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A personal blog about DIY Projects, Technology & Solar Power

Cooling Your Shed With Solar Power! Ventilation and Concepts

Solar in action! Running a window fan

(Note: there is a more detailed YouTube video for this article posted down below)

Is your shed (or chicken coop, outbuildings, etc.) getting a bit too hot in the summer time? Ventilating and cooling your shed with solar power is a fun project within reach of just about any DIY enthusiast. Believe it or not, a simple fan connected to a solar panel will do the job with the power of the sun – all day, every day.

Not only is this very useful, but it’s an educational opportunity for adults and children alike. Solar power is the future – learning the basics about it now is definitely a wise choice.


For several years I have been using solar power to cool my sheds and learned a lot in the process. In this blog post I will share a few tips and concepts that may be helpful if you want to take on a solar shed ventilation project.

Example of small DC converter I used in a shed cooling setup

Why Cool a Shed

These days it’s common for people to have electronics stored in their sheds – for example electric lawnmowers, power tools, etc. The interior of a shed in summer can easily exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit or more. This is not good for electronic components, and besides, who wants to sweat every time they go in the shed to work or retrieve something.

Off The Shelf Solutions

There are many off the shelf shed ventilation solutions available for purchase, but if you take a closer look at them, they might even use components you can source and install yourself – saving money in the process. Thankfully, the technology is very simple and easy to understand.

12V Car Radiator fan running off solar and cooling my shed

How It Works

Solar panels are a marvel and a blessing. The sun shines on them, you get some free electricity (electrical power) with no batteries required. In short, you can use a 12 volt solar panel to do work, such as spin a fan. This means you can move some air for free, and keep your shed cool.

The most basic setup is a 12V solar panel positive and negative wire connected straight to a fan. I do recommend adding a simple automotive 12V power switch in case you want to disable the fan in winter – or for safety and maintenance.

Solar panels are rated in wattage. A 50W (watt) solar panel is fairly small but will easily power a small fan. Smaller panels might still work, but when the sun is overcast, results might be less than expected.

Fans that work well include smaller car radiator fans, which are relatively cheap and robust. They are dangerous so watch your fingers and use a fan grille if possible.

Powerful DC brushless fan for shed cooling

More Advanced Setups

Basic electronics and PWM motor speed controllers can be used for a more advanced setup. I recommend a small DC DC converter paired with a larger solar panel. This will generate more consistent air flow through varying conditions. The smaller DC converters are suitable for running fans at lower speeds and power levels, so be careful to meter the current and size the converter appropriately. For more details on this, please reference the video above.

Controlling the speed of a motor is one of the most common needs served by small commodity electronics, and thus they are another valuable educational opportunity.

Ventilation and Sizing

If you have a large shed, you need to move more air. I recommend you give this a try with a smaller setup if you are new to solar. Once you see how it performs, you will be able to add another fan, or perhaps upgrade to a larger setup. Remember, some ventilation is better than no ventilation.

Small buildings such as chicken coops might only need a small fan, or if the fan is larger, it doesn’t need to spin very fast.

Fans can either draw in fresh air directly or they can be used to exhaust hot stale air. Car radiator fans can be reversed to push or pull air as needed. What strategy is best for you? Well you should review your shed’s existing ventilation layout, if any, before deciding how to use the fan.

Personally, I like to draw fresh air in from an open window. The hottest air in my shed is then pushed out the roof vents. Please check the videos linked in this article if you want to see how I do it. Currently I have 2 sheds and 3 fans.

How to Get Started

The first step is to do some research. Check out different types of solar panels and fans, search for articles and information online, see what’s available or what items you have laying around already. This technology is simple and nothing to be afraid of.

If you happen to have a car radiator fan laying around, try hooking a small solar panel up to it. Once you see how easy and simple this stuff is, the rest is history.

A DIY shed ventilation solution is not for everyone. If you believe an off the shelf solution is better, that might be the way to go.

A home built DIY solution might be more powerful and have more ventilation and upgrade potential. There is also a lot of educational value in any DIY project.

There are a lot of people using solar shed ventilation, so it’s worth checking to see what worked for their sheds.

I hope you enjoyed this blog article, and that it was of some help to you. Until next time – thanks for reading and have a great day! DD

Here’s a YouTube video I made about the topic. It is a bit more detailed than this article but only 12 minutes long.

Follow-up (or part 2) of the solar shed ventilation guide:

Parts List

Want to support my work? Here are Amazon affiliate links to various components you might want to use to cool your shed. I receive a tiny commission on anything you purchase through them. Thank you 🙂

Basic Car Radiator Fans

12 Volt (10 / 12 / 14 / 16 inch) 90-120W car radiator fans

Small 6 inch car radiator fan

Example brushless mining / server fans:

FOSA 12V 2.7A brushless DC cooling fan

Antminer 12V brushless DC fan 4.5A

The SJ SG121238BS style of fan (there are a lot of copies, the one I have works very well) takes less power (12v 2.7A) but still moves a lot of air. It also runs well down to 6 Volts. I cannot guarantee which version of this fan works best, but they are worth a look. Here is an example of an SJ fan on Amazon, might want to compare different sellers. This is considered a mining or server fan, not a normal computer fan.

Example Golf Cart DC converter

JP Golf Cart DC-DC converter 24-36-48V to 12V (120W)

Example DC converters

XINGYHENG 5A DC-DC Buck Converter (small fans or low power setting only)

D-FLIFE CC-CV-DC Converter

DROK DC-DC Buck converter (small / midsize fans only)

Example PWM motor controllers

RioRand 30A PWM
HiLetGo 10A PWM
PWM motor controller with display
HQST 100 Watt solar panel
Renogy 30/50/100 Watt solar panels

About the Author:

DD Solar (a nickname) has over a decade of experience in solar power and renewable energy, and over 25 years of experience in the Information Technology industry. He currently operates a YouTube channel called Solar Power Edge (formerly known as DIY Solar Power Edge and DD Solar Channel) and documents some of his projects and prototypes there. (C) 2022 DIY Solar Power Edge channel / DD Solar channel / SolarPowerEdge BLOG All rights reserved. We reserve all rights.



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