100w single panel setup advice for shed

dm6156

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Hello all, new user to forum and to solar.

I'm going to add a solar setup to my shed (12x12 previous owner built) which is in the woods (20 feet from wood line/view of sun) across a creek from my outdoor patio/firepit. Here is my current design: 100watt Renogy solar panel, 30A charge controller, 100Ah battery, 400watt continuous/800watt peak inverter. I've ordered all except the inverter, it's something I already own.

I'm going to wire up 2 lights, (1) hardwired outdoor dawn/dusk motion activated 30watt LED security light above shed entry door and (2) 60Watt plugin LED shop light inside the shed. Eventually, I'll add either some LED string type lights or landscape lighting around the firepit and be powered from shed solar system. Shed also has an overhang on the opposite side where the door is where I store firewood and I may add a 2nd security light in case I need to get more firewood at night.

Question 1 - disconnect & breaker box - Is this overkill for the small amount of usage/draw that I'm planning on using? A breaker box would allow for more hardwired devices in case in future if I want to add an outlet or two (charging power tool batteries) and keep me from having to convert hardwired security light to plug in. Also, current inverter has 2 plugs only.

Question 2 - grounding - I'm going to use a adjustable angle ground mount for the panel and it'll set at wood line with clear view of sun (maybe on concrete blocks or small wood platform). Should I ground solar panel? suggestions on grounding components inside shed (controller, inverter, etc).

Question 3 - suggestion on conduit for running wires (solar + romex) inside shed? I'm wanting to make sure nothing is able to chew it (mice, squirrels, raccoons, etc). should I use PVC? flexible conduit? old fashioned metal?

Any other suggestions or other tips is welcome for my setup.

Thanks,

Dan
 

Rednecktek

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Well, a few thoughts:

1: Depending on where you live I doubt a 100w panel is going to be enough. I have 200w of panel on my shed and it can't keep up with the 5w draw from my inverter when we haven't seen sun in over a month.

2: What kind of battery are you using? If it's any of the lead acid types (FLA, AGM, Gel) you're only going to get 50Ah out of that battery so recalculate that. If you're looking at a Lith battery, are you going to be able to keep it above freezing all the time?

3: Connecting up to a breaker panel might sound like overkill to some people, but I'd call it future-proofing! :) Go for it! Just run plugs from the inverters outputs to the breaker panel lugs.

4: Your inverter and breaker panel will both have grounding points, make sure you tie those all in. The panel itself wouldn't hurt but it's not a necessary thing.

5: If you're worried about rodents chewing on stuff then metal conduit is your only option as they'll go right through Romex and plastic conduit barely slows them down. That includes in the overhead and walls too if you're going to have insulation they can climb up in to get to things.

Just my thoughts.
 

dm6156

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Well, a few thoughts:

1: Depending on where you live I doubt a 100w panel is going to be enough. I have 200w of panel on my shed and it can't keep up with the 5w draw from my inverter when we haven't seen sun in over a month.

2: What kind of battery are you using? If it's any of the lead acid types (FLA, AGM, Gel) you're only going to get 50Ah out of that battery so recalculate that. If you're looking at a Lith battery, are you going to be able to keep it above freezing all the time?

3: Connecting up to a breaker panel might sound like overkill to some people, but I'd call it future-proofing! :) Go for it! Just run plugs from the inverters outputs to the breaker panel lugs.

4: Your inverter and breaker panel will both have grounding points, make sure you tie those all in. The panel itself wouldn't hurt but it's not a necessary thing.

5: If you're worried about rodents chewing on stuff then metal conduit is your only option as they'll go right through Romex and plastic conduit barely slows them down. That includes in the overhead and walls too if you're going to have insulation they can climb up in to get to things.

Just my thoughts.

1. I'm in Georgia. At this point, no plans for workshop type thing, just storage. However, I do have a couple projects coming up that require power tools and would be more convenient to use it to power battery chargers.
2. AGM - yes, I counted on 50Ah - 50% battery.
3. Any suggestion on panel? 100amp standard that can be found at hardware stores/electrical supply?
4. Thanks.
5. No insulation at this point. I've only seen mice inside (that was when I took out old cabinets previous owner left when they did remodel in house). I do have many squirrels and racoons (catch them on game cams). I was thinking of metal flexible conduit vs plastic type.

Thanks again!

Dan
 
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Rednecktek

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Good luck on the panels, no hardware store I've seen yet has panels or SCC's for anything less than $Ridiculous moneys if even at all (I'm looking at you $400 200w panels at HomeDepot!) so you're probably stuck unless there's someplace local to you.

Flexible metal conduit would be the way to go for sure.

What are your Fall/Winter skies like? Remember there's going to be standby draw on both the inverter and the battery chargers when they're plugged in. If you're on a budget the 120Ah Deep Cycles at Wally World are only about $100 and you can get 3 of those (180Ah net) for a comparable AGM at 50Ah.
 
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Bluedog225

Texas
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I just finished installing my three 100w panels that I bought years ago. One larger panel would have been easier/cheaper. At this point in time, I’d go for a modern 300 watt panel or something 300-400 watt used off craigslist.

Give some thought to a small LiFePo. I used a lead acid for years in a similar situation. I think their time has passed. No worries, long life.

Good luck with the rats. Metal is the only way.
 

dm6156

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Good luck on the panels, no hardware store I've seen yet has panels or SCC's for anything less than $Ridiculous moneys if even at all (I'm looking at you $400 200w panels at HomeDepot!) so you're probably stuck unless there's someplace local to you.

Flexible metal conduit would be the way to go for sure.

What are your Fall/Winter skies like? Remember there's going to be standby draw on both the inverter and the battery chargers when they're plugged in. If you're on a budget the 120Ah Deep Cycles at Wally World are only about $100 and you can get 3 of those (180Ah net) for a comparable AGM at 50Ah.
It's rare to go more than 2-3 days without any sun at all (remnants of hurricanes). The panel will be in the most sun accessible place in the back yard.

Thanks,

Dan
 

dm6156

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Good luck on the panels, no hardware store I've seen yet has panels or SCC's for anything less than $Ridiculous moneys if even at all (I'm looking at you $400 200w panels at HomeDepot!) so you're probably stuck unless there's someplace local to you.

Flexible metal conduit would be the way to go for sure.

What are your Fall/Winter skies like? Remember there's going to be standby draw on both the inverter and the battery chargers when they're plugged in. If you're on a budget the 120Ah Deep Cycles at Wally World are only about $100 and you can get 3 of those (180Ah net) for a comparable AGM at 50Ah.

The charge controller I will be using is listed as having a self consumption of < 10mA.

Thanks

Dan
 

Rednecktek

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The charge controller I will be using is listed as having a self consumption of < 10mA.
Right, but the inverter will have a few watts of draw and any battery chargers will have some draw and yoir motion lights will have some draw even if they're not actually doing anything. A few watts here and a few watts there add up when they're not getting any sun like at night or overcast weather.

Just something to factor for.
 

dm6156

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Right, but the inverter will have a few watts of draw and any battery chargers will have some draw and yoir motion lights will have some draw even if they're not actually doing anything. A few watts here and a few watts there add up when they're not getting any sun like at night or overcast weather.

Just something to factor for.
The battery chargers will only be plugged in when I need them for active projects (just so I can be lazy and not walk to house to get fresh batteries). Currently only the two lights will be plugged in constantly. I will dig more into the usage of the inverter - I believe I still have documentation for it at home. It's older, so probably not as efficient as new equivalent one today.

I agree on the stand-by draw - that's why I recently picked up an amp/watt meter to see real world usage. If it turns out to be not enough for what I need, I'll get another panel and battery.

Thanks

Dan
 

dm6156

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I may have missed something but why an inverter. I run my cabin and man cave stuff exclusively off of 12 volt. Lot’s of motion sensor lights, and other stuff in 12v.
I didn't think about getting 12v devices. What kind of lights (motion and non) do you have?

I have a standard house motion security light that runs off 120v - 180deg dual LED light and 4' LED shop light for inside shed.

Currently i am waiting on all the parts to arrive so far, nothing is done in the shed yet. I think your saying you have a breaker to connect lights to 12V? I didn't order breaker yet, that was one of the questions in my original post.

Thanks,

Dan
 
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Rednecktek

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Well going straight 12v will negate the option of plugging in battery chargers, plus 120v lights and switches and such are available at any hardware store. Not so much for 12v appliances and DC switches.

Stick with the 120v plan and just size accordingly for optimal performance.
 

Bluedog225

Texas
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I have a small blue sea brand fuse box (blade fuses). Positive and negaive from the battery.

You can run 10 or so individual circuits. I just place or pull a 10 amp blade fuse to turn on my light.

Amazon and RV sites have lots of 12 volt stuff.

For a similar application out by my shed, I ended up getting motion sensor solar lights. Much cheaper and work great. If they last a couple of years, I’m way ahead financially. No wires to run etc.



 

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dm6156

New Member
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Location
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I have a small blue sea brand fuse box (blade fuses). Positive and negaive from the battery.

You can run 10 or so individual circuits. I just place or pull a 10 amp blade fuse to turn on my light.

Amazon and RV sites have lots of 12 volt stuff.

For a similar application out by my shed, I ended up getting motion sensor solar lights. Much cheaper and work great. If they last a couple of years, I’m way ahead financially. No wires to run etc.



My shed gets little to no direct sunlight as it's in the trees, but it's just inside tree line from open back yard - so It will be fairly easy for me to bury cable from solar panel to shed. Due to it's placement, I can't use lights like you listed. Basically the creek separates the woods from open back yard.

I currently have a battery operated light (runs off D batteries) outside the door and nothing inside shed.

And as mentioned by Rednecktek, I like the idea of being able to run battery chargers for a couple projects I have in the works (building new bridge to cross creek and building a separate firewood shed).

Thanks

Dan
 

Bluedog225

Texas
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Makes sense. I ended up getting the ryobi 12 volt charger. Their brushless stuff is pretty good for light projects and the big rechargeable batteries work well for small to medium projects. Not having an 120 inverter to mess with was important for me. I run the genny when I need real power.
 

12VoltInstalls

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Well going straight 12v will negate the option of plugging in battery chargers, plus 120v lights and switches and such are available at any hardware store.
You can have both an inverter and 12V fixtures are the same time. I do; seldom ever turn on a 120V light but they are there…
Not so much for 12v appliances and DC switches
At the sub-1A level do 120V switches present any hazards? Almost all my 12V lights are on standard 120VAC wall switches. The only one that bothers me is the 120V twist-timer that switches my 6.5A 12V water pump and the 12V-3V DC 500mA power supply for the tankless water heater.
However, it mostly switches on a load, seldom if ever does it switch the load off (it’s mainly to make sure there’s no major water flow if a line breaks).

And upstream manufacturing LED light assemblies are so inexpensive that a) you can roll your own, and b) have plenty of spares on hand. RV hi/lo LED ceiling lights are ~$12-$20. Some of my lights are 10? milliamperes and the ceiling lights are like under 300mA on high.

It’s plenty inexpensive to have 12V lights and 120V also available.
 
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