cost and performance issues eventually blunted enthusiasm for the technology.
Solar power for homes is looking better these days.
PHOTO: REAL GOODS TRADING CORP
The smooth line of the sine wave means that power is delivered smoothly to peak capacity. Square waves deliver power quickly and in one big burst. Modified square waves are intermediate between sine waves and square waves.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
The top diagram shows sunlight hours per day as a national average. The bottom diagram shows sunlight hours per day from December 2 through January 4. Sunlight data courtesy of Sunelco Inc.
DC electricity generated by solar panels is most practically stored in deep-cycle batteries for home use. A charge controller regulates power to the batteries and protects them against overload. Appliances that require AC Power must be fed through a DC/AC inverter.