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Portable Power Shed, Saltspring Island, BC

Many people who have recently purchased remote, unserviced property and are new at this make the common mistake of buying a cheap (loud, inefficient) generator and use that to build the home. After the building is complete, they look into a proper alternative energy system. By that time the generator is dead, they have wasted $1000's sometimes on fuel and their taste for alternative energy is already jaded by the screaming loud generator. The other scenario is they wish to install an alternative energy system, yet there are not structures on premises yet.

I strongly suggest to these people that are going to purchase a renewable energy system eventually to instead purchase it right away and use it to build with. Not only is it more efficient, you will save plenty on fuel (not to mention transporting the fuel if your location is remote), workers report a better work environment not having the constant noise of the generator.

Modern, powerful inverters are fully capable of running any power tools you can throw at it. Inverters are much more practical that a generator for a construction crew, who's power usage is generally low, with large bursts of power that happen only for a few seconds to make a cut with a table saw, skill saw, etc. With a 2.4 kW inverter, a crew of 2-3 can operate without interruption. A 1.5 kW inverter is fine for a one person crew. 4.0 and larger inverters will always outperform much larger generators due to the surge capacity of an inverter that a generator does not have.

A generator has 100% of it's power available all the time, if you need it or not. Some generators do have an automatic throttle feature which is good, but you will experience a lag in power when you use your saw while the generator speeds up. A battery/inverter system delivers the exact amount of power required for a given job.

The solution, is an Energy Alternatives power shed. We custom build a shed, according to customers criteria. We find 4x6" and ideal footprint to hold batteries, inverters and small generator if they are using a portable unit. Options include siding, roofing material and size. Oversized cedar skids allow the unit to be skidded into final place if required.

Solar panels can be mounted to the roof of the shed if that makes sense for the site, otherwise mounted on the ground nearby. Some customers elect to install their solar panels on a pole mount, or on the roof of another building.

The electrical power system can be completely customized. This system as photographed was delivered to a site on Saltspring Island, BC. They elected for a 48 Volt battery bank (930 amp/hours); 4 kW pure sine wave inverter; 1.5 kW of solar mounted 400' away on a perfect south facing rock bluff. Several outdoor plugs will allow them to connect power to the trailers they have on site currently for their home and office. After the home is built, a permanent electrical connection will run to the home. They may or may not relocate the shed.

Delivery & installation can be arranged by Energy Alternatives. Depending on the location, we will either deliver ourselves or contract to a freight company & local contractor for delivery and set up of the shed.

Prices start at approximately $10,000

Customer approached Energy Alternatives. New building site on Saltspring Island. Grid power was within easy reach, approximately $7000. The desired and off-grid lifestyle and elected to instead invest in a solar power system.

They will be building on the site over the next few years, in the meantime they have a few trailers for residence, office as well as a shipping container for storage. They choose a new product of ours, a portable power shed. This is a prefabricated, custom built product that can be shipped pretty much anywhere, all ready to go.

System Details:

8 x Sharp 185 Watt solar panels (1.5 kW)
Xantrex SW 4048 4.0 kW 48 Volt DC inverter
24x 85T15 batteries, 930 amp/hours @ 48 VDC
Grundfos SQFlex water pump

Download a Cottage Magazine article on this project

The solar modules are mounted 300 feet away from the power shed. Using 48 Volts as the system voltage provided significant savings in the size of wire to transmit. A

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