There has been a lot of people wanting to know how to build solar panels recently. As we've all seen in the past couple of years, the price of energy is skyrocketing, especially with oil prices reaching record levels almost every week. This economic pressure has begun to show itself as interest in building solar panels has also increased. To tell you 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 solar hot water heating panel and the photovoltaic, electricity producing panel.
The purpose of this article is to discuss the photovoltaic type of panel. Solar hot water panels can greatly reduce the amount of energy your household needs by taking care of your water heating needs. Although they are outside the scope of this piece, it goes without saying that if your household uses less electricity, the smaller (and cheaper) your photovoltaic array will need to be.
The easiest way to experience how to build solar panels is to buy a kit which will have all of the materials you need and tools to assemble the panel (s). The usual set-up for photovoltaic 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 a good exposure to as much of the sun's arc in the sky as you can without any interference from branches or wires and away from or above trees and buildings in your yard. If you can not use your rooftop, consider placing the panels on a mount, either a pole or a frame that will lift the panels about six feet or so off the ground. At this height, they will be less likely to be damaged by children, pets or other accidents like a small rock thrown from a lawn mower.
Build the solar panel by connecting a number of solar cells to one another (the amount varies by the size of your panel) in series by using the solder, flux and tabs. The amount of electricity you wish to generate will dictate the size and number of panels you need to put together.
There are many reasons to consider building solar panels and not just because its cheaper than buying them pre-made. There are loads of 'feel-good reasons' as well:
- You can involve the whole family.
- Take pride of knowing 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.
- You reduce the need for building new fossil fuel burning power plants.
- And, because you can build a larger array by doing the panel building yourself, you can create more energy than you use and get paid by your utility company (in some states).
Place the panel (s) in position and hook the whole thing up to your battery system, if your using one. Your batteries will collect any excess energy that you are not using for future, whether it is later in the day or even weeks from now.
Why is a battery system optional? There are many programs available where you tie directly into the grid and sell any excess power back to the utility as it is generated. This varies by locality. The positive aspect to this type of system is eliminating the need, expense and hassle of a bank of batteries but the negative is that you have no store of energy should the power go out.
Check with your local energy provider and state energy department because you should be able to sell all your excess energy back to the utility company. Some states have excellent rebates and programs set up just for this. This varies by locality.
With a large enough array (which you do not have to do all at once) and smart, energy efficient choices around the house, you could be running your solar panels at a profit every day.
A friend of mine on Long Island, NY, discovered 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 how cloudy the northeast US is, that's a great deal.