Residential solar power is becoming more and more of a viable option as electricity costs keep going up. Actually, it’s not all that hard to build your own solar panels, once you get inclined to do it and learn how. It’s a great idea to understand what it is and what it costs so you completely understand the full benefit.
Utilizing solar power may not be for everyone, although I think everyone should at least consider it. You’ll end up saving a bundle if you can find room to install them. This article covers all the basics but will likely teach you something new even if you already have a good grasp on what solar panels are all about.
Let’s get started:
Simply put, solar panels consist of a collection of cells which convert Sunlight into electricity. These individual cells are called photovoltaic or photoelectric cells. Each one is small enough to hold in your hand, but just one can only generate about 1/2 volt. These cells are typically strung together and encased inside of a panel and protected by plexiglass or tempered glass. When multiple solar panels are connected together they can provide enough electricity to power buildings. You will generally see an array of panels connected together in order to create useable power. For the homeowner, residential solar power is a balance between cost and efficiency.
There are incredible environmental benefits from utilizing residential solar power and solar panels. They produce energy from a renewable resource as opposed to fossil fuels. It appears the price of fossil fuels like heating oil won’t be going down any time soon while residential solar power will remain a renewable energy resource. Residential solar power can pay for itself in a few years and can save you a pile of money against your electric bill. DIY solar panels are feasible and can speed the ROI process up considerably.
The average life of a solar panel is 20 to 30 years. Speaking in averages, it will take 3 to 10 years to get your initial investment back. That means they will continue to reduce your energy costs for another 10 to 20 years. That’s a pretty good return on your investment, actually. (Not to mention having some available power during a power outage.) Residential solar power appears to be a great long term investment for homeowners.
The financial benefits of solar panels are one of the main reasons they’re so attractive to consider. There are lots of resources available if you want to make your own and everything that goes into building a solar panel is readily available either at your local hardware store or online. A good place to buy individual solar cells is ebay. If you decide to create your own residential solar power, you can build a single solar panel for around $200. It’s reasonable to expect to save 1/3 to 2/3 the cost of a manufactured panel.
The initial investment can be thousands to tens of thousands of dollars for an array large enough to supply real power. It is reasonable however, to expect to be able to learn to build your own solar panels with some research and patience. Residential solar power is attainable for most DIYers and handy individuals.
Solar panels for your home are becoming increasingly popular due to their environmental and financial benefits. Most homeowners don’t really care what goes into the making of a solar panel unless they are thinking of building their own. More important to the average homeowner is the efficiency of the solar panel and the return on investment. If you’re thinking of buying used solar panels, you may want to think twice. Someone selling a used solar panel has a reason for selling it. I’d want to know exactly why they are selling them before I bought them. How old is it? Do they leak in rain water? how efficient are they? Too many unknown factors for me.
Government incentives for “going green” could be a factor for you since you can get a tax deduction on “green” improvements to your home. You should look into that carefully though, because I understand that if your panels are not UL listed, there is no tax benefit. Meaning, if you build your own, you may not get any tax benefit. Zero. Not that it matters too much though because properly planned solar panel installation can feasibly offer a 100% return on your investment in just a few years. Making your own can save you a pile of money up front either way. Speaking of the government, it will be best to check your local codes before you begin, too…residential solar roof panels could be a violation in your town.
Homemade solar panels about cost one third that of professionally made ones. You can get a 25 year warranty on professionally made and installed solar panels. If you decide to build your own, there are things you can do to add to it’s life expectancy. Even get 30 years of use from them. Using 1/4″ thick tempered glass instead of plexiglass, building an aluminum frame instead of a wooden one are just a couple of things you can do to maximize the lifespan of your panels.
It’s easy to say that anyone can build their own solar panel. With lots of tutoring that really is true. But the fact is, you really need to know what your doing. It’s not easy and It takes time, money and commitment to the project to do it right. Soldering solar cells together is tedious work. The construction of the panels needs to be quality work so they don’t leak and so that they will last. You will need to understand wiring and soldering. If you use wood and plastic in your construction materials your panels will likely break down in short order. There are right ways and wrong ways of doing most everything.
Make your panels electrically sound and put together in a manner that won’t just deteriorate. Use your time and money wisely and get help from a reliable source. Use 1/4″ tempered glass and learn to make a sturdy aluminum frame. Do your homework before you begin. Target building a smaller panel array to begin, you can always add to it later. If you do decide to go for it, then you should be congratulated. Solar power is pretty cool and can provide lots of free energy. That’s the best kind. I hope I offered enough information here to get you started in the know and on the right track.