A small Solar Power system for a small shed.

BML

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Nov 14, 2021
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A small Solar Power system for a small shed.
I have a chicken shed about 6 feet by 8 feet and I often leave it past dusk to check they are all in and by then its to dark for me to see them. I'm looking for a small solar power system to give me that few hours of light.
 

Rednecktek

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A simple system and small inverter is what you're looking for. Depending on how much lighting you want a couple of 100w panels, a simple MPPT or even PWM charge controller, a leisure battery, and a small inverter would probably suit your needs.

How many lights are you wanting? How many watts? How long are they going to run each night? How's the sunlight in your area? What's your budget?

These are things you can guesstimate, then head over to grab the Power Audit form and fill in the blanks. The power audit will help you figure out the inverter size and battery capacity you'll need.

Then run it past the folk here to figure out what you missed, because we ALL miss something our first couple go 'rounds. :)
 

BML

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Nov 14, 2021
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A small Solar Power system for a small shed.
I have a chicken shed about 6 feet by 8 feet and I often leave it past dusk to check they are all in and by then its to dark for me to see them. I'm looking for a small solar power system to give me that few hours of light.

I only want one light around 100 old watts so it will be less if I use an LED equivalent which will need to run for about two hours each evening. The chicken shed stands in an area of trees and sunlight in England especially in winter is variable.
Could you please tell me where I may find a Power Audit form?
 

Isaac-1

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You really don't need to go into that much detail, a single mid size panel 50-75watt, and a circa 15-20 watt 12V LED light panel, or chain of panels, a battery and simple PWM solar controller is all you need. You could probably get by with a smaller panel, but why bother with todays prices.

Something like:



and a small deep cycle battery which you might be best off buying locally, or something like this U1 battery commonly used in electric scooters


You could probably shave $30+ off that price with a bit of shopping, I found similar light kits without the wiring and the switch for 1/3 the price, what it comes down to is a 25 watt panel would probably be plenty for this, but why not overkill when a 25 watt panel is $59 and a 50 watt is $79 with mounting brackets, solar controller, wires, etc.

p.s. here is another contender panel that is $5 more, but includes more wire, including battery clips https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B0956TH7Q8 the UK has a reputation for being cloudy, which is another reason to oversize things.
 
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BML

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Many, many thanks for such a full answer to my question which has opened the path to asking a supplementary question.

I have a Motor Caravan fitted with a vehicle battery and a leisure battery to provide lighting and power for the camper sink and shower and I would like to have a Solar Power System fitted. The primary reason is to ensure that both of the batteries are kept charged. The secondary reason is that I often park up where there is no electricity connection and I would like to be able to recharge Smart Phones, Laptops and keep the reading lights bright. I do not take a TV with me. Because I like gadgets I would like some form of Panel that shows the power level of both batteries and the power that the solar panels are giving at any one moment. I have no idea what strength of solar panels I require, what sort of system design I need and the best name for such devices. Can you make a suggestion?
 

RockPaperScissors

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Oct 29, 2021
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I used a Victron 75/10 MPPT to control a load that draws .4 to .8 amps at 12 volts. Thr Victron unit has a separate LOAD output which can be switched on and off by the unit depending on battery voltage and/or if the sun has gone away and it is no longer getting solar power. I mounted the battery, controller and peripherals in a NEMA rated outdoor box powered by a 100 watt solar panel (probably too big). Battery is a 30AH LiFePo4. In your case depending on your load you could get away with two 9AH SLA batteries to power a small 12 volt flood light.

I had to pull my setup for winter due to cold weather charging issues with the LiFePo4 battery.

I found an old picture while I was trying to figure out my layout to give you an idea. There is a 30AH battery under that piece of wood.

Programming is done using a phone with bluetooth and the Victron app.
 

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Isaac-1

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Personally I think it is a waste to use a nice Victron MPPT controller that sells for $80 on a job where a $10 generic PWM controller would achieve much the same thing. It is all about the right tool for the job.
 

RockPaperScissors

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Yes, the Victron is nice. The LOAD output feature was very helpful in my project as I could "reboot" my whole system from my phone without having to climb up to the top of a 20 foot pole each time. It also saved the battery when I had 4 days of storms and no solar recharge by shutting the system down at my preset, then powered everything back up when the sun came out.

I could monitor load use and solar power all from one device.

My first charger is a cheap PWM. Still sits on my workbench...
 

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Isaac-1

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I agree it is nice, just that is much more than is needed for this application
 

BML

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Many thanks for all of your answers especially the mention of a generic PWM controller. I find it fascinating that Americans use this forum which surely shows the international nature of the Internet to someone from a Southern county in England. Terms such as, "generic PWM controller" totally expose my lack of electrical knowledge so I will have to seek assistance of my Electrician grandson. Many thanks all.
 

Supervstech

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Many thanks for all of your answers especially the mention of a generic PWM controller. I find it fascinating that Americans use this forum which surely shows the international nature of the Internet to someone from a Southern county in England. Terms such as, "generic PWM controller" totally expose my lack of electrical knowledge so I will have to seek assistance of my Electrician grandson. Many thanks all.
Not really…
Your minor needs really don’t require much skill. Amazon or eBay search for solar lighting kit will turn up a TON of kits.
Reading on here will show you how many options and skills there are.
The chickens really don’t need more than a simple led light. Easy to build without an inverter at all. A tiny ups battery, and a solar charger would do it easily. I say ups battery, because they are sealed lead acid, and can take most weather without worrying and are dirt cheap.
Many lights are available with different batteries in them, with a tiny solar panel.
 

Supervstech

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Also, at the top the page is a link to Will Prowse’s diy blueprints, with parts sources, and a book he wrote to teach this stuff.
 
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