Before you start sketching your solar system, you must first understand the different components. Whether you are interested in an entire-home system, or only powering emergency lighting or a small radio, the principles are the same. The primary components for a solar system are panels, batteries, and a charge controller. The quantity and size of these primary items depends on the size of your system. And with each new item, the cost of the project goes up.
Solar panels come in many different shapes and sizes, and can range from less than 1 watt to over 250 watts per panel. The larger the solar panel, the more current it creates. Current is measured in Amperes or Amps. Solar panels also come in different voltage configurations. The most common are 12 and 24 volt panels. You can use a solar panel to run an individual device, or use it to charge a battery.