Using Solar panels for shed

Old 08-17-18, 11:46 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: United States
Posts: 462
Received 2 Upvotes on 2 Posts
Using Solar panels for shed

So I am completely new to this idea but thought about it after reading about my friends' camping trip.
I want to buy something like Renogy 100W 12 V solar panel, I guess I also need MPPT charge controller, some special cables and battery units and of course power inverter.

I think this is a good idea as the entire system would be portable and enough to provide lights outside and inside the shed and yet I can take it with me if / when I go camping myself.

It's a small (8x6) storage shed so I do NOT have a need for anything major (no power tools etc... ) just lights....and maybe to run small radio while I work around the yard

Anyhow..... a few questions:

Are the solar panels with the batteries a good solution for this continuous utilization or will it basically kill the battery after only...say 6 months due to frequent cycling ?

What rating would you recommend for a system to run a few light bulbs but also that I can take for a trip and use to power a laptop, small electronics etc ?

Should I invest in "better" battery to start with vs. more solar panels.... I see single 100W/12V go for $130...but batteries vary widely...from basic marine units for $80 to some Li-Ion or Pure GEL for $600...but no idea of the pros and cons...

Any other recommendations?

Old 08-17-18, 12:23 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 9,785
Upvotes: 0
Received 45 Upvotes on 43 Posts
It's really hard to make recommendations on solar installations because it's by far the most expensive and least flexible form of electrical power out there. Small changes in the project requirements have huge cost implications. Is your goal to have a hobby project or just to get power in a place that doesn't currently have it? How much light do you need and how many hours per day will it run? Is there a size & weight limit for camping?
Old 08-17-18, 01:20 PM
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: United States
Posts: 9
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
This is a great idea, and in fact I used a very similar set up on my small shed before I ran electrical to it!

The most important thing to do first and foremost is figure out what you want to run and for how long. Go through and calculate in Watts how much stuff you want to run (so all your lights and your radio) and then multiply whatever number in Watts by the length of time you want to run it in hours, so you have Watt-hrs or KWhrs if you divide that number by 1000. Then buy a battery that has that KW-hrs capacity greater than what you need, or buy several batteries to make a bank to reach that rating. I recommend deep cycle batteries, they an marine or general purpose, but those are designed to be use to near completion cyclically and will last the longest of any options out there

Then, source solar panels that will recharge that battery or battery bank at the frequency you plan to use it. If you want to use it daily then make sure the solar panels generate that much wattage in however many hours of sunshine you get in a day.

Then finally source your controllers, wires, and inverter to match the ratings of everything else you bought.
Old 08-17-18, 01:27 PM
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 1,129
Upvotes: 0
Received 127 Upvotes on 110 Posts
would also just get a deep cycle battery like a marine battery would also skip the inverter with a small shed just use 12 volt led lighting and 12 volt stereo if you need more charging capacity can always add another panel but really will depend on how much your using the lights and radio.
Old 08-17-18, 05:14 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Jersey
Posts: 65,935
Received 4,140 Upvotes on 3,718 Posts
I rent generators and I keep one in my shed at all times. I have a small solar panel (20w) that charges the genny battery and runs two 12vdc LED lights. A 100w panel would be a little large for a shed install unless you had several large batteries to charge.
Old 08-17-18, 07:22 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: United States
Posts: 462
Received 2 Upvotes on 2 Posts
thank you guys for the good feedback.
So for the shed I am only looking for a few lights with motion sensors...the shed is a bit to the side of the house and I don't feel like running AC to it.
I know I could just buy cheap $50 solar lights for outside but still need some lights inside...and since I do want to buy something for camping trips anyhow...I figured I would kill two birds with one stone.

I think as far as panels; I am pretty much set for the Renogy 100W is widely available for about $130 and highly rated I feel this is a good value and gives me flexibility for multiple uses.
I understand I need special connectors for this unit to the charge controller and seems everyone recommends MPPT units and my basic needs should be covered by a unit rated at 15Amp / 100Volts ... will give me room to expend and use it not only at my shed but also when travelling and when I need a bit more than just a few bulbs lit....
This brings me to the final question....still unsure of the battery....
I see you guys recommend deep cycle, marine type.... what about those all-in-one batteries with inverter...they already have a few DC and few AC outlets...all set and ready for use... rated around 400Wh would run about $400 for a decent unit.
Are they worth the money?
Battery with a separate inverter isn't as cool but for the money I could get like 2 batteries of the same rating.....and I already have a inverter that I used with my car.

Old 08-28-18, 08:57 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: United States
Posts: 462
Received 2 Upvotes on 2 Posts
just as a follow I decided to skip the battery, charge controller and inverter and pick up what Reology calls their "solar generator" - which is all those items inside single box.... losing some flexibility if I ever wanted to upgrade batteries but surely saved a lot of money and still getting plenty of power.
Their current generator is 400Wh using lithium battery so it is pretty light
For basic needs that I have - seems perfect and highly recommend to anyone else looking for such a solution.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: