Solar energy works by using solar collectors to charge an inverter (in the same way a generator or grid power would charge an inverter). The solar power collected by solar panels charges a set of batteries. Then the inverter, when turned on, takes the energy in those batteries and changes it into a form that the office and household appliances can use.
A solar energy set-up will require professional installation. Look for a local company to give you an estimate of how much power you will realistically be able to get out of solar and how much a system will cost. Systems are generally expensive to set-up, so think about how long we will be in a location before investing in a system.
Small solar power kits are available to power essential office equipment. Please see Setting up a Solar Power System for more information, including a worksheet to determine your particular energy needs.
The following PDF describes how to calculate which size battery, regulator and inverter you will need depending on the solar panel size and use you require: How to Size Off-Grid Solar Batteries
In addition, local materials may be available to put together and install solar power unit. Listed below are components and specifications for setting up locally procured solar power materials.
Procurement location: If the below components are available, purchase locally. If prepackaged, more mobile and lightweight kits are needed, purchase internationally – see below for two examples.
Locally sourced kits:
Specifications of components will depend on the size of solar panel used.
For 160W Solar Panel:
|Max System Voltage||1000V|
|Temp Range||-40C – +85C|
|Input Voltage||11V-15V DC|
|Output Voltage||220-240V AC|
Internationally sourced kits:
Listed below are two examples of portable solar kits available from international suppliers. These may be options in cases where local procurement is not feasible.
1) Global Solar Foldable solar panel 62 Watt
Adequate for charging laptops and other small devices.
Ensure that any kit procured includes all necessary components, especially charger control – the distributor listed below provides the complete kit.
Manufacturer link: http://www.globalsolar.com/powerflex-2-4-6m
Shipping and cost details:
|62W Solar Charger||Carton||1.75kg||14.5 x 8.5 x 1.4||3L||$ 1,000|
2) Goal Zero All in One Solar Kits
Various sizes as needed.
Manufacturer link: http://www.goalzero.com
Shipping and cost details:
|Yeti 150W||Carton||7kg||28 x 28 x 25 cm||$ 400|
|Yeti 400W||Carton||15kg||36 x 33 x 28 cm||$ 660|
|Yeti 1250W||Carton||54kg||50 x 50 x 50 cm||$ 1,800|
If you think solar energy is a good fit for your office, the following section outlines your next steps.