Solar power is power derived from energy from the sun. Energy can be derived from the sun in a number of ways, but we will focus on energy derived from the sun using photovoltaic PV devices or solar panels in a Solar Power System. Here we will name and explain the functions of components used for converting energy from the sun to electrical energy that we can use at home or in businesses.
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Advantages of a Solar Power System
The Pros of solar power systems include:
- energy from sun is free
- zero emissions
- Solar Power System offer silent operations
- zero/reduced electricity bills
- the cost of running a solar power system is low
- solar panels lasts for up to 30 years with minimal maintenance cost
Disadvantages of a Solar Power System
Cons of a solar power system include:
- Expensive: components cost a lot to acquire
- Require more space for battery bank & solar panels
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Components of a Solar Power System
Here are the components of a solar power system:
- Solar Panels
- Solar Inverter (or Normal Inverter)
- Inverter Battery
- Solar Charge Controller (not required with Solar Inverter)
Here are a bit more details about the components of a solar power system:
1. Solar panels
Solar panels are the major component of a solar power system. It converts light energy from the sun to direct current DC electric voltage.
Solar panels are made up of arrays of photovoltaic cells (also called solar cells), connected in series and parallel to deliver rated voltage and power.Shop Related Products
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The photovoltaic cell is the basic component of a solar panel. PV cells are made from semiconductor materials, like silicon and doped with other elements, like Boron and phosphorus.
These elements create an N-type layer and a P-type layer on the cell. The junctions between the N-type layer and P-type layer contains an electric field, which stops electrons from moving across the junction, effectively creating an open circuit.
When a photovoltaic cell is exposed to sunlight, energy-carrying particles in light called photons continuously strike the p-n junction area of the cell and are absorbed.
Energy derived from these absorbed photons provides electrons on the cell with enough energy to overcome the potential barrier of the electric field in the p-n junction. This causes electrons to flow across the junction to power electrical appliances.
A solar panel consists of an array of solar cells, usually covered in glass. Solar panels provide power for charging your batteries and for powering your appliances.
Solar panels are expensive per watt (though they are getting cheaper) when compared to a petrol generator, but uses free energy from the sun.
For example, an 100 watt solar panel can cost between about 20,000 Naira and 90,000 Naira in Nigeria. Solar panels may also come in different power capacities.
Solar panels can last for up to 30 years.
One or more solar panels will be required in a solar power system. A two bedroom flat, for example could require three to 10 solar panels. For a recreational vehicle, you might just need one or two RV solar panels.
Prices of some solar panels in Nigeria:
- 10W – 6,000 Naira to 20,000 Naira
- 20W – 9,500 Naira to 20,000 Naira
- 30W – 14,500 Naira to 30,000 Naira
- 50W – 14,900 Naira to 35,000 Naira
- 60W – 25,500 Naira to 40,000 Naira
- 80W – 16,500 Naira to 45,000 Naira
- 100W – 20,000 Naira to 80,000 Naira
- 120W – 25,000 Naira to 90,000 Naira
- 130W – 27,000 Naira to 95,000 Naira
- 150W – 29,000 NGN to 80,000 NGN
- 200W – 39,000 NGN to 95,000 NGN
- 250W – 45,000 NGN to 150,000 NGN
- 300W – 62,000 NGN to 200,000 NGN
- For latest prices: Click Here
Where to Buy Solar Panel
Jumia Nigeria – See Offers
2. Power Inverter
For most practical applications for homes and offices, a power inverter will be required in a solar power system. Since the solar panel and batteries delivers DC voltage, it becomes necessary for a device to convert the DC output of the solar panels and batteries to AC voltage required by most home appliances.
A power inverter converts DC voltage to AC voltage. Inverters sold in Nigeria will convert DC voltage from your battery to 220V 50 Hz AC voltage.
In some applications where DC voltage is required, an inverter will not be necessary.
A good quality 1.5KVA watts true sine wave inverter, for a solar power system with one-year warranty costs about 80,000 Naira. It is a good idea to buy a solar inverter outright if you want to build a solar power system from the start.
Shop for Power Inverter
Jumia Nigeria – See Offers
3. Deep Cycle Batteries
This creates the need for a solar power system to store energy from the sun during the day so that at night/poor weather conditions it can be used to generate electricity. A battery stores energy in chemical form.
One or more batteries are connected in a bank to deliver required energy. One to 10 batteries or even more may be required for the solar power system depending on requirement.
More batteries may be required if the solar power system will be installed in a location without grid connection (no NEPA/PHCN). A good sealed maintenance free Inverter battery (SMF batteries) for a solar power system can cost between 55,000 Naira and 180,000 Naira depending on type and capacity.
Here is are prices of inverter batteries for your solar power system:
- 12V / 100Ah – 55,500 Naira to 95,000 Naira
- 12V / 150Ah – 95,000 Naira to 130,000 Naira
- 12V / 200Ah – 105,000 NGN to 180,000 NGN
- 2V / 500 Ah – 90,000 NGN to 150,000 NGN
- For latest prices, Click Here
Where to Buy an Inverter Battery
Jumia Nigeria – See Offers
4. Solar Charge Controller
This ensures that the inverter batteries are not overcharged, since the voltage output of the solar panel can vary widely during the day depending on the intensity of sun light.
The purpose of the solar charge controller is to take in the widely fluctuating input from the solar panels and stabilize it within safe limits to charge your battery, making it a must for a solar power system.
Charge controllers improve the lifespan of your battery. You will require a Solar Charge Controller if your buy a regular inverter. A good solar inverter will come with a solar charge controller built-in.
This means that if you buy a solar inverter, you will not require a solar charge controller for your solar power system. Price of solar charge controllers ranges from as low as 5,000 Naira to up to 200,000 Naira depending on the type and specification.
Where to Buy Charge Controller
Jumia Nigeria – See Offers
5. Cables, Fuses, Meter
A solar power system also includes connection cables, fuses, grounding cable, and meter. Connecting cables for connecting the components together, fuses for protecting against short-circuit.
Solar Water Pump Price in Nigeria
Solar Water Pumps are cost effective approach to pumping water. They can be useful for boreholes in farms and other commercial ventures where reliable water supply is needed. They can also be great for household and industrial applications.
Prices of some solar water pump are:
- 1.5HP Grundfos Solar Water Pump: 405,900 Naira
- 284W Solar Water Pump: 78,000 Naira
Simba Industries Ltd market Su-Kam branded solar power products in Nigeria, from solar inverters to solar charge controllers.
Simba contacts in Nigeria include:
Simba Su-Kam solar power inverters Lagos:
77/79 Eric Moore Road, Surulere, Lagos
Su-Kam Sales Hotline: 08150832255
Simba Su-Kam solar power inverters FCT-Abuja:
IGI House, 3 Gwani Street, Off IBB Way, Wuse, Zone 4, Abuja
Simba Su-Kam solar power inverters Kano:
167, Mission Road, Bompai, Kano
Simba Su-Kam solar power inverters Maiduguri
10, Busari Road, Opposite Maiduguri Flour Mills, Maiduguri
Simba solar power inverters Katsina: 08033225188
Simba solar power inverters Jos: 08034380994
Simba Sokoto: 08067049555
Simba Kaduna: 08032775001
Simba Lokoja: 08034380994
Simba solar powerinverters Minna: 08033241266
An Inverter battery is a type of battery designed to better handle the power requirements of a power backup supply system. It is different from a normal car battery. Although a car battery can be used with an inverter it is not ideal. Inverter Battery Price in Nigeria starts at around 53,000 Naira.
Where to Buy Inverter Battery
Jumia Nigeria – See Offers
Inverter Battery Price
- 100Ah / 12V – 53,000 Naira to 190,000 Naira
- 150Ah / 12V – 99,000 Naira to 250,000 Naira
- 200Ah / 12V – 104,000 NGN to 300,000 NGN
- 250Ah / 12V – 120,000 NGN to 200,000 NGN
- 500 Ah / 2V – 90,000 NGN to 150,000 NGN
- 600 Ah / 2V – 94,000 NGN to 150,000 NGN
- 750 Ah / 2V – 155,000 NGN to 200,000 NGN
- 1500 Ah / 2V – 270,000 Naira to 350,000 Naira
- For latest prices, Click Here
How is an Inverter Battery Different
Power inverters are devices that convert DC current from a battery to AC current for our home or office appliances. So, under normal operation, an inverter will require a large amount of current to supply your appliances over a long period of time.
This means that a battery used for an inverter must be able to supply a reasonable amount of current over long periods of time.
A car battery however is designed for mainly starting the car engine. Which means that once the car is on the move there is very little else for the battery to do except to recharge and maybe power the car electronics, which are mostly low power.
This is why a car battery can’t compete with an inverter battery. A normal car battery is designed to deliver a large amount of current over a short period of time (i.e. start the car), while an inverter can supply large amount of power over long period of time.
This means that a car battery will not have enough stamina to handle inverter loading, so always buy an inverter battery for your power inverter.
Deep Cycle Battery vs Starter Battery
An inverter battery is a deep cycle battery. It is designed to discharge most of its capacity unlike a starter battery (car battery) that is designed to deliver a high amount of current over a short time to start the engine.
A deep cycle battery can discharge a large proportion (40% to 80%) of its charge many times and still be fully charged. A car battery on the other-hand requires charging once it does its job and if deeply discharged will die much faster than a deep cycle inverter battery.Shop Related Products
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While a deep cycle battery can last 2 to 3 years when used with a power inverter a car battery will struggle to go 6 months.
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Inverter Battery Features
From the discussion it is easy to conclude that the first feature to lookout for is that it has to be the deep cycle type. This will ensure it supplies the required power without reducing the longevity of the battery.
Types of Inverter Battery
You basically have two types of inverter battery to choose from; the sealed-maintenance-free (SMF) battery and the tubular battery. The SMF battery is the most convenient type. You just connect it and forget it as it requires no maintenance. It is also safe indoors since it is sealed and emits no harmful gases. They last 2 to 3 years.
Tubular batteries are more complicated and require little maintenance. Unlike the SMF battery that you install and forget, you need to remember to at least top up the water of your tubular battery (like every 6 month or as needed).
Having said this, I have to make it clear that a tubular battery is not the same as a normal car battery, they are in fact deep cycle battery which makes it suitable as an inverter battery.
Because, a tubular battery is not completely sealed and may emit some gases during normal operation, I will not advice that you install a tubular battery indoors. It will be better outside where there is good ventilation.
A tubular battery lasts longer (4 to 5 years) with some claiming up to 8 years of use. They may also be cheaper compared to an SMF battery. However, I will advice you go for an SMF battery despite the advantages of the tubular battery.
The SMF battery is more practical for an average consumer who do not need the hassles. Also the SMF battery seems to be dominant in Nigeria. However, if you have the stomach and the heart for adventure, a tubular battery is a great value for money.
Deep cycle batteries can also come in AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) or Gel types.
Inverter Battery Capacity
The energy capacity of an inverter battery is measured in Ampere-Hour (AH). 100AH and 200AH are the most popular capacities of a 12V battery in Nigeria, but you may also see values like 150AH and 210AH.
You can also find 2V inverter battery for inverter and solar applications rated at 500 AH, 1000 AH, and 1500 AH. The 2V types are used in solar inverter application or in applications where space economy is important. Such portable batteries can be easily mounted on racks.
In a nutshell the capacity of a deep cycle battery determines how-long your inverter can supply backup power. For example, if a 100AH battery can supply a given load for 4 hours, a 200AH battery will power the same load theoretically for 8 hours.
Best Inverter Battery Brands
There are many battery brands in Nigeria to choose from with varying degree of quality. Your best bet is to stick with products from inverter manufacturers.
Best Inverter Battery brands in Nigeria include Luminous, Mercury, Sukam, Quanta, Prag, Bluegate, MultiPower, and Nexus. You can buy any of these brands if you want a reliable system.
Shop for Battery for Inverter
You can also buy at local stores in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Enugu, and other major cities across Nigeria.
You can buy an inverter battery from leading online stores in Nigeria or other leading retailers of power solutions in the Country. The price of the 100AH inverter battery starts at around 37,000 Naira, while a 200AH capacity price starts at around 85,000 Naira.