Im sorry to piggy back on this post, but I am quite clueless about solar energy. I want something that can charge AA/AAA batteries or an Ipod, maybe even a laptop. What Items would I need to accomplish this?
It's a good start any way to learning about solar .
been using solar a while now .
built it up from little ones to the more sophisticaed ones I now have on my roof and shop.
Books on solar are all ovver the place , best way is to keep it simple . Charge your own batteries and use an inverter . eventually thumb you nose at the power company.
Your laptop is going to need something more significant than the little AA battery chargers.
Harbor Freight solar panels are not what you would call commercial grade, but they are functional . If you have a place to mount them , the 45watt kitis on sale now for $199 I think. and 2- 12volt (deep cycle or better )batteries and an inverter would be a great start.
/As with the solar panels H. F. inverters are over rated a bit , they work and the warrenty is good ,bank on it . But just ignore the high numbers they boast . that's all.
And by the way , don't skinp on the wire size ,hooking things up .
Because of the special voltages and conectors laptops use, sometimes it is simpler to use it's own charger and the inverter to the the charging with .
If the clouds are blocking the sun for long periods ,I hook up the battery charger from grid power to bring my battery system up . My lites are most all DC .