We live in amazing times, defined significantly by technological advancements. They have allowed us to gain an unparalleled understanding of ourselves and the world around us. Technology also allows us to live and work in a way that few would have imagined a couple of decades ago!
Despite this, the energy on which the majority of present-day technology runs, remains remarkably unchanged, still relying overwhelmingly on fossil fuels as it did during the dawn of the industrial age over 200 years ago. Being so dependent on a limited resource generates problems beyond the well documented harm that the mining and consuming of coal inflicts on the earth’s environment.
On top of this, the combination of a need for power, dwindling reserves and green levies has caused the cost of energy to increase dramatically in the last few years. Although admittedly a small step, taking action to power your garden building with renewable energy can help address the balance. It’s both good for the environment and good for your wallet.
Powering your garden building with renewable energy
For garden buildings such as sheds, garages and log cabins, it is possible to create a power source that is appropriate for occasional use with renewable energy such as solar, wind and hydro power. However for a garden building, low-scale solar power is both the easiest and cheapest renewable energy source to implement.
Powering your garden building with solar power
At Dunster House we have a range of low-maintenance solar power products that are easy to install to your garden building.
The first is our solar lighting systems, which use photovoltaic (PV) panels to power either a network of three or six 12v DC Low Energy CFL Bulbs. The battery connected to the PV panels is constantly pre-charged during hours of sunlight. It also provides enough power for hours of light.
Dunster House Solar Air Heaters are designed to supplement heat to your garden building by warming external air and creating positive air pressure. Again it uses the creation of balanced power from a PV panel to generate low voltage electricity for transferring warm air into the building.
In terms of keeping your garden building maintained and protected against the damaging effects of damp and moisture, ensuring that it is properly ventilated is essential. Our solar fan, powered by a 15w PV panel that activates the motor, therefore offers a fantastic off the grid ventilation solution.
PV panel solutions for more power
If you require more juice to run a power tool (or even a laptop) in your garden building for a few hours, then one or more solar PV panels, connected to a charge controller battery, may be needed. If you want to create mains type electricity, you will need an installation that creates enough power to drive an inverter.
PV panels come in two different forms; flexible and framed. Framed panels are the most commonly used type as they are cheaper, easier to mount and offer a better power output than flexible modules. However, if you anticipate having to move your panel around a lot, flexible panels are light. They can also be mounted to uneven surfaces if needs be.
Crystalline or amorphous, the decision is yours
If you opt to install a framed panel, you have a choice of crystalline and amorphous. Both are two types of silicone. A material that is ideal for absorbing sunlight. In terms of size, amorphous panels need to be bigger than crystalline for achieving a set power output. Thus if space is a concern that you need to consider.
On the other hand, amorphous panels are better at absorbing power from low-levels of sunlight. If you consider the quality of UK weather, is a definite bonus. If you’re looking for a comparison in price, typically there is very little difference to choose between the two. However a quick call to the sales team will help clarify any questions you may have.
Using PV panels for products that require large amounts of energy
Using PV panels and an inverter to power tools and even a laptop for short periods is certainly achievable. But if you’re looking for any more energy than that, you will need a considerably larger solar set up.
It is possible to create a high-output system using many PV panels, battery packs and invertors. They will be capable of powering a domestic home, not just a cabin. However to achieve this will take a considerable financial undertaking. It also requires a lot more consideration than just supplementing power for your garden building. If you are interested in the options available to you in this area, click here for more information.
Maintaining your solar power source
PV panels require relatively low maintenance. Bar the occasional clean and inspection for random debris that lodge in your set up. If you don’t feel confident of cleaning your own PV panels outsource it. Some window cleaners offer a specialist service for solar panels. So, it may be worth checking for them in your local area.
Whether you’re setting up your own solar power source of energy or using one of the Dunster House products, it is important that you position your PV panels so they absorb the maximum amount of sunlight possible. For the best results, you will need to mount your panels so that they are south-facing. Also at an optimum angle to absorb sun light. As the sun continually moves and stands at different heights in the sky depending on season, you can use this Solar Angle Calculator to find out the optimum angle according to the month and your location.
It is also important to ensure that overhanging trees or other obstructions are not blocking sunlight from reaching your panels. They may be compromising their performance.
If you have created renewable energy for your garden building. Or have been inspired to try to do so after reading this, please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.