cabin solar panel

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by Rich Fletcher, Jul 14, 2014.

  1. Rich Fletcher

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jul 14, 2014
    I am improving an old cabin by adding a new bathroom. The bathroom will be next to the old cabin and attached by a breezeway. Upon submitting plans to the county for a permit (don't ask why) they have suggested that I need electrical power (something the cabin has never had). One option is a solar panel setup. I have a system on my truck camper that is run by a 12 volt battery charged by the truck engine. I believe that a similar system could be used to power lights and a couple fans for the bathroom, but have the recharging done by a solar panel. I'm looking for advise from somebody who has built a system like this. It will need to be legit to get it through the approval by Alameda County building dept. Any advice, education etc would be helpful, including where I should go to purchase this type of system. There is no public utility power available.
  2. NorthGuy

    Active Member

    Jun 28, 2014
  3. shteii01

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2010
    Don't waste your money.
  4. shteii01

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2014
  5. wayneh


    Sep 9, 2010
    I think that's the key. Without knowing their rules, I don't see how you can go forward at all. For all we know, they reject all solar projects. (Not likely, but I think you get my point.) One cannot assume that a government entity will employ logic or behave rationally.

    Ask some questions and find out what standards they follow, or how they will evaluate your installation.
  6. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
    How firm is the "suggestion" you add power? When I "suggest" something to someone I do not expect them to always do that.

    Most municipalities use the National Electric Code, AKA the NEC or just "the code" as the base of their requirements. Some add a few extra requirements but by and large if you respect the national code you'll be good to go with your local inspectors.

    Solar equipment "to code" means each and every item used is listed for the use it is put, and that rule out parts that are fine on your truck. But the good news is your needs are light and there should be some simple solutions fot this, possibly a complete system in a box.

    The only reference material I have, Photovoltaic Power Systems And the 2005 National Electrical Code: Suggested Practices, is probably too technical and more then you need.

    Someone should sell some sort of a turn-key system for this. Your usage seems very light.

    Last thing: while your local code may mandate a grounded system often if you keep the voltage low (under 48VDC) you can avoid this one complication.
  7. Bernard

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 7, 2008
    Harbor Freight has a 45 W system on sale $ 149.99, from picture, 2 lights, charge controller, 3 ea 15 W pannels & mounting bracket. I have one of the 15 W panels & still works after 5 years. Comes to $ 3.30 / W, not too bad, I thought $ 2.00/W was good for a 5.5kW grid connected system.