I ordered the three main components on Amazon:
The PV panel is a Renology 50w “solar starter kit” at $126.99 This comes with a charge controller, mounting brackets and screws, and 20 feet of cable to run from the panel to the charge controller. The 100w kit would have been a better deal per watt at $172.99, but it would not fit in my skylight, so that wasn’t an option for me.
The battery is a generic-seeming 12v battery (billed for scooters, wheelchairs, emergency lighting, and other stuff) at $74.90. This comes with a battery. Electricity goes in, electricity goes out.
The inverter was $65.99, and provides me with two standard U.S. three-prong outlets.
Shipping on all three items was free (the battery and panel advertise free shipping, and the inverter was free thanks to Amazon prime).
I bought these based on no knowledge whatsoever, other than that Amazon said they are frequently bought together.
My goal is to have this be as simple and painless as possible, since I’m not interested in becoming an electrician at the moment.
The immediate dilemma facing me at this point in time is the materials I still need to get, and the particulars of making all the connections. That, and ensuring that there is no way for the household animals (cat and dog) to zap themselves.
In addition to what I have, currently, I need cables to connect the charge controller to the battery, and cables to connect the charge controller to the inverter.
I’m going to seek advice on this, but the inverter DID come with a cigarette lighter adapter to take power from a car, and feed it to the inverter. Given that I do not have a car, and I hope never to have one in the near future, I may cannibalize that adapter to connect the controller to the inverter, but we shall see.
Total cost so far: $266.99