Your Questions About Solar Powered Fan

Richard asks…

How to convert a 120 volt fan to Solar powered?

Can somebody advise if this idea will work, I have a 16″ fan in my greenhouse that runs on 110volt power,I was thinking I would plug this into a 12 volt converter ,plug the converter to a 12 volt car battery, and use a small panel to keep my battery charged

ssadmin answers:

Your theory will work if you consider the following. A small solar panel won't supply enough power to run the fan PLUS charge the battery to a sufficient level to run the fan all night. You'll also need a deep cycle battery. Automotive batteries are designed for high current, short duration applications like starting a car.

Also consider that it takes the same amount of power (watts) to move a specific volume of air whether the fan is powered by a 12vdc or 120vac Example, a 120vac 1 amp fan motor will have sufficient power to move the same volume of air that a 12vdc 10 amp fan motor can move.

Here's some design factors you should consider. If your 120 vac fan @ 1 amp runs 24/7, you will use 2,880 watts for that day. Presume you have 6 hrs of daylight that the solar panel is working at peak efficiency. A 120 vac 1 amp fan is not a big mover of air. But if you have a small greenhouse, it may be big enough.

Fan uses 120 watts/hr for 6 hrs during peak efficiency time = 720 watts
Fan uses 120 watts/hr for 18 hrs during non peak efficiency time = 2,160 watts
Your solar system must put 2,160 watts back into the battery during the 6 hours the solar panel is running at peak efficiency = 390 watts/hr PLUS 120 watts/hr to run the fan while the solar system is charging the battery PLUS about an additional 25% for inefficiencies in the inverter. So, your solar panel will probably have to be close to about 700 watts/hr @ 12vdc output.

If your fan motor uses 2 amps, double all of the numbers I've given you. I'm sure there are more design considerations than I have covered – I'm not an expert in this field. Prevailing weather conditions in your area (many cloudy days) may require a larger capacity system as solar panels have less power output on cloudy/rainy days.

Linda asks…

Do you think the SOLAR POWERED AUTO COOL FAN can hold up in the desert “Arizona”?

or will it melt in the summer heat like so many other things in the car?

ssadmin answers:

It's not going to do you much good at night. During the summer it can still be well over 100 degrees at midnight in Phoenix.

Sharon asks…

I bought some solar powered vents that have a tax credit, would I just enter it in as “solar” on my taxes?

I don't know how specific I have to be, but I bought some solar powered attic vent fans in 2011. They basically vent out your attic. On the box & website it says “eligible for 30% tax credit”. They even have the link to IRS form 5695 on their web site…. Now with that said, there isn't a “specific” section for “solar attic vent fans”. I'm using Turbotax and they have a section that is “solar electric costs”. I guess I would just enter it on that. It's about $880 rounded to the nearest dollar. Should I just put it under “solar electric costs”?
I have the mfg statement & receipts, and the web site where the mfg states it.

ssadmin answers:

If you're using TurboTax, it probably asked you if you did anything that was eligible for energy credits. In that section, you would enter the amount spent, then TurboTax will do the Form 5695 for you. But you need to have the statement and receipts for supporting documentation. I don't think you have to submit them with your return. The Form 5695 will tell you if you need to.

Michael asks…



ssadmin answers:

Hans, don't worry you're English is good enough so that I understood what you are looking for and this web page should have what you need.
Hope the both of you have a great trip.


Lizzie asks…

Solar panels for car fans?

So I want to power one of my car fans with some solar panels. I ordered quite a few and I want to power one of my fans under the hood. I've already disconnected the fan and pulled it out of the car to test it later.

What all do I need besides the panels, fan, and wiring to make this work. This fan will not be tied to any other system. Currently, the fan is not operated by the car or any system of the car due to a modification made to the automobile allowing me to disconnect it from use months ago.

Using the fan powered from the solar panels would help with the modification to increase air flow and speed into the area.

Could someone please help me by telling me what else I need to make the fan operational from here?
I also need to make this clear. I ordered the HO Panels this time that are 3x the output as the last ones. I will have 20 1.5v cells. So tell me how to construct this contraption. The array will be built and attached to the car. Do I need anything else besides the wires? Like I don't know fuses? I need detailed answers here. Please don't just assume there's a lack of power as the first answer did. I can always get more cells.

ssadmin answers:

You may not like it, but the answer's still the same. A car fan will draw anything from a few to several hundred watts, depending on which fan you're talking about (A/C, ventilation, cooling). A solar array will take up roughly one square meter to generate 100 Watts with the sun shining straight down onto it, so you'll need to cover (more or less) the entire roof (or hood) with solar cells in order to power that fan (minimum).

If you still want to go ahead: Solar panels, Fuse, cables. Preferrably one cut-out diode per panel (in addition to the hopefully present internal diodes in the panels) in order to prevent one panle dumping its load into the next instead of into the fan.

Much better option: get a low power fan (e.g a slow running computer fan) and connect it to that panel of yours. These fans make do with about 10 Watts (at a much lower air throughput), so you'll actually have a chance of running it from the solar panel without coverig your car in panels.

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