Can You Run a Welder on Solar Power?

For every solar lighting user, it’s always a questionable debate- can I use a welder on solar power? Even though it is a new technology, it has taken over the market by storm.

With inverters, charge controllers, solar panels, and batteries, it’s quite easy to harness, store and convert solar energy into electricity for a welding machine.

Yes, instead of consuming electricity, you can shift your welder to solar power, encouraging off-grid welding and ensuring the power is enough to get the job done.

As someone who is new to this concept, continue reading and see how it works.

What Does Solar Welding Mean? 

As the name suggests, solar welding refers to utilizing solar energy to operate a welding machine.

The best part is that solar power is eco-friendly and cost-effective as compared to the grid or a generator.

Solar-based welding has also opened new doors to converting daily activities to this power source.

To make this point clear, below are some factual discussions to take into consideration:

Solar-Powered Welder For Light Fabrication Work

When it comes to working on a specific project, you have to start by estimating the solar power it would need to run a welder.

Remember that average sunlight can only produce enough solar power to carry out light fabrication work.

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Since a welding machine uses high current or high-intensity regulated arc for a certain period, it’s important to make sure that there is enough energy for the purpose.

Initially, there would be power surges, named surging watts, that most solar systems cannot handle.

The reason behind this is their high running watts (normally 25 to 30% higher)- which is a usual figure for a welder to work efficiently.

For instance: If you have a welder with a 2500W surge rating and 2000W running rating, then your solar system requirement will be 2500W at least, irrespective of the operating efficiency.

Expect different results from the 2000W setup than that from the 2500W power surge.

Factors Affecting Power Consumption By A Welder

Traditionally, a welder utilizes 10 KW per hour to execute the plan. Other than that, know the following elements to get your estimates:

  • Welder Size: Larger welders are equipped with powerful transformers that require more solar energy to operate than their small counterparts.
  • Heat Dissipation: Power consumption and heat produced by a welder are directly proportional. However, a lot of heat production may be a sign of poor performance.
  • Efficiency: A welder is efficient when it consumes lesser solar power against the work down within a given time.
  • Welding Time: Welding takes little time. But, if your project takes more time than usual, be certain that the machine is consuming more power than normal.
  • Output Current and Voltage: You can adjust the output current and voltage per the project. While working on heavy metals, be certain to utilize more solar energy than working on light metals.

Tips To Bring The Best Out Of Solar Welding

If you are looking for methods to save some solar power, this section is for you:

  • Work in the Noontime: It’s recommended to weld during the noontime because the sun is at its peak and provides maximum energy for work. You can do the rest of the work in the morning, i.e. marking and cutting.
  • Improve the Rod Technique: In case of insufficient solar energy to operate a welder, you have to improve your rod method to work on welding more efficiently.
  • Prepare Metals Before Running the Welder: From doing preparations, i.e. marking and cutting to weld cleaning, always make necessary preparations before switching on the welding machine. This way, you rest assured to save time, effort, and solar energy.
  • Get the Right PV Solar System: It doesn’t matter if you already have a PV solar system or not, always be sure to install a separate solar system to run your welder.
  • Install a Large Battery Bank: Since the welder utilizes a high amount of solar power, you must choose a large battery to ensure continuous power. It is less prone to over-draining as compared to a low-capacity battery.
  • Always Add the Surge Watt in Your Solar PV System: To provide optimum power to the welding machine, your solar PV system must be capable of providing the highest operating power. Every welder has its own running or surging watt that you have to confirm to choose the right solar PV setup.
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What Are The Pre-Requisites To Operating The Welder on Solar?

Following are the components that you will need to create a solar PV setup:

  • Solar Panels: Responsible for collecting, storing, and converting the sun rays into DC power.
  • Charge Controller: Referred to as the heart of a solar PV setup. Regulates energy from the panels and delivers a limited amount to charge batteries.
  • Batteries: Capable of storing solar power from the solar panels. This power is utilized to operate the welding machine.
  • Inverter: Handles conversion of DC to AC power so that energy can be transferred to any electrical machine or equipment.

The Process To Operate The Welder on Solar Power

Here is the step-by-step process to power the welder with the solar system:

  1. Arrange all solar panels in such a way that the positive terminal of one is connected with the negative of the second, and so on. Before doing this, be sure to confirm harmony between the modules’ total voltage and your batteries’ total voltage.
  2. Connect the batteries in series just like you did for the solar panels.
  3. Connect a battery connector, gauges, and DC wires to make an inverter. Install it between the batteries and solar panels.
  4. Read instructions from the manufacturer’s manual to make the battery setup.
  5. Lastly, hook up the power adapter with the welder and output socket of the inverter. Afterward, connect the earthing clamp and electrode holder or torch to make final arrangements.

Conclusion

Solar power has altered the way how the world thinks of power supply. Not only does it operate machines efficiently, but it is also cost-effective on a big scale.

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All you need to do is do some research, collect information and make the right selections.