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Solar efficiency when its cooler

I started doing Solar power during the summer and I wondered how it would be when it got cooler and the sun position changed. It still seems to be working very well.

As an experiment I left my Merlins out in the morning and took it in about 6:30 at night. As long as there is some kind of light, this panel seems to be able to make power. It is amazing.

I don’t have to deal with water/snow since I put the panel outside of the window and take it back in. The cable is pretty thin so I mostly close the window and then I use a towel to block the small gap so that air can’t pass. So far this has worked very well.

Even though the panel is in shadows from the building in the morning, it also gets some partial shadows from the trees in the evening. Since these are trees with leaves not evergreens, I suspect I will be able to collect more power when it isn’t warm. When the leaves aren’t there, I will get more sun, which is exciting. That combined with a 230 Merlin Solar panel will make charging even more efficient.

It is exciting when you start doing solar things and start to learn how to make your system more efficient. I wasn’t even really sure I could do it, but slowly I have spent money and learned many things. I learned what kind of solar panels I like-Merlins. What kind of battery power I like-Lifepo4. What kind of voltage I like-24volts. I am currently learning what kind of amount of battery power I like-1KW but more is always nice. It is fun to change out parts of your system and get even more functionality and flexibility.

Solar power is a fun hobby and can save money. I wish I could have afforded this technology earlier.

Merlin solar panels have 24 volts versions

I love Merlin solar panels and they have 24 volt versions. I think I know which one that I could buy, but I am not sure that I am ready to buy it yet.

I talked yesterday about switching from a 12 volt to a 24 volt system.  I am going to do this and buy a new solar generator. Based on my laptops and the run time I wish to have, I really want to be fully off electrical power and I can’t do it with the previous systems I had bought. I want it to be easy and not worry about details, so the system I am getting will be 1kw of backup power.

This year I started with 166WH and then I jumped to 616WH and now I will be at 1086WH of power. Almost double. This will allow me to do some pretty incredible things which the first thing I will be doing is powering as much as my daily consumption of electricity as possible with this unit.

This means that my 100W panel probably won’t be able to generate the power needed to do this. On a sunny day it can provide about 500WH of power, and I have 3 laptops and a big screen which according to an online calculator take about 240W together. I also use it to charge an iphone/ipad but those are not significant power usage items. If I use them for 10 hours I will use more than the battery total that I have. So this means that I need to use less laptops since that big screen is helpful to do my job. I have one work laptop and two personal laptops.

It is clear that I will need a larger solar panel to charge this battery faster if I am going to use all of these devices each day. The 230W Merlin panel that I like costs about $650 which would let me charge more than twice as fast as what I have now. Then I will just have to be more conscious about having power saving mode activated and not using the computers too much during the day.

I know I can make this 1KW battery work to power my devices. One I charge up the new solar generator I will plug everything in and see how long it lasts. Then that will give me a guide in how I need to change how I work with this setup. I can get by with one work laptop and one personal laptop, and the second personal laptop can be used for fun after work hours.

This is my plan. I know it will work.