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Solar for Sheds (standalone off-grid)

Solar Sheds usually fall under the category of DIY systems and can honestly be installed with basic electrical knowledge. There are as many variations for shed systems as there are sheds, but this one is a great example of a balanced solution of power and cost with high quality components.

Solar panel kit – Panels are used to charge the batteries not run the equipment.

For a great all-purpose Solar Shed system, a 400 watt solar array will work very well and the best part it comes with everything you need to install it and energize it – Panels, Inverter, MPPT Charge Controller, Cables, mounting brackets for panels, a pair of safe Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries.

Sometimes you just want to order and have all the pieces in one shipment.

If have questions, take a minute and call and we’ll offer assistance, even on the weekend.

For certain aspects on a shed system like needing support for 220 V equipment, those are the components that require some additional discussion and context to ensure fitness.

Here are some great one-off components if you are trying to simply replace equipment on a Shed system already in operation.

Inverter(s)

For a Shed or a garage, make sure your inverter is a PURE SINE WAVE inverter – do NOT buy a stepped or Modified Sine Wave inverter otherwise you will have issues with tools and sensitive electronic equipment like mobile devices.

Real nice all-purpose inverter that can also be used for a mobile applications.

For applications needing more than 2000 Watts, give us a call or message us at service@cs2energy.com  to discuss related components that are required to build the system properly.

Batteries

For your shed you can choose from Sealed Lead Acid, AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat) or the current crop of Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries.

Quick reference:

Typical sizes for batteries are 6V, 12V, 24V and 48V.  For Shed systems 6V or 12V batteries can be combined in Series and/or Parallel to create higher voltage designs.  In many cases you will see 4-8-12 or even 16 batteries being used to create the energy source needed for power requirements.

GOOD

  • Sealed Lead Acid (SLA)  require venting so cannot be used indoors
  • Most inexpensive based upon price alone BUT, cannot be discharged more than 50% of the rated capacity, so you really have to re-calculate the real operating costs before you buy.
  • SLA batteries are readily available from many sources making them a good choice for DIY projects
  • Typical lifecycle for SLA batteries is 3-5 years then they will likely begin to exhibit symptoms like inability to hold a charge
  • SLA batteries are readily available in anywhere from 35 Amp Hour to 120 Amp Hour sizes
  • SLA batteries require maintenance to ensure fluid levels are at the correct levels.

BEST

  • Currently the best battery technology is LiFePO4, and are also the most expensive
  • LiFePO4 batteries typically come in 12V, 24V and 48V power rating
  • LiFePO4 can be discharged 100% but better to limit that to 80% to minimize recharging times.
  • These are the current Go-TO battery technology for Off-Grid, large shops, Residential applications with batteries
  • One 48V LiFePO4 battery can produce 5,120 watts of power
  • Lifecycle of these batteries is 5,000 – 7,000 charge/discharge cycles or about 10-15 years or longer
  • An issue for LiFePO4 batteries is that they do not like real cold weather. Anything below freezing the built in battery management system will shut down re-charging…which could be a problem in many locations. These batteries perform best indoors or at least with a triggered warmer which is usually a feature of the more sophisticated Inverters used for Off-Grid and Grid-Tie projects

So, the takeaway is that for an outdoor shop or shed that will be exposed to cold weather, utilizing 2 – 6 12V AGM 200 Amp Hour batteries make a great power solution in combination with 400-800 watts of solar panels.

Solar Panel Bundles

Charge Controller for the Batteries

A charge controller protects batteries from over charging when using Lead Acid or AGM batteries. Typically only the newer LiFePO4 batteries come with battery management systems. These are too terribly expensive and usually start around $20 and go up. For a shed with limited use, these items will work fine.  If you are planning to use your shed as a man cave or a she shed, then spend a few dollars and get a higher quality controller for $75 – $100.

Fuses

Whenever you have a battery in your system you will want to use at least an inline fuse to protect the battery from being over drawn or over charged

  • Wires & Cables
  • Distribution panel
  • Ground Rod(s)
  • Outlets