Solar powered workshop

I’ve got a big cable connecting my shed to the mains supply but for many people the distance or terrain make it difficult to install power. So I’ve asked Kevin from The Solar Shed to explain a bit about the off-grid options for a small workshop.

Kevin Holland: That’s great that so many people are using sheds for things other than storage and if you have a big cable then you’re lucky that you can run appliances and tools, but like you say, not everyone can, or afford to run a cable.

The golden rule of solar is that ANYONE can fit a small mains free solar kit. If you can wire a plug, you can fit a solar panel to a battery. It really is that easy. You do not need a solar specialist or pay for an electrician to install off grid or mains free solar.

Solar, really has come of age and doesn’t have to cost the earth to install.

To start with, think of a battery as the power source. The panel just keeps it charged.

A simple lighting kit, which starts from £69 on Solar Shed Shop is the easiest to fit. It comprises of a 10w panel which needs to be connected to a battery (a 12v 12ah battery) will be more than enough to run a couple of light bulbs. The kits comes with lights, wiring, switch, panel and all the connectors you need.

I have been fitting these to stables where the owners need an hour’s light when popping down the field of a night time. There’s a short video on my youtube channel.

You could add an inverter which switches the DC power from the battery into AC power which most appliances use and charge a laptop or phone or even a fridge….. The more appliances you want to run, the bigger the battery and inverter you’ll need. We can advice of all these aspects when starting out.

To run drills etc, the GEO 5 kits with a 50w panel will charge a 12v 75ah battery with ease, even in winter, and provided the inverter is big enough you can run heavy use tools.

If you need to use a sewing machine for more than just a few minutes, you will need to go big. When i say big, it’s not like you see on a house, just a slightly larger panel, 50w max. The solar charge controller that comes with the kits controls how much energy goes into the battery so you will never over charge it.

Geo5 Solarpower Kit

Geo5 Solarpower Kit

The geo 5 is more than enough.

Just be mindful that in the middle of winter if you have used a lot of power overnight and it’s a dark cloudy day, you wont be getting much charge back into the battery.

With regards to welders etc the bigger batteries, costing upto £300 will hold 75ah although we can supply bigger on request, so yes, even the biggest of tools can be powered from a battery. The inverter is the most important thing here. You have to make sure that you have a big enough inverter. Don’t buy a 500w inverter if your tools require 3kw!

I personally like the smaller systems for garden sheds and allotments…. A simple 10w panel, wired into a 12v 12ah battery and then wired into simple light. Walk in, switch on and you’re in business. You could get yourself a 12v car adapter, like the ones you plug into the cigarette lighter and charge up any appliance you could in a car from that without the need for an inverter. The GEO1 kits, plus a battery will cost no more than £100 and can be fitted by a layman within 45 minutes once you have seen the instruction video on the Solar Shed Shop

Bottom line, for less than £1,000 you could fit out a good size workshop with up to 10 lights (that’s like Blackpool!) an inverter and a big enough battery to run IT equipment, appliances such as a kettle, fridge, power tools (but not all at the same time)

The solarworkshop online shop has been set up in conjunction with Andrew Wilcox from Readersheds, home of shed of the year. Both Andrew and I have been getting lots of requests about powering up garden rooms and sheds so have sourced what we believe is the right selection and kits and lighting units without confusing the issue.

If anyone has any questions, I am available over the phone or email. All contact details are on the solarworkshop online shop…

Kevin Holland The Solar Shed Ltd

14 thoughts on “Solar powered workshop

  1. Cheers, I quite fancy building a small windmill. Maybe when I’ve done all my other projects!

  2. Aw, this was an extremely good post. Spending some
    time and actual effort to make a great article… but what
    can I say… I hesitate a lot and never manage to get nearly anything

  3. An interview takes a little less time than a regular post but getting the right questions is key so that it makes it easier for the respondent.

  4. Caroline says:

    Hi Andy I am trying to find out what company manufactures the GEO5 kit as the community group I am part of want to buy one to provide solar lighting to a listed building our group is trying to save. Unfortunately as it is a listed building we are not allowed to fix the solar panel to the exterior of the building. I therefore have some questions I would like to ask directly to the manufacturers of the kit as to other possible ways around it. The building is a round tower and has 12 windows around circular structure half of which face southeast,south and southwesterly direction. I have asked the solar lighting centre and they have said they cannot provide me with that information. If you know the name of the manufacturer I would be sincerely grateful if you could provide me with their name and if you have any contact information that would be brilliant. Kind regards

  5. Andy Orchard says:

    Hi Andy i want to use a solar panal to charge my 18v 5ah batteries using the charger which is. 240v 240w 9amps i only need to charge the batterys maybe twice a week. What system will i need maybe use a radio as well but nothing else.

    Andy O

  6. Karl Casson-Lavender says:

    Hi guys, this sound like a great idea for what I am looking to do. Having difficultly running a power cable to my garage past/over a neighbors garage and drive (they want to get solicitors involved to change the deeds etc!)

    I am not sure what sort of power I would need.

    I have a number of large tools such as a table saw and thickness planer. Can you suggest what sort of set up I would need to run such tools? (I wont be running them all at the same time) I understand that this might not be an option but I literally have no idea where to start with solar power.

    Any help or advise would be greatly appreciated.



  7. Mike Roberts says:

    Hi Mike here,
    Just need one or two lights, and a trickle flow to keep my 12 volt motorcycle battery charged over winter, whilst the machine is lying idle. What can you recommend.
    Regards Mike.

  8. Excellent article! We will be linking to this great article on our site. Keep up the good writing.

  9. Robert smith says:

    Hi Andy

    What system would I need to power aan aeg 2000w saw for say 1 hour a day and 2 20w led lights for 4hrs a day



    • Hi Robert,
      the challenge would be having something that could provide the current for that saw. So you’d need some hefty batteries, a big invertor and quite a lot of panels. Have a word with SolarKev and I’m sure he can sort you out.

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