In this Instructable, I will walk you through how I powered my 7x4 metal apex shed up using a 245 watt solar panel and some basic knowledge about electricity.
As my shed is a fair way up the garden, it was going to be a challenge running cabling from the house up to the shed so, after doing some research, I was ready to go! To get the information I needed about the shed project, I visited 'CAT, Centre for Alternative Technology in North wales.
This opened my eyes up to the possibilities for deployment of renewable energy and it's capabilities.
For any one interested in this project, I would recommend Michel Daniek's book ' Do It Yourself 12v solar power' for a helpful guide. I get lots of power daily, even on a stormy, cloudy day.
Step 1: The Products Needed
For the basic principle of building this project, the required products are listed below. Please note that you will probably need other bits and bobs in order for your system to work.You will also need tools to rig it up.
solar charge controller.
solar panel. (Any wattage will do my 245 watt panel was second hand from a company)
cables used for connecting componets.
leisure battery. mine is a 12v 75 Amp Hours
mounting system for panel.
bolts for mounting system.
connectors for solar panel and battery.
Step 2: The Principle and How It Works
The main principle for this project is using the solar panel to charge a 12v battery. To control how much charge enters the battery, you need a solar charge controller. These shut of the solar panel when the battery is full and allow you to connect lights and loads. This is often done through the load off the controller. However, mine is not as I am saving the slots for the inverter I may use in the future.
Luckily, my controller came with 5v USB outputs (which I use to power my Goal Zero USB lantern) and general 12v DC outputs which I have my LED strip connected to.
The reason for why you have a leisure battery is that they able to cope with the deep discharging cycles. If you use a standard car battery, you will have to replace the battery every couple of months.
Step 3: Assembling the System
Now we understand the principle, we can rig the system up. To mount the solar pv panel, choose a suitable way to fix it. This will depend on the size of your panel and always check that the shed is capable of supporting the panel. You could mount you panel on a pole and have that coming off your shed which is great because it allows you to direct the panel to the direction of south.
Next, run the two cables from your panel through the shed and into the solar charge controller. On the controller, there will be two sections marked with a solar panel logo. Plug into these with + and - in the correct places. Now, run cable from the battery slots to the battery itself.
Make sure you have suitable connectors and don't short the battery out. Finally, attach your lights in the appropriate places.
You have now completed your basic 12v solar panel system. You can modify certain power tools to make them 12v which gives you even more possibilities.
Thank you very much for viewing and please vote for me in the solar contest 2016.