Solar Powered WiFi
Using solar power has many drawbacks, the biggest being that when there is no sun there is no power. To overcome this problem a battery is used to power the device and the solar panel is used to keep the battery charged. A solar power system typically has two other components, charge controller and inverter. The solar panel charges the battery and proper charging is managed by the charge controller. The battery powers an inverter which converts the DC voltage to AC voltage. Wireless devices are almost always DC powered and can be powered by the battery, eliminating the need for an inverter.
Sizing A Solar Powered WiFi System
The steps for sizing a solar power systems are outlined below.
- Determine insolation value (daily peak sun hours) for installation site
- Determine system voltage (usually 12 to 24 volts)
- Determine daily equipment load requirements in Amphours/day
- Select battery based on amphours needed
- Select solar panel size
- Select solar panel installation method
For a basic solar powered WiFi hotspot, the Meraki solution is a good choice. If you looking to power your own equipment with solar panels, Green WiFi has information online about the system they built for WiFi projects.
Green WiFi’s Solar Powered Solution
Below is a complete solar WiFi system by Green WiFi, a company “committed to providing solar powered access to global information and educational resources for developing regions and K-12 school children striving for knowledge in a digitally divided world.”
Using solar power for WiFi, WiMax, or any wireless system should only be considered if utility power is not available or extending power to device installation location is too costly. In most cases the amount of power used by an access point or wireless bridge is minimal compared to a computer or laptop so going green isn’t going to reduce your “carbon footprint” by much.
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