How to Solar Power a Shed?

Ahh, so you want to solar power a shed? Well, that’s nothing new. A few rules to follow, a few hacks to remember, and you are golden.

Solar panels are now utilized on pergolas, cabins, yachts, and RVs, in addition to roofs and RVs. Sheds are a typical component of many homes and can unquestionably benefit from renewable energy. How many solar panels will be needed to power everything, though?

solar-powered shed

A 50W solar panel can power simple storage sheds, but if the shed is also used as a home office, two 250W solar panels are the absolute least needed. To run the machinery, lights, and other devices, if the shed is used as a power tool workshop, you need at least 4000W–5000W. How much does it translate in terms of cost? To put some perspective here, you need a 5k watt solar system for a 1500 sq. ft. home and it costs about 10,750$ in the United States at an average.

When the solar kit requirements and expectations are laid out, it becomes an easy process to choose the most efficient and effective one.

Depending on the purpose for which you have chosen to transform your shed, the solar electricity would differ. Add up the things that would need power in your shed, sum up the rough estimate and you’ll have something to work with.

How much solar power do I need for my shed?

This makes me feel like I’m writing down my record notes, which must be handed over first thing tomorrow. Ahh, high school, much simpler times. Although no one is not questioning me about the sustainability of using solar panels, it seems ironic I know more about it now than during my test.

Let’s work some numbers based on the type and complexity of a shed. As we all know, solar energy has found multiple domestic applications; so we’ll base our calculations on a variety of uses in a shed.

1. Storage Shed

A 12V 50W solar panel is usually chosen to light up a storage shed. This is considered an ideal power support. This allows for a couple of LED lights. In case, you are looking for something a bit brighter, it would require more juice, in which case, we suggest you go for a 100W solar panel.

If the shed is just going to be utilized for storing random knickknacks, the power consumption would be pretty low. Bare minimum. Our suggestion would be to look through a few solid solar panel kits that come with an adaptor, mounting hardware, and a charge controller. This would leave you set up comfortably.

Appliance Watts
Desktop Computer 100W-250W
Printer / Copier / Scanner 100W-200W
Modem 10W-20W
LED Lights (4 x 10W) 40W
Tablet / Phone Charger 10W
Ceiling Fan 50W-100W
Electric Heater 2000W-3000W
Coffee Machine 600W
Solar Panel Size Required: 3000 to 4000 watts

2. Backyard Office Shed

The average solar power for a shed used as a backyard office is eyeballed at around 3000W to 4000W. The typical tools you’ll need at a home office are displayed in the chart below. And the award for the most energy consumed goes to a heater or a portable fan.

About 4-5 hours of sunlight, two 250W solar panels may generate 3000W. While this is perfect for the summer. The winter season cannot be pulled through with this. Therefore, having a backup is considered wise, especially when you lack a battery bank. Alternatively, it is advised to have a solar on-grid system to avoid outages. Sometimes, even an overcast day might lead to power shortage. At least a couple of 300W solar panels are absolutely necessary for an office shed.

Appliance Watts
Desktop Computer 100W-250W
Printer / Copier / Scanner 100W-200W
Modem 10W-20W
LED Lights (4 x 10W) 40W
Tablet / Phone Charger 10W
Ceiling Fan 50W-100W
Electric Heater 2000W-3000W
Coffee Machine 600W
Solar Panel Size Required: 3000 to 4000 watts

3. Workshop Shed

A workshop shed requires anywhere between 4000W to 5000W. A five-hour spell of sunshine can help accumulate upto 3000W when three 200W solar panels are being used. This is an ideal situation. Therefore, it is better to err on the side of caution.

Gardening Tool Running Watts Starting Watts
12″ 1.5 HP Chain Saw 900W 0W
Weed Cutter 500W 600W
1.3 HP Cultivator 700W 1400W
Hedge Trimmer 450W 600W
Electric Leaf Blower 2500W 0W
Electric Strimmer 300W 500W
Electric Mower 1500W 0W
Solar System Size Required: 4000 watts

Calculating Solar Panels and Energy for PV System

A 250W solar panel has dimensions of 65 x 39 inches and a weight of roughly 40 pounds. You need to determine how many of these can the roof fit? Can the structural support the weight?

The electricity needs and the available room on the shed’s rooftop needs to be balanced more precisely than your high school chemical experiment. If you have the land, a ground-mounted solar system works in your favor. If not, you must make do with what is allowed on the roof. Tough luck, mate.

how to power a shed with solar energy

The overall wattage and the roof’s capacity to hold the weight of the panels need to be weighed before getting the panel kit. The inverter and the battery needs to be bought separately.

How to assemble solar power kit for shed

The number of panels you have and the amount of space on your roof will determine if you need to mount the solar panels to your shed roof. If you just have two or three panels, you can fasten them to the roof with Z-brackets.

Since many DIY solar panel kits come with pre-drilled holes, the remainder of the installation shouldn’t be too difficult. Although you must place the controller where you can reach it, it need not always be in plain sight.

The placing of the inverter matters and needs to be selected cautiously. It must be close to the other solar power system parts but out of the way of any landscaping or trees, shrubs, or other vegetation. If there isn’t enough space for the inverter, which gets hot when it’s functioning, it could be dangerous. The most complex procedure in the entire process is getting the wiring of the solar kit precise. Wires are required to connect the solar panels to the regulator, the controller to the battery, and finally, the battery to the inverter.

Pros and cons of a solar-powered shed

Pros

The majority of resources we now consume are non-renewable. By using solar panels, the energy consumed is from the sun, and hence renewable, making it a sustainable source of energy.

Carbon dioxide production from non-renewable resources is more likely to rise, accelerating the production of greenhouse gases that cause global warming. You contribute to the preservation of our planet’s life every time you utilise solar power for your shed.

To encourage households to utilise solar energy, cities and towns all around the country provide tax incentives, rebates, and other benefits.

Depending on how frequently you use the shed, wiring electricity to it could increase your monthly electric expenses by several hundred dollars. Your energy costs will never go up if you install a solar shed using renewable energy.

Cons

Since the beginning of time, the major issue with solar energy has been the nighttime darkness. This means that during the night and on cloudy days, the solar energy source is susceptible to disruption.

Weather-Dependence. Though, in their defense, solar panels do work during moist and overcast days, it is undeniable that the overall performance is compromised.

Solar panels are expensive. The initial cost of purchasing and installing one can seem overwhelming to several and serves as the number one cause as to why people look for cheaper alternatives. But once completed, it lasts a very long period.

Closing Thoughts

To conclude the article, turning a shed into a workstation or a storage space is entirely up to you. And accordingly, the tuning of the solar shed, its layout, and the solar panel power requirements vary.

You could have just the bare necessities running or a FBI level unit set up, which obviously requires two completely different kinds of solar panel set up.

Depending on your needs, go for a solid, and reliable solar panel kit.

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About Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is the Founder of EcoMENA, and an international consultant, advisor, ecopreneur and journalist with expertise in waste management, waste-to-energy, renewable energy, environment protection and sustainable development. His geographical areas of focus include Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. Salman has successfully accomplished a wide range of projects in the areas of biomass energy, biogas, waste-to-energy, recycling and waste management. He has participated in numerous conferences and workshops as chairman, session chair, keynote speaker and panelist. Salman is the Editor-in-Chief of EcoMENA, and is a professional environmental writer with more than 300 popular articles to his credit. He is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management and environmental sustainability in different parts of the world. Salman Zafar can be reached at salman@ecomena.org or salman@bioenergyconsult.com

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