Here's a Link to another Instructable of mine: All You Need To Know About LEDs

This is a 'Green' and eco-friendly Instructable which creates a sustainable way of living which combines the use of Solar & BATTERIES. For example, the materials/ parts used do not consume electricity inorder to function. Instead it generates Clean Electricity from the Sun. No electricity is needed when it's not in use and in stand-by mode. The entire circuit is easy to repair, individual parts can be reused and also recycled down the line.

What is a Solar System?

A Solar System is a system which converts light energy into electrical energy, stores this electrical energy and also consumes this stored energy.

Main Requirement:


Why Solar?

Unlike Petrol, Solar energy from the Sun is free of cost and you dont pay taxes on it. The prices of fuel will always increase, but as production of solar panels increase the price of these panels shall decrease. You can store the converted solar energy in a BATTERY. A solar system can be assembled in any OUTDOOR WORKSHOP. Solar Energy is a Green Energy, its a Renewable Source of Energy and its good for our planet. And as long as the sun shines your system will be powered.

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wow great Job!

shortw17 days ago

Item # 6 inverter) is not really a inverter. It is a UPS.

inverter is to convert the low voltage dc to usable ac while UPS is an uninterruptible power supply it means when the main line is out this UPS will automatically switch on.. see the difference

inverter is to convert the low voltage dc to usable ac while UPS is an uninterruptible power supply it means when the main line is out this UPS will automatically switch on.. see the difference

shortw17 days ago

You can not use just any circuit breaker.

The breaker has to be DC rated and not be rated for AC use, that is against code and you may burn your home down since it may never trip at the right amperage.

the block diagram shows the breaker is in the dc side after the solar.. i suggest it should have also a breaker after the inverter to safety the inverter.

ClaudioDonate4 months ago

Just to get an idea. For a 40W load (almost nothing) I'll have to spend 400 dollars? Did a I get that right?


It is not that simple to answer.

But you could get a 100 watt Renogy panel at a little over $120 and then a cheap charge controller for about $15 at ebay and to do it right you can get two 6 volt deep cycle batteries at sams club for $85 each. then you could get an 12 volt DC into 110volt inverter 4,000 watt for about $50 if you are patient enough at ebay.

Now you spend about $305 on a 100 watt system and a battery that can store 5,000 watts and has 2500 watts useable watts per charge. This is about the cheapest you can do.

I paid a little over $ 120 per 100 watt Renogy panel at ebay. that is the easy part.

Now to go further you need to know how much power you want to generate now and in the future. Because this will dictate how big your charge controller need to be now or in the future or how big your grid-tie-converter need to be now or in the future. My charge controller was $200 but it can handle 1500 watts of solar panels at 12 volt DC and more watts at higher voltages even though I have only 300 watts of solar panels at this time which I will expand in the future little at a time. I want to spend the money only one time for this and not every time I expand my system.

There are plenty of solar panel forums to get the information.

There are Instructables on how to make a solar panel that will put off the same amount of Watts. Some will cost you about $40-50 to built. up to you...

Can you supply a link to that please? I'm interested...

theedisoneffect (author)  ClaudioDonate4 months ago

Before answering your question. I would like to clarify a few things:

1. Is your apartment load only 40W?

2. What are the specifications of the Solar Panel, Battery, Inverter, etc which could have been bought using 400 dollars? Is the inverter output only 40W.

BTW there are places/ shops where you can get all the parts for really cheaper prices.

Dan394 months ago

nice article, thanks

omg the price of that solar panel from radioshack is OUTRAGEOUS! i get 120 watt flexible panels, near the same size, for that same price...

same thing with the battery. wow a lot of this radioshack stuff is just crazy priced. i get 100ah AGM batteries from deka for cheaper

billbillt Dan393 months ago

Check out Harbor Freight for the solar cells... It seems they are pretty reasonable there....

Harbor Freight stuff. God. Always something goes wrong with Harbor Freight stuff. Their panels are only 15 watts each on a good day.

shortw Dan3917 days ago

Check sams club for batteries, you get over 200Ahr for about $85.

Dr.Bill shortw5 days ago

That's worth joining Sam's Club

theedisoneffect (author)  Dan394 months ago

Yes I will be posting a cheaper alternative list for all those parts. You can get cheaper reliable parts also in various other places and shops. If you like this instructable do vote, favourite and share it! Thanks for viewing.

shortw17 days ago


you said lead acid has to be replaced every year?

You do not replace lead acid in any battery.

miguipda4 months ago


first of all thanks for this useful instructables.

One of my main problem is to know how to quantify the needed panel (watts) and Charge controller when we add the used connected systems.

By example if I want to just use panels to connect my router (on which an external harddrive is also connected to) and foscam cameras how could I know the requested panel (watts) and the controler charger specifications ?

How could we then calculate the consumption ?

Sincerely thanks and have a nice day,

Miguipda ;-)

shortw miguipda17 days ago

Amazon, Habor Freight as well as ebay sell a Kill-a-watt meter for about $24. It will tell you how many watts you used or using. It will plug up to the wall outlet and then your device will be pluged up into the Kill-a-watt meter. Easy to use and to find out how much power a device is using.

theedisoneffect (author)  miguipda4 months ago

Hi, you can calculate the size of the required solar panel (Watts) and charge controller using the 9th step. Heres a link to it If you want the wattage of the charge controller, simply multiply its Voltage and Current. If you like this instructable do vote,favourite and share it! Thanks for viewing.

michaelgc28 days ago

Thanks for the idea, I keep thinking about calling up one of those companies that help with this sort of thing but they are really expensive.

billbillt4 months ago

double plus good.....

theedisoneffect (author)  billbillt4 months ago

If you like this instructable do vote,favourite and share it! Thanks for viewing.

got my votes...

billbillt3 months ago

thanks for this... helps..

daenergymon4 months ago

As a person who has lived off grid for 18 years I like this Instructable.

Use deep cycle batteries (readily available as golf cart batteries) for a much longer life and more available energy storage.

Also make sure you put a fuse or a breaker between each part as it is much cheaper to replace a fuse than a charge control or inverter.

Buy a good quality inverter as the better they are the more efficient they are. Most are around 80% efficient but cheap ones can be as low as 50% meaning you lose 50% of your power in the conversion.

andrewwinter4 months ago

I have been reading recently that Lead-Acid batteries need to be deep cycle batteries, like those in Golf-Carts and RVs. These are built to do long term discharge and recharge.

Car batteries are not useful. The reason being they are built to discharge a large change for a a very short period of time (for starting motor). Discharging more than 5% at a time can harm the life of such a battery.

theedisoneffect (author)  andrewwinter4 months ago

Nowdays you do get 'Deep Discharge' lead acid batteries which can be used for this application. You also get specialised 'Inverter' Lead Acid Batteries which are meant to power your inverter.

That's right! The ones intended for running the lights etc in a RV for example. The salesman should know!

There are deep-cycle 12v batteries that are sold for boating use that are designed to be heavily discharged.. they are a standard size.....

Ideally they do, but thats not to say you cant use car batteries. Just understand the limitations. Its impossible to have a perfectly efficient solar system, there are losses at every step. A deep cycle battery just reduces the losses, just like not using an inverter will (if its possible). Eg if you want to charge a laptop there is no point using an inverter, you might aswell get a 12v car charger for said laptop as it will charge more efficiently.

slew14 months ago

I live in a mobile home, can I do this there? And how much energy can I get out of one, what can I run off of it?

eruger slew14 months ago

You can do this anywhere that your panels can be angled to get lots of exposure (point them at the equator) and where it won't cause a problem with your neighbors. Obviously, if you rent you would have to check with the owner.

alzie4 months ago

I just wish the management would let us put them up!

theedisoneffect (author)  alzie4 months ago

For the sake of this planet, I really hope they do. If you like this instructable do vote,favourite and share it! Thanks for viewing.

This sounds great!

theedisoneffect (author)  Penolopy Bulnick4 months ago

If you like this instructable do vote,favourite and share it! Thanks for viewing.

xyrth4 months ago

How does your solar system prevent back feeding past the meter?

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