Power Systems for the Home1

The best thing about 12-volt solar electricity is that you can start generating real power for your home for about $500.

Below is a starter system that will provide enough electricity for a couple of 12-volt lights, a small television, and other small appliances, such as a tape player or a fan. Please note that in all of the following examples the costs given are approximate and based on 1987 average prices.

1 2-amp solar electric panel $350
1 deep-cycle 105-amp-hour-battery $100
1 charge controller $75

This system would suit a small cabin, or provide backup power or partial power for a conventional larger home. Additionally you may want to acquire the following appliances and accessories:

1 12-volt fuse box $30
2 12-volt fluorescent lights $70
1 12-volt ceiling fan $100-$300
1 12-volt black-and-white television $100

If for the time being, you decide to go with your present high-voltage appliances, you will need a 500-watt inverter instead, which can be purchased for around $500. But if you are the kind of person who likes to look ahead, I can only encourage you to start switching over to 12-volt appliances right away.(from pages 98 & 99)

Also see more up-to-date information from current solar businesses by clicking HERE.

Sample Home Power Systems
SystemDaily Output
in watts
Basic Cabin System150-200
1 2-amp panel
1 pair mounting brackets
1 105-amp-hour battery
1 charge controller
2 lights -- 1 Hour
1 TV -- 1 hour
1 radio -- 1 hour

Capable of meeting minimal power needs
COST: $500
Medium Cabin System1,000
4 2-amp panels
4 pairs mounting brackets
2 220-amp-hour 6-volt batteries
1 10-amp charge controller
1 1200-watt inverter
3 lights -- 4 Hours
1 TV -- 3 hours
1 radio -- 1 hour
1 fan -- 1 hour

Capable of meeting medium power needs,
of providing partial or backup power for
conventional house, and of occasionally
running an AC appliance with an inverter
COST: $2,000
optional inverter: $1,300
Power Plus Starter System1,500
13 1.5-amp panels
13 pairs mounting brackets
4 240-amp-hour 6-volt batteries
1 20-amp charge controller
1 1,500-watt inverter
5 lights -- 4 Hours
1 TV -- 3 hours
1 stereo -- 2 hours
1 fan -- 2 hours
1 computer -- 1 hour
1 blender -- 5 minutes
1 vacuum -- 30 minutes

Capable of providing all the 12-volt power
for the basic needs of a cabin, including
occasional power for AC appliances.
COST: $5,000
Independant Power System6,000
52 1.5-amp panels
24 3-amp panels
52 or 24pairs of mounting brackets
12 1,015-amp-hour 2-volt batteries
1 charge controller
1 24-volt 2,500-watt inverter
Can meet the electrical needs of a home
comparable to a conventional AC-powered home
COST: $20,000

1Information on this page is derived from: The Solar Electric Book by Gary Starr, copyright 1987.