There have been many people who have wanted to know how to build solar panels recently. As we have all seen in recent years, the price of energy is skyrocketing, especially with oil prices hitting record highs almost every week. This economic pressure has begun to manifest itself as interest in building solar panels has increased. To tell the truth, learning how to build solar panels is not difficult at all.
There are two types of solar panels that are commonly used in residential areas, the hot water heating solar panel and the photovoltaic panel that produces electricity.
The purpose of this article is to discuss the type of photovoltaic panel. Solar hot water panels can greatly reduce the amount of energy your home needs by taking care of your water heating needs. Although they are outside the scope of this piece, it goes without saying that the less electricity your home uses, the smaller (and cheaper) your PV array will have to be.
The easiest way to experience how to build solar panels is to buy a kit that will have all the materials you need and the tools to assemble the panels. The usual setup for PV includes solar cells, tabs to connect them, solder and flux to adhere the tabs, and a soldering iron to melt the solder and hold it all together.
First, choose a site for the panel with good exposure to as much of the sun’s arc in the sky as possible without any interference from branches or cables and away from or above trees and buildings in your yard. If you cannot use your roof, consider placing the panels on a support, either a pole or a frame that will raise the panels about six feet off the ground. At this point, children, pets, or other accidents will be less likely to harm them, such as a small stone thrown from a lawn mower.
Build the solar panel by connecting several solar cells to each other (quantity varies depending on the size of your panel) in series using solder, flux, and tabs. The amount of electricity you want to generate will determine the size and number of panels you need to assemble.
There are many reasons to consider building solar panels and not just because it is cheaper than buying them prefabricated. There are also many ‘reasons to feel good’:
- You can involve the whole family.
- Take pride in knowing that you are part of the solution to global warming.
- Know that you can build solar panels for others.
- Reduce your electricity bill every month.
- Reduce your carbon footprint.
- Reduces the need to build new fossil fuel burning power plants.
- And, because you can build a larger array by building the panel yourself, you can generate more power than you use, and your utility company pays you (in some states).
Put the panel (s) in position and connect everything to your battery system, if you are using one. Your batteries will harvest any excess energy that you are not using for the future, be it later in the day or even weeks from now.
Why is a battery system optional? There are many programs available where you plug directly into the grid and sell any excess power to the utility as it is generated. This varies by location. The positive aspect of this type of system is to eliminate the need, expense and hassle of a battery bank, but the negative aspect is that it has no power reserve in the event of a power failure.
Check with your local power supplier and state power department because you should be able to sell all excess power to the utility company. Some states have great rebates and programs set up just for this. This varies by location.
With a large enough array (that you don’t have to do all at once) and smart, energy-efficient options around the house, you could be profitably running your solar panels every day.
A friend of mine in Long Island, New York, found that the new solar panels on his roof will recoup their costs in less than 18 months, not the three to seven years it was projected. When you think about how cloudy the Northeast US is, that’s a lot.