Couple weeks ago my motorcycle battery died and I was researching in ways to recycle it. So, I figured to make a small DIY solar panel system with a 5-watt solar panel to power some of my outdoor lights.
Well, it turns out my motorcycle battery is way too small to power my rope LED lights in my outdoor tent as it is designed for starting motorcycle, not for powering lights on for a long time.
I used to have these cheap solar lights between my neighbor’s house and mine where it gets shady too much and they don’t work well. Plus these solar lights really add up and not as efficient/powerful as having an actual solar light panel system.
I wanted to make a slightly bigger system next with a bigger battery and bigger solar panel so I bought a 100-watt solar panel, a 500AH marine battery, and a bunch of new 12V low-voltage outdoor lights.
The 100-watt solar panel does a fairly good job of charging my 500AH marine battery and allows me to run my outdoor lights for a good 5-6 hours after sun goes down.
In the end, I did learn a ton about DIY solar panel system and highly recommended for those of you who need off-grid power for your outdoor cabin, outdoor lights, etc…etc…
My next project? I am thinking about installing DIY solar panels on the roof of my house to lower my electricity bills, I should have an update on that later down the road.
For those of you wondering, here’s a list of parts I used for my DIY solar panel system:
- Renogy 100-watt solar panel – $169.99 on Amazon
- Renogy 30-amp solar charge controller – $29.99 on Amazon
- Marine Deep Cycle Battery – $80-200 on Amazon
- 12V Rope Light – $7-20 on Amazon (These are great, they are waterproof, bright, and easy to install anywhere.)
- Solar Inverter – $26-200 on Amazon (Get this if you want to convert 12V DC to 120V AC to power your laptop, USB adaptors, etc…etc…)
- 12V Outdoor Lights – $12-15 on Amazon (12V outdoor lights work right out of the box with 12V batteries plus 12V DC is very safe and won’t electrocute you)
Why solar charge controller? You need a microcontroller-equipped charge controller so your solar panels