Using home solar power is a growing trend for many people in the city, suburb, country, and off-grid living. The cool thing about it is you can choose from among different levels of power and energy to meet your individual needs. Solar power is ideal for many log cabin applications for running appliances, lights, electric motors, pumps, heating, tools, and much more.

Levels of Solar Power for Log Cabins

Before installing a solar power system, brainstorm what your energy needs will be, how much you can afford, and who to hire for the job. A major consideration is whether you want to send some of the energy back to the power grid or keep all of it for storage batteries. The following ideas will help you establish the power needs for your log cabin.

Determine Your Year-round Energy Needs

Off-grid solar systems run and store energy completely disconnected from the electric company’s power grid.

Solar panels need 50% -100% exposure to the sun to be effective. Less than 50% is iffy and much less won’t work. Cabin owners typically choose one of these three levels:

  • Limited use is intended for only powering a few items such as a couple of light bulbs, a refrigerator, radio, computer, or phone charger. This is also a good choice for limited occupancy of a cabin. This goal is accomplished with only a few panels.
  • Average use is a happy medium between limited and maximum use of the sun’s power. This is a good choice when you heat with wood or propane, need a water pump, water heater, and lighting.
  • Maximum use comes into play when you want practically everything you would normally use in a home fully connected to the electric company’s power grid. In this case, a full system with storage batteries is required and is the most expensive setup.

Levels of Solar Power for Log Siding Cabins

Benefits of Using Solar Power at the Cabin

It doesn’t matter what size your cabin is, what matters is your electrical profile or how much electricity you need. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has information showing the average number of solar hours available for each state. Once you determine if solar is right for you, you can start experiencing its benefits that include:

  • Have electricity where none is available from the electric grid
  • Saving money in the long run from more than one utility company
  • Earning tax credits and rebates from more than one source
  • Helping save the environment by using clean, pure energy from the sun
  • Improving the resale value of your cabin
  • Protecting the roof because much of it is covered with panels
  • Establishing independence and be in control

Now, let’s look at how it all works to your benefit no matter where you live.

“Before installing a solar power system, brainstorm what your energy needs will be, how much you can afford, and who to hire for the job. A major consideration is whether you want to send some of the energy back to the power grid or keep all of it for storage batteries.”

How It All Works

Log Siding

Simply put, a solar system runs on photovoltaic (PV) panels that soak up the sun and an inverter that converts direct current (DC) electricity into alternating current (AC). If you are tied to the grid, you don’t need storage batteries unless you want some stored power for an emergency backup. Adequate storage batteries are necessary for true, off-grid power. Keep in mind they are not cheap.    

Your installers will connect the solar panels to your cabin’s electrical system for running anything you need and want. If you are making maximum use of the system, you will need enough panels to do the job right. They can be mounted on the roof, on the ground in a frame, or on a frame that rotates to follow the sun during the daytime. Ground or pole panels also run up the cost but can be well worth it.

What Does Your Budget Allow?

A solar-powered home electrical system is a great way to go and comes in handy when:

  • Running a generator often is too expensive
  • Electric rates are high or going up in your area
  • Propane gas rates are expensive or going up
  • Attaching to and using the county water/sewer system is costly

Log Cabins

What will it cost to power up your cabin? It all depends on the size of your roof, ground frame if used, personal needs, and the level – limited, average, or maximum. Small, simple systems cost in the hundreds of dollars while full-cabin systems can cost $20,000 and up. Remember: If you get the full rebate of 30% on a $20,000 system, that means a $6,000 tax savings as a federal income tax credit.

The safe thing to do is obtain estimates from three different experienced solar companies and compare their costs, terms, and warranties. Talk to a homeowner with a successful experience using solar and one with an unsuccessful experience to get more pros and cons if you still can’t decide which supplier to use.

A Super Way to Save More Energy and Money

Here’s a little secret many people don’t know. Build your cabin with log siding instead of full logs and save a bundle of money. Use the savings to help pay for your solar power system. This is a win-win situation because the log siding is less costly, thick insulation can be installed in the walls, and labor savings are tremendous. You end up with the full log look and money in your pocket. The WoodWorkers Shoppe has what you need: log siding, log trim, log corners, and much more.

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