What Is Solar Power For Sheds – How Can It Benefit You?
There are many reasons why solar power for shed systems are an effective solution for covering your energy needs including reduced long-term energy costs, a low environmental impact, and a consistent, reliable source of power thanks to solar panels relying on an always “on” energy source, the sun.
You might even just want a cheaper long-term solution for supplying the lighting and power tools you use in your shed with vital electricity. Whatever your needs, it’s safe to say that solar panels for shed installation have proven to be an increasingly popular energy solution.
Here are the main points you need to know about solar power for sheds:
- Solar power is harnessed through special conductive energy sheets, known as photovoltaic cells
- Photovoltaic cells absorb photon rays emitted from the centre of the sun and convert them into usable energy
- Once installed, solar power options provide enormous long term savings due to them being powered by the sun (which is free to use!)
The above reasons make solar power for shed systems an attractive option for many home and small business owners who are looking to reduce their long-term energy costs while keeping their environmental impact to a minimum in the process.
Why Choose a Solar Panel for Sheds System Over Traditional Residential Solar Panels?
Though you can mount solar panels on the roof of your home, this isn’t the most ideal solution for everyone. Not only are roof-based or free standing residential solar arrays expensive, but they’re often also very invasive. The design and aesthetic appearance of some panels does owe itself well to certain homes, but they often stand out very prominently against the backdrop of an otherwise normal-looking residential area.
The benefits of a solar panel for shed use system is that it:
- Makes use of otherwise redundant space (your shed roof)
- Isn’t disruptive to your home or small businesses appearance
- Costs much less than a larger residential or small business solar panel system
With these benefits in mind, the crucial factor you need to consider is whether or not a shed system is going to be adequate enough to cover your energy needs. If you’re trying to cover 100% of your power requirements with solar power, then unless you own a very big shed, it’s likely that you may need to use a larger roof-based series of cells or a freestanding photovoltaic cell array.
However, if your shed is large and more like an outhouse, you probably have a good chance of being able to provide all of your energy needs through the use of a solar power for shed installation system. On the other hand, absolutely everybody can harness enough power using their shed roof if they’re simply looking to power their shed lighting or power tools.
How to Buy Solar Panels for Shed Roofs Successfully – Calculating Your Energy Requirements
Having a positive experience with solar panels for shed installation is going to rely on you doing your homework before making a purchase and fully understanding your energy requirements.
The main points to consider are:
- The average household needs anywhere from 7,000 to 11,000 kilowatts of electricity per hour
- The financial outlay that comes with covering energy requirements on this scale will be in the region of $7,000 to $17,000 on average to get a system that can do the job
- To power a shed light, you’ll only need to spend roughly $100
- To provide electricity for the power tools used in your shed, you’ll need to spend roughly $3,000
- For pinpoint accuracy, consider the number of devices you wish to power and find out their wattage rating then simply multiply their wattage by the number of hours they are used per day to get their kWh (kilowatt per hour) requirements
Only you know what your requirements are. It depends on the type of shed you have in the first place and whether or not it’s going to be suitable to play host to a solar panel kit for shed integration that’s big enough to meet your energy needs. Let’s take a closer look at this aspect in the next section.
Solar Panels for Shed Roofs – Can They Be Used with Any Shed? How Do I Know If I Can Use Them with Mine?
The short answer is no, not all sheds are going to be capable of housing a solar panel kit for shed use of the size that you might be looking for. If you’re looking to power your internal shed lighting then you’ll have nothing to worry about. Any shed of any size can house a photovoltaic cell system that is capable of doing that. However, when you start to consider kits that are capable of providing electricity to your power tools and more, you’re going to need a more substantial array of cells.
Here are the main points to consider before you start to look at solar panels for shed use that are capable of projecting the power you’re looking for:
- Before any potential installation, you must have your shed roof inspected by a qualified professional to determine its weight capacity
- Look carefully at the product specifications for your intended solar panel system and determine how much it weighs
- Provided the weight of the system doesn’t exceed (or ideally come within 80% of) the total weight capacity for your shed roof, it should be completely viable to mount it onto your shed
This is often one of the last aspects that people consider when shopping for solar panel for sheds system, but it’s absolutely the most important. Don’t skimp on expenditure when it comes to having your shed roof assessed and make sure that it is analyzed by a qualified professional to ensure the safety and longevity of both your shed and your chosen solar system.
Is the Roof of Your Shed Suitable for Solar Panels? – Other Factors to Consider
Weight capacity isn’t the only area to consider before attempting to install solar panels onto your shed roof.
There are a series of other factors to consider as follows:
- Is your roof South facing? If not, it isn’t going to have direct access to the suns photon rays throughout the day
- If your roof is South facing, are there any obstructions near the shed i.e trees or other buildings? These features could block vital photon rays from being able to reach your panels
- Is your shed roof flat or angled (a skillion roof)? Skillion roofs are more effective at absorbing photon rays because they are directly angled towards the sun provided they are South facing
- What material is your roof made out of? Regardless of the weight capacity of your roof, is it able to withstanding being drilled into and able to weather permanent changes to its structure via screws/bolts?
Before you even begin to browse through solar panel options and contact a qualified professional to assess your shed roof, the first three points on the above list are something that you can analyze and answer on your own. The fourth and final point is something that a qualified professional can answer during their assessment of your roof, should you have one. Either way, these areas will need to be very carefully considered and answered before you make a purchase.
Once you have done this, it’s time to consider how you’re going to get your panels onto the roof of your shed. You can do this using existing prefabricated solar panel kits or by purchasing or creating the separate components needed to complete the process yourself.
Solar Shed Light Kits and General Shed Roof Solar Kits – What’s in Them?
Understanding what’s in a solar panel kit for sheds is a vital part of getting the installation process right. If you understand what the different components are and how they work, this can help to make sense of the reasons behind the specific placement of each individual component of a kit.
The following items are included as part of solar shed light and solar shed kits in general:
- A solar collector panel (when mounted on the roof, this is the component that absorbs the sun’s photon rays and stores them so that they can be converted into energy)
- A charge controller (the charge controller regulates precisely how much power is being sent into the solar collector panel from the battery and helps to prevent damage as a result of unexpected power surges)
- A battery (the battery serves as the vital component needed to channel the electrical current produced by the inverter)
- An inverter (an inverter receives the photon rays from the solar panel collector and turns them into usable energy before sending it to a battery to circulate around an electrical system)
- An AC outlet (some inverters have AC outlets built into them so that you can directly plug your power tools or any other items that require electricity for direct power)
- A light (if you’re using a solar shed light kit specifically to provide light to the interior of your shed, then a light bulb and protective housing will be included for you to mount on the inside of your shed)
- A mounting frame (this is for you to mount your solar collector panel onto, though you may only receive a mounting frame with larger kits intended for higher power capacities)
- Screws, fixtures, and fittings (these will be included so that you can successfully fix all of the separate components in place securely)
- Instructions (the most important part!)
The general appearance of the components included in solar kits and solar shed kits may vary, but fundamentally, almost all kits are going to include the above items as standard. It’s also important to understand that some of the components mentioned above may already be neatly housed inside other components included in your kit for convenience and to streamline the installation process.
If you don’t see absolutely everything listed above, you can call the manufacturer for peace of mind, but it’s worth noting that without the most crucial components (like an inverter and battery), a solar shed light kit simply couldn’t work. Rest assured that they will be in there and follow the installation instructions provided.
Installing a Solar Panel Kit for Sheds – How to Get It Right First Time
Installing a solar panel for shed system or an array of panels is easier than you might expect, it’ll just take a little time and effort.
Before you get started, ensure that you:
- Fully read the instructions provided with your chosen solar panel for shed systems and contact the manufacturer should you have any points of concern or confusion
- Familiarize yourself with each necessary step and the tools required for each section
- Ensure that you fully understand how to use the tools required for each step
- Where possible, consult with a friend or neighbor who has already installed a solar panel kit for sheds in the past for added clarity and assistance and consider enlisting their help during the installation
- If you are in any way unsure after following all of the above steps, consider hiring a qualified professional to install your cell system
Provided you follow the above steps, there’s little reason why you won’t be able to install a solar kit for shed system straight out of the box. It’s worth mentioning that where friends and neighbors aren’t available for assistance, the instructions themselves along with the manufacturer will almost always provide every answer you require for safe installation.
Where things can become a little more difficult is when you’re not using a kit and decide to purchase all of the components required to install solar panels for shed roof application without using a prefabricated kit. If you’ve decided to make your own kit and purchase all of the components needed to install a solar panel for shed use, then don’t worry. It’s still completely possible to achieve shed roof based solar energy.
The first step is getting the right parts as follows.
- One RCD
- An energy saving bulb along with a bracket
- Amp cable of 2 meters or more
- A solar charge controller
- Enough photovoltaic solar panels to meet your requirements
- A power inverter rated higher than the items being utilized
- 20 to 30 wire connectors
- Mains cable
- Switched fuses
- A battery
- Spade connectors x 8
- Wall sockets
- Some 3a twin cable
Once you have all of the above in place, it is time to start the installation process.
- Step #1 – Mount the Solar Panels
Attach the solar panels to a frame like steel pipes, for example. Then, proceed to drill the frames into the roof housing.
- Step #2 – Mount the Charge Controller
Attach the charge controller to one of the inside shed walls. Connect the solar panel to the controller at the spot with a picture of a solar panel above it, and hook up the controller to your battery using an amp cable.
- Step #3 – Wire the Inverter and Fuse
Use an amp cable and attach the inverter to the battery. Then, connect the amp cable to the switched fuses.
- Step #4 – Wire the Sockets
From the fuses, run the mains cable to your chosen socket, which should already be mounted to the wall.
- Step #5 – Wire the Lights
Fix your light housing and bulb to the interior shed roof, and wire it into the circuit using 3a twin cable. With all of the above in place, you should then be ready to power up your new solar installation and start benefiting from it.
Is It Possible to Create Your Own Solar Panels?
Yes, it is. Though harnessing solar power is quite a complex process, we have learned a great deal about it over the years, enough to fully understand the technology behind it and how to replicate it. With this in mind, there are some amazing DIY guides out there that have been engineered to help you fabricate your own solar panels.
Guides like the hugely popular Backyard Revolution have made solar technology accessible to the masses. If you take a little time to fully learn and understand the guidance they offer, you’ll be able to successfully fulfil every step of the solar installation process yourself. All you’ll need surplus to the panels themselves is the components listed in the previous section in order to power them and begin to harness solar power from your shed roof.
Different General Solar Panel Kit for Sheds Systems – Some of the Best Options
To make your life a little easier we’ve compiled a list of some great solar panels for shed roof or general shed use systems that are already available and cater for pretty much any energy requirement a person might have. These options all cater for people who are looking to harness solar energy to cater for their general electrical needs, whether it’s powering lights and phone chargers or even the utilities required to run their homes. Here are our top picks.
5. ECO-WORTHY 1000 Watt 1KW 24 Volt Solar Panel Off Grid
When you need maximum power, 1000 watts and above panels are the way forward for achieving total energy coverage for your home or shed based workshop. Though 1,000 watts is a high output, you’ll still need several panels to be able to meet the energy demands of your home based utilities. Luckily, because each one of these individual panels from ECO WORTHY are so highly rated, you won’t need to buy a high volume of them as you would with lower wattage panels.
The included combiner box makes it easy to add more panels into your overall array, and the highly durable frame housing means that this panel will last for many years once in place. Combined with the included warranty and mega easy installation process, this is absolutely the best option out there for those with high energy consumption demands.
- Offers a maximum 4kwh daily output depending on sunlight availability
- The included combiner box offers safety protection with a 10A fuse for each string, anti-backflow diodes, and lighting protection
- Ideal for charging batteries and as a source of backup power
- Easy to set up, this kit supports charging for 24V lead acid, gel, and li-ion batteries
- Includes a 1-year warranty and access to a 24/7 technical support team
- More expensive than lower wattage options
- Possibly too much power if you’re only looking to power a solar shed light or a small number of low energy yield tools
4. SOLPERK 200W Solar Panels 12V Monocrystalline Solar Panel Kit
Though 100 watts on its own is never going to be enough power to fulfil the energy requirements of a home or even a wide array of tools, it’s through combining panels that you’re able to achieve the higher energy yields that allow you to sustain multiple appliances and make the largest long term savings.
This is why this great value 2 pack from SOLPERK is perfect for those who want to bulk buy panels and create a larger solar array through combining several panels at once. The high conversion efficiency of up to 24% means that you’ll be able to harness as much available power as possible, too.
The aluminum frame can withstand adverse weather conditions for up to 10 years while the pre drilled holes mean that it’s ready to be installed using your preferred bracket type with ease. The included 12 month warranty also further enhances the value on offer here.
- Each 100W solar panel makes use of highly efficient monocrystalline cells that carry a high conversion rating of up to 24%.
- Pre-drilled holes on the back of the panels mean that you can install them in a few simple steps with Z-brackets, Pole or Tilt Mounts, etc.
- Each 100 watt solar panel can charge different 12V DC batteries,
- Each individual panel size is 41.7×21.3×1.2 inches, meaning that they fully comply with industry standards and can connect cables perfectly
- Kit includes 2 great solar panels with an extended 12 months warranty for each and access to 24/7 technical service support
- Each panel is only 100 watts, meaning several would be needed to achieve a high power output
- The included MC4 leads might be a little short in length
3. Renogy 175 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Grid Large System
This is a smart looking 175 watt solar panel system that delivers enough power to cater for the majority of light purpose power requirements you’re likely to need when making use of your shed. The panel housing is durable meaning it’ll last for several years’ worth of use. It also has a high enough weather resistance rating to be able to withstand harsh wind, snow and rain. The included charge controller and power inverter have accessible controls to make using your system as easy as possible, which is great news for first time installers.
Because the solar panel frame is ground mount compatible, this means that you don’t have to worry about mounting it onto your shed roof if you’d prefer not to. This is a very easy to use, great value kit that’ll provide ample enough power to be able to satisfy the basic power requirements of most people.
- The integrated reliable multi-layered sheet laminations enhance cell performance and ensure a long service life for the EL tested solar modules
- Higly durable due to a guaranteed positive output tolerance of (0-3%) that can withstand high winds of up to 2400Pa and snow loads of up to 5400Pa alongside a corrosion-resistant aluminum frame
- Highly versatile and can be used for many different applications
- Installation ready thanks to pre-drilled holes on the back of the panel that allow for fast mounting and securing. Compatible with a wide variety of Renogy mounting systems including Z-Brackets, Pole Mounts and Tilt Mounts
- Renogy provides a complete after-sales service thanks to easy-to-reach customer support
- Mounting brackets are not included
- Doesn’t include a warranty
2. SUNER POWER 50 Watts Mono Crystalline 12V Solar Panel Kits
For those who have very minimal or low key energy requirements (like a shed light or singular power tool for example) this minimal 50 watt system will adequately cover their needs. It’s a great choice for smaller sheds. Though the power output might be low, so is the cost, and the value included here is quite phenomenal considering the price point.
The included intelligent solar charge controller will ensure that there are no excess power surges, while the work time setting control will allow you to spare your power when dusk arrives meaning no wastage. The solar panel is compatible with a wide array of different mounting brackets meaning that it’s easy to install while the included 12 month warrany provides great peace of mind. For a first time solar installer, this is a great option.
- Great kit for off-grid applications including sheds, cabins, gate openers, etc where 12V batteries are used
- The included intelligent solar-charge controller with an optimized charging algorithm and three-stage charge make the system work more efficiently
- Has a photocell control & work time settings
- Compatible with a wide array of mounting brackets
- Has an inbuilt plug & play SAE connector that is easy to install and offers virtually free maintenance
- Very low overall power output
- Mounting brackets are not included
1.Renogy 200 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit with Wanderer
While 200 watts isn’t going to be enough to make a serious dent in the power requirements of your home based utilities, it’s absolutely enough to be able to power some small tools and your shed lighting. Coming with everything you could ever need to perform a successful installation and pre packaged with a charge controller to ensure that you can achieve 400 watts worth of output should you decide to expand your system, it’s hard to argue with the value on offer here.
The included solar panel frame will last for decades, as will the rest of the fixtures and fittings meaning that once installed, provided your energy requirements don’t increase dramatically. You’ll never have much of a reason to require another kit.
- Features a negative grounding controller with a reversed battery to protect against overloading, short-circuiting and over charging/discharging
- It’s charge controller carries a short-Circuit Current of (Isc): 6.24A
- With the integrated Renogy wanderer 30A PWM charge Controller, you can expand your system up to a maximum of 400W.
- The open-Circuit system Voltage rating is (Voc): 21.6V
- Has an efficiency rating of up to 21% that can achieve an Ideal output of 1000Wh per day. This can fully charge a 50Ah Battery to 50% in 1. 5 hours
- Includes an 8Ft 10AWG tray cable to connect your charge controller and battery
- Doesn’t provide enough power to be able to meet home based energy needs
- Some users report intermittent current and are not able to achieve the full 200 watt output
Solar Power for Sheds FAQ
In this section, we’re going to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about solar power for sheds to assist you with making a final purchase decision.
Q: How much solar power do I need for a shed?
A: The amount of solar power you’re going to need for your shed will depend entirely on the wattage rating of the individual electrical items that you plan to use in there. You should use their wattage ratings to determine your average kWh (kilowatt per hour) usage requirements, following which you can determine how powerful your solar panel system needs to be.
Q: How many solar panels do I need to power a shed?
A: The number of solar panels you’re going to need will depend entirely on how much wattage you require based on the kWh rating of your individual electrical components. For instance, if you require 500 watts worth of power, then you could either purchase on singular 500 watt solar cell panel, or you could purchase 5 individual 100 watt panels and link them together. It’s entirely up to you how many panels you wish to use to achieve your required power output.
Q: Can I power my shed with solar?
A: Yes, you can! You simply need to either purchase all of the separate components required to create a solar energy system or buy a pre purchased kit. Following this, you can power the lighting and any other electrical components used in your shed through your chosen solar cell system.
Q: How do I build a solar powered shed?
A: You simply need to construct any normal shed of your choosing of any size. To make it solar powered, you must add either an individual solar cell system, or a series of several solar cells combined together to create one large system depending on your energy requirements. Once your solar cell system is in place, you can then link your electrical items up to it to power them exclusively via solar energy.
Q: Can I heat my shed with solar power?
A: Absolutely, yes you can! To do this, you’ll simply need to purchase any internal portable heating system of your choosing. Once you have done this, you’ll need to install a solar panel for shed system so that you can link your chosen heating system up to it and power it exclusively via solar energy.
Q: What should my solar shed structure be like?
A: The walls of your solar shed can be made out of any material of your choosing so long as they are able to withstand the weight capacity of your chosen solar panel system. The most crucial aspect of your shed structure is the roof, which must be assessed prior to the installation of your solar panel system to determine whether or not it will be able to tolerate the weight and fixings of your solar panel system. It must also be south facing to absorb photon rays from the sun.
Q: What are solar shed lights?
A: Solar shed lights are purpose built lighting kits that have been engineered in such a way that they are powerful enough to provide ample lighting to the interior space of a shed while being powered exclusively by solar energy thanks to the included solar cells.
Q: Can I use solar power for my workshop?
A: Yes you can. It’s important to bear in mind that the energy demands of a workshop are likely to be much higher than those of the average singular shed light or the couple of tools that many low key shed users may require. Instead, you’ll need to consider larger 500-1,000 watt systems to meet all the energy demands of the tools in your workshop.
Q: Are small scale solar power kits suitable for shed lighting and power tools?
A: Small scale solar kits will be powerful enough to meet the energy requirements of a shed light and perhaps a couple of smaller hand tools, but they will not be viable for powering full workshops or meeting the energy requirements of a home.
Q: What’s the best solar power system for my shed?
A: There is no singular “best” option, instead, it’s about choosing the solar power system that provides the right amount of energy to meet your requirements based on the kWh rating of your electrical devices. You’ll be sure to find a system that meets your needs in our top five list featured in the last section.
Integrating solar power for shed use or any other type of small building can be a really impactful way of meeting your home-based energy demands without having to change the appearance of your property or the land surrounding it. It is also worth using solar power for shed systems to avoid having to draw from your main energy resources, which will cost more money and time in the form of having to install the appropriate wiring to make it work.
Regardless of your preferred reason to draw on solar power for shed use, it’s pretty certain that like millions of other people, you’ll soon come to love the benefits that it has to offer. Both for your wallet, and the planet.