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Solar Power For Sheds: What You Need To Know

If you have a shed or any small external building on your property, installing solar power for sheds through a solar panel on the roof can potentially save you a lot of money on your electricity bills. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to mount the solar panels on the roof of your house. While there may be plenty of room on the top of your existing home, solar power for sheds is arguably better because you can either expand your existing solar panel surface area or install the panels on the shed instead. This smaller building will be easier to reach. 

Solar Panels: Permanent vs Portable 

You’ll notice that portable solar panel kits are already on the marketplace. Rather than being fixed permanently in place, these can be moved around and are generally aimed at the typical homeowner’s budget, requiring only a moderate level of DIY ability for assembly, disassembly, and reassembly. They are usually controlled electronically using software on your laptop or computer or by an app on your phone.  

However, these portable models don’t generate as much power as other varieties, so if you’re looking to power your home using solar in a significant way, you’ll want a larger-scale, professionally installed solar panel system. 

Location, location, location

Conventionally, solar panels are mounted on the roof of your main property. This is convenient as it puts the panels clear of obstructions and the electrical connections to the house are relatively simple. Some homes have complicated gables and other architectural features making solar panels unsuitable. Instead, installing solar power for sheds, workshops, or other outbuildings solves this problem.

Starting with solar power for sheds is also an excellent way to see if you’re ready to take the next step and mount them on your house. 

Weight and Space 

You’ll need to ensure your shed roof is strong enough to support the weight of the kind of solar panels you install for solar power for sheds. Some shed roofs are made of metal, some of wood wrapped in tar paper material. You also need to ensure there is enough space to hold the panel itself and any mounting equipment required. 

Roofs that face south will get the most sunlight throughout the day as the sun passes from east to west along the equator, which is to the south, but other directions will still work. Additionally, the roof should be clear of shade from trees or other buildings for most of the day. 

Levels of power

The number of panels, the way they face, and the units’ efficiency all affect the amount of power you can generate from the solar panels on your shed. 

In most cases, the shed roof will carry enough panels to power anything you might use in there, such as power tools, lights, and charging points for lawnmowers. You can also use wires to send electricity to your household power meter – it’s usually a good idea to install these buried underground. If you’re planning to use solar power for sheds for household purposes too, you will almost certainly need more solar panels. 

The average household electricity use is around 3,800 kWh, which would require twelve 320W solar panels, which would usually take up about 25 metres of roof space.

Monocrystalline panels are more efficient, whereas polycrystalline panels are less efficient but cheaper. Ideally, you would use the more efficient monocrystalline model for a smaller space as it enables you to get more power per metre of coverage. 

Ideal situation

We can see that the best-case scenario for using solar power for sheds is when you use your south-facing shed as a garden office, workshop, guesthouse or social area. In other words, a place where you need electrical appliances to function reliably for the outbuilding. The good news is that it’s relatively straightforward to use consumer portable solar power kits to set this up. 

After this, the second-best case is where you use solar panels on the roof of your shed to supplement your household electricity usage. While the shed roof solar panels might not supply all of your household’s electricity usage, they can still cut the cost of your energy bills considerably. 

For more information about solar power installations for your home, including the roof of your house or shed, take a look at what Project Solar has to offer.