Before designing a PV system for your off-grid vacation cabin and selecting components, consider:
• For what duration will the cabin usually be vacant?
• For what duration will the cabin be occupied?
• Do these times vary seasonally?
• In cold climates, will the cabin need to be heated in the winter?
• What loads are required to run while the cabin is vacant, and how much power (watts) do they draw?
• How many kilowatt-hours of energy will these loads use each day? You can use an inexpensive Kill-a-Watt meter to measure both kilowatt-hours and watts for individual appliances.
• Will the PV array be mounted so that it can shed snow in the winter?
• Do you wish to monitor the power system remotely while you are away? If so, is wireless internet or cell service available at your site?