When contemplating on solar technology to run your watt light, several factors need to be considered for the project to succeed. Below are the factors that will influence the ability of your solar panels to generate the necessary power.
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Always think about the length of time you need to run your watt light bulbs. You can effectively get the required time by multiplying time by wattage. For instance, to run a 1,000-watt bulb for a minimum of two hours, you will require approximately 2,000 watts hours of solar power. Even though you might not require this power during the day, the needed wattage will need to be powered by stored solar energy stored in a battery.
Solar Power Collection Capacity
Generally, solar panels can generate approximately 1000 watts of power per square meter upon full exposure to sunlight. However, this generated power could vary depending on your location and the period of sunlight exposure. For example, if you live within the northern winter climate and receive full sunlight for up to 3 hours per day, your solar panels will generate power up to 3 hours per square meter.
Your location matters a lot when factoring in sunlight availability. For example, since there is no standard measure for full-day sunlight in the USA during winter, customers in New Mexico and Arizona can collect more sunlight than their counterparts in Dakota and Minnesota. Therefore, critically study the availability of the sun in your region when picking the desired solar panel array and configuration. Also, through forwarding planning, you can adequately determine the necessary square meter coverage of solar panels to generate sufficient power for your grow lights.
How To Select the Best Solar Grow Lights
Since 80% of Americans live and work in urban areas, innovators must develop creative ways to grow food and commodity crops within these cities and their surroundings. Hence the creation of solar grow lights to light up indoor farming rooms for improved food production. However, the dominating question is how to select the plausible grow lights for your indoor farming quest. Below are the considerations to make
The Type of Solar Grower Lights
There are three major classifications of light systems that you can choose from for your indoor solar light system
A. High-Intensity Discharge (HID)
HID bulbs are considered hot and power-hungry bulbs and ideal for indoor growing plants requiring high-intensity light to flower and fruit. Moreover, HID bulbs are the best for large scale growers with less concern about power consumption.
HID bulbs come in two distinctive brands and are used together for effective results.
High-pressure sodium (HPS) bulbs: They produce low spectrum red light ideal for your plant’s flowering.
Metal halide (MH) bulbs: They produce high range blue light ideal for vegetative growth.
Keep in mind both the bloom and vegetative spectrum lighting are necessary for the desired success. Hence, you must purchase two different bulbs and ballasts depending on the brand chosen for your indoor growing.
LED lights are safe, compact, consume less electricity, produce less heat, and have a better light intensity than conventional lighting alternatives. Furthermore, you can control the light spectrum emitted by the LED through careful alteration of their building materials. This alteration will promote better light intensity in the photosynthetic range and limit the production of additional wavelengths.
Additionally, LED bulbs can use the varying light spectrum to foster the desired growth. This makes LED way of lighting the preferred choice when it comes to solar-powered growing. Even though LEDs are quite expensive during the initial investment, but success will speak for itself in the long term.
Fluorescent lighting systems are ideal for small scale growers such as house plants, seedlings and plants that require auxiliary light. There are three categories of bulbs that you can select from, T12, T8 and T5. The “T” means tube, while the number represents the number of eighths of an inch the tube’s diameter measures.
Even though T12 lights are currently being phased out, they produce light through electromagnetic induction. This makes them less preferred compared to the electronic circuit technology in the current light models.
T5 lights are 40% smaller than T8 but produce more light energy. They are also the most expensive, but their long term results are indisputable. Both the T8 and T5 lights are energy conservers but not ideal for large scale growing rooms.
The light emitted from the sun contains the required spectrum of both ultraviolet and infrared. Botanists advise that only 400nm(red)- 700nm(blue) of wavelength is necessary for photosynthesis.
Installing grower lights that can provide you with a similar spectrum will be ideal for the optimal growth of your plants. Always got for light models with an inbuilt switch that switch the light to either vegetative or growth. Furthermore, such models will cut down the need to invest in other lights to improve the growth’s quality.
Also, read through the Spectro radiometric data on the products. This will help you in understanding the amount of energy in watts per wavelength in your model.
The light intensity requirement varies between plants during their different stages of growth. Therefore, you can determine the amount of light intensity produced by grow lights by measuring their photosynthetic photon flux density, usually measured in μMol/m2/s.
The measurement is essential since it shows you the photosynthetically available radiation (PAR) or the number of light rays hitting a square meter area per single second. Generally, the sun offers roughly around 2000 μMol/m2/s, but you can vary your intended intensity by installing a more powerful light system or reducing its proximity with the plants.
You can successfully influence your plants’ biological processes, such as bud or fruit setting and the general growth rate through modifying the light cycles. A light cycle involves the amount of light time, and nighttime plants receive every day.
During the day, through photosynthesis, plants use sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to produce oxygen and energy stored as glucose. Plants use the stored energy at night for cellular respiration.
The stored glucose will then be chemically broken down into water, ATP energy molecules, and carbon dioxide, essential for plant reproduction and growth.
Tips for Successful Grow Lights and Solar Panel Installation
During the installation of new grow lights, ensure you find the perfect balance and hang the lights above the plants. As the plants continue to grow in height, also raise your fixtures. You can lessen your task by installing a pulley system or hang a chain from the ceiling to aid in suspending and pulling up the lighting systems.
You can also purchase a timer to monitor the light cycles and a ventilation system to allow air to circulate continuously. Additionally, you will need a deep cycle battery to store energy and a power inverter to convert Direct Current (DC) into Alternating Current (AC).
Also, connect the solar panel to an MPPT or (Maximum Power Point Tracking controller) to complete the installation process. MPPT will optimize the amperage going into the battery.
Lastly, consider installing Greenhouse LED grow lights. Indoor growers widely prefer them since they supplement sunshine for your needy plants, especially during the short and cloudy winter periods.
Using solar power systems for indoor growth can be a thrilling and profitable venture, especially if you get all planning semantics correctly. The information captured above will guide you in your quest to achieve your dream solar growth.