Anywho, I've owned my house for five years now. In that time, I have never had electricity in my garage. It's a pain in the arse. I could have a trench cut and run power out there. That's expensive, plus I'd have to cut my nice garage floor and sidewalk that I paid good money for.
A friend of mine gave me the idea to try solar power. I don't have a large electrical requirement out there. During the summer, my Aprilia sits on a battery tender and I wanted to have a light or two inside, plus a security light outside.
Solar power seemed like a good idea. So I took the plunge. Well, not quite a plunge, more like dipping my toe in the water. I ordered a basic 100 Watt starter kit from Renogy. At under $200 it's a good way to start. I already have a small inverter and a battery, so I was able to try this out on the cheap. As a bonus, I could finally stop running that cord out to the garage. I'm sure that it's against code, and really not a good idea anyway.
|This is the 100 Watt panel. The toes of my trusty size 10 Chucks ought to give you a sense of scale. If that doesn't do it, the lawn mower should give you a better idea.|
|The panels have these nice weather proof connections.|
|The panel is mounted on the roof of my garage. When you drill the screw holes, remember to pump some exterior RTV into them before you run the screws in. This will keep your roof sealed up.|
|Here is the Renogy controller (top) and my cheesy 400 Watt inverter. I have already reconfigured the panel once. When I settle on an arrangement for these components, I will lay it out on a metal panel.|
As my electrical requirements in the garage are small, I don't need a huge set up. I will probably not need to expand beyond 200-300 Watts, unless I feel the need to charge my battery faster.
I will post more about this as I finalize my installation. Solor power has really piqued my curiosity. Even though I don't believe it will save the world, it is a good solution for my particular problem.