Contrary to popular belief, solar panels do not actually power navigation lights. The purpose of the solar panels is to recharge a battery or bank of batteries during the day which in turn powers the light during the night.
Fitting of the correct size of solar panel and battery is very important. The batteries must be sized to allow the light to operate for several days even when there is little or no solar input in the winter months.
Normally a reserve capacity of 30 days is allowed but is usually reduced for fixed lights such as jetty lights.
A range of sealed deep cycle batteries are available to suit the needs of a solar powered or battery backed mains system. Their low self discharge characteristics are an important feature for solar powered installations.
Solar regulators are another important part of a solar powered system by controlling the power output by the solar panel and safely charging the battery without either overcharging or allowing them to fully discharge.
The Solsum 8.8 regulator uses a series of LEDs to indicate the battery condition. Additional features include cycle charging, boost charging and temperature compensation. The PR 1010 regulator utilises more sophisticated electronics to learn the batteries stage of charge and can more accurately predict the charge remaining. Suitable for loads of up to 10A, state of charge, battery voltage, all currents, operational status and a detailed error report can all be displayed on the LCD display.