DIY Solar Shed

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Old 01-29-15, 04:01 PM
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DIY Solar Shed

Hello all.

I'm thinking when I build my shed this summer to make it a bit of a hang out so I can smoke some cigars, watch a hockey game and what not.

Was wondering if anyone has information on a good diy solar project. I figured it would be kind of cool to build the shed to run on solar. Nothing to crazy a few LED lights, a LED TV. It would be nice to do a small space heater in the winter but not really a requirement.

Anyone got a good resource / for a diy solar network? I've done some basic wiring (lights, plugs etc.) but never done anything like that before.
 
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Old 01-29-15, 05:01 PM
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How much money do you have to spend? Small solar IS expensive and rarely are government grants available for such a small project. I looked into small solar just to power my Internet modem and router and the end result was that it would take a minimum of ten years before I would break even. Heck, I may not even live that long so it would have been a poor Return On Investment (ROI) for me.
 
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Old 01-29-15, 05:04 PM
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If you are a Redwings fan I'm sure we can help...

I would start from the back end. Pick the devices you want to power so you know how much juice you need to provide. I assume you'll want to watch more than the Winter Classic so you'll need a battery to store up power for use after dark. Then if you have a battery it greatly reduces the size of solar panel you need as it can be charging the battery all day and during the week for your occasional use.
 
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Old 01-30-15, 06:57 PM
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A space heater will kill your battery storage in a hurry.
 
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Old 01-31-15, 09:43 PM
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Not too concerned about breaking even on cost... I want to price it out and try it as more of a hobby....


Looking to run a smart led tv to stream hockey, some led lights, a fan fr ventilation (want to use the shed to smoke cigars). Don't mind using a battery. I can always use a wood stove for heat or something...
 
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Old 02-01-15, 12:37 AM
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First figure out everything that you want that will use electricity. Separate all things that can run on battery power, direct current at either 12 or 24 volts. I would advise using as few 120 volt AC devices as possible to reduce the size of the DC to AC inverter. Definitely plan on using only low voltage LED lighting.

Add up all the 120 volt AC loads (watts) to determine the size inverter needed. Remember that some loads may be critical as to being powered from a modified square wave inverter versus a sine wave inverter. Add the inverter's input power (battery power) requirements to the list of DC loads. This is the total load you will need to supply from the battery. Express this calculated load in both watts and as continuous amperes at battery voltage. Multiply by the number of hours you want to run this load per day. The results will be in watt-hours and ampere-hours. You can also calculate an average load (not everything running) to see how long things will run at a reduced load.

Calculate the needed battery capacity from the above calculations. Remember that listed ampere-hour ratings of batteries is ultimate and that for best performance it is best to not discharge the batteries more than 50 to 80 percent of the ultimate rating. Now go price the batteries needed.


When calculating what you need in photovoltaic panels first divide the rated output of the panels by 2 (50%) to allow for less than optimal siting and less than optimal sunlight. Multiply this output by the number of hours you can reasonably expect sufficient sunlight to fall on the panels to get the daily output of the panels. You MUST have enough output over time to replace all the power you use from the batteries plus about ten percent. IF you have a large enough battery bank you will be able to "skate through" periods of time when the output from the panels is less than the load being placed on the batteries but only to a limited degree. If you were to only use the shed on weekends you might be able to get away with a reasonably priced amount of photovoltaic panels recharging the batteries during the week.

Without knowing anything about your loads and times of use I would guess that an investment of $5,000 would not be out of line.
 
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