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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Build Solar Panels

If you have seen solar panels on top of other homes, you've probably wondered how it can be done. It really is not too difficult, time-consuming, or expensive.

And the rewards will benefit both your wallet and the planet.

Building solar panel will require tools you should have in your garage, plus some other materials you can get at a recycling center or even eBay. You don't need an engineering degree, just a desire to provide an alternative power source in your home, and some free time.

First you will need some solar cells to join together. Don't buy the cheapest, and select the ones that already have tabs to hook them together. The number of cells you need will depend on how much power you need to generate. Most DIY cells deliver only about 80% of what they claim, so be sure to take that into account. Usually the number of cells per panel is 36.

Next you will need a wooden frame like a box, which you can build to the correct size, some clear plastic paneling, black paint, silicone, glue and wiring.

Build the frame box and paint it black.

Now you will just join the tabs of the cells together, usually six per row for 6 rows. Join the tabs to ensure that the electricity produced flows only in one direction.

Place inside your wooden frame, that you have painted black. Secure a clear sheet of plastic on top and seal it with silicone.

Now you need to connect this panel to a storage battery. The storage battery will store up the sun's energy for times when it is cloudy or during the night. You may want to consult an electrician for this, or if you feel comfortable enough, a DIY installation guide should take you through this step very carefully.

Now you are ready to mount the system on your rooftop. Be sure you have a wide open space to place your DIY solar panels. Try to find a south-facing surface, as that will capture maximize the effectiveness.

The wiring and the box should be well insulated to avoid heat loss.

There you have it. While you consider learning how to build a solar panel, keep in mind that you are not only doing this to protect your wallet, but also to protect the environment. The sun is always going to be here, why not take advantage of it instead of the non-renewable fossil fuels.

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