Instructables

Home built solar power system

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Step 5: The BIG panel!!!!

After a few months of toying with solar, I decided to get serious. One of the top loads I wanted the system to run was a backup sump pump which ran off of 12v. This, of course, can easily draw over 100 watts at a time. The system wouldn't be able to keep up with the pump and would eventually stop altogether, flooding the basement. The solution to all my problems was to get a bigger panel. This one is made by UL Solar and is rated for 100 watts.

Mounting the panel proved to be difficult. Instead of on the ground where I could easily monitor and maintain the panels, I decided to install this one on the roof for better solar exposure. As you can see in the third pic, it is conveniently right on the edge of the roof,  reducing my wire run and potential losses. The 12 gauge wire is specifically made for low (10 - 30) voltage, so my 12 volt system fit right into that, even with the panel producing 23 volts open circuit.
 
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