Shipping Container Cabin Powered by a DIY Solar Panel

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Larry used recycled shipping containers to build for himself a self-sustainable, off-the-grid cabin, which he named Taj MaLodge. He wanted the cabin to be more than just a vacation home, though, so he equipped it with all the comforts needed for a longer stay of a year or more. The finished cabin measures 640 square feet, and was built by welding together two 40 foot by 16 foot used shipping containers. The energy needed to power his finished home comes from sunlight, and Larry build an innovative solar panel using cans for the purpose.

Larry’s cabin is powered by solar panels, which he built and installed by himself. The most innovative solar panel is certainly the one he and his son built out of discarded cans, which they collected from roadside ditches. The finished panel is comprised of 240 aluminum cans and a 120 cfm 12 volt exhaust fan for drawing the cold air in and expelling the hot air out.

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After collecting the necessary number of cans, Larry first drilled three holes into one end of the cans using a step bit. The other end was completely removed, followed by a thorough washing and drying of the cans. The next step in building his DIY solar panel consisted of assembling the cans with high temp silicon, for which he used high temp krylon flat black, and installing them in the box ready for paint. After painting, the panel was ready for lexan.

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This soar heater was then installed on the awning of the cabin, which was cut from the opening for the living area and repurposed. This panel is used for heating the air in the cabin, while Larry also added two 205 watt solar electric panels to the roof, which are used for maintaining batteries and a solar water heater panel.

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The energy storage room consist of five 200ah deep cycle batteries, a PE3000 watt power inverter with a 6000 watt High Surge and an EPI30R Charge Controller (30amp). The inverter is tied into both sides of the service panel and is capable of powering everything in the cabin, which includes the washer and dryer.

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All told, Larry spent roughly $35,000 to build his shipping container cabin. This cost include buying the containers, as well as all the work needed to build the house, but not the price of the land it was built on.


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  • http://www.facebook.com/phileas.fogg.395 Phileas Fogg

    Container construction is a “solution” looking for a problem. Not only is steel one of the worst building materials on the planet when it comes to energy efficiency, it is the most recyclable material in the history of the world. Iron and steel have been recycled since they were discovered. I think the appeal is that it’s easy, and lazy hippies, meth chefs and stoners love easy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/phileas.fogg.395 Phileas Fogg

    Container construction is a “solution” looking for a problem. Not only is steel one of the worst building materials on the planet when it comes to energy efficiency, it is the most recyclable material in the history of the world. Iron and steel have been recycled since they were discovered. I think the appeal is that it’s easy, and lazy hippies, meth chefs and stoners love easy.

    • larry wade

      It took me two years of hard work to complete my cabin. I do not use drugs, I do not drink or even smoke, so there goes your analogy.

    • larry wade

      It took me two years of hard work to complete my cabin. I do not use drugs, I do not drink or even smoke, so there goes your analogy.

    • larry wade

      It took me two years of hard work to complete my cabin. I do not use drugs, I do not drink or even smoke, so there goes your analogy.

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  • bayoubluewildcat

    Good for you Larry!!!!
    Probably envious since all he could do was attack your credibility as an ” artist, design genius, pseudo-architect and builder”.
    Obviously jealous or maybe just his lame attempt at humor.
    Regardless , I am impressed enough to ask for any specs regarding materials, development of your project, any tips to save money w/o ruining quality, etc.
    I have a 1968 390 S-Code Mustang Fastback GT which I want to store in a temperature controlled environment.
    Your idea looks very adaptable to this usage.
    Can you help? Any response will be greatly appreciated and I will interact frequently with you for exchange of ideas and credits to you and your design originality.
    Thanks so much
    Mike

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