I have built two cedar strip canoes, two cedar strip kayaks, three acoustic guitars, a sauna, woodshed, a mancave, and a fishing shed.
DIY Solar-Powered Shed
I live on 10 acres which backs up to a 7-acre pond. I fish in the pond using my small 12-foot row boat, which I leave there all year round. A few years ago, I built a platform dock for easier access to the boat. I can drive most of the way to the dock, but the final 200 yards is swampy and wet. Up until now, whenever I decide to go fishing, I needed to carry oars, tackle boxes, electric trolling motor, and a 75-pound motor battery that final distance. A big inconvenience!
So I built a small storage shed near the dock using mostly scrap material. To the roof, I attached a small solar panel to keep the battery charged.
How to Use Solar to Power a Shed
I purchased a 10W solar panel and charge controller on Amazon. When I received them, I connected the controller and panel and measured the output. It was about 20V with no load, 13.3V with a load. Then I connected the battery and it seemed to be charging. I had to add some lengths of wire and change the small alligator clips to large ones.
Docooler 10A 12V/24V Solar Charge Controller
Solar Panel Battery Regulator Safe Protection
- Automatically manage the working of solar panel and battery in solar system.
- Overloading & short-circuit protection. Reverse discharging & reverse-polarity protection.
- Under-voltage and over-charging protection.
- Protection from lightning strike. Prolong the battery life cycle and keep the load work well.
12V Battery Charger Camping
- High efficiency solar cells. Can be used for trickle charger.
- Light weight and easy to carry. DIY your camper backpack.
- Nice looking by laminated PCB board with top PET sheet.
- Diode for anti-reverse charging to battery.
- 100% power output (The test conditions: 1Kw/m², 25℃, AM1.5).
The battery I have has approximately 100 amp hours of capacity. On our recent fishing expeditions, I noted we rarely used 20% of the charge with regular use of the trolling motor. So I had to estimate the time needed to charge from 80 to 100%.
10W Solar Panel => Power / Voltage = Amps => 10W / 12V = 0.83A
Amp hours needed for charge:
20% X 100 Amp Hours = 20 Amp hours
Time required = 20 Amp hours / 0.83 A = 24 hours
But I only estimate the panel is at full efficiency for about six hours in the summer due to the angle of the sun, so that means it should take about four days to recharge the battery after a typical use. Perfect for weekend fishing excursions.
Building a Shed for the Fishing Gear
I drew a sketch of the shed and decided that it needed to be small and tall. It was built on a 3 foot square base with 2X6 framing and a plywood floor, on 3 foot 4X4 posts buried 2 feet in the ground. One wall is 7 feet tall, the opposite wall is 6 feet tall, giving the roof a slope. I had to purchase about a dozen 2x4s for framing, but the sides and roof are made from left over pole barn steel panels.
Most of the framing was constructed in my garage then carried to the site in a pick up truck. The post holes for the base flooded with water, but some dry redi-mix concrete was poured in and some old 4X4 posts were laid under the base framing incase it starts to sink. The buried posts are really so vandals can't tip over the shed. The steel was attached with a combination of left over pole barn screws and nails.
I put the hinge screws beneath the sheet metal panels so they could not easily be removed. I also put on a hasp for a combination paddle lock.
I had to build a wooden frame for the solar panel since it is just an epoxy covered FR4 fiberglass sheet, similar to circuit board material. The panel slid into slots I cut with a table saw. I hung it on the sloping roof with some metal clips in a Southeastern facing direction.
So far things seem to be as expected, but the trolling motor has not seen heavy use yet. In hind sight, I wish I would have purchased a larger solar panel maybe 30 or 40 watts. It will take quite a few days to charge the battery to full if it is ever needed. Also, a charge controller that displayed battery charge in % would have been nice. But this project was meant to be done on the cheap side so what I have is adequate.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on August 07, 2017:
Super cool project!