Power Your Shed on Solar: Go Green and Save Money!
Solar energy has an immense capacity to power tools and appliances around your home and community. If you have off-grid system setup in a shed, you can charge your batteries when the sun is shining or whenever the grid is off.
Most solar-powered sheds take advantage of solar energy to charge batteries and produce electricity. They are built with roof panels that capture sunlight and help store energy for future use.
We will tell you everything you need to know about solar power for sheds and how much it costs.
What is a Shed
A shed is a small, garage type enclosed space, typically made of wood or plastic that can be used for storage, recreation, shelter or home office.
Sheds come in many shapes and sizes, but all of them have some common features and usage.
Most sheds have Windows to let in light and air, a roof to protect the interior from rain or snow, and side walls that are long enough to store tools or other equipment.
Can I power my shed with solar?
Yes, you can power your shed with solar. As long as you have a rooftop to install a solar array on.
In fact, many shed homeowners do this.
When the sun is shining, a solar-powered shed can charge batteries. The batteries store energy for later use.
The battery system provide electricity to power appliances inside and outside the shed when the grid is offline.
Shed Size and Structure Matters
In order to install the solar system, you need to make sure that you choose the right solar panel system for the size and structure of your shed.
The size of a shed can vary from a small one to a large one. The largest can reach 12 × 20 feet. The smallest is 6 × 8 feet. The average shed size is about 10×12 feet.
It is common for photovoltaic panels to be attached to the roof of your shed,
Panels vary in size and voltage. It’s important to consider the size of your shed when choosing solar panels.
A 100 watt 5 x 3 foot solar panel kit is the minimum size of solar panel system to power a shed, ideal for smaller sheds.
The next factor to consider is the structural suitability of the shed. Make sure it can support the weight of the solar panel system.
Also consider how much sunlight your shed receives and how much power you’ll need.
What is the wattage of a solar panel system for a shed?
The wattage of solar panel system for shed varies depending on the type of solar panels and their power rating.
The average wattage of solar panel system to power a shed ranges from 100-250 watts.
How Much Roof Space Do You Need for a Solar-Powered Shed?
The wattage of your solar panel system and the size of your shed will determine how much roof space you need for a solar-powered shed.
For example, you will need at least 17 square feet of roof space if you have a 200 watt solar panel system.
How much does it cost to install solar panels on a shed?
The cost of solar panels for a shed varies depending on the brand and size of solar panel system.
The average price range for an installation of solar panel system ranges from 1,000 to 2,500.
it should provide much energy for tools, appliances power consumption or charging batteries.
if its a large or grouped shed, There must have a roof large enough for several solar panels linked together, By cables and components merging, you can save a lot, but it still costs a lot more than the individual parts.
Calculating Wattage and Size of Solar Panel for Your Shed
To calculate the wattage,size and number of panels for your shed, you will need to determine:
amount of power (kwh) the shed required.
The wattage of your solar panel system
the larger the panel surface area the bigger in pv watts and power output.
100W solar panel is enough to power the shed interior and outbuilding lights, ventilation fans and charge electronics like smartphone.
300W Solar Panel is ok to power the circular saw and heating system if there is a solar inverter installed.
Advantages of Solar Power for Sheds
Solar power for sheds is the best way to power your shed without relying on the grid.
Solar is also a highly eco-friendly sustainable energy source, and doesn’t require electrical permits to be installed.
Solar power for sheds also has a long lifespan, with most systems lasting around 20-25 years.
Sunlight Exposure and Cost Considerations
It’s important to consider a few factors. One is the amount of sunlight available.
Factors such as obstructions, other buildings, and tree branches should be taken into consideration. This will help you determine if solar panels are worthwhile.
Solar Kits for Sheds
just like home and RV solar power system, you will need solar charge controller, solar inverter, cables, fuse box and solar batteries to form the ecosystem.
A kit from ZHCSolar will usually include panels, wiring, inverter and other necessary components for installation. This system is typically more expensive than buying the parts individually.
Battery, Inverter, Charge Controller and Cables
like in homes, sheds require alternating current electricity, an solar inverter is necessary to convert direct current (DC Power) in battery to usable alternating current (AC Power).
A charge generator is used to regulate the power output from the panels to the batteries. it prevents overcharging of the batteries and ensures optimal battery life and performance.
Cables are also necessary to wiring all the components together.
Benefits of Solar Power for Sheds
The main benefits of solar power for sheds are environmental and financial.
Sheds can be powered with solar energy without the need for grid electricity, saving both on fuel costs and carbon emissions.
Can My Shed Roof Handle Solar Panels?
Yes, sheds can have solar panels installed on their roof. This option is practical if you have good sunlight exposure and your shed is in an appropriate location.
The weight depends on the size of the solar panel and the number of solar panels you have installed.
Solar panels suitable for sheds range from 100W to 300W and weigh from 24 lbs to 45lbs, with mounting brackets not exceeding 70lbs, a weight the shed can handle.
Wind Power – An Alternative to a Solar Shed
Wind turbines can be an effective alternative to solar panels in powering a shed, especially in winter when there is less sunlight.
Wind power is a renewable and environmentally-friendly energy source that produces electricity from the wind.
Wind turbines are also much smaller and easier to install than solar panels, making them a viable option for many shed owners.
They are usually mounted on the roof or on a pole for better wind capture, and they generate power from light winds, making them a more reliable source of power than solar panels.
It’s possible to combine wind power with solar power to benefit from the benefits of both technologies.
wind solar hybrid systems can help provide electricity when it’s needed most.
The constant flow of electricity produced by solar panels provides a reliable source of power during the day, while wind turbines can help provide power at night or regardless weather conditions.
Still, wind turbines have their own set of advantages. Because they don’t require an electric grid connection, they’re perfect for remote locations such as sheds.
And because no permits are needed for installation, they’re a great option for anyone who wants to go green but doesn’t want to invest too much time or money into it.
Pros and Cons of Solar Sheds
The advantage of a solar shed is that it provides uninterrupted, clean energy. The energy is used as long as the sun shines, making it great choice for long time use.
the cons is it required some upfront investment and usually it not low.
Is It Worth Adding Solar Panels to Your Shed?
Installing solar panels on a shed can generate renewable energy and can help you power your shed with less electricity.
How to get the most out of solar power in your shed
When considering solar power for your shed, it’s important to understand how the technology works and what you need to consider. Here are a few tips:
Consult with an experienced solar installer about your specific installation requirements.
Calculate the roof area that will be best suited for installing solar panels—taking into account orientation, sun exposure and wind capture potential.
Select the right type of panel for your shed, Different panels have different efficiencies when it comes to harvesting sun’s rays.
What items should be kept inside a shed using solar power?
battery should stored in a battery box and always keep inside, it should be lithium or AGM/Gel type batteries.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I save money by using solar power to power my shed?
If you’re looking to power your shed with solar power, there are a few things you can do.
you can compare quotes from solar panel installers to determine the most cost-effective solution for your shed.
besides, DIY solar panels are available from 100 to 10,00, depending on the wattage needed. much cheaper than a solar installer.
How can I determine if powering my shed on solar is the best option for me?
There are a few things you can do to determine if solar power is the best option for powering your shed, the first it to compare the electricity bills before and after the system instalments.
Sheds can be an excellent choice for solar panel installation- if they’re well-designed and durable, of course.
If you’re looking to power your shed with solar energy, the options we discussed above are the ideal way to cut your electricity bill and reduce your carbon footprint.
However, you must ensure the shed is of good quality and that it is well-insulated to get the most out of solar power.
Can I have Solar Panels on a Shed?This is one way.
Around Christmas time I was talking to my daughter and her partner who live in Australia, about the new shed they had built and the solar power supply that they installed to power the new shed so I thought that I would share that project here. Can I put solar panels on a shed and what size do I need? Yes, you can use the roof on a shed to install a solar energy system my daughter’s partner has just had a new shed built and he sourced all the components and installed a portable system. Now he has power and lights in his shed and in this article, I will take you through what you will need and how to do it.
In this article, I wanted to go through the whole process of buying the shed getting it built researching the best solar installation(on a tight budget) for the shed and how everything works now that this shed is finished.
This shed is in Queensland Australia but with a little imagination and some furious googling research, I think a similar installation could be achieved anywhere.
The new shed research and construction
For a start the shed needed to be 6 metres x 9 metres or 20 feet x 30 feet and to be built on a concrete slab/floor, so several companies were chosen and when the research was done it was discovered that one company was the manufacturer and supplier to most of the other shed kit retailers.
Even though the price’s from all the companies were similar the decision was made to purchase a shed from the company that was the best at communication with their customers and were really quick with any correspondence to any questions the decision was made to go with a company called Fair Dinkum Sheds. Even though the price’s from all the companies were similar these guys were excellent with explaining everything that would be required and some details about building approvals with the local authority. The lead time for delivery was 6 to 8 weeks and in that time some trees and palms needed to be removed and the site leveled.
Building the shed in the backyard first
So with the trees and palms removed it was time to level the site so a slab could be laid for the shed to sit on. A skid steer bobcat was suggested to do the job by the shed company. A vote was taken and it was decided to get some other estimate from local operators and in the process, we made a great saving of A 200.It just meant putting some wooden pegs in the ground showing the corner positions of the shed.
Ready and raring to go and get the shed finished but everything in its own good time and about two weeks before the expected shed kits arrival the concreter that the shed company had arranged dropped off some equipment and formwork to install the slab.
A few days of work and the concrete slab was in place and ready for the shed.
A text message from Fair dinkum sheds to say the kit would arrive tomorrow and there was plenty of excitement about finally getting the shed built and then installing the solar power system for lighting and power.
With everything going to plan the next day the kit arrived with a three-man construction crew and within two days the shed was up and looking great.
The total time was just over 2 months from the time the trees were removed until the shed was finished not a bad effort because of the 8 week lead time until the shed was delivered.
I didn’t mention that the shed is made of steel and has just external metal sheeting anyway you can see what it looks like here in some pictures. The Kits come with some rainwater downpipes to the ground and so the stormwater drainage is up to the owner.
How a camping trip led to the solar powering of the shed
On a recent camping trip, a friend had a solar panel connected to an Arc Pac th at supplied enough power for the camp fridge. lights, camera batteries charged and phone batteries a further investigation and research and around A700 excluding the solar panel it seemed like great value.
After researching everything that would be needed there was one item that could prove problematic and that was the Arc Pak because of the 240-volt inverter is only 300 watts and that wouldn’t be enough for all the power needed in the shed.
This would limit the option of using power tools. Yes, I hear you saying that most power tools are now rechargeable, but you want to use something like a grinder that uses 1000 w. One of the other options was the Ecco boxx 1500 but at A2000 well that was out of the running so the search was on again for a substitute inverter of around 1500 w capacity and reasonable price.
So the outcome of this research was a truly great outcome and saved a packet of money. For less than half the cost of the Ecoboxx 1500. Here is a list of the items that were chosen and sourced from the internet.
- X-Cell 145Ah 12 volt AGM deep cycle battery costing
- Genpower 2000w/4000w 240 volt Pure Sine Wave Inverter
- Various inline circuit breakers, cable, battery meter, 12 volt Dual USB and Power sockets.
- A roller Tool Box for casing the whole unit
- 1 X Solar Panel rated at 300 w with a built-in 15 amp MPPT controller
- Shed lighting.A 5-way gang switch and some led lighting strips consisting of 2 x 1 meter (20w) strips and 4 x 50cm long strips at 12w 12 volt
How this all works…
Going with the safer and more electronics friendly Pure Sine Wave inverter as it would be used this setup to run a TV and charge tablets and phones. This unit has two 240v plugs, a USB charging point along with my added 12v socket and dual USB’s(3ea) on the side of the box with the battery meter(9) giving volt and battery level % readouts. The inverter is very quiet with only minimal fan operation and has proved powerful enough to even run my Air Compressor! As the battery is around 30kg (yes 30kg!) the roller box is a great option if you are planning on moving it around.
This is what Michael ( my daughter’s partner) had to say about the solar install…
“For the shed lighting, I ran separate wiring for the two 1m LED strips (15ea) over the car bays and used 3 of the 50cm LED strips (5ea) to light over the workshop area. These are all operated from a 5-way gang switch (29) mounted just inside the sliding door for easy access. Since setting this up I have calculated that I can run all the lighting in the shed (76w total) or have a single light and run a 40” TV (82w total) for approximately 3 hours and use only around 20% of the battery. In an Aussie summer, this can be recharged with the 300w Panel and a 15amp MPPT controller in about 2-3 hours, leaving anything else to be charged during the day such as phone, tablet, portable speaker, drill and Dremel batteries as a bonus. I have been running this setup for several months now and so far have never had the battery go below 76% and returning to 100% within half a day of sunshine. Conclusion, for less than A900 I have provided power and lighting to my new shed that is not only environmentally friendly but also totally off the grid and provides a great portable back-up that I can relocate to the main house during blackouts in storm season.” He said.
“Also, today I had the Dremel Battery, Ryobi Drill Battery, Yamaha Portable Speaker, and a Lenovo 10” Tablet all on charge at the same time. With the panel out on the lawn it was holding power at 13V, so just charging off the panel “Michael said.
Update about two months after installing the solar power system in the shed
Michael said “I have been running this setup for several months now and so far have never had the battery go below 76% and returning to 100% within half a day of sunshine. Conclusion, for less than A900 I have provided power and lighting to my new shed that is not only environmentally friendly but also totally off-grid and provides a great portable back-up that I can relocate to the main house during blackouts in the storm season.”
Some other questions that I have been asked about solar energy
How much solar power do I need to run a refrigerator? The average refrigerator takes about three or four average solar panels to run, but that number could be as low as one.
How many watt solar panel do I need to charge a deep cycle battery? A 450W Solar Module would charge a 12V 200Ah (Fully Drained) Battery in 6 hours of sunlight.
Can I run a Fridge on solar power? Yes, you can the average refrigerator found in the United States uses approximately 57 kWh per month while the average freezer uses 58 kWh, for a combined total of 115 kWh. Divide that by 30 kWh per month per solar panel and you get 3.8 solar panels.
My Shed Is 75 Metres Away, Can I Put Solar Panels On It?
So there’s a shed at your place that seems ideal for solar panels, but it’s well down the back of the block. Can you install solar panels on it, and if so, how much?
The short answer is: it depends on how thick you are prepared to go with the cables from the shed to the switchboard. The cable thickness required varies wildly depending on how much power you want to move over what distance. It’s Ohm’s law.
To start with, your DNSP 1 will have an SIR 2 book with rules about the SPD, MPD, meter isolator 3. service size and meter location. But perhaps we should back up a little …
The Water/Electricity Analogy.
Voltage in Volts = pressure trying to burst out of the pipes.
Current in Amperes (amps) = the volume of water flow.
Resistance in Ohms = the drag or impedance that causes low flow and high pressure.
% Voltage Drop Allowed In Your Home
Electrical rules (AS3000) say that from:
- the “point of supply” on your premises (which might be the fuse on the eave or the retail meter box)
there can’t be more than 5% resistive loss at full load 4.
For solar power systems, the rules are more stringent. Australian Standard AS4777.1 stipulates a maximum 2% voltage drop, (or voltage rise depending your perspective) from the solar inverter to the ‘point-of-supply’ (where your house connects to the grid). Some houses need the same fat cable that connects you to the street, just to connect the inverter. It’s a bit like having a fire hose to make perfectly sure your garden sprinkler covers the lawn properly.
The quality of grid electricity is the reason. By law, the pressure supplied to you isn’t 240 volts, it’s actually a nominal 230 volts, and it’s allowed to drop 6% or rise 10%. I’ll be honest here; I’ve seldom measured it below 240 anyway.
In the same vein, you’re not allowed to supply electricity back to the grid under 216 or over 253 volts. But the catch is, if you’re going to export energy, your inverter must push the solar electricity out at a higher voltage than the grid. You need to generate the pressure that pumps energy back into the street.
Here begins the conundrum. As more solar capacity is added to the network, all those inverters push up the voltage in the street, and the DNSPs have to do more things to keep the voltage down. Sometimes we have to call the power company and lodge a complaint if they’re not keeping it under control.
At the bleeding edge, SA Power Networks have taken to turning down (or turning off) solar power systems remotely if things begin to go pear-shaped using ‘world-first’ tools: substation-level voltage management and dynamic export limits. It’s pretty interesting – grid stability is now partly dependent on a lot of dodgy customer-owned Wi-Fi connections, but it seems to be working.
If you have solar panels and their inverter on a distant shed, the problem is compounded for you because in order to make the energy flow from your inverter back to your house, the voltage needs to rise even more. You can end up with 253 volts at the inverter, but because of drag, (think of a kinked garden hose), even at 253 volts there’s still not enough pressure to reach the house and efficiently use your own energy, let alone export to the grid.
Ohm’s law has been updated for the internet age but remains fundamentally the same concept.
Don’t worry, you won’t risk blowing things up with ever-increasing voltages. The inverter will derate itself by 5% for every volt above 253, and it’ll cut out completely at 258 volts after ten minutes.
These problems get worse still on rural SWER connections. Under the old standards, solar would rise to 263 volts and still be running at full output. This excess voltage creates waste heat in your appliances and I can assure you, having lived with it, 263 volts will incinerate your toast.
What Wire Size/Thickness Will We Need?
It depends. Naughty electricians won’t bother with the proper calculations. Rules of thumb and assumptions abound, so it’s worth quizzing them for both your sake and theirs. It saves the embarrassment of your solar inverter tripping off because its increased electrical pressure climbs too high to overcome the drag on the way to the main switchboard
As a guide, the typical garden shed might have a 2.5mm 2, 16amp feed shared from the house somewhere. For a workshop, the rule of thumb is a 6mm 2 cable and 32 amp breaker in the house… the one that Mum switched on and off to get you to come up for tea, back when mobile phones weren’t a thing.
Coincidentally, that nominal 32 amp capacity is just what an average 7.5 kW EV charger calls for. That means when you get an EV, if you put your Level 2 EV charger in the shed, you won’t have enough flow to do more work there – not even to run the beer fridge.
Big Loads In The Shed Can Reduce Your Solar Losses
Say you’ve got a 6mm 2 cable to the shed, and it will cost a motza to upgrade it. You were hoping to put 6 kW of inverter and solar panels on the shed roof to help charge your EV.
Some installers may say you can only install a 3kW solar system to stay under a 2% loss in that cable. The pressure will be high when there’s lots of sunshine, because drag from an undersized cable will choke off the flow from your 6kW solar system.
The more enlightened installer may offer you the full 6 kW, knowing an EV on a level 2 charger can soak up all the power those panels produce, until it’s fully charged and a 3kW export limit brings things under control.
It’s a great example. The saving grace for solar is that it isn’t so much an extra load on the network, it’s actually unload 5.
What’s The Proper Solution For Solar Cable Thickness?
First, we measure, then calculate. It’s distance versus load, with adjustments for cable type, installation method and temperature de-rating.
To go longer distances, you increase the cable size. Jumping from 6 to 10 to 16mm 2 (or even more) costs a few bucks in copper, but will likely cost a lot of bucks in conduit and a new trench. However, that presents an opportunity. I always insist we put some data cables in (because you’ll need them later anyway) and I have even seen a pipe to the hot water service added for a little shed luxury. The wisest of all customers will bury a 90mm stormwater pipe to use as a duct to pull other services through later.
Now that solar systems are getting much bigger, network operators are insisting on export limits. To achieve technical compliance, an inverter Smart meter 6 is installed at your main switchboard so your solar power system can see what’s coming and going.
A trap that befalls some is this Smart meter must have an RS485 communication link to the inverter. There are some wireless solutions available, but a hard-wired connection is always best; so it’s handy you’ve already installed a few extra data cables while you had a trench open for the new shed supply.
And The Upshot Is?
There are lots of reasons to install solar panels on your shed:
- It’s often much easier to install more solar onto a straightforward shed instead of a quintuple-fronted tile-roofed house.
- Many people prefer solar out of sight.
- Often your outbuildings have a different aspect or better sun access without tree shade.
- It’s valuable extra space for those who love big solar systems.
So, if you have the option, and you can get good connectivity for electricity and data then sheds are a great place for solar panels. Especially when I don’t have to climb through this nightmare:
Yes, I crawled through there because the apprentice is too young, tall and handsome to fit.
A Better Alternative: Long DC Cables
Covering the distance with high voltage DC is the answer if you have the right solar design. It will still involve a trench or overhead conduit but potentially less copper and more efficiency, which makes a large system feasible where it would otherwise just be too far away.
You see, the magic of electricity is high voltage and low current will do the same amount of work as low voltage and high current. The AC side of your system is limited to 250ish volts, but the DC side is legal up to 600 volts. Sadly, conflicting Australian standards prevent us from using 1000 volts; which everything is designed for internationally.
So, for example, for 3 kW of power pushed through a 6mm 2 copper cable:
- 240 V AC and 12 A, standard AC cable at 75ºC = 27m with 1% loss
- 600 V DC and 5 A, in better quality DC cable rated for 90ºC = 152m with 1% loss
In the first example, you could have a shed around 10 metres from your switchboard. However, in the second example, the difference is dramatic: higher voltage means your outbuilding can be 75 metres away.
There you have it. Solar power really can go the distance when you get the design right.
- DistributionNetworkServiceProvider… the poles and wires people in your area. ↩
- Service and Installation Rules… the book they publish explaining what you have to do when connecting to the grid. ↩
- ServiceProtectionDevice – MeterProtectionDevice – Meter Isolator… The fuse that blows when your local indoor gardener has too many lights on their tomato crop. ↩
- Of course, there’s an app for that.↩
- Something we have had to teach the old DNSP officers in the past, they couldn’t imagine flow in both directions ↩
- I wish the Smart person who came up with this Smart meter terminology hadn’t applied it to every retail revenue device, inverter measuring equipment, consumption monitor and load diverter. ↩
We put solar panels on our shed roof
We have been talking about getting solar for about 10 years and last week our electrician came to set up our new system. I’ll tell you all about the system that we chose, but first a bit of background.
A bit of background
When we first started looking at solar around 2011, our electricity bill was paid by my employer, so there was no incentive or cost saving for us at the time. I did read our electricity meter and work out the size system we would ideally need. And at the time the feed-in tariffs were high, so it was tempting, but we decided to wait. I wrote some analysis at the time here, and the calculations might still be useful if you are considering solar.
We lost that electricity payment at few years later, but by then we knew we were moving to Cheslyn Rise eventually, so there still didn’t seem any point investing in solar. Also the feed-in tariffs had significantly reduced by that time.
We briefly considered a full solar option for Cheslyn Rise, but at the time batteries were still very expensive. Even though we had to pay for several power poles to bring a grid-connection from our neighbour’s property, it was still cheaper than a full solar system with batteries. And a grid connection is better for Pete’s welding. We still intended to install a system eventually.
Then after we moved into our secondhand house in 2017, there were so many other things to set up, we didn’t have time to think about solar. But we did make sure to orientate one of our bigger sheds with a north-facing roof, with the intention of getting to solar eventually.
Electricity security during blackouts
When I started researching solar options again in late 2019, I was looking for an inverter that would let us have electricity when we lost our grid connection. Most inverters cut off power to the house if the grid connection is lost, this is to protect any lines-workers as they try to clear the faults. In that case, the only way to power the house is to have a battery system.
As batteries are still relatively expensive and we only lose power occasionally (maybe once or twice a year), I just wanted the ability to run a few freezers, not the entire house. Fortunately there are now a few inverters offering the capability to draw a small amount of electricity without the batteries.
The right inverter
The one that seemed to best meet our needs was the Fronius Primo Gen24 (there are a few similar options, but this was the simplest). It allows feeds from multiple generation sources, to charge batteries or feed the house, but also a PV point that can be used to power a few appliances if the grid connection is lost. It was due to be approved in Australia in early 2020, so I decided to wait.
Of course, things got delayed, and it wasn’t available until early 2021, and even then, it was hard to get. I found a supplier in Brisbane who was able to post the inverter to us. And I used our local electrician to complete the installation.
Strangely, the inverter was supplied without the front panel, and we are still waiting for that to turn up, but its kind of interesting to see the cooling fins behind the panel as that was one of the features of this inverter!
Fortunately our electrician has some experience with solar systems. He went through his normal supplier for the solar panels and other equipment we needed to complete the system. He installed the largest system we are allowed by our network provider. He looked after all the paperwork for, which was also a bonus.
It was difficult to get a photo of the panels, and I wasn’t here for any of the installation, so I really can’t tell you more about this part!
Making the most of a solar system
Monitoring. when I was first considering solar, I read our meter morning and night to get an idea of how many kWh we were using. Fortunately the new systems come with more sophisticated monitoring systems. Unfortunately our system needs a Wi-Fi connection and we don’t have that in the shed yet!
Use electricity when its sunny. our system is a bit oversized for our export requirements, so we can make the most of available electricity by running all appliances during the day. We have been using the timer functions on our washing machine and dishwasher, as well as a timer on our hot water system. This is a bit of a change from just using what we want whenever, but I think we will get used to it.
North-facing, no shade roof is best. if you are building new. try to face a roof to the north, preferably with minimum shading from trees or other buildings, this will maximise the electricity you can generate.
Future-proofing. you might not want batteries now, but when they get cheaper you will need a new inverter if you have not bought one that is battery-ready. Most of the cheap solar-deals are for basic inverters. If you can afford to invest in a better model, that is battery-ready, you will be able to connect batteries later when they get cheaper.
Use a local electrician. if you have someone local with solar experience, it can pay to use them, as these systems can have problems that require troubleshooting and repairs. This can be a nightmare if your installed travelled from a larger city to install and doesn’t want to come back to help you when you have problems.
This solar system is just one of the many ways that we use solar energy on our property. from our washing line, solar electric fence energisers to a solar oven, we make use of this plentiful source of energy as much as possible.
What tips to you have for getting most out of solar energy?