Getting More Out of Your Garden Shed

Make Money From Your Garden Shed!

garden shedGot a garden shed? Got any lighting in it? I thought not and that’s because most garden sheds are tucked away in an out of sight position which invariably also means out of the reach of electricity.

Now you could of course simply lay a mains cable from some suitable point in the house or garage, but you can immediately spot the many issues here, not the least of which is that it is woefully unsafe (and probably in violation of several regulations and your home insurance policy).

So how about running a low voltage cable from a transformer instead? Well that’s certainly much safer but unfortunately somewhat impractical since the impedance in the cable itself applies a load to the transformer which eventually means the cable is drawing all the power with none left to run anything else.

This resistance effect in low voltage systems also kicks in quite quickly, so even a cable run of a few tens of meters could be badly compromised. But there is one more solution, which is borrowed from the world of garden lighting where this particular problem (getting power to remote locations) has been known about for a long time.

We’re talking of course about solar lighting for sheds. If one side of your shed roof has a clear line of sight to the sun during the day then you can cover it with a solar panel easily powerful enough to run lighting, heating, tools and other equipment (personally I’m thinking TV and a small fridge for beer here).

But if you’re not so fortunate with your shed location and/or you don’t actually need so much power then a proprietary ready made solar shed lighting system would probably serve your needs very well. These come as all inclusive kits that comprise a stand alone solar panel that can be placed in the most optimal position (often right by the shed is not optimal for sunlight); a cable for connecting the solar panel to the light fittings; and the lights themselves (which these days are almost always LED to make most efficient use of the power).

Solar shed lighting kits start from under twenty dollars for something really basic that provides a single light switch (so no more rummaging around in the shed at night) and range up to units costing a few hundred dollars that can operate numerous lights for lengthy periods of time.

These latter kits are mostly aimed at folk who use their shed as a workshop (or office, gym, games room, etc) and require good lighting but little else. For even larger systems that can deliver a serious amount of electricity then the area on the roof is more than big enough to mount a regular domestic solar panel that feeds a deep cycle storage battery. I’m guessing you wouldn’t be storing your bikes in there anymore though!

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