The use of solar panels on sheds seems an almost obvious solution to getting power to your shed, workshop or even man cave, and it is surprising that many haven’t considered it sooner. Getting your electricity from the sun through a solar set-up can be a perfect alternative to having to go to the expense and effort of running an armoured cable from your house to your shed.
Solar panels present a workable alternative because they enable one to obtain power directly from the location of the shed and use that power within the structure. Consequently, using solar power to power sheds results in fewer cables, less destructive cable-laying work, and lower operating costs over the longer term.
In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about solar panels that can be installed on sheds.
Is It Possible to Install Solar Panels on a Shed in the UK?
In the UK, installing solar panels on sheds is perfectly legal. However, this may not always be the best option in some locations because sheds are often located in parts of the garden where there is insufficient sunlight. If you want to make sure that the power supply is sufficient, you should ensure that your shed will have plenty of access to light.
You might want to think twice about installing solar panels if your shed is overshadowed by your property or even a tree on your or a neighbouring property. While you could consider re-siting your shed to a more sun-drenched location or pruning back any branches causing an issue, this isn’t always a possibility, especially if you are limited for the space or any problem tree is not even located on your property.
There are two primary varieties of solar energy systems for sheds:
#1 Solar Panels Attached to the Roof
This type of solar energy system is more comparable to the panels that are typically found on the roof of residential properties. Solar panels would need to be affixed to the shed roof and combined with an inverter that converts the current for use in sockets as well as providing power for lighting.
A solar shed setup can also be combined with a battery system to ensure that solar electricity can be stored by day and used when required, such as for heating, lighting and powering small appliances.
If the only light you need is to help you access things in the shed when it is dark, then the second option we outline below for just solar-powered lights should suffice. If, on the other hand, you envision more of a home office or workspace, then you should go with the full solar setup including installing solar panels combined with a solar battery.
It is possible for a capable DIYer to set up this type of system on their own because it is a relatively simple configuration that does not require a connection to the primary power grid. You also have the option of hiring a professional electrician to handle this aspect of the process on your behalf, which will ensure that everything is secure and will reliably function as intended.
#2 Solar Lighting Panels
If you are only looking to solar as a means of adding lights in your shed and do not require access to mains power, then purchasing solar lighting may be the easiest and most cost-effective option for you. These types of solar panel kits come equipped with solar panels and cabling that can be used to power lights both inside and outside the building.
What are the Benefits of Installing Solar Panels on Sheds?
Typically, they also come with a battery setup, which will allow you to store away sufficient power for use at the end of the day to have plenty of light in your shed even when it has turned dark outside.
There are advantages and disadvantages to using solar power, despite the fact that it may appear to be a miraculous solution that can save you money, free up space, and reduce your impact on the environment.
Before you make a final decision regarding solar panels for your shed, take a look at the following primary factors.
Solar power has many advantages, one of the most significant being that once it is installed and operational, it does not cost anything to run. That means everything, from lighting, heating the shed space, powering sockets etc will not add to your electricity bill. You will be able to collect the energy from the sun and store electricity in batteries so that you can access it whenever you require it.
Therefore, after the preliminary investment in solar equipment and installation has been made, the savings you make by not having to pay for power will over time cover the cost of the shed solar panels setup.
Easy Set Up & Installation
Solar power also has the advantage of being simple to install. Because hiring a qualified electrician, and all the costs of running a cable up your garden can drive up the price, connecting a shed to the mains power can be quite expensive.
Solar energy doesn’t require any of that, since everything just stays on your roof and in your shed. That also means there will be significantly less cabling, which will keep the costs down.
Solar power may be beneficial to you due to the fact that it is free, but it is also beneficial to the environment. If you reduce the amount of power that you draw from the grid, you will reduce the impact you have on the environment and potentially lower your carbon footprint.
Additionally, solar panels can be recycled when they are no longer needed or when it is time to replace them, so that’s another environmental plus point.
What are the Disadvantages of Installing Solar Panels on Sheds?
Solar panels for sheds have a lot of benefits, but it is essential to be aware of the potential drawbacks associated with installing them.
Solar Panels for Sheds UK Cost
The initial investment for your solar setup could end up quite costly. The solar panel, any necessary cabling, inverter, controller unit, and batteries can all add up. Although you will make this money back over time through the reduction in the amount of electricity you consume from the grid, it is still necessary for you to make the initial financial investment.
Depending on the purpose for which you intend to put the solar panels, you might be eligible for a grant to help pay for them.
Power Can Be Sporadic
Solar power is only as effective as its ability to capture sunlight. Therefore, it’s possible that solar power won’t be able to support all of your electronics, depending on the size of your roof and how much sunlight you get.
In order to operate power tools in a workshop that is run on solar power, for example, the kind used for sheds, you will need a significant amount of energy and large inverters. Or, if you want to maintain a constant temperature in the shed space, this will require a significant amount of power, which solar energy may not be able to provide in your location.
How Many Solar Panels Do I Need?
There are a few factors that will determine the size of the panels and the amount of space required on your shed roof to successfully install a solar system that will meet your needs. The primary determining factors are what you intend to use your shed for and the amount of sunlight that it is exposed to.
If you need a lot of power, or if you don’t have access to a lot of light, then you’ll need larger panels and several solar storage batteries so that you can build your power backup. This is especially important if you’re in an area with poor light access.
On the other hand, if you only really want to charge a phone or power lights for example, you can opt for solar panels and a simple battery set-up that is smaller and specifically designed for use on sheds.
What Size Solar Panels Do I Need for a Shed?
The size of the panels can vary, but it is extremely important to know how many solar panels are required for sheds.
A panel set up with 50W might be sufficient for your basic requirements, such as powering lights and charging less powerful electronic devices.
However, if you want to go bigger, for example by installing underfloor heating, you’re going to need at least three solar panels with a power output of 150 watts each to get the job done.
At the higher end of the spectrum are panels with 250W and 320W, the likes of which are typically found in the solar panel installation for the average home. If you have a larger shed and you want additional power for, say, power tools, this might be a better option.
How Much Roof Space is Needed?
The more space you have available on your roof, the more solar panels you’ll be able to install and therefore generate more electricity as a result. Therefore, if your shed is on the smaller side, you might be restricted to a certain number of panel options. The alternative is to use panels that are based on the ground; however, this method does require additional hardware and garden space in order to set them up.
For a standard home installation of 4 kW, which is adequate for a family home with three bedrooms, you will need sixteen solar panels that are 250W each. All told, this amounts to a space that is slightly larger than 25 square metres in total. That is a particularly extreme example of a power supply. In all likelihood, the shed you buy will be on the smaller side and will require a great deal less room.
Over 25 square metres are required for a 4-kilowatt system, over 20 for a 3-kilowatt array, just over 12 for 2 kilowatts, and over 8 square metres are required for a 1-kilowatt system. You have the option of going smaller, so the things you have might be determined by the amount of space on your roof. Alternatively, if you are still going through the process of picking the shed, you should go bigger if you want more power.
Conclusion About Solar Panels For Sheds
Solar panels added to a shed roof can be a great way of producing green energy from a renewable energy source that will not only have a positive impact on your energy bills but also reduce your carbon footprint. While solar panel kits are available, it is not always within the capabilities of everyone to install a solar system themselves, and you’d still need the skills of an electrician to assist with the setup.
For this reason, we recommend that you get the services of an expert, and we at Solar Panel Savers can help you with this by recommending a solar installer who can assist you whether you need a solar panel for shed installation or a more conventional solar panel system.