Are homemade solar panels possible, economical and useful?
With energy prices having risen steadily over the past few decades and there is no reason to think they will fall any time soon, many homeowners are exploring the possibility of powering their homes with renewable or “green” energy systems. The two most common green energy systems for the home are wind turbines and solar panels. Of the two, solar panels have become the most popular due to their solid-state nature—meaning that with fewer moving parts, they require less maintenance over the years.
Unfortunately, installing a solar energy system in your home can be prohibitively expensive. Installing pre-made solar panels professionally costs at least $3000 – and the price tag only goes up fast from there. To reduce these huge costs, many homeowners are exploring the option of building and installing their own homemade solar panels. Maybe you are one of them.
Then you probably have a lot of questions. Can the average person really build a DIY solar power system in their garage or basement? If they could, would it really be significantly cheaper than having it professionally installed? And finally, would homemade solar panels provide enough electricity to be worth all the time and effort? This article will attempt to answer these questions.
What are the benefits of a home solar energy system?
o You can reduce or even eliminate your energy bill.
o If you generate excess electricity, you can sell it to your local power company.
o You can increase the home value of your home.
o You can get tax deductions for using environmentally friendly home power systems.
o You no longer have to worry about power outages.
o You help protect the environment – solar energy produces no greenhouse gases.
What are the benefits of building homemade solar panels?
o Money. More than half of a contractor’s installation costs are time and labor. Taking care of this yourself can dramatically reduce the cost of building and installing your own solar energy system at home.
o Time. You can build your homemade solar panels in stages, add new panels and produce more electricity at your own pace.
o Education. By building your own solar energy system for your home, you will learn how solar electrical technology works. You can carry out your own maintenance and repairs, further reducing your costs.
Where can I find the materials to build a homemade solar panel?
Almost all the materials you need to build a DIY solar panel (such as copper wire, plywood, glass, silicone, etc. radio hut). The same goes for the tools and equipment you need to build your homemade solar panels. Any tool you don’t already have in your garage or basement (such as a voltage meter) can be purchased at your local hardware or electronics store.
The only exception to this rule are the photovoltaic solar cells that you have to build together to make do-it-yourself solar panels. Unless you live in a very large city with a specialty solar store, you’ll probably need to order it online or make your own.
Where do I place my homemade solar panels?
The two most common places to install DIY solar panels are on the roof of your house or on the ground in your yard.
The rooftop has emerged as the most popular location for two reasons. First, to convert sunlight into electricity, solar panels need a direct line of sight between them and the sun. Trees, other buildings, or any other obstacle that provides shade or otherwise stands in the way will block the sun from your homemade solar panels. The easiest way to solve this problem is to place the solar panels higher than the obstacles. To do that, of course, you have to place the DIY solar panels on the roof.
Second, solar panels are large and take up a lot of space. Plus, you’ll probably need more than one to power your entire home. If you mount your homemade solar panels on the ground, you may soon fill your entire yard. Mounting DIY solar panels on the roof instead has the advantage of keeping them out of the way and freeing up your yard.
However, solar panels on the ground have one major advantage: accessibility. It is much easier and safer to walk into your yard than on the roof of your house to do maintenance and repairs on your homemade solar panels. If you live in a part of the country with few trees, such as the Great Plains or the Southwest, and you own enough land (such as a farm) to mount multiple DIY solar panels and have space to spare, maybe Ground-mounted solar panels are the right choice.
In which direction should I point my homemade solar panels?
Placing your DIY solar panels perfectly flat, pointing straight up, is the best option. In this way the sunlight falls somewhere on the solar panel, regardless of where the sun is in the sky or at what angle. Unfortunately, however, many houses have pitched roofs instead of flat ones, making the “point straight up” option impractical. Then mount your do-it-yourself solar panels on the south side of your roof to collect the most sunlight. In the continental United States, the sun is mostly in the southern part of the sky.
How can I build homemade solar panels?
The answer to that question goes well beyond the scope of this short article. However, what we can do is point you in the right direction. The easiest and most efficient way to go is to purchase a step-by-step instruction manual for building DIY solar panels from one of the many websites that sell them. These are usually $50 or less, and well worth the money.