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Solar Panel Project

I’ve got two weeks off work and I’ve finally decided what I’m going to do with my Solar panels so it is time to start my first solar project.

As you may remember I have 2 120W panles, a 20A controller and 2 125Ah deep cycle batteries. I also have a 300W invertor but for this project I’m going to be putting that to one side at the start.

I was going to install the solar panels on the garage roof and put the batteries inside using that as a test bed but the brats next door keep on throwing things on the roof and then climbing on to retrieve them. I’ll have broken panels in no time and their mum is hopeless. So moving higher is the only solution at this point. That crimped my plans quite a bit as it means I’m going to have to make sure the panels are installed correctly.

So, I’ll be getting the panels installed over the next few weeks and wiring up the controller and batteries. Once the batteries are charged I will be disconnecting the 240V lighting system from the distribution panel and plugging the solar system into the lighting system, replacing all the bulbs with 12v LEDs and the flouresent tubes with panel lights.

It may be simple but it should be effective and save some electricity. The kids think light switches only turn on and they need something special to turn them off.

Once they are connected I’m going to perform some tests to see what else they can handle but as for now,lights only.

7 comments to Solar Panel Project

  • Timelord

    Can you record a materials costing for it when complete? ta, TL

  • stewart

    good luck,i read somewhere that you have to change the thickness of your wiring when changing voltage.can,t remember where i read it,but totally confused by article

    • lawabidingcitizen

      Good luck with that SD, would do the same if I had a house. Would nice to get some feedback after it’s completed.

      Stewart – I think as SD is wiring the batteries into the existing lighting circuits it will be fine as the type of 12 volt bulbs he is using will not draw that much load. It is true that a heavy load on a 12 volt circuit may require cables thicker than the standard size used for 220/240 volt mains – as the voltage is lower, the current would be higher requiring thicker cables. If for example the voltage is halved, then the current would need to be doubled (determined by the rating of the device) for the same Power (Watts) output (Ohms Law).


      • Skean Dhude

        Pretty much as it is. I’m using the existing wiring downstairs as i can’t easily access it and intend using the performance gain of the LEDs to offset the reduced wattage I have. I think it will be OK but we will be checking it out as we go.

  • Lightspeed

    Good project SD

    I’m intrigued at your use of the existing house mains lighting circuits to run 12v to LED lights.

    Have you come up with this idea yourself or is it documented somewhere?

    LAC is right that 12v devices need heavier gauge wiring to cope with the extra current they draw ( for comparable wattage, 12v draws 20x the amperage of a 240v system)


  • Skean Dhude

    I don’t know. I’ve been looking at it for some time and wires are wires. I don’t think I’ve read it anywhere.

    I’ll be wiring up the kitchen lights and the upstairs lights directly and taking them off the ring while leaving the ring intact down the stairs and that is where the issue may occur. I’m hoping that the power of the LEDs will offset the reduced wattage allowable by the cables to give me he light I need on the old cables. Watch this space.

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