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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Building Your Own DIY Solar Panels

You have a few choices in building solar panels. You can build it yourself or purchase a prefabricated one. Making a DIY solar panel is easier than you would think. Once you have the right materials; solar cells, tabbing wire, and flux pen, you are on your way to building a small scale panel in no time. Most people build their DIY solar panel in less than a day. It also makes for a very fun weekend family project.

Solar panels are made up of numerous silicon solar cells. They generate electricity once photons from sunlight hit the silicon cells bouncing electrons within the cells across the panel. This creates a current which is drawn through copper tabbing wire.

In order to learn how to build a solar panel you will need to take a few initial steps to assess the situation.

1. Purpose - What are you going to use the solar panels for? If you are using the panels to power lighting for a toolshed or RV, you will need less electricity than if you wanted to power your entire household. For this, you will need to determine the wattage for your purposes. You can use a kill-a-watt voltmeter to measure appliances in your house.

2. Grid Tie or Offgrid - If you plan on connecting the panel to your house, you will need to decide whether you need to connect it to your existing electrical grid. You will need an inverter to convert DC current to AC current that is usable within the household. If you decide to go offgrid, you will need a battery to store the electricity. For a single panel, you can survive with a standard 12V battery.

3. Financial considerations - Look into government and state rebates and tax incentives. The first place to look is your local utility's website. Ask people in your neighborhood who have installed solar on their rooftops and ask them what measures they took.

Solar panel installations have gone up about 50% each year since 2004. The technology is solid and the paybacks in cost savings are substantial. Do your part and build your own solar panel for your home today.

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