Customer Question (received via email 1st March 2016):
Hello, I'm interested in buying one of your BP 10 watt 12 volt panels. Id like it to keep a 12 volt 74 ah battery charged that will be hooked up to some led pathway lighting. Can I wire the panel directly to the battery? Thanks
Willgen Reply (Email from Bill 1st March 2016):
Hi, many thanks for getting in touch.
Rather than wiring the panel direct to the battery, I would recommend installing a charge controller between the solar panel and battery to protect the battery from damage through overcharging. The charge controller will also prevent battery drain back to the panel at night time (otherwise achievable with a blocking diode) and manage the charging process.
If the charge controller is to be located outside use a Morningstar Sunguard as these are totally weatherproof, otherwise a Solsum 6.6F would be fine.
Bare in mind that a 10W panel, if correctly positioned (unshaded, south facing, approx 65 to 70 degrees from horizontal in winter) will yield about 10 watt-hours (0.8Ah) of power per day in mid winter and maybe 5 to 6 times this amount in mid summer. I don't know how many watts your path lights are in total but the 10W solar panel would power 10W of LEDs for approx 1 hour per day in mid winter (increasing to 5 to 6 times longer in mid summer).
If you need any further guidance please let me know and I will do what I can to help.