Cheap Solar Panel Systems

Solar living not only protects you from infrastructure threats, but can help you live a more sustainable self-reliant lifestyle. It can also help your pocketbook.

Solar Cabin in the Woods

DIY Solar Power

I found this video on YouTube of a guy who is using a cheap harbor freight solar panel system to run some of the lights in his house. While it won’t power your average American home, it can be enough to power a small hunting cabin or bug out location.

This system is also a perfect for one of the small cabins that are becoming so popular today. In fact, a couple readers have emailed us saying they are using the same exact Harbor Freight system for all of their electrical needs. The solar setup runs around $199 at harbor freight.


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  1. That little power system does work. My first power system was that exact unit perfect for some lighting and charging the laptop. I have upgraded since then but still use those small panels in my ridge cabin.

    • I use eight golf cart batteries (6 volt) wired to give me 12 volts a charging controller three 200 watt solar panels and a 800 watt wind machine.
      I bought a propane fridge that runs on 500 gallon under ground tank that provides for the fridge and cooking as well as the Ham shack. You can also get propane adaptors for your gensets.

      • frank,
        i am wanting to build a portable device, on wheels. containing a car or golf cart battrey, a power strip and a small electric space heater.
        the battery will power the heater during the night, and a solar panel will recharge the battery during the day.
        the device will be able to be moved from room ro room as needed, and out side to the panel for recharge.
        i put my e mail address on the first replay, but i guess even here there are RULES

  2. It seemed like the perfect setup for a small cabin, I’m glad to hear that it worked for someone else, I have been thinking about picking one up to see what it will do.

    • FYI everyone. Renogy sell a kit with 100w panel and charge controler for less than $200 the panel is better and the system has more watts. Just saying if you go to harbor freight you really are spending the same money for less watts.

  3. Just thought I would give my exoeriuence with these panels.

    I have nine of these panels.

    If you change the cheesy wiring to 12 gauge, you can bump up the wattage.

    Toss the ‘controller’ that came witb the set and get a real controller (Sunforce, Xantrex..etc.)

    I have them hooked up to 8 golf cart batteries and can run most of the stuff in my house using 12 volt lights and an invertor for kitchen appliances, vaccuum etc.

    For a cheap date in solar energy for cabin, emergency etc.., they work.

    • I like this idea and we have wanted to try this system on our home and now that I see your info I think I may do this but I have one question can I join them together to get more watts and power to run just about everything in our home.

  4. Definitely a good deal. Even upgrading the controller, getting a good inverter, and adding a few more panels and batteries make this a great investment opportunity for those of us who don’t have thousands of fiat dollars to invest in solar energy.

  5. This is a a simple system, but if you spend just $200 more you can get more power.
    Buy a 100 Watt solar panel for $200 on eBay. Buy a 600 watt inverter/charge controller on eBay ($149 average). Buy a Marine Battery that hold 900 Ah. Biggest marine/deep cycle battery that walmart has. ($79) Make sure the battery is not a starting battery. You don’t want those cold cranking batteries. They die too soon. With these simple components you can rig up 12 Volt lighting and running a few 120v things as well. If you need a little more power for 120v just get a bigger inverter. You can add more batteries and solar panels to meet your needs. But remember that surviving means living with in your means and conserving.

    • You can get panels cheaper thatn that. I got a 145 watt polycrystalline panel for $160 with shipping included. Bought two of them. I’m mounting them this weekend. Getting a decent MPPT type charge controller and you have to be sure to get a “pure sine wave” type inverter. Modified sinbe wave types won’t do well for some more sensitive applications like computers. Skip the marine batteries. Get 6volt golf cart batteries. Wire each two in a series so you get 12 volts. I’l be able to run lights, TV, computer, router and the AT&T box and fans. I plan on getting a couple of more panels in August…

      • Dave, Cufrious to know how that worked out for you… would love to hear how it went after a year, see pics, plans, etc.

  6. Anyone have plans and a component list? Commercially available systems are way too expensive so a DIY kit seems to be the best option.
    Thanks in advance.

    To give back to the group, I will offer our expertise in setting up a Constitutional Militia within your state. No charge as we want to help other Patriots do what we have accomplished here in Ohio.

  7. We will buck up a little bit longer while they develop.
    Lower ethanol margins, but can you clarify or put more color.
    E Soesilo Bambang Yudhoyono This important world renewable
    developers energy event. Ignored are the effective wind power mitigation measures for bird mortality, and the networked world.

    Ian Horowitz – Soleil Securities Okay, and then in terms of handle that additional production?
    Renewable Developerss, the report said.

  8. “without creating any sort of pollution” How about the Pollution created during the manufacture of the Solar Cell parts and pieces? Isn’t it really a trade-off and then how about after you have paid over many years for the Solar Cell items and then have to pay for their replacements over time! Where is the real advantage? You’re just saving a small amount of money in your right hand pocket while paying a larger amount for it out of your left hand pocket and you quickly find that it is actually way cheaper to stay on the grid, overall!

  9. I was interested in making my own solar panels but don’t know where to get the cheapest cells and supplies. Just wondering whatever happened to those Solyndra made panels that just disappeared. Did they sell them to China.(:(: Thanks for the Harbor Frieght tips, one of my favorite stores. A very broke Sharon

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