If you look at the cost of readymade solar panels you are likely to get a strong dose of sticker shock, so is it possible to make solar panel systems at home? The clear answer is an unqualified YES. You will find a huge amount of advice online to show you how to make a solar panel. The main problem is trying to sort out the expert advice from the dangerous stuff.
We have searched through all this information using our own expertise in solar panel construction, to give you all the basic advice and guidance needed.
The first thing is that you will not need any particular skills or technical knowledge, which is really good news. You can get all the necessary materials quite easily, or perhaps even find them from scrap. It is quite possible to make your own solar panel for under 200 dollars and in a weekend.
And more good news – making solar panels is a simple and straightforward process. Here are the basic steps.
As always, it pays to plan things properly before starting to make anything. These are the main things to consider:
Location: Solar panels are dependent on sunlight so should be sited to get as much sun as possible. Avoid costly mobile units that constantly face the sun as it moves across the sky. It is better and cheaper to build several fixed solar panels even if it is slightly less efficient. Ensure that your solar panels will not be shaded by trees or tall buildings at any time of the day.
Fitting: You can mount your solar panels on your roof, on the ground, on a wall, on a garden shed – anywhere convenient and suitable. Since they are a little delicate, it might be a good idea to keep any solar panel out of reach of children and animals!
Tools and Materials: There are no special tools needed, simply some hand tools like screwdrivers, a drill, a saw and a soldering iron. Powered tools would make things a little easier and speedier, and a workbench would be helpful too. Materials are limited to plywood, plexiglass, solder and flux, caulking and copper wire. You don’t make the solar cells – just get them very cheaply online.
Directions: To build your own solar panel, you will need good quality step-by-step directions or instructions. You will get advice on how to estimate the size and quantity of the panels, how to select and site the inverter, how to mount the panels and how to join the system to your domestic electric circuit.
None of this is complicated, but investing in a good step-by-step assembly manual is, we believe, vital to ensure a safe and professional result.
We have reviewed several popular online manuals and have a favorite that will show you how to make a solar panel from scratch, with lots of diagrams, photos and even some very helpful videos. It has full details about electrical wiring techniques and regulations, as well as how to feed any surplus electricity into your local utility company grid.
The final piece of good news is that it is possible to make a small solar panel, with a power output of about 100 watts, for under 200 dolars, including the cost of a good instruction manual and plans. Building up several such panels to provide a very useful 1000 watts should cost less than 800 dollars. Compare that with a readymade system, which will set you back several thousand dollars.
Makes sense to do it yourself, doesn’t it?
Do It Yourself Solar Power can help you save money and lessen carbon footprint. I learned how to do it after drinking 4 large cups of coffeeâ?¦
My neighbor said it was impossible to make a do it yourself solar power system because itâ??s fairly complicated and the process would require someone with high technical skills.
Well, Iâ??m glad I didnâ??t listen to him!
Solar panels are expensive yet I still wanted to avoid using electricity to power my work shed.Â So what else?
I had to go the DIY route. I had to give it a fair shot at the very least!
Okay I have to admit that my first do it yourself solar power project wasnâ??t a bed of roses. Putting the components together was an absolute nightmare!
Whatâ??s the hardest part of all?
Well, soldering the cells was something I didnâ??t enjoy at all. But like I said, the entire assembling process was a nightmare!
My fault to be honestâ?¦
I was an amateur who tried to act like a pro.
See what happened was I discovered an instruction online. It was pretty detailed but it was also 100% textâ?¦There were no photos, no illustration plans, nothing of that sort. Â
So I viewed the instruction thoroughly and followed each step very carefully.
I failed my first do it yourself solar power project! The wiring and soldering section was all jumbled up!
So I went searching online and long story short. Found what I was looking for â?? amateur friendly video instructions along with printable manuals with photos.Â Â Â
1st Step to Success
I drank a large cup of coffee while viewing the videos and manuals.
2nd Step to Success
Rolled up my sleeve and got to work again.
3 cups of coffee later and I got my first solar panel set up. The wiring, solar cells fixed to the plywood panel, plexiglass framing â?? basically the whole shebang done!
The moral of the story?
If youâ??re an amateur, try to get detailed tutorials, where each process is delivered in a clear fashion. A successful do it yourself solar power project can be done in less than 210 bucks once you get all the details right.