How Long Do Solar Lights Last?

How Long Do Solar Lights Last

Solar lighting is one way to go if you want to achieve a more profound ambiance in your outdoor and garden space. I chose to use solar lights for my outdoor lighting because they are energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.

However, a common question among people considering garden lighting is how long do solar lights last? I had the exact before in installed my first solar light. I hope to share what I've learned from personal experience about the durability and lifespan of solar lights in this article.

How Long Do Solar Lights Stay On?

How long a solar light stays on is considerably influenced by the solar panel's ability to absorb the sun's energy. Also, the panels' position relative to sun intensity will further affect the performance of the lights.

One of the disadvantages of solar lighting is that it is hugely reliant on the weather. When there is low sunshine, the lights will only stay on for a shorter period. Furthermore, battery capacity affects how long solar lights will stay on at night.

Typically, solar lights take six hours of intense sunlight to charge fully and stay on for about eight hours. However, factors like battery capacity, weather, and the solar panel will affect how long they stay on.  I would advise that you use a timer with the lights, to turn the lights on and off at preset times. This will keep the battery healthy for longer.

How Long Do They Last?

A solar lighting system is made up of many components. One factor that will influence how long the system will last is the lifespan of the individual components. The battery is one of the main components, and it probably will be the first to break down.

Most solar light failures can be traced to the rechargeable batteries. A typical solar light comes with 1-4 rechargeable batteries that will gradually decline over time. With proper maintenance, these batteries should last for 2-3 years before showing signs of decline. However, they can a significantly shorter period if not correctly taken care of.

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How To Test A Solar Panel?

How To Test A Solar Panel?

Using Solar panels is one of the best ways to preserve the universe because it is a type of green energy. When people buy solar panels, they might be inclined to test them because of one reason or the other. The real question now is, how do you test a solar panel accurately? It is not something hard at all and we will be giving you all the necessary information involved in testing a solar panel in this article. We have to add that there are different ways to test the solar panel but we assure you that this article will give you an insight on how to achieve your goal easily.

What To Do Before You Start Testing The Solar Panel?

There are some things you need to get done or have in place before you start testing the solar panel. These are highlighted below and we have to tell you that each of them is very important.

  • The first thing to do is to look for the current and voltage ratings of the solar panel you are about to test. This information is usually stated on the back of the solar panel or on the packaging of the solar panel. The Voltage is always represented by the ‘V' sign while the current is always represented by the ‘A' sign.
  • Make sure that the weather condition is sufficient enough to power the solar panel. Often times than not, the solar panel needs direct sunlight for it to get powered. Also, in order to get the rated output of the solar panel, the solar panel needs to be well charged and this can only happen when the weather condition is favourable.
  • You need to get a multimeter and you must know how it is being used. You also need to make sure that the multimeter is set on the right settings for the power you want to measure
  • If you will be testing a charge controller, make sure that the battery is halfway charged. This is because when the battery is fully charged, then it will not be able to take in more current.

Precautions For Testing a Solar Panel

Below are the precautions to be put in place before testing a solar panel.

  • Make sure you do not short circuit both the battery and the solar panel
  • Make sure you observe the polarities of both the battery and the solar panel. Ensure that the red and black terminals are in the right position.
  • When photovoltaic panels are exposed to sunlight, they produce electricity. This is why before you start working on the solar panel; cover the front in order to avoid electrical shocks.
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How To Measure A Roof Using Google Earth?

How To Measure A Roof Using Google Earth?

Some people want their roof measured and they can’t due to fear of falling off the roof. What if we tell you that you can get your roof measured from the comfort of your room? This can be done by using a computer program called Google Earth. Basically, Google Earth works by portraying the earth in a 3d-like manner. The program uses satellite images, aerial photography and GIS data to transform the earth into a 3D globe. This feature allows the users of the program to see various part of the earth in different angles. 

In this article, you will be learning about how to measure a roof using google earth and we assure you that you will grasp the simple steps involved easily.

Why You Should Use Google Earth To Measure A Roof?

Wondering why it is advisable to use google earth to measure a roof? Never to worry, we will be writing on the benefits in the subsequent paragraphs.

Safe To Use

This is one of the major reasons why using google earth to measure roofs is beneficial. This is because when using google earth, you do not have to worry about falling off the roof or tripping hereby injuring yourself. With google earth, you get to measure your roof without endangering yourself.

Can Be Done At Any Time.

When trying to measure your roof manually, you need to wait till daytime in order to see what you are measuring well. Meanwhile, you can measure your roof with google earth at any time of the day.

Can Be Done Alone

Most times, manual measurements of roofs need to be done by more than one person. This is not the case with using google earth as only one person is needed to use the platform.

What You Need To Measure Your Roof With Google Earth?

To measure your roof with google earth, you need some things and we will be highlighting them below.

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What Is Ah In Batteries?

What Is Ah In Batteries?

Ever wondered what Ah in batteries is? To understand what this is, you need to know what a battery really is. One thing to know is that there are different types of batteries but it is important to know that they all work the same way. A battery can be described as a device that is capable of storing electrical energy that is in the form of chemical power and transforms it into electricity. One thing to know is that electricity cannot be captured and preserved but you can store electrical energy in the chemicals present in a battery.

Ah in batteries is the short form for ampere hours and it can simply be defined as the amount of energy or current a battery can hold or supply over a period of time. The Ah rating in batteries offers a way to measure the capacity of a battery and with it, you will know which batteries last longer than which. There are certain information about what Ah in batteries in which people do not know. But we have decided to shed a little light on them in this article. Kindly read on and we are sure this will not be a waste of your time.

What To Know About Ah In Batteries

In the paragraphs that follow this, we will be writing about what we feel you need to know about the Ah in batteries and information about batteries in general.

How To Calculate Ah in Batteries?

As we have said in previous paragraphs, the Ah in batteries is the capacity of the battery to hold power. It can be calculated by multiplying current by discharge time. That means Amp X discharge time. A current can simply be referred to as the rate at which electricity passes through a battery and is usually measured in amps. Discharge time is the time it takes the battery to completely use up the electricity stored in it. Now, we will show you the calculation of the Ah battery below:

We will assume that the current = 10 amperes and the discharge time = 15 hours. Therefore, the Amp hour rating of the battery will be calculated as:

Ah= Current X Discharge time. Which means 10 amperes X 15 hours.

Therefore, Amp hour = 150 Ah.

From the calculation we showed above, the Ah rating of the battery will be shown as 150 Ah @ 15 hours.

What Happens To The Ah Capacity In Batteries When Not Charged?

When batteries are not charged for a long time, it leads to sulfation. And when this happens, the Ah capacity of the battery will become reduced significantly. This means that the battery will not be able to hold a charge for long. When this happens, you might be forced to change the battery earlier than you should. This is why it is advisable for you to charge your battery from time to time even when not in use.

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How To Heat A Greenhouse With Solar Panels?

How To Heat A Greenhouse With Solar Panels?

The weather can sometimes be unpredictable and even when you can predict the weather; you can’t always have the right weather suitable for your crops. To help counter this problem, a greenhouse was invented in the early years. A greenhouse is an enclosed structure with walls and roof made out of transparent material like glass. In this structure, plants that need regulated weather condition are grown. Greenhouses are mostly used to regulate light, warmth and air to suit your exotic plants.

Heating of greenhouses can be very expensive because the regulation of heat and light can consume a great deal of power. One way to heat up your greenhouse is by using solar energy. We will be writing about how to heat a greenhouse with solar panels in this article and we are sure that you will learn a great deal from it.

Types Of Solar Panels For Greenhouses

There are different types of solar panels that can be used for greenhouses and each of them has their benefits. In the subsequent paragraphs, we will be writing about them.

Monocrystalline Solar Panels

The monocrystalline solar panel is made from a material called the single crystalline silicon. These panels are unique and this is because of their dull, dark colour and cylinder-like shape. With an efficiency level of 15% to 20%, these panels are the most efficient type of solar panels which means that you will be saving a lot of money by investing in these types. Also, their efficiency also means that you do not need a large space for you to have the required amount of energy for your greenhouse. 

Another advantage of the monocrystalline solar panel is that they last very long. This is evident due to the fact that most manufacturers place a 25-year warranty on them. This means that after a single purchase, you won’t have to worry about buying another for a long time. Finally, they are ideal for cloudy areas as they can convert any ray of sunshine into energy fast. So, if you are thinking of how to heat a greenhouse with solar panels, then you should consider a monocrystalline solar panel.

As you know, there will always be a downside to most appliances and the disadvantages of the monocrystalline solar cells are listed below:

  • They are very expensive and not everyone will be able to afford them.
  • The silicon material is usually wasted when cutting during manufacturing. This is probably the reason why it is so expensive.
  • The solar cells’ performance drops as the temperature increase. Although, this is insignificant compared to the loss other solar panels suffer.

Polycrystalline Solar Panel

Polycrystalline cells are different from monocrystalline cells in so many ways and some of which include the fact that it does not need its sides cut out. The silicon of the panels is melted in order to form square shapes which means that there is less loss of silicon during production. In addition, the efficiency of these panels is around 13% to 16% which means that they are not as efficient as their monocrystalline counterpart. The polycrystalline solar panels also work better in hotter temperature which makes it a good option for those living in hotter climates.

Some of the disadvantages of the polycrystalline solar panel include:

  • It is not as efficient as the monocrystalline solar panels
  • It requires a large amount of space due to its lower output rate. With these solar panels, you will have to buy more to get your desired energy output.

Thin Film Solar Panels

The thin film solar cells are manufactured by adding lots of thin layers of photovoltaic cells together to place one single module. The thin film solar panels differ according to the materials used in bringing them together. Generally, there are 4 types of materials that can be used and they are; Amorphous silicon, organic PV cells, copper indium and cadmium telluride. The efficiency rate for the thin film solar panels is between 7% to 12%. This is quite low compared to other types of solar panels but scientists/researchers are already working on getting their efficiency by up to 16%.

Benefits Of Using Solar Panels To Heat Up Your Greenhouse

Benefits Of Using Solar Panels To Heat Up Your Greenhouse

Thinking of what you stand to gain from learning how to heat a greenhouse with solar panels? Then you need to read the points highlighted below.

Absence Of Toxic Emissions

One of the most important benefits of using solar panels to heat up your greenhouse is that you are making use of pure energy. With solar energy, you are assured that there are no toxic gasses which can affect the growth of the plant being emitted by the power source. With this, you are not just protecting your plants but also the planet too.

Effective Temperature Control System

Other sources of energy might need an additional temperature control system to enable the plants in the greenhouse to thrive. Using solar panels to generate heat for the greenhouse, on the other hand, gives you a choice to stop the solar panels from heating up the greenhouse. This act can easily be done by adjusting the settings of the solar panel. In addition, you can install solar panels with sensors that can automatically open vents in case of overheating of the greenhouse.

Cost Effective

Using solar panels in a greenhouse is cost effective compared to other sources of energy. Whilst the initial setup cost might be expensive, but the cost benefit you will derive from the investment will definitely ensure you get your money’s worth in the long run.

How Solar Powered Greenhouses Differ From Regular Greenhouses

Solar greenhouses are different in different ways and these differences will be highlighted below.

  • Solar powered greenhouses make use of heat storing materials which helps it retain the heat derived from solar energy. This feature ensures that the heat generated for the greenhouse is used effectively and efficiently.
  • Solar powered greenhouses also make use of a large number of insulation materials to aid the sunshine available for use. This is particularly useful for areas where there is no direct sunlight.

Heat Loss And Heat Transfer In Greenhouses

To get the best crop production result, greenhouses must be heated at all times. A good solar heating system must provide an adequate and uniform temperature for the greenhouse. Also, the heating system must not emit harmful materials which might impede the production of the crops. There are different types of ways to heat the greenhouse but using solar energy remains one of the best ways.

When setting up a solar heating system for greenhouses, you should consider the occurrence of heat loss. Heat loss occurs through different modes of heat transfer which are: convection, conduction and radiation. When these modes are calculated and combined, the heat needed for the greenhouse can be determined. To put this in simple terms, when these 3 factors are considered, you will get an idea of how much heat your greenhouse needs.

Convection Heat Transfer

This can be described as the physical movement of both warm liquid and gas to a cooler environment or area. When heat loss by convection happens in a greenhouse, it is usually through oxygenating or airing. One thing to note is that heat loss through convection is not just about the movement of air but by the movement of water vapour too.  Evaporation of water in greenhouses combines to absorb energy which often leads to heat loss or heat transfer.

Radiation Heat Transfer

Radiation heat transfer usually happens between two bodies or materials that are not touching each other. Heat radiation is often reflected, transmitted or absorbed in a straight line. You must understand that all objects release this radiant heat and the heat radiation varies in different objects. To reduce this radiant heat energy, you should surround the target object with a non-transparent barrier. This barrier will ensure that the radiant heat is reflected back to the source of the heat. Also, ensure that the absorption rate of this barrier is low in order to prevent it from heating up too much which might affect other objects outside.

Conduction Heat Transfer

Conduction of heat happens through objects having direct physical contact. How objects conduct heat depends on the area, type and properties of the objects. To reduce heat transfer by conduction, you should insulate the objects that easily conduct heat. This can be done by placing thermal conductors or insulators like rubber and wood on the object.

Glazing Of Greenhouses

When trying to ensure that the heat generated by solar panels for your greenhouse remains in the greenhouse for long, you need to glaze the greenhouse. Glazing involves covering or layering your greenhouse walls and roof with materials like glass, poly film and polycarbonate to keep the heat inside. This is especially important for cold periods like winter or raining season.

Conclusion

Heating up greenhouses with solar panels is very beneficial and apart from the fact that it is cost-effective, you also get to preserve the planet in the process. We also wrote about heat transfer and heat loss. Remember to always consider heat loss when trying to figure out the required heat you need your solar panels to produce. Also, never forget the importance of glazing because of what use is heating up the greenhouse when the heat can be lost easily. Finally, we hope you found this article on how to heat a greenhouse with solar panels helpful. And we are sure you will put all the information in this article to good use.

How To Build a 5000 Watt Solar Generator?

How To Build a 5000 Watt Solar Generator?

Did I hear someone ask why solar? Well, the answer is not far-fetched. At the moment solar energy is the cleanest form of renewable energy and also the most abundant. It causes no environmental pollution and is totally free of charge. The sun energy is captured by the solar panel and is converted in electrical energy and then stores it in a battery. A more detailed outline of the advantages are detailed below:

Advantages of Solar Energy

  • Solar energy causes no pollution and does not lead to the emission of greenhouse gases after its installation.
  • It is a renewable source of energy that is clean and available all year round even on cloudy days.
  • It reduces the dependence on fossil fuels and foreign oil.
  • It has return on investment which is unlike paying utility bill.
  • It involves little or no maintenance as it can last as long as 30 years.
  • Solar energy creates jobs for the populace as it employees solar panel manufacturers and installers. This in turn helps boost the economy.
  • It has the ability to live grid free if all the power generated is enough to power the home or building.
  • It has no limitation as it can be installed anywhere (in a building, on the field and so on).
  • It uses batteries to store energy for use at night.
  • Solar energy can also be used to boil water, power homes and buildings and even cars!

Disadvantages of Solar Energy

For all its advantages, it has some disadvantages which includes:

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