The Sun Rises in the Sky!
The sun is shining, and the only cloud in the sky is the latest utility bill that seems to rise every month… and rise, and rise …and keep rising!
The answer may be that you need to consider building your own solar panels. Here are a few tips that just might help…
You Need the Right Tools
Check out the online specials for materials and save on the construction cost. In addition, there are many suppliers who will offer everything that is required to complete the job, as well as plans and advice on assembly.
The tools needed to build your own solar panels will likely already in your workshop and include hammer, saw, soldering iron, screw drivers and a knife. Invest in a good ebook with plans and descriptions, one of the most important tools. Here is a good one:
The materials list is a little longer but you can use some scrap or inexpensive lumber to make the frame for mounting the panels on the roof. Old scrap lumber will also do to make the housing for the cells.
Purchase pre tabbed photo-voltaic (PV) cells and the tab wiring to connect them. Some eva glue, solder and flux, plastic sheeting to cover the lid of the housing as well as blocking diodes to stop current reversal, and you are ready to get started.
Take a Deep Breath and Get a Cup of Coffee!
The next step is to make a cup of coffee and make some decisions on where the panels are going to be mounted. A south facing slope of 30˚ that is not shaded or in the path of natural pests is required, and if possible one that will allow wiring to be easily conducted into the area you choose to house the storage batteries.
When starting out to build your own solar panels, allow a weekend and clear a space on the workshop floor that is clean and dust free. The process is essentially an assembly project once the cells are attached to a backing board in rows.
Puttin’ it All together
Join the cell tabs with the wire and add the blocking diodes and cable to connect up to the storage battery and cover with the plastic lid. Seal the whole unit with the silicone grouting.
Mounting the panels on the roof should occur after some insulation has been applied to the rear of the housing, and to really make the unit efficient paint all the housing black – not the lid though!
Make Sure You Have Enough Help
This may be a two person job, not just because it is heavy, but because it is awkward work and more difficult when working at heights.
If the whole thing seems a little too much for the DIY skills at hand, then you can purchase a kit or even a complete unit. Before you buy, check out someone who has already gone down the same track, or at least try to see a solar powered unit in action.
The project should be fun, as learning how to build your own solar panels is survival technology that can give the homeowner some true independence in times when supply of power can be unreliable.
Plans and instructions available at http://www.windnsunenergy.com/e4esolar will be invaluable.