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Solar Power for Flow Monitoring without AC. No Power No Problem.

Solar power arrangements for flow monitoring systems can be an effective remedy for remote locations where power is often unavailable, or too time consuming / expensive to run. Several models of flow meters, auto samplers and water quality analyzers come in models that can operate on 12 or 24 VDC.

A solar power system mainly consists of the solar panel, charge regulator, battery and an enclosure. Solar panels come with  mounting hardware to make it easy to mount on a pole. Instructions will have you aim the panel to the south; and install a good ground.   

                       

Tips for Solar Power Systems

  • Get help sizing the panel and battery – to meet both the immediate current draw; plus ample storage for prolonged periods without sunlight. Always err on the side of too much.
  • Make sure the regulator has ‘low voltage cutoff’; to protect the battery should the panel fail.
  • It’s best to get the mounting hardware from the panel supplier, so everything fits when it comes out of the box.
  • Use photovoltaic batteries which are designed for solar power cycles. Be certain it is fully charged before you install it.
  • Test the output from the panel and regulator before you head out to the field.
  • Fuse the power line to the instrument.
  • Make sure the enclosure is over-sized and ventilated.
  • Finally, there have been a lot of foreign countries ‘dumping’ solar panels in the US. Be careful not to jump on the cheapest price you find. Buy from a familiar manufacturer who offers a 25 year warranty.

 

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