Asked on Aug 4, 2013

How do I add electric power for a small desert cabin

KMS WoodworksDouglas Hunt


I have a cabin out in the desert and electricity is too costly to connect, I was thinking of wind power or solar energy, anyone have any advice?
2 answers
  • Douglas Hunt
    on Aug 5, 2013

    @KMS Woodworks has just such an off-the-grid cabin and I'm sure he can fill you in.

  • KMS Woodworks
    on Aug 5, 2013

    If your in the desert solar would be the way to go. Our off grid cabin is in Northern New Mexico. The most import thing you will need to do is "size" the system correctly, based on what devices you plan to use or have installed. I planned for expansion when I set mine up. In our place all of our lighting is 12 volt DC LED ( with every light on i only use 38 watts), so It can run native off of the battery. We also have a cigarette socket that runs in the 12 volt dc arena for charging small electronics. I started with a 110 aH sealed battery that is feed with a 30 amp charge controller. Collection was an 80 watt PV panel. This system has been working great for a couple of year. On my most recent trip I added another battery and another panel. I plan to have a total of 3 and 3 by the time we are done. This recent addition allowed me to run a small "electric" cooler that plugs into the cigarette socket. ( this cooler draws about 3.6 to 3.8 amps at 12 vdc) The single solar panel would generate about 4.5 in good sun. Now with both panels I can generate close to 9 amps. I need to "cycle" the cooler during the night and during rainy weather. When we visit during the winter we keep the cooler outside and the ice will not melt. I also have 120 volt via a power inverter. I started with a 1000 watt and upgraded to a 2500 watt. This was needed to power small tools etc. Unfortunately on my recent trip the big inverter went up in a puff of smoke when I was using my recip saw. I had to break out the genny to complete some of the work I had planned. I will bring the 1000 watt unit back down on our next trip. Being a certified contractor I have been doing all of the work myself. If you are not qualified for this I would strongly recommend a pro. I have found Solar Blvd and Alt E some great online sources.

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