Homemade Solar Panels – How to Build Your Own Solar Panels & Save 80% on Utility Bills!

Making your own solar power panels helps you save money on your utility bills by ensuring your alternative energy source is renewable and sustainable over the lifespan of the panels. In addition, you are protecting the environment as solar power does not emit harmful gases into the air in the process.

Contrary to general believe, assembling your solar panel is not as hard as it is made out to be and you do not need special technical skills. In fact, the components are easily bought from the local hardware store and the basic materials you need are very easily found toolkit items. The basic materials are namely plywood, salt, copper wire, sandpaper, metal scissors etc are very common and affordable.

Simply ensure that you have a rooftop which directly faces the sun and with extensive sunlight. Ensure that the angle and location where you place your homemade solar panels are in the position of capturing the optimal amount of sunlight. If you do not have a large sun facing rooftop, use your backyard or garden.

It is important to note that the solar panels absorb and collect the UV wavelengths of the sunlight for conversion into electricity. Hence, the cells are capable of collecting and storing energy, i.e. the UV wavelengths even in cloudy weather. The only difference is that in a sunny day, the solar panels work better and less hard.

At less than 200 dollars to build and install, your homemade solar power systems simply costs about 6 percent of a 3000 dollar professionally ready made panel. Not to mention that this is an initial setup cost will very quickly pay for itself almost in the first month of usage when the electricity cost savings you immediately gained more than off set the setup cost.

You will need a good guidebook for your homemade solar panels system which provides specific instructions and design diagrams. Make sure you choose one with member forums for discussion as well as step by step videos that walk you through the critical steps and you are good to go. If you think that this would be expensive, well think again, as this manual usually cost less than a good meal.

So start reducing your carbon footprint, start building your very own solar panels and Start cutting your utility bills by at least half.

About The Author

Tap on Free Renewable Energy, Half your electricity bills. Start to Build Your Own Solar Panels for Home today. Simply Visit http://www.SolarWindEnergyDIY.com for Your Solar Power Guide Review

Homemade Solar Panels – The Pros and Cons of DIY Solar Power For Homes

Solar energy is a technology which has been around for more than 20 years, and has recently taken the lead as an alternative fuel source, thanks to the high and fluctuating oil prices. This is especially so in these times of global economic crisis with shrinking household budgets and escalating utility bills.

The benefits of using solar energy to power your home are well documented. While oil requires expensive exploration and holds consumers ransom by its fluctuating prices, sunlight for solar power is absolutely free. Sunlight is not only free to all, it is also a constantly renewable source of power and is an alternative clean natural fuel source by the gift of mother nature. Solar power comparatively is a better fuel source for us as it does not discharge harmful gases unlike oil. It is no wonder that many households have begun switching to solar power for homes as their key energy source.

In light of the escalating utility bills, many people either have problems paying their bills or drastically cutting back on usage in order to make ends meet. Adopting solar power by building your own solar panels to generate electricity is a proven effective solution to the above problem. And the best part of it is, you need not have to change your lifestyle or cut usage just to pay your bills.

High cost of purchase and installation of the solar panels used to be the key setback for solar power to take off. But this situation no longer poses as hindrance to solar power development, especially when building solar power for homes with the do it yourself approach. Guides and instruction manuals have become available online which provide specific instructions on how to build your own solar panels for home use. Some better ones even have step by step videos that walk you through the every critical stage as well as a member forum for discussion. The cost of components and materials do not even exceed 200 dollars if you so choose to build it yourself.

In this difficult economic downturn, especially when you are never sure if you will still be able to bring home your next pay check, a dime saved is a dime earned. And being self reliant on homemade solar power is a great start towards being liberated from high escalating costs. In fact, it has been tried and tested by feedback from existing users that those claims of 80 percent savings in utility bills are true.

About The Author

Tap on Free Renewable Energy, Half your electricity bills. Start to Build Your Own Solar Panels for Home today. Simply Visit http://www.SolarWindEnergyDIY.com for Your Solar Power Guide Review

How to select potential contractors for installation and/or maintenance of solar water heater

When screening potential contractors for installation and/or maintenance, ask the following questions:

* Does your company have experience installing and maintaining solar water heating systems?
Choose a company that has experience installing the type of system you want and servicing the applications you select.

* How many years of experience does your company have with solar heating installation and maintenance?
The more experience the better. Request a list of past customers who can provide references.

* Is your company licensed or certified?
Having a valid plumber’s and/or solar contractor’s license is required in some states. Contact your city and county for more information. Confirm licensing with your state’s contractor licensing board. The licensing board can also tell you about any complaints against state-licensed contractors.

Source: EERE, U.S. Department of Energy

Installing and Maintaining a Solar Water Heating System

The proper installation of solar water heaters depends on many factors. These factors include solar resource, climate, local building code requirements, and safety issues; therefore, it’s best to have a qualified, solar thermal systems contractor install your system.

After installation, properly maintaining your system will keep it running smoothly. Passive systems don’t require much maintenance. For active systems, discuss the maintenance requirements with your system provider, and consult the system’s owner’s manual. Plumbing and other conventional water heating components require the same maintenance as conventional systems. Glazing may need to be cleaned in dry climates where rainwater doesn’t provide a natural rinse.

Regular maintenance on simple systems can be as infrequent as every 3–5 years, preferably by a solar contractor. Systems with electrical components usually require a replacement part after or two after 10 years.

Source: EERE, U.S. Department of Energy

How to Select a Solar Water Heater

Before you purchase and install a solar water heating system, you want to do the following:

* Consider the economics of a solar water heating system
* Evaluate your site’s solar resource
* Determine the correct system size
* Determine the system’s energy efficiency
* Estimate and compare system costs
* Investigate local codes, covenants, and regulations.

Source: EERE, U.S. Department of Energy

Two types of active solar water heating systems

* Direct circulation systems

Pumps circulate household water through the collectors and into the home. They work well in climates where it rarely freezes.

* Indirect circulation systems

Pumps circulate a non-freezing, heat-transfer fluid through the collectors and a heat exchanger. This heats the water that then flows into the home. They are popular in climates prone to freezing temperatures.

Illustration of an active, closed loop solar water heater. A large, flat panel called a flat plate collector is connected to a tank called a solar storage/backup water heater by two pipes. One of these pipes is runs through a cylindrical pump into the bottom of the tank, where it becomes a coil called a double-wall heat exchanger. This coil runs up through the tank and out again to the flat plate collector. Antifreeze fluid runs only through this collector loop. Two pipes run out the top of the water heater tank; one is a cold water supply into the tank, and the other sends hot water to the house.

Passive solar water heating systems are typically less expensive than active systems, but they’re usually not as efficient. However, passive systems can be more reliable and may last longer. There are two basic types of passive systems:

* Integral collector-storage passive systems

These work best in areas where temperatures rarely fall below freezing. They also work well in households with significant daytime and evening hot-water needs.

* Thermosyphon systems

Water flows through the system when warm water rises as cooler water sinks. The collector must be installed below the storage tank so that warm water will rise into the tank. These systems are reliable, but contractors must pay careful attention to the roof design because of the heavy storage tank. They are usually more expensive than integral collector-storage passive systems.

Illustration of a passive, batch solar water heater. Cold water enters a pipe and can either enter a solar storage/backup water heater tank or the batch collector, depending on which bypass valve is opened. If the valve to the batch collector is open, a vertical pipe (which also has a spigot drain valve for cold climates) carries the water up into the batch collector. The batch collector is a large box holding a tank and covered with a glaze that faces the sun. Water is heated in this tank, and another pipe takes the heated water from the batch collector into the solar storage/backup water heater, where it is then carried to the house.

Solar water heating systems almost always require a backup system for cloudy days and times of increased demand. Conventional storage water heaters usually provide backup and may already be part of the solar system package. A backup system may also be part of the solar collector, such as rooftop tanks with thermosyphon systems. Since an integral-collector storage system already stores hot water in addition to collecting solar heat, it may be packaged with a demand (tankless or instantaneous) water heater for backup.

Source: EERE, U.S. Department of Energy

Solar water heaters – also called solar domestic hot water systems

Solar water heaters – also called solar domestic hot water systems – can be a cost-effective way to generate hot water for your home. They can be used in any climate, and the fuel they use – sunshine – is free.

How They Work

Solar water heating systems include storage tanks and solar collectors. There are two types of solar water heating systems: active, which have circulating pumps and controls, and passive, which don’t.

Most solar water heaters require a well-insulated storage tank. Solar storage tanks have an additional outlet and inlet connected to and from the collector. In two-tank systems, the solar water heater preheats water before it enters the conventional water heater. In one-tank systems, the back-up heater is combined with the solar storage in one tank.

Three types of solar collectors are used for residential applications:

* Flat-plate collector

Glazed flat-plate collectors are insulated, weatherproofed boxes that contain a dark absorber plate under one or more glass or plastic (polymer) covers. Unglazed flat-plate collectors—typically used for solar pool heating—have a dark absorber plate, made of metal or polymer, without a cover or enclosure.

* Integral collector-storage systems

Also known as ICS or batch systems, they feature one or more black tanks or tubes in an insulated, glazed box. Cold water first passes through the solar collector, which preheats the water. The water then continues on to the conventional backup water heater, providing a reliable source of hot water. They should be installed only in mild-freeze climates because the outdoor pipes could freeze in severe, cold weather.

* Evacuated-tube solar collectors

They feature parallel rows of transparent glass tubes. Each tube contains a glass outer tube and metal absorber tube attached to a fin. The fin’s coating absorbs solar energy but inhibits radiative heat loss. These collectors are used more frequently for U.S. commercial applications.

Source: EERE, U.S. Department of Energy

Sizing a Solar Water Heating System

Sizing your solar water heating system basically involves determining the total collector area and the storage volume you’ll need to meet 90%–100% of your household’s hot water needs during the summer. Solar system contractors use worksheets and computer programs to help determine system requirements and collector sizing.
Collector Area

Contractors usually follow a guideline of around 20 square feet (2 square meters) of collector area for each of the first two family members. For every additional person, add 8 square feet (0.7 square meters) if you live in the U.S. Sun Belt area or 12–14 square feet if you live in the northern United States.
Storage Volume

A small (50- to 60-gallon) storage tank is usually sufficient for one to two three people. A medium (80-gallon) storage tank works well for three to four people. A large tank is appropriate for four to six people.

For active systems, the size of the solar storage tank increases with the size of the collector—typically 1.5 gallons per square foot of collector. This helps prevent the system from overheating when the demand for hot water is low. In very warm, sunny climates, some experts suggest that the ratio should be increased to as much as 2 gallons of storage to 1 square foot of collector area.

Source: EERE, U.S. Department of Energy

Evaluating Your Site’s Solar Resource for Solar Water Heating

Before you buy and install a solar water heating system, you need to first consider your site’s solar resource. The efficiency and design of a solar water heating system depends on how much of the sun’s energy reaches your building site.

Solar water heating systems use both direct and diffuse solar radiation. Even if you don’t live in a climate that’s warm and sunny most of the time—like the southwestern United States—your site still might have an adequate solar resource. If your building site has unshaded areas and generally faces south, it’s a good candidate for a solar water heating system.

Your local solar system supplier or installer can perform a solar site analysis.

Source: EERE, U.S. Department of Energy

Diffuse and Direct Solar Radiation

As sunlight passes through the atmosphere, some of it is absorbed, scattered, and reflected by the following:

* Air molecules
* Water vapor
* Clouds
* Dust
* Pollutants
* Forest fires
* Volcanoes.

This is called diffuse solar radiation. The solar radiation that reaches the Earth’s surface without being diffused is called direct beam solar radiation. The sum of the diffuse and direct solar radiation is called global solar radiation. Atmospheric conditions can reduce direct beam radiation by 10% on clear, dry days and by 100% during thick, cloudy days.

Source: EERE, U.S. Department of Energy