DIY Solar Panels – LED Grow Lights Powered Off The Grid

Solar Grow Light

Part of the allure of LED grow lights is the massive reduction of electricity required to power them - up to an 80% drop over standard HID grow lights.  What this means is that, in the right configuration, you can achieve the same yield using a 90W LED grow light versus a 400W HPS.  The movement towards carbon footprint reduction coupled with the desire to remain stealthy has lead indoor growers to look at solar panels to power their LED grow lights in effort to stay off the grid, however, there may be a better way.

Solar Power For LED Grow Lights

Shifting to alternative energy to power your grow operation is not just for small-time hobbyists. Colorado House Bill 1284 allows cities, at their discretion, to force dispensaries to use 100% solar or wind power for their operations. California is considering a similar measure to help alleviate pressure on an already strained electrical grid.

Whether or not you agree with government regulations on the source of power you use, the fact remains that growing indoors is expensive at the very least and could very well get you busted.

So what can you do to grow more green, keep more green, and keep your grow off-grid?

Is Solar Too Expensive For Grow Lights?

In my estimation, purchasing enough panels to power a simple, small 400W grow room (including lights, hydroponic system, fans, etc) can set you back well over $1000. Yes, this may be able to keep you off the grid, however, there is a much less expensive way to do it. Keeping in mind that the sun does not shine everyday and it takes a good deal of space to set up an appropriate solar panel array, storage batteries and increasing efficiency can alleviate these issues.

DIY Solar Panel Guide

Check out the site below for a comprehensive guide to building your own solar panel array to power your grow room. The guide is well written, easy to understand and comes with some great videos detailing how to go about building a unit for yourself or for sale to others.


Additional Resources On Solar Panels

Here is some additional information on building your own solar panels and grow your own off the grid.

DIY Solar Pocket Factory Machine Can Print a Solar Panel Every 15 ...

inhabitat.com10/7/12

Inventors Shawn Frayne and Alex Hornstein have created the Solar Pocket Factory which prints high quality microsolar panels every 15 seconds.

Get the Solar Panel Guide here.

DIY Solar Panel Backpack Charges Your Gadgets as You Walk

lifehacker.com8/24/12

DIYer Theodore Protasiewicz shows us how to mod a backpack with a few solar panels to charge your devices with the midday sun.

DIY Solar Panel System - Home Made Solar Panels Review

homemadesolarpanelsreview.com12/10/12

You never want a Diy solar powered panel method kit to go 100% photo voltaic electrical power. Following two a long time of work today I threw the switch and went 100% off grid with solar powered electrical power. It really ...

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Josh May 22, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Have u heard anything about the DIY solar panel guide? Looks enticing but don’t know if I can trust it.

HydroMan May 24, 2011 at 11:52 am

Josh –

It is a pretty solid guide – easy to follow directions and high quality videos. Comes with a 60 day return policy so you can’t go wrong. I would not recommend it if I didn’t trust it!

Thanks!
Hydroman

pepe September 12, 2011 at 9:08 pm

What would it take to run the Magnum on Solar?

HydroMan September 14, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Pepe –

The 357 Magnum draws 180w of power . . . so you would need a solid 200-300W of solar panel depending on average solar output in your area. Then you would want to provide enough battery backup to run during low light/night time or you could of course just run it on the grid for part of the day. Invert your light cycle to be opposite . . . . on during the night, off during the day so you can power the light and charge the batteries during the day.

Cheers!
Hydroman

danny February 26, 2012 at 2:52 am

would it be possible to have solar panels recieving light from the lights your using for the grow op? that would be the ultimate grow op. that way a cloudy day would not effect your solar panels.

HydroMan March 9, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Danny –

Sure would – you would just need to have an inverter and a bank of batteries!

Later!
Hydroman

Seanda March 20, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Hello Hydroman, great blog you have going here! As an engineer and avid gardener you’ve really peaked my interest and given me some really good ideas. Thanks!

I was really interested in the “build your own” solar panels and did quite a bit of research on the subject. The concept is a great one… but the numbers still don’t work out for this technology to be within the reach of the “do-it-yourselfers”…. the equipment is expensive, bulky and (most importantly) has VERY low efficiencies. Those who are thinking about investing in this DIY book and video may want to check out the following link that accurately debunks the unscientific claims of the author…. http://www.nlcpr.com/deceptions6.php

It is like that old saying…. if something seems too good to be true- it probably is (unfortunately). Technically you may be able to power a closet size grow station with solar power if you are willing to give up your garage for the battery banks and plithary of wires and controls needed to make up a reliable system…. and on top of that convince your neighbors in a one+ block radius to lend you their roof space…. but expect at least the next 10+years of grow proceeds to go into your capital investment. It’s basically the same thing as trying to build your own LED panels…. the companies (at least the honest ones) that make money at it do so because they invested in all the R&D to make a product that is reliable and performs as advertised….

Food for thought anyway – and hopefully something your readers will benefit from.

Best regards,
-s

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