Creating DIY solar panels for home use has been attracting attention lately because of the rising costs of fossil fuels. But, how practical is such a plan?
Many people these days are looking to the sun to provide some of their energy needs, but panels can be expensive. However, creating DIY solar panels for home use can be done fairly cheaply by finding the parts online. The best starter project is a flat panel of about two by four feet which can be used to recharge batteries to power equipment needed for simple living.
Building Your First DIY Solar Panel System
If you want to build a homemade solar panel, you will have to learn some basic fundamentals on how a solar panel works. In addition, solar panel kits can make homemade solar panel creation a relatively simple process. So don’t dismiss using them out of hand. And, finally, don’t forget to look into the green policies of your state and local community to see if they provide any rebates, tax advantages, and so on for those converting to alternative energy.
Remember that solar power deals with electricity, so use caution. You cannot simply wire a panel into your home’s wiring! To equip a whole house requires a solar energy electrician. Even so, a DIY panel is a great place to start to reduce the amount of energy you have to buy from the power company.
The first step is to find the the solar cells to accommodate your home. Sometimes you can find them online for as little as a dollar each or less. They come in rectangular sizes from 3 by 3 inches to 6 by 6 inches. Look for the ones that are tabbed and make sure that you get them all in the same size. Most varieties are quite fragile, but if they are a bit chipped or blemished, they will still work.
You can expect a 3 by 6 inch cell to produce about a half of a volt of energy. Plan to have at least 36 of them for charging a 12 volt battery. This extra energy will speed up the process of charging the battery.
You will also need a flat box for laying out the solar cells. This can be a shallow wooden box or can be created from alternate materials, such as old storm windows. The box will need a few vent holes drilled in the edges to let out humidity that may build up inside the panel. Solder the tabs in series as you lay the cells out flat in the panel.
A homemade solar panel must be wired to a charge controller which carries the charge to batteries for the purpose of charging them. A good type of battery to use are gel cell batteries. You can use an old extension cord and jumper cables for wiring the parts together. If you need more specific instructions on how to build homemade solar panels, seek out additional ecology-oriented websites such as treehugger.com and motherearthnews.com.
To those who are not particularly handy with tools, starting a DIY project to build your own solar panels at home can be a bit of a challenge. but, you can save a great deal of money by making your own solar panels instead of buying retail solar panels. And, once completed, you will be able to power your home for a fraction of the normal cost.
Purchasing Cheap Solar Panels
The do-it-yourself solution is not for everyone. An alternative, of course, is to look for cheaper solar panels. You are unlikely, however, to find solar panel discounts in retail stores. Right now, the best place to find these cheaper alternatives are on the Internet – specifically Amazon or eBay. Amazon, in particular, has an excellent return policy if you need to return an item. Ebay, on the other hand, has some really good finds if you can catch the right auction at the right time.
DIY Solar Heating Projects
Many people, skeptical of solar energy, elect to try something simpler than solar roof panels for their first project. For them, a DIY solar heating project is the perfect type of project that requires a minimal of basic construction principles.
Some experts in the field claim that the do-it-yourself solar heating panels that the average homeowner has access to are not of the same quality as the professionally installed ones. Even these, however, can be very effective in helping you to save hundreds of dollars a year on your heating bills.
Popularity of Residential Solar Power Systems
For a number of reasons, more and more people are opting to have a solar power system of some sort installed. Solar panels for the home are environmentally friendly in that they produce almost no pollutants. They are powered by an inexhaustible resource of renewable energy – the sun. Once installed, they are practically maintenance free.
In fact, the primary drawback is that, in order to be most effective, they need to be located located in areas that have a large amount of sunlight hours over the course of the year. But, as solar cells become more powerful and home solar panels become more efficient, even this drawback is starting to wane.