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Solar Energy, A Complement To FTA by sathob(m): 8:34pm On Jan 31, 2010
Well, great people of FTA, I think I should start this on behalf of George_D because of the request made by others who have expressed interest in alternate electricity, especially solar energy. Our FTA independence is not complete if we are to suffer frequent power outages and been dependant on the nation’s electricity grid system always. I have read in this house many times, from members “PHCN don go off, so I will track later when they come back”. No one can run away from power outages in the main electricity grid – not even the west, it happens. Hence, we all should have alternate electricity and using renewable energy is, to me, the best. This means one can enjoy their FTA fully by being totally free and not “dom” (dominated).

Look at some advantages
• Lower or no electricity bills
• Compared to generator users, there is no fuel cost and stress of getting it and no fumes.
• People living in the remote locations where power is unavailable or too expensive to hook-up too can have electricity.
Just to mention but a few.

Without going into detail, one can enjoy electricity by means of using solar energy (energy from the sun), wind mill (using energy from the wind). Don’t forget, where there is frequent electricity supply from the utility company, you can store some energy for back up.

You will need the following to complete a solar project or back up.

1. Solar panels
2. Power Inverter
3. Charge controller
4. Batteries to store energy
5. wires and cables
6. Monitors/meters

The solar panel consists of cells called photo voltaic cells and these, covert the energy received from the sun to electricity in simple terms (this electricity is a direct current
d.c). The panels can last up to 20 years plus. The panels can be fixed, adjustable or of the tracking type. You can decide to go for a complete panel from manufacturers (already made) or build panels by yourself using solar cells- the latter is for the hobbyist. The panels are rated in watts eg 80w solar panel supplying 12v continuous at a given time

The inverter
Power Inverters are available in 3 basic designs, two of which I remember very well now – the one that out sinusoidal waves and those that are modified sign wave type (meaning not pure sine waves and do have limits when it comes to its application) . The power inverter converts your storage battery power into the 240 volts AC that runs your appliances. It is the heart of your solar energy system. Unless you only run 12 volt DC appliances you will need a power inverter to supply your AC. This is just the basics.

The Charge Controller
A Charge Controller is necessary to protect the batteries from over charging and supply them with the proper amount of energy to promote long battery life.

Without Storage Batteries to store energy you would only have power when the sun was shining. There is a lot more to batteries than just the ordinary car battery. Yo may need to change batteries over the years.

Wires and Cables
Without the right size of cables, you are likely to experience inefficient transfer of power (greater losses) and overheating.

This is required to monitor the performance of your solar system.

Firstly, it is very necessary to know what gadgets you will be using (eg.tv, sat. receiver) and how long you will use how long you would have them on the solar power and how much energy your battery can store and which solar panel (rating in power) will supply the required energy.

A lot goes into calculating the cost of setting up a solar system. First one has to consider the period of usable sunlight available at their location to do this calculation. For us here close to the equator, we get about 7 to 8 hours or more of sunlight during dry season, just a rough estimate.

How do I know I need 100w or 80w or 300 watts solar panel for my project?

The power consumption of appliances is given in Watts. To calculate the energy you will use over time, just multiply the power consumption by the hours of use.

Eg. If I have 90W tv set which I want to use for 6hrs, 25W satellite receiver for the same period, and a 50W fan for 3 hours. What will be the energy required from the solar panels for the period?

1. the energy for each appliance is Watts x time (hours) = Wh

So, the watt hours for the tv = 90 x 6 = 540 Wh (watt hours)

Watt hours for sat. receiver = 25 x 6 = 150 Wh

Watt hours for fan will be = 50 x 3 = 150 Wh

2. sum the watt hours for the individual appliances ie. 540 + 150 + 150 = 840 Wh (watt hours)

This means that the solar panel will need to supply 840 watt hours of energy to the battery each day to cover the total power required by these appliances.

3. since there are bound to be losses in the system However, to account for natural losses, we multiply the result by 1.2 (this factor allows for natural system losses, assuming 85% efficiency). Therefore, we will assume the panels will actually need to be able to supply a total of
840 x 1.2 = 1008Wh

4. so, to supply 1008Wh of energy the panel we assume to receive 7 hours of sunlight will be rated at 1008 Wh / 7 h = 144W
So, I will need 144W solar panel to supply energy to my appliances above at the given time.

Regarding point 3, it also means, if I have a solar panel rated at 100W receiving sunlight for 7 hours a day, the total energy supplied considering 85% efficiency will be 100x7x0.85= 595Wh and not 700Wh

5. Your battery should be able to store 1008Wh of energy. Since batteries capacities are rated in Ah (Ampere Hours) you need to multiply Ah by the Volt rating to know the Watt Hour. Power(W) = Voltage (V) x Current (I) ; Watt hour = VxIxHour

Therefore Ah (which is I x h) = Wh / V = 1008 / 12 (the number 12 represents a 12v battery)
= 84 Ah

So it means you will need not less than a 84Ah, 12V battery (deep-cycle batteries, not ordinary car batteries) to do the job.

NB. Another way of calculating battery capacity is explained in this example. Should my battery be rated at 84Ah, 12V the watt hour (energy) will be 84Ah x 12 V = 1008Ah

It implies that the battery can supply a 150watt appliance for 1008/70 = 14hours

Pls don’t just play around with batteries they are dangerous.

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Re: Solar Energy, A Complement To FTA by olatiler(m): 9:43pm On Jan 31, 2010
@sathob good thread man,
@All guru in da house pls make this thread n02 in nairaland
Re: Solar Energy, A Complement To FTA by Kcbenjamin(m): 10:33pm On Jan 31, 2010

1 Like

Re: Solar Energy, A Complement To FTA by babaegun(m): 8:54am On Feb 01, 2010

This is good. Keep it up.
Re: Solar Energy, A Complement To FTA by captainus: 6:24pm On Feb 04, 2010

Very good work.keep it up.Is it possible for us to know the cost of some of these equipments?

1 Like 1 Share

Re: Solar Energy, A Complement To FTA by salamander(m): 7:51am On Feb 05, 2010
Great work Sathob. Now that we have this, we have to practicalise it
Re: Solar Energy, A Complement To FTA by microgiant: 8:58am On Feb 05, 2010

@ George,

I would have taken this to the AE thread but I want to thank you specially for your encouraging  words on the inverter stuff.

After the exhuastive  explanation last  Aug/Sept. on the subject, I  went back to where I kept all my junks and found an old 650va Superb UPS i  got in 1997 which suprisingly was still working.  The special thing about the UPS is that it had a soft touch button which I can press once to stop the beeping sound expecially when there is enough juice left in the battery.

So I dusted it up and got myself a 100AH Deep Cycle battery  for N24,000.00 and used the money meant for the inverter to get myself a 50AMP battery charger that I got for 20K which till date I still use.

Funny enough after a week of acquisition, the transformer in my area in Ogudu Lagos gave up since Oct 28 last year.   The battery and the UPS has been my saving grace as the entire str. is still left in the dark. Every morning I will just disconnet the battery  from the UPS, put it in the trunk of my car and straight to the office where  I have kept the charger since I bought it. I get about 5hrs of  electricity  from 7pm to 12am with a 100watts TV, 25 watts decoder, 50 watts standing fan and a 20 watts energy bulb   b4 the UPS starts to beep and then  I put every thing off except the fan which I control the amount of current that it consumes with the help of a light dimmer.

This sustains cool breeze for me and my family till morning  before leaving for work.

I felt so silly not realising that I had all I needed to prevent  the burning  heat at night.  Like they say bro. "information is knowledge and knowledge is power". I spend about   N500.00 a week to run my big gen by weekends  for ironing  and other heavy power needs including charging my battery and running 2 freezers.

Thank u again and again.

This may look too explanatory but I know that some pple(s) in the house will be motivated to thread the same part as me knowing  that it may not cost an arm and a leg.

Long live  FTA  and AE forever.


Re: Solar Energy, A Complement To FTA by microgiant: 9:09am On Feb 05, 2010

While you wait for George_D's response to your Q, may i quickly chip in that If you are really getting a battery that you will use for your Inverter, you should not make the mistake of buying those Big Trailers batteries. Pls go for the Deep cycle batteries because they are better designed for use as power backup due to the continuous Charging/discharging sequence.

[b]Deep cycle batteries [/b]are designed to be discharged down as much as 80% time after time, and have much thicker plates. The major difference between a true deep cycle battery and others is that the plates are SOLID Lead plates - not sponge.

If you can afford the deep cycle batteries, go for them and forget the other cheaper wet-cell batteries that wont last. you can buy according to your budget and increase the quantify gradually cos the more batteries you hv, the longer online time your gadgets get.

Here are a couple of pics for you to hv an idea.
Hope this helps

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Re: Solar Energy, A Complement To FTA by sathob(m): 1:27pm On Feb 05, 2010
@baba_egun,olatiler,kcben,microgiant and all
thanks to all of us for inspiring each another in various ways.

thanks for correcting that mistake. I also found the first thread "SOLAR ENERGY - ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW" under TECHNOLOGY.


a 300 watt inverter costs arround GH¢150 it may be cheaper
a deep cycle battery costs GH¢ 200
80watts solar panel costs GH¢800, this is way too expensive where as the cost of solar cells that can produce 200watts costs $250 from taiwan. with this, you can build your own solar panel - as a do it yourself project.

there are charge controller circuits you can build if you are electronics inclined, because of this, I have never bothered to find out the cost of one.
1yrd of 10mm2 cable is GH¢ 1.20p
a multi meter (small sized analogue) costs GH¢5

I should be able to give further info that will inspire us to go the DIY way for solar panels.

1 Like

Re: Solar Energy, A Complement To FTA by sathob(m): 2:39pm On Feb 05, 2010
a system diagram of a solar panel


Re: Solar Energy, A Complement To FTA by microgiant: 2:58pm On Feb 05, 2010


I'm reluctant to delve into the issue of solar power here seeing as this thread is all about FTA but since we all need stable power supply to enjoy whatever stations we succeed in tracking, maybe it may not be out of place to give a little info about my installation.

The system comprises basically of a 5kva inverter with a 48v battery bank of four 12v 200AH deepcycle batteries. This feeds the house load while the solar modules feeds the battery bank. All this while I've been recharging via nepa light until recently when I installed those sharp solar modules. The panels are two pieces 200w, 34.8v/4.9A sharp modules connected in series combined to give a total 400w/69.9v/4.9A charging power for the battery bank. The modules supply power through a charge controller which regulates the charge current-as the name implies. As a hybrid system, I can use nepa to charge when public power is available and I can also use the sun to charge when nepa fails. Better still, I can use both at the same time.

As for the cost, I'd say it's not for the faint-hearted. And that to me is what has been discouraging most people from going this road. One 12v/200AH battery alone is about 52k. A good 5kva inverter goes for around N180k. One 200w sharp solar module goes for about N180K. You do the maths and see what I mean.

However, cost aside, for those who can afford it, its still way better than having a heavy duty diesel/petrol guzzling gen set at home. Why? Because besides the batteries which may need change out every 5 to 7 years, the system is virtually maintenance-free. No petrol or diesel, no servicing, no smoke, no noise, no black oil on the floor. Just press the buton and use power from heaven to watch nilesat! smiley


Re: Solar Energy, A Complement To FTA by microgiant: 2:59pm On Feb 05, 2010

The prices of the lower ranges of inverter varies with make. But a good 1kva inverter you can get for around 34k, 1.5kva for about 50k. And like you are trying to build one now on your own, I think it's a good step forward. There are various ways we can achieve the same results. The most important thing is to have the awareness and that is what this forum is all about.
As we speak now, there are many people who have only the mindset of electric generators. They are busy worrying themselves sick on how to raise money to buy heavy duty diesel sets when they could better channel their resources into setting up an inverter system which is more sustainable over time.

And let me add that for those of us who live in areas with fairly stable power supply, you do not really need solar modules to charge up your battery bank. Take myself for example, I was using my inverter with nepa for years before I eventually installed solar modules this year.

1 Like

Re: Solar Energy, A Complement To FTA by pofolo(m): 7:56am On Feb 07, 2010
@ sathob,
i want to know d best advice on AE to power d following.
3 tvs, 3 decoders (strong), 2 fans.
Taking que from ur explanatory note & example.
What shud i go for, and pls wat will d cost range be. Thanks
Re: Solar Energy, A Complement To FTA by microgiant: 8:33am On Feb 07, 2010

@ sathob,
i want to know d best advice on AE to power d following.
3 tvs, 3 decoders (strong), 2 fans.
Taking que from your explanatory note & example.
What shud i go for, and pls wat will d cost range be. Thanks

Check you TVs, decoders and fans watts then give him the total so that he can calculate the capacity for you. Also remember to include average running time (duration the appliances will be used/daily - approximate).
Re: Solar Energy, A Complement To FTA by sathob(m): 11:23am On Feb 08, 2010
good job microgiant!

just as said by micro, it will do a lot good if you state the power ratings of the appliances you have and the duration for which you will use them. an example is TV1 - 100W, time duration - 6hrs; TV2 - 400W, duration 8hrs; fan - 70W, duration - 6hrs and etc. Even though I know the power rating of strong decoder that is not enough. But if u supply the requested information, I will be able to offer an advise, however, if you enjoy fair "longer" period of electricity supply on the national grid, you can store energy in batteries for use with an inverter whenever there is power outage.
Re: Solar Energy, A Complement To FTA by sathob(m): 11:41am On Feb 08, 2010
the credit to this diagram goes to a nairaland member by name[b] solarfob[/b], who made contributions to the same thread I created under technology forum.

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Re: Solar Energy, A Complement To FTA by chudieg(m): 9:05am On Feb 10, 2010

Thanks alot for your info on going the green way(solar energy).Pls i will like to know the 5kva inverter system with 4pcs 200Ah battery that you spoke about;what can it power and for how long?
Can it power AC?
Thanks for your efforts man.You deserve a seat in the House of Rep.

Re: Solar Energy, A Complement To FTA by sathob(m): 3:16pm On Feb 10, 2010
Hi chudieg!

Let’s do some maths here that will help the future reader. Firstly, this set up of four 200Ah battery and 5kvA inverter belongs to one faithful member of this fraternity George_D. He will be the best person to tell what and what he is using in his home.

Now, let’s come to the calculation a 5kvA inverter (5000vA) can support a load maximum of approximately (5000 x 0.85 = 4250W) at any given time, assuming the power factor here is 0.85. If we also assume the power factor is 1 (which will not be) then the maximum load the inverter can support will be (5000 x 1 = 5000W). Anything above this will “not be”. With this size if inverter, you can power your tv (even LCD), fan, fridge (400W), iron (1000W) and other domestic appliances.

Number two, the battery – how long you will enjoy the ability of your inverter to power all these appliances depends on the capacity of your battery.

E.g. a 12v 200Ah battery can store (12 x 200 = 2400Wh of energy) if I should load this battery with a 2000W appliance, then, I can enjoy a working period of 2400/2000 = 1.2 hours of operation. If the load is 1000W, I may expect the supply to last 2400/1000 = 2.4h.

If I should double the capacity of the battery by connecting them in parallel, the voltage will be common here and the currents will sum up. Therefore with the above battery 12V, 200Ah, connected in parallel the capacity will be 12v, 400Ah and this means that the bank can store energy of 12 x 400Ah = 4800Ah and this is double the operation time of 12V, 200Ah.

Note that, the more energy you take, the faster the battery discharges.

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Re: Solar Energy, A Complement To FTA by sathob(m): 3:42pm On Feb 10, 2010
the bank of 4pcs of 12V 200Ah mentioned by George_D is quoted as being connected in series. In series, the current flowing through the system is cmmon but the voltage sums up, that's why he has 48V. Nevertheless, the power in Watt hour is the same as being connected in series

in parallel, Wh will be = 48v x 200Ah = 9600Wh

in series Wh will be = 12v x 800Ah = 9600Wh

so, if George's load is about 1000W continuosly, he should be enjoying 9600/1000 = 9.6 hours of power supply to his load.

the discharge period will be short as the load increases, but can be maintained with further increase in the battery bank capacity.
Re: Solar Energy, A Complement To FTA by chudieg(m): 11:45am On Feb 11, 2010
Hi Sathob,
Thanks alot for your explanation. Am doing some research as well;i will let you know if i have new findings.
Re: Solar Energy, A Complement To FTA by sathob(m): 1:36pm On Feb 11, 2010
welcome chudieg

1 Like

Re: Solar Energy, A Complement To FTA by dodos(f): 1:08pm On Mar 26, 2010
Hi Sathob

Good Work to you and more grease to your elbows. I have been wondering what you have been up to all this while and i think i can now understand. Well done for upraising our image too at least it shows we can also contribute and not only tap.

More greese man would hook up with u when am through with my project.

Sala watz up
Re: Solar Energy, A Complement To FTA by zenus(m): 3:45pm On Mar 26, 2010
Re: Solar Energy, A Complement To FTA by zenus(m): 4:00pm On Mar 26, 2010
In addition, Inverter involve connecting your battery in parallel which maintain the voltage to remain in 12v while increasing the hrs
If your connect your battery using series u might spoil ur inverter because it will increase the voltage to 24v. while maintaining the same hrs

1 Like

Re: Solar Energy, A Complement To FTA by zenus(m): 4:03pm On Mar 26, 2010
Here is parallel connection

Re: Solar Energy, A Complement To FTA by zenus(m): 4:05pm On Mar 26, 2010
Why I'm putting this is that i bought 4.5kva inverter to a friend and he called his friend which is a technician for connection but he ended up connecting every thing in series

Re: Solar Energy, A Complement To FTA by zenus(m): 4:07pm On Mar 26, 2010
here we go


Re: Solar Energy, A Complement To FTA by zenus(m): 4:12pm On Mar 26, 2010
Note that the inverter need 12v and not 24v
Re: Solar Energy, A Complement To FTA by zenus(m): 4:19pm On Mar 26, 2010

1 Like

Re: Solar Energy, A Complement To FTA by zenus(m): 4:20pm On Mar 26, 2010

Re: Solar Energy, A Complement To FTA by GeorgeD1(m): 2:58pm On Apr 05, 2010
sathob, zenus,
good job here!
Re: Solar Energy, A Complement To FTA by konami001: 4:06pm On May 21, 2010
Are there any noteworthy sellers of the charge controller and solar panels around in naija? Would love to know prices of each compo,

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