Now that you have chosen the components for your PEL solar system, it is important to set up your system correctly to ensure trouble-free operation.
Once again, use the step-by-step process outlined below.
Step 1: Select your site
When selecting a suitable location for your solar system it is important to consider the following factors.
Consider the frequency of inspections and the ease of access for maintenance.
Consider protection of the components from the environment and animals.
Consider the security of the system from human intervention.
Proximity to fence
Try to position the energizer at the hub of radiating fences. This will reduce sections from the energizer and minimise the resistance of current flow over the length of the fence.
Consider the proximity of the energizer, panel and battery to an appropriate earth site.
Step 2: Install your solar panel
Use the PEL universal mounting bracket to mount the solar panel on a suitable post.
It is recommended that solar systems with multiple panel set-ups be mounted on a pole extending between two strainer posts for maximum stability.
Once the mounting bracket is assembled the panel must be positioned to obtain maximum daily sunlight exposure. Ensure that shadows will not fall on the panel at any time during the year.
The panel should always face toward the equator (facing north in the Southern Hemisphere and south in the Northern Hemisphere).
Panel tilt angle (see figure 1) will be determined by the latitudinal location of the solar system. As a general rule, solar panels should be set with a tilt angle equal to the geographic latitude, plus 10° to 15° . Table 3 provides tilt angles for example locations. For maximum efficiency it may be necessary to adjust the tilt angle of the panel at different times of the year (down in winter and up in summer).
Figure 1 Tilt angle
Step 3: Install your earth system
Moist soil is the key to a good earth. If there is no moist soil in the area close to the energizer it is possible to position the rods some distance away and still be effective. Ensure that the earth site is at least 10 m from the earth site of any other electrical system and never connect two or more energizers to the same earth system.
Hammer the earth rods into the ground, leaving approximately 15 cm (6 inches) above ground. The distance between each earth rod should be at least 3 metres (10 ft).
Use a suitable wire/ insulated cable and securely connect appropriate earth clamps to join the earth rods in series, and connect to the earth terminal of your energizer.
For maximum earthing effectiveness in dry conditions, use an earth wire return fence configuration. (see PEL Fencing Manual for details).
Step 4: Connect the components
Where your solar system requires more than 50 watts of solar power, multiple panels will be supplied (See figure 3 – multiple panels). The panels are connected in parallel to provide the greater wattage that you require.
If your solar system requires more than one battery, a ‘battery bank will need to be created. This is simply two or more 12-volt batteries connected in parallel (see Figure 3 – multiple panels).
Gases given off by lead acid batteries during charging are potentially hazardous, and may cause explosion or corrosion. Batteries must be well ventilated and positioned away from the energizer and the solar panel. Battery boxes are especially practical when the batteries are to be exposed to the elements. Insulation is recommended where ground temperatures often freeze as this can damage batteries.
The panel and connecting leads should be protected from damage by livestock. It is recommended that a small fence be constructed around the solar assembly.
Figure 2 Solar Kit
Figure 3 Multiple panel setup