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Advantages of Solar Power: Learn the Benefits of Solar Energy

Switching to solar power as a source of energy seems to be the trend right now with many homeowners and the solar industry is better than ever but, unlike some trends, there’s a good reason why. Solar offers many benefits and can change your life. It’s not only good for the individual switching as it can dramatically cut electricity rates, but it also offers benefits for society as a whole by helping reduce our carbon footprint.

How does solar power work?

Solar energy is dependent on a solar panel. From the largest solar power system to the smallest, there will be a panel of some kind in place that soaks up the energy from the sun. These panels change sunlight into energy that powers whatever you need to be powered—lights, appliances, heating, etc.

In household solar power systems, solar panels would be placed on the roof of a home and all throughout the daylight will hit the panel. The panel converts the sun’s particles into electrons which flow from the panel into an inverter which converts it to AC power. AC power is what powers appliances, TVs, computers, and more in your home.

It should be noted the things that are being powered still work the same. Let’s say you want to run a toaster on solar energy in your home. You simply plug the toaster into the outlet in your kitchen and use it as you would with other forms of energy. The solar energy is converted into the form of energy you are used to using throughout your home.

Though it might seem confusing or overwhelming to think about switching your home to solar energy, one the transition is complete you’ll barely notice you’re using a different type of energy. However, you will enjoy a number of benefits.

What Are the Advantages of Solar Power for Homeowners?

Sustainable

The benefits of solar power are obvious. First of all, solar energy is sustainable and renewable. You never need to worry about “running out” of solar energy sources as long as the sun continues to burn. If you live in an area with rolling brownouts or blackouts, solar can be a lifesaver. While everyone else is conserving energy you can just go about your regular day without concern. Solar energy comes from a natural power source that is in infinite quantity and can significantly reduce energy costs. As “clean energy,” it also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and carbon dioxide and, the more that people go solar, the more it would ultimately help to slow down the process of global warming.

Off-Grid Power Source

Off-Grid Power Source

Solar power serves as a source of power that allows you to be “off the grid.” This means you aren’t relying on a third-party source to supply your power saving on costs (energy bills). You can do as you please, as long as your system is funneling energy into your home. In some cases, people utilize off the grid solar power to travel to remote areas or to even live full-time in remote areas. One of the primary advantages of solar power is it gives you the freedom to live away from and not rely on third-party power suppliers to give you energy.

Easy to Maintain

Installing solar panels to generate electricity takes a bit of investment and time to set up but, once it’s in place, there is very little that needs to be done to maintain it. Once the panels are in place and brought to maximum efficiency, all you need to do is make sure they stay clean and continue to absorb the sun’s energy.

Quiet and Clean

Solar power is produced with no pollution of any kind, sound or otherwise. You can use solar energy without hearing a sound. You’re also able to enjoy how clean solar power is because nothing is burning. Solar energy produces zero emissions and has no adverse effect on the environment.

Unobtrusive

Solar panels are unobtrusive and barely noticeable. Most people don’t give this much thought until they are thinking about upgrading to solar energy, but all that’s needed on the exterior of a building for solar energy to work is a panel or several panels. It has little to no effect on the architectural integrity of a building.

Tax Savings

In many areas, you’ll receive generous tax rebates for upgrading to solar energy. You can get a significant portion of your initial investment back right after upgrading by including the upgrade on your tax return. The government understands how upgrading to solar power benefits the community as a whole and it rewards those who choose to invest in this upgrade.

Selling Back Solar Energy

Another way solar power is a great financial upgrade is because it allows you to sell back solar credits you won’t be using. If your system produces more energy than you need, you can allow the energy company to tap into your supply and essentially sell the energy your system is producing.

Saving Money Long-term

One of the biggest benefits of upgrading to solar power is the financial savings you’ll enjoy. Even if your system is a combination of solar energy and traditional energy from third-party sources, you’ll be paying less overall. The initial cost of upgrading to solar can be pricey, but it pays for itself over time and eventually allows you to pay less for the energy you use.

What You Should Know Before Upgrading to Solar Power

Despite all the advantages of solar power, it’s not the right option for everyone.

Before upgrading, you need to make sure your location is right for solar. You need the sun to be able to access your panels without any obstruction and the best option is for your roof to be situated in the right manner. According to the Department of Energy, this means the panels should be south-facing or east-west facing at an angle of no more than 45 degrees.

You should still be able to access the grid if need be, even if you upgrade to solar. Some people want to jump completely into solar, but it’s important to have a backup energy source if there is ever a time solar cannot meet your needs. This also allows you to take advantage of selling credits back to the power company.

Finally, you need to look at your energy usage and determine at what point solar is a good investment. Essentially, there’s a “tipping” point at which solar becomes a wise upgrade, but this varies from situation to situation. Knowing what you use and how that looks if you switch to solar makes a huge difference when you upgrade.

50 Most Popular Solar Outdoor Wall Lights and Sconces for 2019

Solar outdoor lighting products have been increasing in popularity in recent years and the trend toward solar is expected to continue throughout 2019. Utilizing solar energy for outdoor wall light fixtures and sconces is one of the best ways to illuminate the exterior of your home. Solar powered light fixtures are not only great for keeping your property safe, but they also can be used to highlight landscaping and features of your home.

Unfortunately, outdoor light fixtures such as flood lights and security lights, outdoor lamps, and exterior light fixtures with ceiling fans are sometimes neglected. People invest time and money into fixing up their exterior, buying stylish outdoor furniture, and creating a fantastic landscape, but then they neglect to light the space.

Whether it’s a matter of expense, you just don’t think it’s practical to light a larger space, or you’ve simply forgotten to add lighting to your home’s exterior, solar outdoor wall lights and sconces can be just the thing you’re in need of.

What Are the Benefits of Using Solar Outdoor Lighting and Sconces?

Solar lighting is relatively inexpensive. It can spotlight areas of your home or be used as a security device with relatively little effort.

Entertaining

It’s also great for when you’re entertaining and you want to bring more lighting into an area for socializing. This keeps unfamiliar outdoor spaces easy to navigate and puts everyone at ease so they’re able to focus on their time together.

Security

Wall lighting and sconces tend to be bright enough that you don’t need to worry about the exterior of your home being too dark. When you don’t properly light the exterior of your home, your home becomes a target for criminals. Burglars are less likely to try to break into a home that is adequately lit than one that is dark.

Value of Your Home

Value of Your Home

Whether you are planning to list your home for sale any time soon or you want to live in it forever, solar outdoor lighting increases your home’s curb appeal and its value. Adding solar outdoor lights gives you a big bang for your buck. These lights don’t cost very much, but they make your home extremely attractive.

In addition to potential home buyers loving the look of the light itself, they’ll also be pleased with the way the lighting highlights certain features of the home. You can take an average home and turn it into something magnificent by properly installing lighting that illuminates throughout the night.

Adding solar lighting to your home’s exterior is not only an inexpensive upgrade, but it’s also one that’s easy to do on your own. A lot of home improvement projects that boost your home’s value require an investment in contractors and force you to deal with long-term construction projects. You can upgrade your home’s exterior in one day on your own by adding solar outdoor wall lights or sconces quickly and easily. And,as these lights are solar-powered, you don’t even need to hire an electrician.

There are numerous styles of solar wall lights and sconces available so you can find exactly what you need. It’s important to match the style of light to your home’s style, be it contemporary, country, colonial, modern, or any other style. You want the lights to fit seamlessly into the style of your home and add to the exterior instead of detracting from it.This way you’ll improve the curb appeal and have a functional, stylish addition you’ll love.

It’s possible to find affordables options for any home that complement the look of your home and make your home’s exterior more attractive.

What are the best solar wall lights and sconces available today?

Our Picks for the 50 Best Solar Outdoor Wall Lights and Sconces

  1. LUTEC 1-Light Black Motion Activated Outdoor Solar LED Wall Mount Sconce
  2. Green Lighting Stainless Steel Solar-Powered Integrated LED Wall Mount Sconce Light
  3. Portfolio 7-in H Matte Black Dark Sky Outdoor Wall Light
  4. Portfolio Litshire 15.62-in H Oil-Rubbed Bronze Outdoor Wall Light
  5. Cascadia Lighting Chateau 16-in H Royal Bronze Outdoor Wall Sconce
  6. Whitfield Lighting Emily 12-in H Oil-Rubbed Bronze Outdoor Wall Light
  7. Altair LED Wall Light
  8. Chelsea Outdoor Wall Light
  9. Emerson Up/Down LED Wall Light
  10. Acclaim Lighting Builders Choice 16-in H Matte Black Outdoor
  11. Havit Matte Black Up/Down Wall Pillar Spotlight
  12. Zen Wall Light by LED Outdoor
  13. ASTERIA Modern LED Up and Down Aluminium Exterior Wall Light
  14. See You Ceiling/Wall Lamp
  15. Whitfield Lighting Jordan 8.25-in H Oil-Rubbed Bronze Outdoor Light
  16. Brenton Square Exterior Wall Light LED
  17. ASTRO Modern LED Up and Down Aluminium Exterior Wall Light
  18. Dubrovnik II Downward Facing Exterior Wall Bracket in Black
  19. Gama Sonic Barn Solar Brown Outdoor Integrated LED Wall Light with Motion Sensor
  20. Chelsea Outdoor Wall Light Picco
  21. MX6612 Cluny LED Exterior Light
  22. Alcazar 2 Light Large Wall Bracket in Burnt Gold
  23. Alcazar 1 Light Medium Wall Bracket in Burnt Gold
  24. Bayer 2 Light Exterior Wall Bracket in Stainless Steel
  25. Aireys 1 Light Square Wall Bracket in Brushed Aluminium
  26. Cliff 1 Light Ext Wall Sconce in Stainless Steel
  27. Kichler River Path 23.0-in H Olde Bronze LED Outdoor Wall Light
  28. LED416 – LED 6W Curved Reflector Wall Washer
  29. The Devonia Collection – Wall Lantern in Aged Bronze
  30. Chelsea Small Bronze Outdoor Wall Light
  31. Benetti 2 Light Plain Square Wall Bracket in Charcoal
  32. TITUS Single Adjustable Wall Pillar Light
  33. Westmore Lighting Beauport 23.6-in H Hazelnut Bronze Wall Light
  34. Castille Exterior Wall Bracket in Black
  35. Gama Sonic Flora Solar Antique Bronze Outdoor Wall Lantern
  36. Brenton Round Exterior Wall Light LED
  37. Lampiok Wall Light
  38. Mandrid Exterior Wall Light
  39. Torque Exterior Wall Light
  40. Malvern Residence
  41. DLE Anglesea Bronze
  42. DLE Stockholm 1LT
  43. Helius Outdoor LED
  44. Richie Exterior Wall Light with Sensor
  45. Ketch Yacht Outdoor Wall Light
  46. Cayman LED Exterior Light
  47. Royal Botania Dome Outdoor Wall Light
  48. II Finale Lighting
  49. Gama Sonic Triple Tier 9-Light White Outdoor Integrated LED Solar Wall Mount Lantern
  50.  Lampiok Wall Light

6 Reasons to Use Solar LED Flood Lights for Security

Flood lights are one of the most popular options for outdoor security. They are inexpensive, easy to install, and are effective. Bright light, especially when it’s activated by a motion sensor, is one of the simplest and most powerful tools for deterring a criminal that is trying to access your home. They are also effective for commercial locations and are just as popular for protecting office buildings as they are for protecting private residences.

The trouble with flood lights is that they tend to use a lot of energy. A simple flood light in your backyard can use up more energy than expected but is usually affordable.

But what if you want to add the security of flood lights to your business and you need to light a larger area? What if your needs expand beyond that and you need to light a common space or parking lot or several acres of land? Using traditional flood lights is going to cost you a significant amount of money—something that for many might even offset the security offered by the lights.

Alternatives to Traditional Flood Lights

There’s good news, though. If you want the benefits of flood lights, but you can’t afford the price tag of traditional flood lights, the alternative is solar lighting or LED flood lights.

LED flood lights offer the same benefits as other flood lights such as a motion sensor light but they do so without the same expense. You’re able to use less energy, the bulbs last longer, and you are still able to enjoy the same security. Additionally, they can be used in the same manner—commercially or residentially—can be installed with motion sensors and are long-lasting. One of the primary reasons other than the cost that people love LED flood lights with sensoris because they have a set-it-and-forget-it mentality. Once the lights are installed,you don’t need to worry about them for years to come.

Six of the Main Reasons Why Solar LED Flood Lights are a Great Option for Security

Light a Large Area

Flood lights do exactly as promised: they flood an area with light. This means if you have a large space to illuminate,each solar powered light fixture will get the job done. They are bright enough to allow people to feel safe in an area and to deter criminals from trying anything untoward. Flood lights make it so anyone doing anything can be seen, so everyone feels safe and visible.

Motion Activated

Motion Activated Solar Flood Light

Solar LED floodlights don’t have to be motion activated but they can be. This means that you can either allow them to run continuously or to set them to come on if there is movement in an area. Motion-activated LED flood lights react via a sensor and use less energy than continuously running lights, but they aren’t right for everyone. Still, it’s good to know you have the option of conserving energy when needed.

Motion activated lights also have the added benefit of catching people off-guard. This means that, if a criminal does attempt to do something on your property they shouldn’t be doing, the light will come on suddenly and startle them. This can add an additional layer of security because criminals need their target to be predictable.

Bright Enough to Allow for Facial Recognition

One of the best ways to prevent crime is to identify criminals. Shining an outdoor light—literally—one someone who is a criminal can stop them from acting out. Solar LED flood lights that use a sensor make it possible to identify faces from up to 30 feet, so there’s no hiding from security cameras when committing a crime. These solar motion lights with LED bulbs are nearly as good at illuminating faces for recognition as natural daylight or direct sunlight. Such brightness also makes it easier for people trying to travel an area safely to identify a troublemaker at a distance and avoid a potential problem as soon as possible.

Make Other Safety Equipment More Effective

Light is one of the primary necessities for safety in an area. The power of solar LED lights makes it possible for cameras to record criminal activity and for people under attack to be able to handle their situation as safely as possible. For instance, it’s easier to dial 911 in a well-lit area. It’s easier to capture wrongdoing on a camera phone. And it’s easier to identify an assailant should a person be attacked.

Solar LED flood lights not only make an area safer directly, but they also boost the effectiveness of other safety features.

Conserve Energy

Choosing Solar LED floodlights at the primary lighting source in an outdoor area can save you money. Though they offer lots of power and brightness, they typically use less energy than other types of lights and other types of security. Some people have even found their other security systems are obsolete once they install solar LED lighting systems. This is because many of these other security systems come with a hefty price tag and the lighting system offers enough security that the investment in the other systems just isn’t worth it anymore.

Boost Business after Dark

Are you looking for solar energy LED flood lights for your business’s exterior to increase safety and security? You likely already understand how devastating it can be for your bottom line when customers don’t feel secure visiting your business from dusk and into the darkness of the night—until the sunlight comes around again. These energy efficient flood lights increase traffic to your business because they make people feel safer visiting.

As a business owner, you need to be drawing people into your business during all of your operating hours. If people tend to shy away after dark because they don’t feel 100 percent secure, it’s going to hurt your business. This is the case even if no crimes have taken place and people just feel uneasy. And should a crime occur, you can forget having a business until you take action to improve the safety of the surrounding area.

Solar LED flood lights can help you increase your business traffic. Lighting welcomes people to an area and helps them feel secure enough to relax and shop with you. Your goal should always be to put your customers first and make sure they are at ease and secure when doing business with you. Solar LED flood lights make this easier and more efficient than ever before and they’re an investment you won’t regret.

A Simple Guide on How to Install Solar Panels

If you have taken the plunge and decided to start your journey along the path to eco-friendly energy consumption with solar power, you may be wondering about how to actually install solar panels. While the installation process for solar power is reasonably straightforward, there are definitely a few tips and tricks that can make the process a lot smoother.

Being Eligible for Solar Panels

Purchasing solar panels isn’t quite as simple as placing an order and waiting for them to turn up. You first need to have an engineer come out and survey your roof and work out how best to get your solar power. There are a few reasons for this, with the most important one being that the engineer needs to ensure that the roof faces in the right direction. Once that has been established, a specific solar pathfinder device is used to determine how many hours of the day the area will be in the shade. When the engineer gets up onto the roof, he can also take the measurements for the solar panels so that they can be created to fit the available space. 

Calculating the Tilt

If you have already had an engineer visit to calculate the sizing, then they might have already informed you about the necessary tilt angle. In an ideal setup, solar energy should hit the panels at a 90-degree angle. Solar panels can be fixed in different positions to achieve the desired 90-degree angle and maximize sunlight, so if an engineer hasn’t already suggested the tilt calculations, then you will need to establish this before you start installing them.   

The tools and Equipment You Will Need for Solar Energy

-    Alan keys

-    A drill

-    Safety harness

-    Helmet

-    A helping hand (you cannot do this alone)

Fixing the Solar Panels to the Roof

In most cases, panels for solar energy are fixed to the roof by the use of aluminum rails during installation. Once the aluminum rails are securely attached, you then need to fix the solar panels onto the rails. Start by fixing the lowest rail first and then working your way up as this will provide extra security should you slip. The exact length of aluminum rails required will depend on the number of solar panels you are installing. Each setup may be slightly different, but there will more than likely be several clamps and fittings for the ends and the center of the solar panels. For your own safety, wearing a harness is always advised and you should have some help as solar panels are too large to be moving around a roof by yourself.

Connecting the Solar Panels

Connecting the Solar Panels

During the solar installation, make sure that the electrical wire at the back of the solar panel is facing upwards to make the interconnection part as simple as possible. Once the bottom row of panels is inserted on the rails, you need to connect them together using the wires at the back of the panels. During installation, connecting a negative wire from one panel to a positive of the neighboring panel will create a series connection, whereas a negative-to-negative connection or a positive-to-positive connection will generate a parallel connection.

Power Bricks

When all the panels are connected together during the solar installation, they will also need to connect to shut off power bricks. In most cases, there will be a power brick for each row meaning that, if maintenance is needed on a specific solar panel, you don’t have to turn off all of the panels. Instead, you can just turn off the row that the damaged board is on.

The Power Inverter

The solar panel system will need to travel through conduits to an inverter located somewhere within the property. When the suns energy hits the solar panels and creates an electrical surge, it is originally a DC current. For the energy to be able to power your house, the DC current will need to be converted to an AC current which is done with the help of a power inverter.

Batteries – Power Storage

Not all systems have the ability to store electricity for use during the night. To enable this, you would need to connect specialized batteries to the system, which, again, will bump up the cost before the solar installation even begins. If you do install batteries to go with your PV panels, it is important to remember that they need to be replaced every five to seven years. They can also take up quite a bit of room. The most common option is to sell the excess energy created by the solar panels to an electric company. It usually works by the electric company applying credits to your account for you to use during the night. So, while all the electricity that you are using won’t have been generated from the solar panels—if you decide not to install batteries—you are still generating eco-friendly electricity that is being used in the community.

Is It Simple Enough to Install Solar Panels Yourself?

A precise answer to this question would all depend on the type of solar panel system you wish to get. The standard ones are much simpler to install, but the large or more advanced systems require a lot more electrical expertise and it may be better to get in one of the leading solar companies in your area. This is because certain wires may need to come through the roof into the house and several display boxes may need to be inside as well. That being said for the more basic solar panel editions there is no reason that you can’t install them yourself and save on cost. Just be prepared for the process to take quite a while. Professionals are able to get it done much quicker as they are used to the process, but for someone who is installing solar panels for the first time, it will take much longer.

Overall, the installation cost of solar cells is a one-time thing and could have you using the grid less and less to reduce your homes carbon footprint and save you money in the process. If any repairs need to be made or a new panel needs to be installed, then it doesn’t require the removal of all the panels. In most cases, all the panels won't need to be turned off as you have the option to just turn off the section you are working on. This is great as the work may take a while and at least some of them can still generate electricity. Speaking with solar experts will give you a clear picture as to what is required and the installation process. As mentioned, before you could install a small setup yourself, but for large solar panel systems, you will likely need to hire professionals.

Solar Panel Controller: How to Choose a Solar Charge Controller in 2018

Theoretically speaking, installing a solar system at home is straightforward. You need a couple of 12-volt solar panels,and you connect them to a battery. In between these two key elements you need to have a solar charge controller. This ensures that when the battery needs charging, current can easily flow to the battery and when it is full, it automatically disconnects from the solar panels.

What is a Solar Charge Controller and Why Do You Need One?

A solar charge controller is a crucial element that makes sure your solar system works correctly. Finding a good quality one does´t have to be complicated or expensive. It is important to remember that the solar charge controller you select is going to entirely depend on the capacity you need and how your actual system is set up. In this article we will be looking at the three top solar charge controllers available on the market, to help you decide which one will be best suited to your needs.

So, Let's Do the Math:

Commonly, PV panel charge controllers come in 12, 24 or 48 volts. Amperage ratings will be between 1-60 and voltage ratings 6-60. Now if we assume that your solar system was 12-volts and your amps are 14, you will need a controller that has at least 14 amps to be able to work properly.

If like me,however, you aren’t a fan of doing the math, then it’s a good idea to spend some time doing some research of your own on each individual product listed and if they would work for your solar system. Thankfully, there is a multitude of forums online that can answer your questions!

Here are the top 3 Solar Charge Controllers of 2018.

Renogy Wanderer

Renogy Wanderer

Price Range: $

Renogy have gained an excellent reputation for the standard of high-quality solar equipment they manufacture. They were amongst the first companies who brought the latest technology in high-efficiency solar panels to the consumer market and if efficiency is a priority for you then look no further than Renogy.

Features:

The Wanderer is one of the most affordable negative-ground controllers around. It offers complete protection from overcharging, short-circuit and overload as well as reverse polarity. The cleverly designed 4 stage PWM charging system is there to prevent your batteries from over-charging as well as over-discharging. You can easily see the solar charge controller’s status at any time during use via the featured LED indicators. This is one of the most versatile solar charge controllers available,and it is compatible with Gel, Sealed and Flooded batteries.

PROS:

  • One of the safest solar charge controllers you can buy
  • Extremely affordable at just under $40
  • The Wanderer corrects charging and discharging parameters automatically, thus improving the longevity of your battery.
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    Easy to use
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    Excellent customer support

CONS:

We didn’t find any drawbacks worth mentioning, making the Wanderer an excellent choice at a low and affordable price.

Windy Nation P30

Windy Nation P30

Price Range: $

This compact and affordable product from solar manufacturing giants WindyNation will deliver heightened efficiency to your solar system. It uses a unique charging technique that Works to increase the longevity of batteries,and with all of its features combined, it can work very efficiently.

Features:

One of the features we like most about this solar charge controller is the fact that it automatically maximizes solar power production in line with battery charging. It is equipped to withstand up to 30 amps of array current and ensures that your battery will always be properly charged.

Pros:

  • Can be used to charge 12 and 24-volt batteries
  • Very affordable
  • Electronic protection against reverse polarity, over current, extreme temperatures and short circuits
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    12- volt batteries will always be kept fully charged for optimal functionality
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    LED clearly indicates battery charge and load status

Cons:

  • It is not water resistant
  • Some customers reported frequent failure of the device
Solar Epic 40A Charge Controller

Price Range: $$

An extremely popular choice among off-gridders worldwide- the Solar Epic charge controller is epic! And while this product is on the more expensive side compared to the other items mentioned in this article, the countless positive reviews it has received means it is clearly well worth spending the extra bit of cash.

Features:

This all singing, and all dancing solar charge controller comes highly recommended by people who live entirely off-grid. It is built to last, offers excellent quality, and is easy to use.

Pros:

  • Inbuilt smart tracking algorithm maximizes the energy produced by your solar panel (s) while simultaneously charging the battery
  • Low voltage disconnect stops the battery from overcharging or discharging
  • Optimized charging process to preserve battery life while improving system performance
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    It can communicate with other solar accessories
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    Features 4 different charging options: sealed, gel, flooded and user-defined

Cons:

  • It falls into the higher price category

Conclusion:

As you can see, there are some incredibly affordable solar charge controllers available on the market this year,and many of them are so well priced, that you can buy one that is going to definitely meet your budget- no matter how limited that might be.

However, when you consider what you actually get for the price you pay and the difference in quality between the cheaper and more expensive products, it's clear that you would be better off spending more to get more.

If you need a basic controller, then don’t waste money on all of the bells and whistles that you will likely never use. If you want a product that is going to last a lifetime and has been designed to be robust and durable, then you are going to have to spend more money.

Take some time to consider your needs and make sure you understand what the necessary essential components are before rushing to buy one,and you will be all set to enjoy joining the world of living off-grid!