For some people, a shed is a storage space for gardening tools and other outdoor items. It can be much more, though. For some, it’s a workshop for art or construction projects, a cozy retreat from the house, a lab for the next big invention, and more.
All it needs to transform into any of these is electricity.
Powering your shed lets you expand your use and get the most out of the space you’ve built. However, traditionally, running electricity to a shed has been difficult. It requires running underground cables from your home, installing wiring, and sometimes disrupting your gardening or landscaping.
Fortunately, solar panels can help you create a standalone electric supply for that space.
With solar energy, the costs of powering a small enclosed space like a shed are more accessible than ever. If you’ve ever considered solar for your shed, you’ll find everything you need to know here.
Outfitting your shed with solar panels opens up a world of possibilities and comfort for your space.
Benefits of Solar Panels for Sheds
Solar panels and a portable power station to convert and store the sunlight you harvest can represent a significant up-front investment, depending on the size and location of your shed.
But in the long run, you can benefit significantly from installing a solar panel system for your shed. You can turn a dark, damp storage space into a haven for work, creativity, and relaxation.
Solar panels can save you money on running underground cabling for grid power to your shed — and on your electricity costs. A solar power system can provide an excellent return on investment over time.
Cost Savings on Electricity Bills
Once you have solar power in your shed, you don’t have to pay for electricity. Your lights, appliances, and devices run on free, renewable energy. You can eliminate your electricity costs and make your money back on your initial solar investment.
The payback won’t be immediate, but depending on how much electricity you use in your shed — and the added benefits of having power — your savings may offset the initial costs sooner than you think.
Environmentally Friendly Energy Generation
Running electricity from your home to the shed means excavating your yard and planting thick cables. Setting up solar power saves you the trouble and expense by providing clean off-grid energy that doesn’t burn fossil fuels. The result is renewable energy that benefits you and the planet.
Increased Property Value
A PV installation for your shed also enhances the overall value of your home. The National Renewable Energy Lab reports that every $1 spent on a solar panel adds $20 in home value.
You can create new equity in your home from the moment you have the panels installed.
Charge Electric Vehicles
If you own an electric vehicle, you can use a solar installation on your shed to recharge it. You can’t connect the car directly to your PV solar panels, but you can use your portable power station or other balance of system to charge your EV.
An EV power solution in your shed can be much more convenient than finding a charging station in town. It can save you time and money in the long run.
Types of Solar Panels for Sheds
The type of solar panels suitable for your shed comes down to your aesthetic, functional, and energy needs.
Monocrystalline PV solar panels are the most efficient type, particularly as temperatures rise. They’re also more expensive to manufacture. As a result, they are usually slightly more expensive than polycrystalline panels. They consist of one single crystal of silicon.
Monocrystalline solar panels make sense for any shed where you need to maximize installation space and efficiency installation. They’re also more resilient in extreme temperatures, and monocrystalline rigid solar panels are the best choice for rooftop installations.
Polycrystalline PV solar panels consist of multiple silicon cells. They’re less efficient than the monocrystalline panels, particularly in higher temperatures. However, the lower price for these panels can make them an attractive option for some consumers.
Thin film flexible solar panels are best used as an addition to rigid solar panels that can help you maximize installation space on irregular surfaces, like uneven parts of your shed’s exterior or the outside of an RV.
Thin film panels are far less expensive than either monocrystalline or polycrystalline and come as flexible sheets made of silicon or cadmium.
However, thin film solar panels aren’t very efficient at capturing solar energy, and it rarely makes sense to build a solar array out of flexible solar panels alone.
Cost and Installation Process
An off-grid solar power solution can represent a significant up-front investment. That said, the cost varies based on the panels and balance of system you purchase.
Government incentives for moving to solar power can help defray your initial costs and get you to the point where your energy savings outweigh the purchase and installation costs faster.
Initial Investment and Potential Government Incentives
The average solar-powered shed will cost around $11,000. This estimate includes the cost of the solar panels, the battery needed to store the energy, and the balance of system required to convert the energy from the panels to household electricity and installation.
The good news is you can now save significantly on switching to solar. Depending on your eligibility, you may qualify for a 30% federal tax credit — a significant saving on your initial investment.
State and local solar incentives may also be available depending on your location.
Installation Process and Required Equipment
Building a solar-powered shed is relatively straightforward as long as you follow each step of the installation process carefully and have all the right equipment.
Here’s a brief step-by-step guide to doing it yourself.
- Run connecting wires throughout the shed. The wire allows you to distribute power throughout the shed.
- Install the solar panel array. For a permanent installation on a shed roof, rigid solar panels are likely your best bet. Portable solar panels give you more flexibility to move the panels easily.
- Set up the portable power station or balance of system components. Portable power stations that connect to solar panels typically include a solar battery, a charge controller, an inverter, and a battery management system. A small RIVER 2 Pro Solar Generator is suitable for light use, such as power tools and small appliances. An EcoFlow DELTA Pro Portable Solar Generator is better for running larger appliances and power tools. EcoFlow solar generators reduce the number of components you need to buy. Everything you need to convert and store electricity from your panels is already built-in.
- Install Connector. Solar generators have AC inputs for plugging your appliances directing into the power station. If you have hardwired your lights and other systems in the shed, you’ll need to install a connector box to connect all the wires into a centralized location.
- Plug into Solar Generator. Once you’ve set up all your connections, plug into the solar generator to supply power to your shed.
You can make the installation process effortless when you opt for an EcoFlow Power Kit. It contains everything for a complete off-grid power solution for a shed, RV, or tiny home. These plug-and-play systems ensure compatibility with all the components and simplify the installation process.
With the Power Kit Calculator, you can size out your system for your energy needs. Select your rigid, portable, or flexible solar panels and purchase the ones you need to meet your electricity requirements fully.
A solar panel installation for your shed makes sense for maximizing the structures on your property — and it’s an investment in its overall resale value.
While the up-front investment can seem daunting, government incentives make it less costly, and electricity savings can bring you significant returns in the long run.
Consider EcoFlow solar panels to upgrade your storage shed into a solar-powered workshop.
With a wide range of solar panels, portable power stations, solar generators, and power kits, you can easily find a suitable setup for your budget and energy needs.
EcoFlow’s high-quality and high-efficiency solutions help make moving to clean, renewable solar easy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Typically you will need at least 400W of rated power from your solar panels to power a shed. This estimate is based on a typical shed size, and you may need more depending on the size of the structure and your electricity consumption needs.
If you plan to use off-grid power regularly, installing solar panels on your shed is worth the investment. Even though the up-front costs can be high, you’ll achieve energy cost savings and boost the value of your home in the process. Don’t forget to check for government tax breaks and incentives.
A consumer solar panel typically delivers between 100W and 400W of power. You can combine panels for more power and build the array to suit your needs. Keep in mind your panels can only charge your solar battery until its storage capacity is reached. You can expand the storage capacity of your system by stacking multiple batteries.
Most people opt for off-grid power for their sheds. If you’re shed is already connected to the electrical grid, you can use your solar panels and balance of system to supplement (or replace) electricity from your local utility. Install a transfer switch or Smart Home Panel to integrate your solar power system with your existing circuit board and wiring. You can even monitor and control your shed’s solar panel using the EcoFlow app.