There doesn’t need to be much more to setting up a simple solar panel installation than connecting the panel to a battery. Of course, we’d recommend at least using a battery management system or charge controller to avoid battery damage, although as a last resort this isn’t always strictly necessary. But these simple systems leave a lot to the table, and most people with any significant amount of solar panels tend to use a maximum power tracking (MPPT) system to increase the yield of the panels. For a really small installation like [Salvatore] there is, you’ll want to look into a similar system known as solar energy harvester.

[Salvatore] plans to use an energy harvester in its small weather station, which is currently powered by LDO regulator and a small solar cell. Although this is quite power efficient, the power harvesters he tests with this design will exceed the capabilities of the LDO. The circuit actually has two energy harvesters built into it, allowing him to test the capabilities of both before deciding on his weather station. Any amount of energy is critical when he uses the cell he has on hand that easily fits in the palm of his hand.

Testing of this module is not yet complete, but he has two working prototypes to test in future videos to see which one really performs the best. For a project of this size, this is a great way to get around the problem of feeding a small amount of power to something remote. For a larger solar panel installation, you will definitely want to build an MPPT system.

Comparing Solar Energy Harvesters

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