About the Post

Jerry Hardy

Author Information

I was a Building Contractor along with owning rental properties where I did most of the repairs myself. Its my pleasure to pass on to you some of the methods I had used in the past. Hopefully, this will save you the expense of hiring a professional to do the work.

Solar Power Information


Fundamentals in electricity:  Electricity flowing along a wire consists of negatively charged particles called electrons. The electricity flows only if there is pressure to force it to travel along the conductor or wire. This pressure is called Volts. Resistance in the conductor will cause less flow or amperage. Volts= resistance times amperes or V= IR. With constant voltage, as the resistance increases, the amperage decreases.  

Batteriesbattery,solar power

Batteries are designed to store direct current by converting electric energy into chemical energy by a chemical reaction. They can be recharged either by solar power, battery charger or a generator. A battery should never be overcharged or allowed to fully discharge. The charging current to the battery is adjusted by a regulator. The current from the charger transfers electrons from the battery plates into the electrolyte to produce energy. The charge must have a higher voltage than the battery when fully charged. A typical solar panel will procuce 16 volts which is sufficient for charging a 12 volt battery.  Fully charged batteries have an AH(amp-hours) rating of different values depending on the batteries capacity. A battery having 100 AH rating will deliver 100 amperes for one hour or realistically 5 ampere for 20 hours.. Batteries are constructed to convert electric energy into chemical energy by a chemical reaction. The common batteries used for storing solar power are the lead-acid automotive batteries.


An electric circuit starts with VOLTAGE from a power source flowing through a conductor(AMPS) to a load such a light bulb(RESISTANCE)  then back to the source or generator.

Series Circuit-Batteries are connected in series by connecting the negative terminal of the first battery to the positive terminal of the second battery and connecting the negative terminal of the second battery to the positive terminal of the third battery and so on.  If two 6 volt batteries are connected in series, the voltage is increased to 12 volts and the current remains constant.

Parallel Circuit-In a parallel circuit the positive terminal of the first battery is connected to the positive terminal of the second battery and the negative terminals are connected to each other.  The voltage remains the same in this  case but the amperage doubles.Additional batteries can be added increasing the amperage.


multimeter,solar power Meters show how a solar power electrical system is performing by indicating amperes(current flow)resistance and voltage(power)

Ammeter: The output in amps coming from the power source is displayed. The analog type of meter operates by a magnetic field moving a needle on a guage. As the current increases, the reading will increase.

Voltmeter: a voltmeter shows the state of a solar power battery in volts.  To measure the small voltage changes in a battery from fully charged to total discharge a digital meter is necessary.

Ohmmeter:Shows the resistance in the circuit in ohms and determines continuity.

Multimeter:Shows a combination of volts, amps and ohms.

Hydrometer:Measures the sulfate content of the solar power battery electrolyte and gives a specific gravity reading.

Converter and inverter

Since alternating current cannot be stored, it must first be converted to direct current.   Alternating current voltage can be increased or decreased by the use of a transformer. Since transformers work on the principle of alternating magnetism, they will not function with direct current.

Inverter: An inverter changes direct current to alternating current than increases the voltage to 120 volts by means of a transformer.

Converter: A converter converts 120 volts AC to 12 volts DC or direct current as does a battery charger.

Solar electricity

Solar power is a process of changing sunlight directly into electricity by means of solar cells. These cells are made from sheets and wafers of silicon then assembled into sealed solar panels. Solar power cells will function anywhere the sun is shining. It is not the suns heat that processed electricity but the suns photo energy. This electrical power is then transferred to the battery, recharging it.

How solar power panels work

Solar power panels consist of 32 to 36 solar cells connected in series or parallel.  As discussed earlier, a series connection will increase the voltage from cell to cell with the current remaining constant while a parallel connection will increase the current with the voltage remaining constant. The discussion in this article will pertain to solar power panels with series connected cells.

Amperage: The amount of current or amps produced is dependent upon both the amount of sunlight on the solar panels and the size of the panel.  A panel of 4 inch cells in series produces approximately 3 amps at peak light. Two of these panels connected in parallel increases the current to six amps.

Voltage: Each cell in the solar power panel produces about .5 volt regardless of the surface area. The voltage needed to charge a  12 volt battery can be supplied by a panel of 32 or more cells.

Temperature: Ambient temperature will effect the amount of voltage produced. As the temperature increases the voltage will decrease. Approximately .49 volts can be generated from an individual solar power cell at 80 degrees Fahrenheit. A solar panel having 33 solar cells would generate up to 16.2 volts

Solar system: Solar power panels of 32 to 36 cells that can produce at least 14 volts at any temperature is a successful system. Fewer than 32 cells will not provide sufficient voltage to achieve full charge in a 12 volt battery.

Reverse flow of current: Voltage is only produced when the panels are exposed to light. The lack of light will cause a slow flow of electrons from the solar power battery to the panel. The flow is about 55ma per panel.  Four panels times 55ma equals 220ma(.25amps). Over a 16 hour period, 4 AH power loss would occur((16x.25). This amount of power loss could discharge a battery. To prevent a discharge, a diode which acts as a one-way valve, can be installed. The diode will only allow current to flow from the solar power panel to the battery.      

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