I Built a DIY Solar Panel Generator Trailer for My Homestead

Reader Contribution by Kerry W. Mann, Jr. and Homesteadhow
1 / 2
2 / 2

Over the last 5 years as homesteaders, we’ve built many outbuildings and projects. First came the chicken coop and then a greenhouse, garden, dog kennel and even a small ice skating rink last winter! Each of these projects have one thing in common, then need electricity. We’ve used a small gas powered generator but it is loud and expensive to run. For this reason we decided to build a portable solar panel generator/ trailer for our homestead. We documented the entire project, step by step on

We also made an entertaining and fun video on YouTube showing the project and the final result and tests!

We tried to re-use as many materials as we could from our homestead. We had an old garden trailer, wood, wire, insulation from a past project and most importantly we had four 12 volt, 40 amp hour sealed batteries from an old electric scooter which no longer worked. Thanks to Amazon, we purchased 2 solar panels a 1600 watt power inverter a charge controller and a few other items and we built the entire setup on our homestead.

We completed the build several weeks ago and we’ve been using the solar generator every day since. It’s nice to be able to have a full 115 volts at any location on our 20 acre homestead. We simply hook up the Portable Solar Panel Generator Trailer to our ATV and move it where needed. We’ve used it mainly to power our dog kennel which includes 4 lights a ceiling fan, radio and large exhaust fan. Over the last 7 days we’ve used it fairly regularly and it’s absorbed enough sunlight to not only sustain the power that we needed we are up 1/2 volt over the course of the week!

We will see how well it functions throughout the cold Wisconsin winter! We insulated the battery bank fairly well and when not in use we plan to store it in our heated (by wood) garage.

Kerry W. Mann, Jr.moved to a 20-acre homestead in 2015, where he and his family use modern technology, including YouTube and, to learn new skills and teach homestead projects. Connect with Kerry on hisHomestead How YouTube page, Instructables, Pinterest,  Facebook, and atMy Evergreen Homestead. Read all of Kerry’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS postshere.


Labor and related costs account for more than half of the price of the average home solar installation. But homeowners can save thousands of dollars with this user-friendly manual, which follows the same process professional contractors use. Through detailed directions and step-by-step photos, veteran solar installer Joseph Burdick and seasoned builder Philip Schmidt teach you how to determine the size, placement, and type of installation you’ll need. This comprehensive DIY guide covers everything from assembling rooftop racking or building a ground-mount structure to setting up the electrical connections and making a battery bank for off-grid systems. Order from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Store or by calling 800-234-3368.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.