After years of research, my wife and I finally pulled the trigger and purchased and had a licensed electrician install an inexpensive, effective solar system for our cabin. Over the past several years, I have helped many of my clients find and purchase off-grid recreational property. The old school approach to these cabin properties is to use a generator, providing cabin owners two choices once the sun goes down: a) Noisy Option: Crank up the generator and turn on the lights, or b) Quiet Option: Wander around with a flashlight or propane lantern. Based on the information I had, I would always tell my clients they could have an inexpensive solar system installed for as low as $4000 - $5000. Not bad, right?
By researching and shopping both on the web and locally (both have advantages depending on the item), I found out what I needed to build a solid system that could be expanded in the future, without breaking the bank on the front end.
Below are the components and costs for each used for our system:
- * 85 Watt Solar Panel - $200 (Web Purchase)
- 3000 Watt Modified Sine Wave Inverter - $450 (Web Purchase)
- 10 Amp Solar Charge Controller - $60 (Web Purchase)
- * 2-Six Volt 225 Amp Hour (Rated at 20 Hours) Golf Cart Batteries - $260 (Local Purchase)
- PV Cable (connects solar panel(s) to solar charge controller) and Romex Electrical Wire - $150 (Local Purchase)
- 30' of 3/0 Battery Cable (15' run x 2 between batteries and inverter) plus 4 lugs (ends) installed - $180 (Local Purchase)
- Labor (Licensed Electrician) - $450
> Total: $1750
(*) Items that can be easily doubled later if needed for increased capacity
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or want additional details on our system. If you are willing to do some of your own research, an affordable solar system is within reach. I highly recommend having a licensed electrician install your solar system. Less risky, less frustrating, and they need the work!