Wednesday, April 17, 2024

How Do Plug And Play Solar Panels Work

Solar Ev Charging Guide

Plug and Play Solar Kits – How it Works – DIY grid-tied Solar Panels, Plug in Home Solar

Considering the gas prices hiking and the diminishing fossil fuels, it is best to switch to environmentally-friendly electric vehicles.

It was unimaginable to think of installing a solar-powered electric car charging station at home a few years back. There werent many electric cars and EV charging options. However, times have changed now, you can now install a powerful electric vehicle charging system at your home.

Are you confused about how to get started with installing an EV charging station? Do you wonder how many solar panels you will require? Do you want to know how to get faster charging from your solar panel-powered system? If yes, then you have come to the right place.

In this article, you will get to know everything about electric vehicle charging stations, things to consider, and other necessary details. So, buckle down and lets get started without further ado.


How It All Started

This is all the fault of my childhood friend Lukas. He had been asking me repeatedly how he could put a solar panel on his rooftop terrace, just one or two, without having to go through a lot of pain. I have to admit I felt a little daft in not being able to give him a straightforward answer and even worse, I realised I have never gone through the process of buying and installing a panel for myself. So this year its time to change that.

Thinking about it, a brilliant entrepreneur sprung to mind. I met Rui and his fab team at European Utility Week 3 years ago. Their Portugese company BeON won the Free Electrons Programme with their amazingly robust plug& play micro-inverters. Although they usually work with local distributors unbelievably there werent any in Italy yet. So Rui told me, just send a request on our website and indeed they offered to send me a set directly, an opportunity we had to use! And since we were at it, I added one for my parents home as well .

Will The Power Company Credit Me If I Make More Power Than I Use

Many states have laws that require utility companies to credit customers for excess power produced by their solar systems. Called net metering, this means that when you generate more power than you use at any point in time, your power meter runs backwards, crediting your electricity bill by the amount you produce. For net metering laws in your state, visit the U.S. Department of Energys list of net metering regulations.

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How Much Will Plug

This depends upon many factors including the number and size of panels, how many sun hours you receive, the orientation and shading of your system, the cost of electricity, etc. The PluggedSolar 1.5kW system will pay for itself in around an estimated 8.2 years based on average energy production and costs, but this amount may vary considerably, based on your location and installation specifics. Try out a few of the solar calculators to check your situation.

Getting Our Hands Dirty


I have to say, installation was pretty straight forward. I expect anyone could do it, even without manual. An hour or two was enough to hang it onto the railing. Fixing it to a wall where drilling took a bit longer according to Lukas . Note that you might need some extension cables to reach an outdoor or indoor plug.

Have a look at the photos of our installation at my parents last weekend:

Lukass panel went a step further drilling the panel frame into the wall on his rooftop terrace and digging up the cables.

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Panel Setup & Adjustment

Because the angle of your solar panel into the oncoming sunlight is so critical to generating maximum power, a good support stand is crucial. Simply laying a flat solar panel on the ground wont do nearly as much good as setting it up to match the angle of the sun.

When you go to pick out a portable solar panel, consider how it will set up. Does it have a stand with adjustable legs? Does it hang from a tree?

To get the most out of your solar panel you really need one that can be adjusted easily. Look for adjustable legs or supports that allow you to easily get the correct angle no matter where you set up.

Before making a final decision, think through how you will set up and adjust your solar panel on your RV, on the ground, or on whatever support structure you plan to use to get the right angle.

How Long Do Plug

Warranties for solar panels typically state that their efficiency decreases by less than 1% per year. After 20-25 years panels generally still produce 80% or more of their initial rated output. Many solar system can easily last over 40 years. Check with the manufacturer to see what their warranty terms are.

Also Check: How Long Will Solar Panels Last

Benefits Of Solar Power Ev Charging Station

When you buy or lease an electric vehicle, the dealer gives you a charging cable that plugs into your homes standard 120V outlet. It will charge your car very slow and there will be a time when you would want to charge your car as fast as possible.

However, for that, you will have to buy Level 2 or 3 chargers, install a circuit and hire a licensed electrician. All this will cost you a hefty sum which you wouldnt want to spend. So, whats the solution? Well, the best way is to switch to s solar power EV charging station.

Solar EV chargers are a very effective way of saving money. You can leverage your solar energy system to charge your cars efficiently without having to go anywhere.

Moreover, it is also better than the grid power way of charging. Thats not the end of the benefits, here is a list of a few more-

  • You can charge your car even when there is a power outage.
  • You will save a lot of grid power and as a result a lot of money.
  • You will take a step towards a responsible future.
  • You can charge your electric vehicle from your comfy home.
  • Why Are Plug In Solar Panels Alluring

    Plug and play solar panel setup.

    Whats the alluring part? Well, you theoretically dont need an installer or electrician. Solar equipment like panels, inverters, and wire only account for about 40% of the total cost of a roof-top system according to a 2017 NREL study of solar costs . If you can avoid hiring an installer, you can cut out 60% of the traditional cost of solar!

    According to the same report, the average residential solar installation costs $2.80 per watt . With an average installation size of 5,700 watts, thats a total cost of $15,960, of which the equipment makes up about $6,400 . Even if a plug and play system costs 2x as much as traditional equipment , it would still knock about $3k off the installation!

    So if youre able to cut out your installer, you drop your total investment by thousands of dollars, depending on the size of your installation of course. That seems like a pretty good incentive! On top of that, if you ever move, you can simply unplug your installation and bring it with you. The Smartflower, which has seen a boom in interest over the last year or so, advertises as just this: an easily portable, plug-in solar kit.

    Sounds pretty appealing! But the question is: are plug in solar panels as easy as they sound? Lets take a deeper look and see.

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    Flexible Solar Panels Vs Rigid Solar Panels

    A typical monocrystalline or polycrystalline solar panel is constructed of silicon wafers that are generally a bit thicker than a strand of human hair. Although its relatively thin, the layer is rigid and easily broken, requiring most solar cells to be protected with metals and glass casings.

    Flexible solar panels belong to a family of solar products called thin film panels. Flexible panels are constructed with silicon layers over 300 times smaller than those of standard solar panels, allowing them to be flexed and still retain their functionality.

    The greatest obstacle for flexible solar panels is that theyre much less efficient than rigid panels. Todays average rigid solar panels are about 16-20% efficient. Thin-film flexible solar panels, however, are only 7-15% efficient, meaning youll need more of them to produce the same amount of electricity a rigid panel would produce.

    Flexible solar panels probably wont fit the bill for rooftop energy production, but theyre a great option for anyone needing lightweight and portable power. Durable and lightweight, flexible solar panels are ideal for small-scale, mobile applications such as for RVs, boats and other energy needs that dont require large power outputs.

    If you think a flexible solar panel is right for you, check out the five best flexible solar panels below.

    Why Invest In Solar Energy

    Even if you dont own your own home or have a lot of disposable income , you can help contribute to a solution to our energy problems, right now. Some reasons to invest in a Plug and Play Solar kit include:

    Clean air: Solar energy technology is one of the few truly clean carbon-free forms of energy available. Using solar can help prevent the release of nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide into our environment, for cleaner air now and for future generations of people, not to mention animals, plants and all forms of life on earth.

    Reliable grid-tied solar energy: While others complain about high-energy costs, brown-outs and black-outs, solar can provide energy during times of production problems and peak usage. The Plug and Play Solar Kit is portable and can generate clean energy anywhere theres an outlet and a sunny spot.

    Less reliance on foreign energy: While others are contributing to our dangerous reliance on foreign energy sources from unstable regions, you can be setting a standard of taking steps toward clean, self-sustaining energy.

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    How Does Plug In Solar Work

    The beauty of plug and play solar is in its simplicity. Basically, you put the panel in the sun and plug it into an outlet. Done.

    A typical residential solar installation is pretty straightforward, but more complicated than the above to be sure. Instead of going directly into your wall outlet, electricity moves from the panels through a series of safety disconnects and your inverter to your electrical panel, typically via a dedicated breaker.

    These disconnects and the breaker allow workers to isolate certain parts of the system for maintenance and repair, and help protect the system from overheating and fire. The inverter is designed to shut down if the electrical grid goes down, known as anti-islanding. That is pretty important, as it ensures that there is no rogue electricity unknowingly being added to the grid while line workers are completing repairs on electric distribution lines.

    All this brings us to a major issue with plug and play solar. Without the same safety features as a traditional rooftop installation, are you going to set your house on fire or electrocute someone if you use them?

    What Does It Power

    Sunplug Plug Play Solar

    Every Portable unit will provide its maximum amount of power based on the current sun conditions. The power being produced supplements the power you are receiving from the utility, and therefore slows your meter. Anything you plug into your house toaster oven, computer, microwave, dishwasher, laundry machine, fax is at least in part, being powered by your Plug-n-Play unit.

    Just think of your Plug-n-Play unit as a mini power plant that produces power for you on your side of your electric meter. When your power plant is producing power, it reduces what you need to pull from the Utilitys plant.

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    Procure A Solar Panel With A Built

    To make your solar panel into a complete plug-in system, you need a panel that has been outfitted with a blocking device either an internal diode or one included as part of the built-in charge controller. In either case, you will be able to easily wire them together and plug your panel into another device, like a battery or an inverter, to charge it. If you go with the second option , you can skip steps 2 and 3 below. If you choose to use a blocking diode instead of the built-in charge controller, follow all three steps below.

    Perform these steps as part of step one.

    Why You Shouldnt Invest In A Plug

    Several issues are surrounding the plug-in inverters, which compromise their credibility. Consequently, these inverters have not been fully certified as of 2021.

    One of their significant drawbacks hindering their certification is safety concerns. Before we jump right in, you should note that electrical systems are prone to fire accidents. Thus you should ensure that the manufacturer delivers safety mechanisms to prevent all your life investments from draining into waste.

    Solar inverters are tested against AS 4777.2 and AS3100 to guarantee their safety. Unfortunately, the plug-in inverters require a dedicated circuit on the switchboard. Consequently, a lot of energy flows in and out of one circuit. As a result, the circuit can be damaged in case of a slight error, resulting in a fire. Besides, they will require several power cords to distribute the power, which can be pretty messy.

    Above that, these systems are not installed by a licensed technician or signed off by your utility company. You are happy that you can do it all by yourself. We are sorry to disappoint you that fact, among others, makes plug-in inverters illegal in some areas. How?

    The fact that they are not signed by your utility company or installed by a professional, they feed electricity into a circuit without the required shutoff features. Consequently, they are likely to violate the local utility codes, making them illegal.

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    How Do Flexible Solar Panels Work

    As far as solar technology goes, flexible solar panels work in the same way that rigid panels do. The question then becomes: How do solar panels work in general?

    Solar panels convert the energy of photons into electricity through a process called the photovoltaic effect. When a photon hits a solar module, its energy causes electrons to flow within the solar cells, producing an electric current.

    The resulting electricity is direct current power, which is commonly used in battery-powered devices. For household or commercial use, the DC power is converted into alternating current electricity with an inverter.

    Plug ‘n Play Solar Systems Could Give Renters A Renewable Energy Option

    Easy Plug Roof Mount Solar Panel Unboxing and Installation

    © SpinRay Energy

    Solar power generation can be a clean way to produce the electricity you use everyday, whether you’re just supplementing grid power or trying to power your whole house. But most solar panel systems require a permanent mount, usually on the roof, which isn’t really an option for the many people who just rent their house or apartment. So one choice that could make sense to renters, both in terms of cost and portability, is a plug ‘n play system that can be moved when you do.

    SpinRay Energy makes a line of supplemental solar energy systems that can be mounted right on your deck or patio and plugged directly into a standard 120V electrical outlet .

    The company’s DeckPower systems are dubbed “supplemental solar energy saving appliances” – appliances because you can just plug them in , and supplemental because unless you tie together a bunch of them, they don’t produce enough power to completely replace your grid power. But it’s a start.

    The panels include a microinverter pre-mounted on the back, and require five minutes of steady power from the grid before they begin producing power , which keeps the system from putting electricity into the grid at times when utility workers may be working on it and aren’t expecting a live line.

    According to SpinRay, these systems are modular, and up to 5 of them can be connected together into a single electrical receptacle to produce over 1,000 watts of clean green energy.

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    What Do I Get From Smartflower

    Smartflower’s solar installations are ground mounted. The panels, inverter and optional battery are part of one freestanding structure that is delivered fully assembled. Installation is about as close to plug-and-play as any major solar installation can claim.

    Smartflower stands about 16 feet tall when its 12 solar petals are fully opened. The inverter is housed within the pedestal and comes from either Fronius or Sunny Boy. The inverter will have an efficiency rating of 96.5%, said Jim Gordon, Smartflower Solar’s CEO.

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    The panels operate with dual axis tracking, which means they follow the sun to always face it at an ideal 90 degrees. It has a peak capacity of 2.5 kilowatts, but because they can always directly face the sun, Smartflowers produce about 40% more electricity than similarly sized rooftop solar arrays, Gordon said. Smartflower’s website says one system will produce 4,000 to 6,500 kilowatt hours per year, depending on the weather and location.

    Smartflower also offers a Smartflower Plus, which includes energy storage in Simpliphi batteries. The three lithium-ion batteries hold 11.4 kilowatts of energy.

    You can monitor the whole system through a smartphone app that allows you to view your energy production and open and close the system manually.

    What Is Ev Charging And How Do They Work

    Electric vehicles, like any other chargeable item or technology, require an EV charger to keep the battery charged. An EV charger, like any other appliance or item that you charge by plugging into the wall. It pulls an electrical current from either a 240v outlet or the grid its hardwired to and delivers it to the car.

    On the other hand, the electric car chargers that use solar panels work slightly differently. They might be a dedicated solar power device or a regular electric car charger connected to extra equipment within an existing solar system.

    There are many components that together make up an electric car solar charging system, here is the list-

    • Solar panels: For converting solar power into DC electricity.
    • Inverter: The electric cars require AC power for charging and the solar panels supply. Hence, using inverters is quite necessary in order to convert the DC charge into AC.
    • Battery Storage System: You wont be using all the solar energy at a time, neither would you charge your electric car all day long. So, a battery storage system will help you ensure that solar energy doesnt get wasted.
    • Electric vehicle supply equipment: Its made up of an interface, software, electrical conductors, and protocols that allow electricity to be safely delivered to your vehicles battery.

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