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Newbie Offgrid Lighting Question.

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  • Newbie Offgrid Lighting Question.

    I have a barn that I use very infrequently. I've been toying with the idea of a solar setup to run lights there for years. I have T8 shop lights in various sections. The most I would run at one time is 6. I would need them for up to an hour. I'm usually there once every two weeks or so and usually for 10 minutes or less. I'd like to get an inverter and batteries to run them and for now I can just charge the batteries elsewhere. If it seems like it will work I'd set up a panel to charge them once I know what would work. Is this feasible? For years I paid $35 a month for power to this building and averaged 1kwh per year. After I hit $1500 to the power company I had the power turned off. Currently, I use cordless tools or a generator but I'd like something for the lights I occasionally use.

  • #2
    For that much use, I'd get flashlights and call it done. Or, if only daytime operation, create a window.

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    • #3
      I don't know how much illumination you need but maybe you could get one or more of those solar panel/lights that have integrated batteries. They are relatively inexpensive. and some of the high count led flood lights can get quite bright. Solar floodlight.jpg
      2.2kw Suntech mono, Classic 200, NEW Trace SW4024

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      • #4
        I considered battery powered lights but I didn't come up with much. Currently I have lights in 11 rooms in 3 separate buildings but they're all wired to one panel. It costs a little over $2000 for five years of having a power meter and using no power. If I could get some batteries and an inverter for that amount I'd much rather that. I could even use no more than 3 lights at a time if that would help.

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        • #5
          Also, all areas currently have windows. These would only be used at night. Which is why the usage is so infrequent.

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          • #6
            littleharbor Those solar lights work fine but for some reason do not last long. Probably the quality of the panel or wiring.

            I agree with JPM. Before I would install solar panels and battery system I would find a way to use battery operated light fixtures for the few times I may be inside that barn.

            There are more and more coming out as work shop lights that are portable, very bright and run on replacement type batteries. As long as you keep those lights inside and are not subjected to the nasty weather elements I would presume they will last a lot longer then solar powered lights.

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            • #7
              Here is a rechargeable LED shop light I found. I don't know how good it is but at 1400 lumens it will be bright.

              Portable Shop Light.

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              • #8
                I have found the quality does vary quite a bit with these type of devices and it can be somewhat of a crapshoot finding the better ones. As the adage goes though, you get what you pay for, does apply here. The better made products will cost more. I have found the rechargeable batteries are easily replaced, inexpensive and cure some of the ills of some of the devices. One thing this particular has going for it is that the only part that is exposed to the elements would be the solar panel.
                2.2kw Suntech mono, Classic 200, NEW Trace SW4024

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                • #9
                  Look at some of the 12V LED light strips - not T-8 tubes or whatever. Run them right off D cells or a 12V battery
                  https://www.wiredco.com/LED_Strip_Li...tstripww90.htm
                  wiredco also has lots of other LED lighting.
                  Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
                  || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
                  || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

                  solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
                  gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

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                  • #10
                    Whats to stop you getting 2 old car batterys a cheap MPPT charge controler and an old roof mount solar panel and run the 24v through your existing wireing(not on the grid any more) and get a few rolls of the 24v LED strip lighting

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Davefjedi View Post
                      Whats to stop you getting 2 old car batterys a cheap MPPT charge controler and an old roof mount solar panel and run the 24v through your existing wireing(not on the grid any more) and get a few rolls of the 24v LED strip lighting
                      what do you need old car batteries in there for? I'd understand used golf cart batteries but SLA batteries are not suitable for this application even new let alone old.

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                      • #12
                        You have a perfect solar situation and a lot of ways to approach it. I have no idea what it takes to power a T8 lamp, but I imagine if you stay on AC a cheap 200 or 300 watt inverter will take care of powering them. With that usage, you can pretty much use any battery that strikes your fancy, put it close to the inverter. I would go with a 100w or less panel and just a cheap float voltage controller. Everything 12 VDC nominal rating. If you are willing to change all of the bulbs to shop light LED tubes, they will come in under 20 watts apiece. I think this is the rare time where you have TOO MANY OPTIONS for us to help you out much. Go find a candidate battery, float voltage charger, inverter, or panel and it will be easier for us to advise something for the rest I think.

                        Also, we're all trying to get you in for cheap. If you just like the idea of going it solar, search for '100 watt solar starter kit' and tell us what you find that appeals to you.
                        Last edited by AzRoute66; 08-04-2017, 03:57 AM.

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