Do you long for electricity in the shed, but running mains power is more of a hassle than it’s worth? Solar might be the solution.

Whether you want to charge your cordless tools in your garden shed or watch TV while camping, solar power gives you freedom and flexibility. To give you a practical example of the power supply you can expect from a typical setup: it will take only two or three hours of good sunlight for 12V/160W solar panels to charge a 100Ah deep-cycle battery.

To customise your own system, here are the four basic elements you'll need.

Solar panels
Calculate the wattage you need to supply, and then, just to be sure, double that amount when choosing your solar panels. For easy instructions on how to estimate your requirements, see our detailed guide.

Charge controller
This crucial element of the power supply system regulates the output of the solar panels, manages battery charging and prevents discharge back into the solar array. It also provides electrical isolation in the event of malfunction.

Even if you're mainly using your solar power during the day, a battery (or several) allows you to even out any inconsistencies in supply from the panels and provide a reliable source of DC power.

This converts the DC output from your battery and solar panels into mains-voltage AC power,allowing you to run 240V appliances. Make sure the current you need to draw is well within its rated limit.