pv system for 500 square foot cabin.

1 Posts
May 11, 2011 11:11 am
pv system for 500 square foot cabin.


I have a small remote (off grid for now, the telephone company just installed poles and strung wires) hunting cabin in the far north Maine woods. It is well insulated and includes a wall mounted propane monitor heat, propane stove, propane tank-less water heater (uses D cell batteries for spark) and propane frig. The electrical load are a few cfl lights, 19in lcd tv, blu-ray player, xbox, desk top computer with duel core and duel video cards with a printer and a 21 in lcd monitor, wireless DSL modem and cordless land line phone 1/2 hp water pump (pressured PEX plumbing system with a 30 gal pressure tank) and 1 ceiling fan.  I have a budget of 5,000 but less would be better. what would I prioritize?...I guess from reading the "learn" section of this site are the charge controller and inverter. can I grow the system with more batteries and solar panels as my budget gets replenished?  I would prefer a system that can last a day or two of cloudy days and be able to run with a generator if needed. I would prefer to pole mount the panels on the backyard. should I use a 12v or 24 v system?

Thank You,

462 Posts
May 22, 2011 11:26 am
Re: pv system for 500 square foot cabin.

Frank, first thing you gotta do is total up the power you need. Each appliance should have a tag that states either
Watts or voltage and current.

Voltage x current = Watts.

So if the tag says 110 V  and  2 amps, then 110 x 2 = 220 Watts.

If you use this appliance for 2 hrs then you have used

220 watts x 2hrs = 440 watt hrs.

This used power would take a 120 Watt solar panel 4 hrs to replace.

Now add up all the appliances you want to use. The big killer is going to be the pump.

Best to first think of changing over to DC as much as possible.

Solar hot water should also be on your mind as a first step to save some money.   
3 Posts
May 23, 2011 02:47 pm
Re: pv system for 500 square foot cabin.

Hi Frank,

My name is John Coen and I am a technical sales representative with altE. I would recommend starting with our Off Grid Calculator to get a sense of your power needs:


You can then contact me via email or phone with your results and I will be happy to assist with your system design. You can also browse our Off-Grid Packages at the link below:


Best Regards,
John Coen

Technical Sales Representative

Making Renewable Do-able™
Tel/Fax: 1-877-211-8912   |   My Hours: 8:30AM - 5PM EST, Monday - Friday

3 Posts
May 23, 2011 02:50 pm
Re: pv system for 500 square foot cabin.

Here is a link to the calculator for your loads:

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