Cheap Solar Panels For Sale Online

Please read on for lots of information on cheap solar panels for sale and also my thoughts on the book that tells you how to make a solar panel at home for a low price. Below you will find some of the best priced solar panels online so be sure to take a look. Click any item to see the whole massive range available.

Click to Check Out All Cheap Solar Panels for Sale

5 or so years ago when we bought our solar system there were not as many resources available to buy solar panels online. I did eventually order our system from on online store for solar panels and Inverters, apart from the batteries, but the prices were not really as low as I had wanted.

We got what we could afford but looking back on it I wished we had bought a slightly different system.

Now it seems that prices have come down enough to even make having solar hot tubs a viable proposition.

cheap solar kit

This is going to be one of those epic posts on the self sufficient site I write from time to time so if you want to know where to buy solar panels cheap, can you make homemade solar panels, what are the best solar panels to buy, how many solar panels do I need and an awful lot of other questions relating to getting cheap solar panels and running a home off grid then settle back with a pot of coffee and get ready for a very comprehensive look at many of the questions relating to buying and choosing solar panels.

Before we start there is one thing that I come across quite a lot and that is that people want to buy solar panels to at least run a few items off grid but never seem to get around to it. My advice is bite the bullet, buy a few solar panels sooner rather than later and stop just thinking about it. There really is nothing quite like knowing that you are at least generating some of your own power, even if you just hook up a solar panel to a deep cycle leisure battery (even a car battery is better than not doing it all all) and get yourself a cheap home Inverter. They are ridiculously low in price here from Amazon so there is absolutely no reason not to at least have the shed or garage running on solar or a few appliances in the home.

discount solar panelsYou are reading this (I hope) because I am sat at my laptop writing it from energy stored from the sun in a set of 560 amp hour 12 volt batteries that are connected to an 1100 watt pure sinewave 12 volt Inverter. It is far from a perfect system but as I said earlier it was what we could afford at the time and was also tied in with what I actually knew about choosing a system, which was not very much.

Don’t get me wrong, I am no expert on the whole subject but I can help you to choose the best solar panels for the money and point you in the right direction of where to buy. This is Amazon by the way, who are absolutely now our favorite supplier for all manner of items, from large to small. Let’s get started.

Can I Get Cheap Solar Panels ?

solar panel plug n play

Absolutely. When I bought our solar panels, which are 4 80 watts panels, there were not as many resources online to but them. They were not cheap I can tell you. Now, because many of the big online stores stock absolutely everything they are a lot lower in price than 5 years ago.

Partly due to the increasing number of people buying solar panels, as this cuts production costs, and better technology. There is also the fact that large companies have a better buying power because of the number of items they can order.

You absolutely cannot find them cheaper than here. The selection is great and with third party sellers competing to get sales their profit margins have been which is great news for us.

The Best Price Solar Panels

The best price for solar panels really can only be answered if you want to compare prices for a certain size panel and the quality. Always go for the best you can afford with the best coatings and the absolute highest resistance to the weather.

There are a surprising number of third party sellers on Amazon with amazingly low prices. To get the absolute best price for solar panels then I recommend simply browsing through all that is on offer and buying the lowest price for the wattage of the panel that you require. It will be the size of the solar panel based on watts that will be the deciding factor in how much you end up paying. Choosing the solar panels is probably the hardest decision to make and this greatly effects how much you will be paying. This leads me nicely on to:

How Many Solar Panels Do You Need To Run A Home?

This is extremely hard to say and it will all be dependent on a number of different factors. It depends on how many watts each solar panel will give, the size of the batteries used to store the magic produced by the solar panels, and of course how much electricity you use in the home.  Most people will be using a 12volt battery and Inverter system so I will be talking about the best solar panels with that as a starting point.

best priced solar panel

It is simply too complicated to go in to technical details about the voltages and it will not be understood by many and as I said I am no expert on the subject anyway. To make things simpler we will simply talk about the most basic solar power systems, the one that most people will end up installing.

It will be nigh on impossible for me to tell you how many panels you will need to totally run your home off grid. What I will say is that the less high consuming appliances you use the less you will need.

If you want to buy cheap solar panels and live off grid then you can take the following as a starting point. This is our system and this is the appliances we run. You can get a rough idea of what you will need to buy from our energy use. Of course, bear in mind we live in Spain and get good hours or clear bright skies for the majority of the year.

What Can You Run On Solar Panels

discount solar charging kit

We have a 12 volt battery storage system that give 560 amp hours of storage.
We have 4 80 watt 12volt solar panels that are wired via a solar charge controller to the batteries.
The batteries then feed to a 12 volt 1100 watt Inverter that converts it to a pure and reliable AC current.

For much of the year we can do the following without resorting to turning on a backup generator to top up our batteries.

We can run 2 or 3 energy efficient light bulbs all day and 1 on all night. We can use a laptop for 7 or 8 hours. We can watch a small 50 watt tv for 4 or 5 hours. We can do a load of washing on a cold economy wash, make some toast in a high energy using toaster in the summer and a few other bits and pieces.

I know that doesn’t really sound like a lot so you will have to consider carefully what to buy if you want to run a complete household from a solar system. We can’t use our washing machine on a hot wash as it uses more watts than our Inverter will allow us to draw. This could be rectified by buying an Inverter that will allow you to draw more watts but what we have found is that for nearly all day to day use of the washing machine you don’t ever need anything other than a cold wash. And bear in mind that this is with using eco wash balls, no powder or liquid.

What we cannot do and neither will you with the same amount of solar panels is run a fridge. We have a gas fridge and it is far from perfect. I would certainly choose to buy an extra solar panel to run an electric fridge if I had to do it all over again. We also cannot run an electric oven or hob, our Inverter is not highly rated enough for one and the 4 solar panels would need to be doubled if we wanted to run an electric oven and hob on a daily basis.

We also use a gas kettle as electric kettles use an amazing amount of electricity.

So, we cannot go crazy with our power usage and neither can we run as many electrical items as many normal households do. However, it is not like we are living in a cave either. We have 2 laptops, tv’s, washing machines, plenty of lighting from stupid energy efficient bulbs that take about 3 years to give sufficient light (but that’s a different story), and run all manner of other electrical items as and when they are needed. Stereos, radios, dvd players etc.

So, you can run a house on solar panels and you can do it on 4 80 watt solar panels if you are careful. What would be ideal for us I think and for many households who are aware of electricity use is 8 80 watt solar panels. Or, and this would be better, a battery system that is 24 volt, which will mean it is twice as expensive as a 12 volt system, a high rated 24 volt Inverter to cope with the demands of washing machines and ovens and hobs.

Which is the best price solar power system is hard to tell. It will probably work out a little more for the 24 volt rather than simply buying more panels but it gives a lot more freedom when it comes to the range of appliances you can run in the home and allows for much more in the way of storage that is produced from the panels for when the sun is giving little charge.

Should I Buy Solar Panels Online?

Personally I think yes. With Amazons low prices there is no way you will get near to that if you go to a bricks and mortar store. They have the best price solar panels that I could find for all manner of sizes and to fit all budgets.

Price comparisons for solar panels from a number of suppliers have confirmed that they are without doubt the best source for cheap solar panels.

Can I Run A Workshop On Solar Panels?

cheap solar energy kit

This image is the perfect example of what to buy. It is actually very good value and has everything you need to power a small area or run a workshop or a laptop etc very efficiently. It has the panel but also a deep cycle battery and an Inverter. This is perfect for anyone wanting to run part of the home or an outhouse from a single purchase.

You can run a workshop, a garage, a shed, a single appliance, anything, via solar panels. All you need to ensure is that you know how many watts the appliances you want to run use and buy accordingly. You need to bear a few things in mind though.

Let’s say I want to run a laptop from a solar panel. Now my laptop uses 90 watts when charging. Often it will be lower than this and of course with a good new battery installed it will actually not be using any electric more often that it will. Now if I bought 1 80 watt panel I could connect it straight to a very cheap Inverter and simply plug the Laptop in to it when I wanted to charge the battery. Without a deep cycle battery to store the energy from the solar panel I am of course wasting a lot of that potential power but for single use systems it will certainly add to the cost.

The single panel would simply not be good enough, even if it was a 100 watt panel. You need to remember that that is the optimal number of watts. This means if it is at the perfect angle and the sun is at the perfect spot then I may get the 80 watts. Much better to have a deep cycle battery that the cheap solar panel is connected to. This means that from as soon as it is light I am capturing that power and storing it for when I need it. Even on a less than perfect day it means that I could run my laptop because I have stored power.

As a single deep cycle battery, the ones used for camping etc, are about a third the price of a solar panel it makes much more economic sense to always connect the solar panel to a storage battery. You harness all the possible power you can and this makes the system cheaper.

Home Solar Panels

What I will say is that the best home solar panels will be extremely durable. This means that the panels should be able to withstand hail and very bad weather. With very cheap solar panels for the home you may find that they do not live up to expectations. Get a good quality set of solar panels, especially if they are to be the main source of electricity for your house. It is not as important as far as quality is concerned if the solar panel is just a little extra to help run an appliance or for a shed etc.Basically all of the many solar panels available are suitable for the home. Solar panels for the home are really little different to anything else and this is simply the same some people like to call them.

You may find that to run just a little appliance or for a low energy power point that you can get a very cheap home solar panel at low prices and you won’t have to be so concerned about the quality although obviously the better it is the longer it will last.

Small Solar Panels

solar panel battery charger

Small solar panels that will supply a few watts should not be overlooked for running small appliances, even things like small submersible pond pumps. It is very easy to buy cheap small solar panels and place them at an angle pointing at the sun. They can be mounted on anything really, as long as they get the most sun possible.

Lots of the little solar panels often come in a sort of fold out arrangement which makes them extremely portable. These often simply come with jubilee clips and while not perfect, for a small appliance the panel can simply be clipped to a cheap car battery or even an old one.

This is something I have been meaning to get around to for some time. At the moment our water tanks are at the top of our land. The water is pumped via a small DC pump which is connected to a car battery. Every few days it needs to be recharged via a battery charger. This means carrying it down to the house. It would make much more sense to simply get a low cost cheap and small solar panel and clip it on to the battery. A slow trickle charge is all that is needed to keep the battery topped up enough to ensure there is a sufficient charge to run the pump.

Small solar panels are perfect for such usage and they are even perfect for running a few lights in a shed or garage, or even a child’s tree house. You can get plenty of DC lighting arrangements and this means that you can do away with the need for an inverter. Just ensure that wherever the cable runs to after the battery that the run is as short as possible. The DC current is not very good over long distances so the shorter the run the better. Having written this I think I really am going to get around to buying a small solar panel from Amazon today, it is just one of those things that I never seem to get around to doing.

Even just using a small and very cheap solar panel to run a low powered item will make a bit of difference to your energy usage so why not at least buy a small solar panel today and get started using the free energy the sun provides?

Solar Panels For Homes

Earlier we looked at how many solar panels you may need to run a home, as we are really at the lowest rung of the ladder when it comes to a house solar system. Ideally there would be a much better system but it works and it won’t be changed any time soon.

If you want solar panels for the home that run anything and everything then go for as large a wattage for each panel as possible. You can get from 80 watt solar panels to 200 watts and more and my advice is get as few solar panels as possible by getting them with the highest wattage possible. This will enable you to buy cheaper solar panels and also save space.

Large solar panels will mean you need less of them and this saves space and it also saves on the additional costs. You will not have to buy as many brackets and nuts and bolts to fix them in place and it also means that you wont have to spend as much on cable to wire them all together. The real cost is also much reduced by buying large solar panels for the home. Buying a big solar panel will mean that it is a fair amount cheaper than buying two to give the same sort of output. You are only paying for one item so the frame etc is only being paid for once, and lets not forget shipping and packaging as well, although this is often free.

Discount Solar Panels

I am not going to say don’t buy discount solar panels. There are lots of very good prices but what I would say is that it depends on the use to which the panels will be put.

If they are for the running of the main household then I would get the best quality possible. Get the best price solar panels but with the best quality as well. You do not want any problems with them and you do not want to have to replace them any time soon either.

You often really do get what you pay for so don’t be enticed by a ridiculously low price if you know that it means the quality is far from perfect.

Installing Solar Panels Yourself

It really is a very straightforward process to install them yourself. You do not really have to be that technically minded. There are countless resources online that show you exactly how to install a complete system. You may also well find that instructions for wiring the panels are contained when they arrive. This is also true for good quality home inverters. None of it is that difficult, just take all reasonable safety precautions.

If it is going to be a stand alone system then I would say try to install a complete solar system yourself. But if you really do not think that you are up to that then get a professional to take care of the job.

If it is for a solar system that is tied to the grid then you will definitely need a qualified person to complete the installation. You definitely do not want to be messing with the electricity that is currently being supplied to your home. This is not to say that you cannot do most of the installation yourself, just leave the complicated and dangerous stuff to someone who is allowed to interfere with the point where the grid electricity enters your home.

The beauty of a home solar system that is tied to the grid once installed is that when you are producing too much electricity then it can actually be sold directly back to your provider. And when you are not getting enough electricity through your solar system to run the home then you simply have your supply direct from the grid.

Now I wanted to talk about something a little different but it is something that an awful lot of people search for on the Internet and it is something that is seriously abused when it comes to finding out information about the subject from an unbiased perspective. This is making homemade solar panels.

It is actually a very big business, as people sell books, mostly in the form of e-books which are books that you pay for and then download straight away.

How To Make Solar Panels

Anyone who has searched online about the subject of making their own solar panels will come across countless sites all giving the same sales pitch about the magic of one of the few e-books they are trying to push. The claims are wild and fantastic and it sounds like you can make a solar panel at home for the price of a sandwich.

This is not what is going to happen, but it is not as bad as I thought it would be, and actually they can be surprisingly helpful (the e-books).

Not so long ago I actually got sent a free e-book from one of the people that wrote one. I have since also looked at a few others after simply asking for a free copy. I guess this is because I write here and they want me to sell them for them. Well I guess it worked, didn’t it? Sort of anyway. I am not a big fan of e-books as a general rule as an awful lot of them are totally pointless but some information can be gleaned from the solar panel building guides to make them more than worthwhile. Here are the top three if you want to learn how to make a solar panel at home.

Earth 4 Energy
Green DIY Energy
Home Made Energy

Anyway this is quite an interesting subject so I will cover it now but I will do so without all the hype and the bull. This is a real review of how to build a solar panel, or really a review of the how to build solar panels e-books.

Instructions On How To Build  Solar Panels Yourself

Firstly let’s get one thing straight, you cannot build a solar panel from scratch. And that’s that. The technology involved is way over anything you are going to learn about from a low priced e-book. You may have seen on the internet lots of claims about building your own solar panel from the ground up but it is a little misleading.

What these books on how to make a solar panel at home do supply are some very clever tips and tricks to assemble solar panels from cheaply sourced bits and pieces and lots of very clear instructions on how to assemble it all. There are diagrams and very clear pictures so anyone can do it. You do not need to be experienced in anything electrical or otherwise.

The main point of the solar panel building instructions is to really make you think outside of the box when it comes to getting cheap solar panels to run whatever you wish. You will be assembling frames and you will need a few basic tools and you will have to spend some money.

The books do not tell you how to make a free solar panel but they do allow you to construct a solar panel at home for a fraction of what it would cost to buy a new one. What you will not get as an end result is a solar panel that looks as sleek and perfect as one that you buy. It may be a little more rough around the edges but once on a roof or wherever it is placed who really cares?

Make Your Own Solar Panel At Home

I have to be honest here and say that I haven’t followed the books and actually built my own solar panel. Because we live a fairly remote life on top of a mountain in Spain the realities of getting materials shipped to our post office box in town simply do not stack up.

People in the US and the UK and really anyone who lives slightly less out of the way would find it easy to get what materials they need shipped to them or to buy them easily locally. We do not have that luxury but I may get around to it one day as an experiment, and I think this may well be when we need another solar panel to maybe run an electric fridge instead of a gas one.

Until then there are plenty of other things to keep us occupied. If you do want to learn how to cheaply make a solar panel at home then the most popular books are those above.

They are all fairly similar buy I guess the best one is probably the one advertised in the banner.

But do not expect an epic book. These are simple and to the point. They tell you the tips and tricks to source what you need cheaply and tell you exactly how to assemble everything. Just remember that it is not what you will be expecting. I find it a little awkward writing this as surely I could just tell you all what is in the books and then you would not have to pay for it.

Well, I just don’t feel comfortable doing that. Everyone is entitled to make a little money online, and as I do just that through various writing projects I would not be happy if someone came and stole my content and published it elsewhere. And I certainly would not publish the diagrams etc that I guess will be copywrite anyway.

By all means buy one of the books with instructions on building solar panels but don’t think it tells you how to make one from the ground up. They are simply some very clever little tricks to source what you need cheaply, which I had never even thought of, and just if not more importantly, they give easy to follow instructions on how to put it all together, make frames etc, and how to do the wiring, which is so easy anyone could do it.

The building solar panels guides are more like a “Doh!” moment than anything else. It’s kind of a “slap your head” why didn’t I think of that kind of thing.

For the money that they cost they are well worth the price and they will result in significant savings. It will probably take you a day or two to make the whole thing so it is quite a good project to make. I think it would be a great thing to do with children as the anticipation would build. When the final homemade solar panel is finished then you can run one of their toys or something similar and it is sure to be a lot of fun. Quite a good way to do a project together and an opportune moment to open their eyes to environmental issues and teach them a few things about how the whole solar thing works.

I Am Going Soon

Finally I hear you cry.

I know this has been a rather epic post and has wandered about some. I just wanted to do a single post that covered a lot of the basics when it comes to buying cheap solar panels and I hope I have done that. It is partly because I spent so many hours looking for cheap solar panels and in the end I really did not get the best price at all.

If you follow the numerous links and images on this post you will be able to get cheap solar panels and they really are the best possible prices you will find. I can’t really believe that they are cheaper than when I bought mine over 5 years ago.

If you want to have a go at building your own solar panel then give one of the books a try. The end result will be some large savings but just don’t expect them to be what you may suspect they will tell you. They are full of clear instructions but you will have to spend some money on materials. I think for the books on building a homemade solar panel the main thing I got from them is that it would be quite a satisfying project to put together just so you can do a bit of boasting about the fact that you made your own solar panel.

Before I go please note that I am not a technically minded person so please do not give me any grief if I have made mistakes, don’t be picky if I have not used the right words for aspects of solar panels i.e watts, amp hours, volts etc, unless it really makes a difference to what I was trying to say. The main point is to show people that you can run a home via solar and also to point everyone to the best and cheapest places to buy them. This was not intended to be, and never will be, an instruction manual on how to install a solar system.

For a more self sufficient future

36 Responses to “Cheap Solar Panels For Sale Online”

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  1. Jan says:

    In our experience, folk come to Spain and think they can run everything they need from one stupid panel. They soon find out! An informative article for those starting out.

    • Thanks Jan,

      You are right, people often overestimate what can be run with a panel or two.

      • Koopdog says:

        Interesting article, i make my own solar panels at home. Ihave already made 9 complete panels . Ithought i would be smart and make them 27.4.V but have found i need to put more cells in to bring them up to over 32V. But currently run 6 panels , 3 x 2 in parralel , which gives me 54.8 V and about 19 Amps into a 24 v battery bank 900AH. NOT NEARLY ENOUGH PANELS !!!!!
        I am no brain surgeon when it comes to electricity , but the panels work and i am going to build another 12 and connect them to the 6 i have now. we also have a Soma 1000 wind generator which will complete the system. A 2500w invertor handles everything , fridge, 3D digital TV, lights , EVERYTHING.
        Until i built these panels , for the last 10 years we used to run a generator 6 hours a night when there was no viable wind power, we now run a 2500w generator about once a week ,SO I GUESS I AM ON A WINNER.

        So thank you for your site and wish you all the best in Spain , sounds like a nice piece of paradise you have .

  2. Robert says:

    My wife and I , have been doing alot of research in the solar panel and wind turbine niches lately. and I have to agree with you that building a solar panel or two would be a really great project to do with the kids. I think it would be a reall good way to open therir eyes to the environmental issues we are facing these days . all in all it was an excellent post thanks

  3. Angie Simpson says:

    Hi – my 14 year old son is wanting to supply his treehouse/clubhouse with solar power so that he can have lights, hook up a radio, etc. enough where he could use it to sleep in – hang out in – that kind of boy stuff. Since he is wanting to pay for it i want to make sure he doesnt get ripped off – what would you suggest that would serve this purpose? And what suggestions could you give us – well him.


    • Hi Angie, of course it all comes down to cost. Ideally he would have a deep cycle battery to store the energy and an 80 watt panel but it will probably be too expensive. He could use a car battery and that would work but it will not store the energy the same but will be suitable for running lights, a stereo etc. Take a look at some of the panels on this article then browse around for a cheap 40 watt or so. The kit with an inverter and a panel etc is a very good price and would be just about ideal. He will need an inverter unless you can simply connect everything up via dc which is possible but an inverter makes life easier. I would go for the kit, for $300 if I had the money.

  4. David says:

    I am living in northwest Ireland where we don’t see much sun, will solar panels work on a overcast day?

    also i use a computer, electric fridge, alarm clock, microwave, water heater, water pump, kettle and energy saving lights, charging my mobile phone.
    my electric bill comes in between 200 and 80 euro every two months.

    I could just use my computer, mobile phone, water pump (have to pump water into rads while fire is lit) and fridge.
    would solar panels run those appliances, even on overcast day?

    I would love to be off grid!

    • Hi David.

      Solar will work on an overcast day just to a much lesser degree. You can run anything you want off solar, it is all down to the size of the system. The best way is to change from electric where you can. i.e a gas kettle as they are real guzzlers when it comes to power.

      But it is also about battery storage. The panels connect to batteries which store the power and then you use it as needed. So sunny days will really top them up and then you have power in reserve for when you need it. We run our home on 4 80 watt panels. That is with our chest freezer to fridge conversion and 2 laptops on most of the day as well as the usual other stuff.

  5. tunde says:

    I live in Nigeria and I want to know if 4 80watts panel can power a load of 1000watts.

    • Yes, but you would need a powerful enough invertor.

      • ahmad bilal says:

        kindly elaborate, how a 4 80 watt (if i understood it right = 80 x 4 = 320 watt) how a 320 watt panel can power 1000 watts of load, with how much powerful inverter?

        • Ahmad, its all about the batteries and inverter – the panels are not running our power directly, but rather charging a set of 12v 520ah batteries. Then a 1100 watt pure sinewave 12 volt Inverter supplies the power to the house.

  6. Margo says:

    We have a house in Spain which runs on a 24 volt system with a generator and updated invertor. We had a brand new washing machine which won’t work since we went to 24 volts…..We’ve been told we need to buy an old style washing machine which is mechanical rather than electronic….I don’t really understand this and wondered if you could give some advice…..Thanks!


    • A query indeed. Our new “electronic” washing machine works (just) on an old 12 volt system, but only on a delicate cycle since the spikes it takes to do a larger load cannot be handled by the inverter. But we can only use it if the sun is out as the generator warps the current so that it isn’t smooth enough for the delicate machine’s electronics.

      Friends run a new machine on 24 volt with no problem. Check your inverter can handle the spikes the washing machine is inflicting on it – and if you manage to find an old style mechanical machine let us know – I miss my old basic Indesit dearly!

  7. Alan Larson says:

    The 24 volt system will not give you twice the power you currently have.
    You get 320 watt-hours per hour from the 320 watts of panels. If you wired then to 24 volts you would get half the current you currently get. You could buy a larger inverter that ran from 24 volts, but it would run the battery down faster. You could also buy a larger inverter that ran on 12 volts and it would run the batteries down faster.
    24 or even 48 volts would be good for a larger system, because the wiring would be smaller and easier, but there would be some additional problems with being sure the battery cells were balanced. The real thing you need for the larger system is more panels, not just a change to high voltage battery bank.

  8. thomas says:

    Hi there,

    I have a coffee cart that i run in a CBD mon-fri and are very interested in converting to 100% solar.
    The cart operates 6.5hrs per day.

    Coffee machine requires 14.1amp power and puts out 3400w to my knowledge..

    I also run a little fridge for milk, light and a grinder.

    What kind of panels and inverters will I be needing to run these on a daily basis?

    Any information would be very helpful.


    • Thomas,

      That is a pretty heavy duty setup that you will require, you will be spending quite a bit I am afraid. You will need a good and powerful inverter and plenty of panels. Please use the resources in the posts to check on prices.

    • ToyCollector says:

      We RVers have been working on this problem for some time. We still don’t have all the answers.
      For your cart, the heating equipment will cost a lot in watt/amps. In the RV world, we have limited space for solar panels. I assume you will have the same problem.
      We use solar for many things. The first thing would be to keep the batteries charged when sitting. The next step is to use solar for lighting and sight TV use. When you consider heat, the furnace is propane and more and more are considering infra red or blue flame heaters, with no motor which sucks the battery power down in a day. Refriges come in propane models that use very little dc for control power. Stoves are propane.
      You need to play with numbers to see what you will need. I am afraid you do not have the roof for the needed solar panels nor the space for the battery storage. but if you put the heavy stuff on propane, or as much as you can you might be able to design a size that would work for you. Even if you had to carry a small back up generator, usually for cloudy or rainy days, you’d be covered.
      A 12vdc system will need to supply 10 times the amps you need at 120vac.
      So if your coffee machine requires 14.1 amp then you need 141 amps at the 12v level, running through the inverter and to the coffee machine.
      A 24 volt system ( 24vdc supplied to a inverter to produce 120vac ) would be half that or 70 amps at 24v dc. Still a sizeable amount but a workable number. Adding a frig and grinder will increase the load but your coffee machine is the watt eater. If you could use a coffee machine that used propane, most of that load would be gone.
      I’m afraid you may find that the business world of today use equipment that are power pigs and they roll that cost over to the customers with little concern about environment. You are finding that now in a round about way.
      In the beginning artical they are talking about 4 80 watt panels storing power to a 12 volt battery storage system that give 560 amp hours of storage. from there they feed a inverter that can supply 1100 watts of power if the batteries hold up.
      Do notice that the load that is in use is 2 or 3 energy efficient light bulbs all day and 1 on all night. We can use a laptop for 7 or 8 hours. We can watch a small 50 watt tv for 4 or 5 hours. We can do a load of washing on a cold economy wash, make some toast in a high energy using toaster in the summer and a few other bits and pieces.
      This is far from what you are planning to do but it is a start.
      Learn how to manipulate the numbers and find the amount of panels you need and the amount of batteries you need to supply your needs. Then figure out what you can actually build onto your coffee cart to figure if it is, indeed feasible.
      Good luck

  9. Jo says:

    Thanks, i enjoyed reading that, although forgot to make the coffee first 🙁
    I am further inspired to not only have solar panels, but maybe actually make them as well. Great idea to get kids interested, especially in the summer holidays, better than expensive “days out”.

    Will add you to my favourites to read further, as now off to make that coffee!

  10. kim says:

    thanks for the info.can i ask a question how many panels and batteries will be need if i use a t.v ,and aircondition?

  11. Building your own solar panels is quite easy. And the older solar cell types are getting a lot cheaper. A soldering iron a bit of time each day and you will be amazed how quickly you can assemble one.

    Retail panels have such a high profit margin it’s a joke.

  12. peter robison says:

    Thank you so much for this. It is one of the most informative and useful sites I have read. I currenly live in Phoenix Arizona, Via England and Canada. I still have a concern about the cost of solar panels. What is the price range for a reliable panel, either one I can make myself or buy prepackaged. Some of my neighbours have paid as much as $15,000 to have a system installed

    • peter,

      For a single panel you are probably looking at $400 plus, but this is not going to run your home. The sad truth is that what your neighbors pay for a whole install, including panels, batteries and an Inverter plus fitting is about right. This is why it is best to shop around and buy the items yourself. Installation is actually very easy and will save a lot of money.

  13. Walter says:

    I am absolutely amazed.

    A 24v system gives you double the power?

    Just curious, have the laws of physics changed lately?

    To produce the power to light a 12W bulb from a 12 V system will require 1A of current.

    If you had a bulb designed for 24V to give you the same lumens as the 12V bulb you would require 0.5 amps if you had a panel of 24V. But the area of the solar panel would roughly the same size as for the 12V panel and at slightly more cost.

    The perpetum mobile has not been invented yet. Sounds like you did. Man, thats incredible…

  14. mo anthony says:

    Hi, This is a very interesting article and I wonder if you can help an illiterate no idea person like myself. We live on a Community in Spain, (the sun is beautiful and warm at the moment 31/1/2012) the gates into our Community have 4 large Halogen lights two on the outside and two on the inside, Halogen is expensive, would a small solar panel run these from 7pm to 2am every night? what else besides the solar panel will I need to make this a viable proposition? Any help gratefully appreciated.

  15. ZOLTAN says:


  16. Janene says:

    My dream is to get a plug-in hybrid car and have a solar panel for the recharging station. Do you have any idea how many panels it would take to do something like that? Or is this even feasible at this time. I live in North Carolina where the sun shines most all the time. Thanks!

  17. edwin says:

    Hi from Puerto Rico! I will like to know how to build a system only for air conditioning. We have the Sun down here burning ALL YEAR LONG and the electricity bill is killing our pockets. Any suggestions PLEASE and thank you very much.

  18. linda says:

    Hi I’m in southern ireland and run our holiday mobile home on solar we have 3 100 w panels 500 inverter and 30 amp controller panel and 2 120 amp batterys we can run radio 3 lights and tv which is a new 15 watt tv and charge phones, ipads
    tried runing fridge but no hope ……what would I need to run fridge? can’t seem to find gas fridge anywhere

  19. Percty says:

    hi there, I’m trying to put up a solar system setup at home and would like to find out more. I have 4 pieces of 250 Watts solar panels which is 1000 Watts combined, 4 DC batteries each (12V 100A respectively) but I have a solar charge controller which is 48 Volts 40 Amperes. I’m worried and would like to know is it strictly important to have a Solar charge controller of 48Volts 100A respectively, or the one I have is ok. Please advice me. I would be glad for an early reply so I can quickly start my setup. thx

  20. Mike says:

    Read your article you didn’t menchun how many batteries u had in a hot climate it might be better to have more battery s than panels solar nice article though I found a 30 watt fridge at Sears in usa hoping to get one 150 dollars under counter type with small frezer Mike UK