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The Complete Guide to Solar Panels for Sheds and Gardens

More UK homeowners are switching to solar energy in a bid to reduce their carbon footprint and make energy bills more affordable. And as people look for more opportunities to utilise solar, many of them are propping panels onto their shed roofs.

Whether it’s to power a shed-turned-workshop, outside studio space, or even a greenhouse, people are turning to solar. Think your shed could benefit from a few solar panels? We’ve got all the information on how to make this happen.

Once you’re ready to invest in solar – whether it’s for your property’s roof or your shed – make sure to compare quotes to get the best deal. You can speed up this process by using our easy-to-navigate tool.

All you have to do is provide a few quick details, and our expert installers will be in touch with free quotes for you to compare.

Solar panel on small shed

Can you put solar panels on your shed?

Technically, you can put solar panels on any shed – you just need to get a few things right to make sure they’re effective.

Solar panels are pretty hefty pieces of kit, which means the shed will need to be made from sturdy materials that can hold the weight. If your shed is made from flimsy material or is looking a bit worse for wear, it won’t be a suitable home for solar panels.

The shed will also need to have plenty of space for the panels. When it comes to solar power generation, it all depends on how much energy you consume. Generally, even if you only have very small electricity requirements, you'll still need at least two or three panels, with will measure roughly 1.6 square metres.

As for the angle of the roof? You should make sure it’s at about 35 degrees, with the panels facing southwards, to make sure they have optimal efficiency (the amount of energy that can be converted from sunlight into electricity). Installing the panels at this angle will also mean the rain will run off the panels and will avoid pooling. It’ll also prevent debris from piling up.

If your shed’s roof is at a different angle, you can still install solar panels, but they might not be as effective? Got yourself a shed with a flat roof? All you have to do is get a tilted-mounting system, which you can then place the panels onto.

solar panels on a shed

Why put solar panels on a shed instead of your house?

Power your shed

Have you transformed your shed into an office space, studio, workshop, or outdoor living space? It’s likely that your shed will be consuming a lot of electricity then – more than a shed that is used for just storing things, at least.

In this case, propping some solar panels on your roof will help power appliances and lighting.

You could also cut back on heating costs and emissions, solar panels on the roof of your shed could help to keep you warm.

You won’t need a huge solar panel set either, a few panels will do the job – but this will depend on how often you use it, how many appliances you need to power, and the wattage of each one. On average, a domestic solar panel has a power output of around 265 watts, although it can range anywhere from as little as 225 watts to more than 350 watts.

Bear in mind that a typical three-bedroom house will need around 12 panels, so 2-3 panels for a shed would probably be enough.

Supplement an existing system

Adding panels to a garden shed is a great option for homeowners that would like to increase their solar capacity but have run out of space on their property’s roof for any more panels.

Solar panels are a long-term commitment – usually lasting 25-30 years. Although this is one of the advantages of solar panels, homeowners’ electricity needs might change during this period – just think back to how many more electric appliances we have now compared to 25 years ago.

Charge other green appliances

If you’ve bought other green appliances over the years, such as an electric vehicle or a heat pump, you could add some solar panels onto your shed roof to power them.

By doing this, homeowners could either drive their electric car completely emission free, or heat their properties at a much lower cost than if their heat pump was running on grid electricity.

However, bear in mind that you’ll need more than just a couple of extra panels to power these sorts of appliances. For example, you’d typically need a solar panel system with about 10 solar panels to provide enough power to charge an electric vehicle.

Store emergency power

For anyone that lives in an area that’s notoriously bad for power outages, storing extra solar power could come in handy.

Adding a set of solar panels onto a shed roof and pairing it with a battery can allow homeowners to store electricity for these situations.

Advantages and disadvantages of shed solar panels

ProsCons
Free electricitySet up isn’t always cheap
Zero emissionsMight not cover all of your electricity needs
Easier set up than on a house’s roofMost sheds aren’t big enough for a large solar panel set
Easier to maintain than on a house’s roof
Can top up existing solar power

Can you put solar panels in your garden?

If you’re unable to have solar panels on your property’s roof or shed, you can always try installing ground-mounted solar panels in your garden. These free-standing panels are, as the name suggests, mounted onto the ground using either a metal frame or a pole.

One of the benefits of using ground-mounted solar panels is that you can put them anywhere on your property – just make sure it’s in a spot that gets plenty of direct sunlight.

Having solar panels in the garden will also mean you don’t have to drill any metal framework onto either your property’s or your shed’s roof, which will save you time and money.

Depending on the size of your garden, you might even be able to place more ground-mounted panels in your garden than you could on your shed roof.

If you’d rather use ground-mounted panels than put them onto your shed, rest assured that they could still power either your shed or property.

Small solar panels for garden lights

There are plenty of solar garden lights out there – fairy lights, lamps, or ornaments can all be lit up with energy from the sun.

These solar garden lights have small solar panels – usually placed on the top of the lamp or ornament, or onto the end of the string of lights – which absorb sunlight as a normal-sized panel does. These lights also come with rechargeable batteries.

The solar panels generate electricity from sunlight, which charges the batteries during the day. When it gets dark, the energy stored in these batteries then powers the LED light.

Solar panels on farm sheds

Can you heat a greenhouse with solar panels?

If you’re a keen gardener, you’ll be pleased to know that you can heat your greenhouse with solar panels.

Transforming your greenhouse into a balmy solar-powered haven for your plants will reduce your carbon footprint as well as save you money on heating your greenhouse.

Whether you want to put solar panels on the greenhouse’s roof (although, this will block out some of the sunlight), on a nearby shed, or mounted in the garden, simply get an installer to hook the panels up to an electric heating system in the greenhouse and away you go.

Next steps

It’s no coincidence that more people are buying solar panels – they can reduce your energy bills, cut back on emissions, not to mention they’re long-lasting and stay effective for 25 years.

If you’d like a set of solar panels for your home, garden, or shed, you’re in luck – it’s never been easier to get your hands on a pair of panels.

To compare quotes from different solar panel suppliers, all you need to do is pop a few details in this short form. We’ll then put you in touch with our expert installers, who’ll be in touch with free bespoke quotes for you.

Beth Howell Senior Writer

Beth has a real passion for green living. She’s been absorbed in eco research for over three years, and has become quite the expert. Whether you’re after a new set of solar panels, a home energy improvement, or you want to catch the latest eco news, she’s got your back.

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