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Solar-Powered Network System for Off-Grid Remote Deployment

Have you ever been caught in a situation where you have set up the network connection, have the devices ready but only to find out there is no power available at the edge? Since power outlets are often unavailable in hard-to-reach areas, it would be too impractical and expensive to run a traditional wired power source to the edge devices, but the solar power system allows you to install a wireless access point or set up the mesh network in remote locations like parking lots. And the solar system also plays an important part in the fiber optic network to provide power to the loads. But it’s worth mentioning that solar power is more suitable for low-power-consumption devices like static cameras, WAPs, street lights, etc.

What is a Solar Power System?

Since power outlets are often unavailable in hard-to-reach areas, it would be too impractical and expensive to run a traditional wired power source to the edge devices, but the solar power system allows you to install a camera in remote locations, extremely helpful for applications such as oil and gas, construction sites, parking lots, remote gates and ranches. These are the basic components you will need to solar power your security camera: a solar panel, batteries, and most importantly the solar controller.

Solar Panel

If you don’t have a solar panel first, you won’t have any power to fill the battery and there’ll be no power to charge the devices. The solar panel absorbs the energy from the sunlight and converts it into electricity that network devices can use. But not all solar panels are made alike. Monocrystalline solar panels provide the highest productivity but they’re also the most expensive; polycrystalline solar panels are relatively cheaper but they are not quite efficient as monocrystalline solar panels. And multiple solar panels can be daisy-chained together if you wanna power several network devices outdoors.

Rechargeable Battery

The main function of the battery is to store the energy it receives from the solar controller and provide power to the connected electrical loads. Since the entire power required to run the edge devices is drawn from the battery, make sure the battery you use has a large storage capacity for continuous operation. But in order to avoid the battery being overcharged or undercharged, you’ll need to install a solar controller to monitor the electricity flow.

Solar Charge Controller

The solar charge controller is an essential part to connect the solar panel and the battery. It controls the amount of charge coming in and out of the battery and makes sure the battery is not overcharged or undercharged. And there are two main types of solar controllers: PWM and MPPT solar controllers, The PWM is a switch used to connect the solar panel and the battery to control the battery charging, but by using this controller, the voltage of the solar panel will be dragged down to that of the battery. It’s more ideal for a low-power-consumption system (12V) where only one or two solar panels are connected. The MPPT solar controller can regulate the input voltage to harvest the maximum power from the solar panel and deliver this energy to the battery of various voltage requirements, ideal for high-power systems where more solar panels are deployed.

How it works?

When the solar panel absorbs enough energy, the solar controller will transfer the power to the battery. Another important function of the solar controller is to prevent leaking. When the voltage of the battery is higher than that of the solar panel, electricity will flow backward since electricity always flows from high voltage to low voltage, and this is where the solar controller will step in to put a stop to inverse currents. And the controller also helps prevent the edge device from keep rebooting for energy shortage when the battery is empty. But you can set up an on and off threshold on the controller so it can automatically disconnect the power streams to the battery when the voltage falls below a certain threshold.

Fastcabling has launched a 10A Solar Charge Controller to help you set up a solar-powered network in remote places. It can work with a 12-24V battery to supply power to the electrical loads long distances. It comes with a fanless design, covered in an IP68 waterproof rugged metal housing, featuring a wide operating temperature range of -30℃ to 70℃, which makes it ideal for outdoor deployments in places where there is no power present. This solar controller has three connection ports: one for solar panels, one for batteries, and another for a connected device (12V output). It’s highly compatible with PoE and fiber network networks, working with no problem when connected to fiber media converters and PoE injectors.

How to Set Up the Off-Grid Solar Power System?

First of all, you have to calculate your power load. You need to figure out how much energy your solar panel can produce, and you need to know the amount of peak sunlight hours your location gets. Place the solar panel in a location where it will not be in the shade because shading of even a small part of the panel can result in low power generation. The size of the power cord also plays a crucial part in delivering high-performance power management. If the size of the power cable is too small, then there will be severe power loss. The length of the cable also needs to be considered: basically, the longer the distance is, the larger the size needs to be. The setup is pretty straightforward when you’re using our 10A Solar Charge Controller. First, set up the panel on the roof and use a power cord to connect the solar panel to the controller. Use another power cord to connect the battery to the controller. Finally, connect the edge device to the controller, and then the whole system is completed.

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