- Solar Panels
- Solar Power Systems & Kits
- Balance of System
So you have a little piece of land way out in the boonies and you always dreamed of building a cabin there to escape too from the pressures of life. But it really is way out in the wilderness, down a winding gravel road, with no access to the electrical grid and cut off from the conveniences of town. But does that neccesarily mean that you couldn't have the best of both worlds - your life in town making your living and your vacation cabin in the woods? So, how do you power the lights and the laptop and your other electric appliances? The solution is to get yourself a solar-power system and turn your getaway into a solar-powered cabin!
For this article we're going to jump ahead and assume your cabin is already built. Now it's ready to become an off-grid solar cabin. Off-grid simply means that your property does not have access to the main power grid. But with a renewable energy source like the sun, providing power to your cabin is easy. There are some key components that you'll need in order to produce power for your cabin.
But first, a warning and then some friendly advice. Bad news first: you will probably not be able to power things like a full-sized residential stove/oven; or an electric heating system; or a conventional refrigerator like you have in your home. Now the good news, with some advice: propane. Most efficient solar cabins also include a propane tank and we advise our customers and clients to include propane as part of their off-grid energy profile. Propane is a relatively clean fuel source, compared to diesel or gasoline to power a generator. Propane can be used in place of electricity to power a stove/oven as well as a refrigerator. For heating, either a wood stove or propane can be used as the fuel for heating your cabin. If you already have a wood stove or fire place, then heating is not a problem for you. But if you don't, propane is a great way to supplement your solar power system to make your cabin as cozy as your favorite blanket!
With your needs in mind, our off-grid solar kits are designed specifically to provide solar power to locations such as remote hunting, fishing, or vacation cabins as well as far-flung homes, fire towers, ranger stations, and even entire villages of cabins and tiny houses. These off-grid solar home kits will provide you with electric power in places where it is otherwise impossible or impractical or cost-prohibitive. These systems require little maintenance once installed and can be much more economical than the cost of having the main electric grid brought to your remote location.
Check out this video by bezodis at Youtube.com as he takes us on a tour of his solar powered cabin:
Now, as you'll notice bezodis is using the ubiquitous 15 watt Harbor Freight solar modules that you see everywhere in Youtube videos and DIY projects. And they're great if cheap is what you need. But if quality, warrantied product and peace-of-mind are something on which you insist, then you should invest in only the best and consider allowing us to help you determine what size of a system you will need. Once we have your system size, we carry everything you need right here on MrSolar.com and can ship it to your location anywhere in North America. All you need is to have an electrician to install the system. If you're the handy sort, then it's possible you may be able to install these systems yourself. But please, if you do, please know what you are doing because the possibility of electric shock is real. Please consult an electrician if you do it yourself.
So, at this point you're probably wondering what are the different parts of a solar power system and how do they work? Solar power systems for cabins include the following balance-of-system (BOS) components:
Solar Panels: The Harbor Freight kit includes amorphous panels with a 90-day warranty and cost about $250. Amorphous panels are the least efficient of the common types of solar panel. Consider instead using one of our SolarTech mono-crystaline modules that will provide the same amount of power with better efficiency and with a 25-year warranty. The cost for our panel is $280.00. Admittedly, the Harbor Freight kit has some nice little extras that are included. But you only get 45 watts worth of panels. You get a 90 watt panel for just a bit more money with us. And you can get most of the other stuff in that kit from your local hardware store or Walmart.
Charge Controller: The video features a Sunforce 30 amp charge controller (which carries only a 1 year warranty). You could get that one but again, it's cheap but still costs around $129.00. We recommend the Morningstar PS-30 Controller with a 5 year warranty. It's a quality charge controller brand for just $127.00. And the lights are guaranteed to work or we'll replace it!
DC to AC Inverter: Not sure what the brand is in the video for the power inverter but we do know it's 400 watts. That's ok but it will have a tough time running anything that takes more power than a laptop. Or you may be limited to only one load-drawing appliance at a time, rather than having for instance a radio, a light bulb, and a laptop running all at once. We carry only the best off-grid, residential, and commercial inverters here and most are a bit too expensive for this small project. However we can recommend the Whistler Pro-1200W 1,200 Watt Power Inverter offered by our merchant partner Amazon.com. You can get it for as low as $65.00 on sale. This inverter will provide you with up to 1200 watts of continuous power or up to 2400 watts surge capacity. It's a nifty little inverter that is perfect for this type of project.
Batteries: Now batteries are a and essential part of an off-grid solar power system. If you are inclined to want new batteries specifically designed for these types of systems, we have whatever you need. Or, you can use one or more batteries that you may have lying around but the best battery for this system is a "deep-cycle" battery.
Cables & Wiring:You'll need these to connect your batteries in series and to connect your solar panels to your charge controller and you charge controller to your inverter. Our solar kits have the cables you need but if you only want the cables you an order them separately right here on MrSolar.com. If you're not sure which cables/wiring you need, please don't hesitate to give us a call at 888.680.2427 during regular business hours and we'll be glad to help you out with that.
We at MrSolar.com are here to help you in any way we can to help you power to your cabin-solar-kits location or structure with our off-grid solar system kits. If you already know what you need then please go ahead and order. If you need assistance, be sure to use our Contact page to tell us as much as you can about your requirements and location and leave your contact information and we'll get back to you with the information and/or an estimate. And, as always at MrSolar.com, thank you for considering us for your solar power system needs. At MrSolar.com, We Know Solar Panels!