The price range of having a solar panel array built into a structure can run a bill of thousands and thousands of dollars. So while saving the earth greenhouse gases is ideal, along with the possibility of no longer being in the clutches of the oil companies, it is still quite impractical for a lot of people.
There is a cheaper alternative to having some company come in and install it for you – you can actually build it for yourself.
These are the general steps on how to build your own solar panels and use it to power your home:
- In order to build a solar panel, you will need solar cells, which is something that converts the light from the sun and turns it into electricity. The solar cells that can be bought from stores are cells that are made from highly processed silicone or copper. Silicone cells are far more efficient than copper, but cannot be processed at home, and are very, very delicate.
- The next step is to arrange these cells onto a frame and wire them together by attaching the wires to the metal tags. Little holes are drilled on the frame (which is usually a thin sheet of metal) to access the solar cells and conduct the electricity to charge the battery and this will also be the storage device.
- Find a place that gets the most sunlight throughout the day, and ideally these would be the south facing part of your roof.
- Place an ampemeter to measure the electricity that your solar panel is generating, and you’re done.
- Repeat the process until you are generating your energy goal.
The price range of a solar cell can range from $3 to $5 dollars, but are expected to plummet with a lot of silicone processing plants now well on its way of being set up for production. It is estimated that soon as the year 2010, $1.80 per volt will soon be possible or even go lower than that, owing to the fact that there is a current rise in production, above and beyond the current demand.
There are companies selling second hand or used solar cells that you can still use for your solar panels and you will still be using the same basic steps on how to build your own solar panels. These second-hand cells will have chips or discoloration which will not affect the performance much, but be careful in buying ones that do not have metal tags or you will end up spending a lot of time soldering new tags.