Solar Attic Fan - can I charge a battery with it?

Oct 14, 2008 07:03 pm
Solar Attic Fan - can I charge a battery with it?

I have a solar powered attic ventilator fan. Since I live in Arizona I figure I can unplug it for several months in the winter. So here is the question: Can I plug the pv panel into something else, like a battery?  Which battery should I buy to run say, my TV for an hour?
Oct 16, 2008 05:13 am
Re: Solar Attic Fan - can I charge a battery with it?

I certainly don't want to squash ingenuity or burst anybodies bubble but, why go into a intergrated fixture?
If you want to experiment with PV, maybe to get a feel for it before making the big plunge into offgrid living and telling the local power provider where they can put there power.
Start with a 100 watt, or so, PV module - 2, six volt 220 amp hours golf cart batteries, C35 charge controller, and a Samlex 600 watt inverter. Sure its all going to cost you around $1,000 bucks or more but, think about what you payed for the attic exhaust fan and all it does is move air during the day in the summer time. If you try tapping into that fixture, there is a good chance you will not be satisfied by what your able to get from it.
With a very basic system, but one that can be added onto as time and finances allow, I think you will be more satisfied with the outcome. To the point that once your ready to make the big plunge and tell the power company to come drop your service, you'll be asking yourself, "why didn't I just do this to start with?"
Its understandable though. If I am going to dive off into water unknown to me I'd like to swim around first and feel for anything that might bust my head open like a pumpkin on asphalt.
« Last Edit: Oct 16, 2008 05:18 am by Thomas Allen Schmidt »
Oct 16, 2008 04:03 pm
Re: Solar Attic Fan - can I charge a battery with it?

EXACTLY. You got that right. I'm after killing my electric bill as much as possible if not completely.  Since I live next to Sun City I can probably find used golf car batteries on every other corner.  So that's a great start. Then what? 

Is it really as simple as buying the three or four components you listed, plugging them together, and then watching TV for two hours a night for no electric charge?

Oct 17, 2008 05:26 am
Re: Solar Attic Fan - can I charge a battery with it?

There are some particulars involved in the wiring, but ya, its that simple. I cant possibly know how much electrical wiring experience you have but basically speaking safety is the key factor. Wire size and wire protection (fuses and/or breakers) depends on amperage. On the back of PV modules are ratings at STC or Standard Test Condition.
One of those is Isc or short circuit amperage. Multiply that by 156%. This will give you the minimum wire size.
You know what, when I started out down this road, I didn't have the internet. We had been living without electricity for over 20 years. Somebody gave me a years subscription to HomePower magazine. I learned more about PV power systems and RE in general from those pages than anywhere else. In case you don't know about it, check it out at

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