Homemade Solar Power – Save Money by Making Your Own Solar Power System

Article by Jon Osbourne

There are many positives that come with building a solar power system. These positives include, but are not limited to, saving a lot of money on your power bills and helping out the environment. It’s therefore not a big surprise to discover more and more people are starting to produce their own Do it yourself (DIY) Solar Power Systems.

Building your own DIY Solar Power system is a simple and straight forward process, you don’t need to be an expert or have an expert help you out, you just need a clear, easy to follow blueprint and you will have your own system built and producing energy in no time.

The following three steps are crucial in ensuring your homemade solar power project is a success:

  1. Get a good guide: as mentioned above, putting together a diy solar power system is not the hardest tasks in the world, but you do need to make sure you have a good guide, set of plans, to work from. There are a large number of these guides, some not as impressive as others, I highly recommend that you choose one that comes with video as well as written instructions.
  2. Materials: Once you have got a guide to work from you need to assemble all the materials listed in the guide. All of these materials will be readily available at most local hardware stores.
  3. Follow the instructions: Probably the biggest mistake a lot of people make with diy projects is rushing the process and not paying enough attention to the instructions, take the time to read through and study your guide at least once before starting, it will make the whole process that much easier.

As I’ve emphasized in this article, making your own homemade solar power is a relatively easy process, best of all you get to enjoy the substantial financial benefits that come with saving hundreds if not thousands of dollars (depending on your usual consumption) annually of your power bill. In our household we estimate a 70% reduction off our traditional power bill, those sort of savings are substantial and I’m sure you would agree in any times, let alone the current economic ones we find ourselves in, this is a welcome and much needed relief.

So if you are interested in building your own diy solar power project and saving some money, what are you waiting for? Visit the following link for more information on homemade solar power.

As mentioned above there are some great homemade solar power guides and some not so great ones, to read a review of a side by side comparison of the best three available online, take a look at the following link DIY Solar Power kits Reviewed.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Solar Water Heating System Maintenance and Repair

Solar energy systems require periodic inspections and routine maintenance to keep them operating efficiently. Also, from time to time, components may need repair or replacement.

You might be able to handle some of the inspections and maintenance tasks on your own, but others may require a qualified technician.

For help finding a qualified technician, see the Learn More resources listed on the right side of this page (or below if you’ve printed out this page). Ask for a cost estimate in writing before having any work done. For some systems, it may be more cost effective to replace, shut off, or remove the solar system than to have it repaired.

Periodic Inspection List

Here are some suggested inspections of solar system components. Also read your owner’s manual for a suggested maintenance schedule.

  • Collector shading

    Visually check for shading of the collectors during the day (mid-morning, noon, and mid-afternoon) on an annual basis. Shading can greatly affect the performance of solar collectors. Vegetation growth over time or new construction on your house or your neighbor’s property may produce shading that wasn’t there when the collectors were installed.

  • Collector soiling

    Dusty or soiled collectors will perform poorly. Periodic cleaning may be necessary in dry, dusty climates.

  • Collector glazing and seals

    Look for cracks in the collector glazing, and check to see if seals are in good condition. Plastic glazing, if excessively yellowed, may need to be replaced.

  • Plumbing, ductwork, and wiring connections

    Look for fluid leaks at pipe connections. Check duct connections and seals. Ducts should be sealed with a mastic compound. All wiring connections should be tight.

  • Piping, duct, and wiring insulation

    Look for damage or degradation of insulation covering pipes, ducts, and wiring.

  • Roof penetrations

    Flashing and sealant around roof penetrations should be in good condition.

  • Support structures

    Check all nuts and bolts attaching the collectors to any support structures for tightness.

  • Pressure relief valve (on liquid solar heating collectors)

    Make sure the valve is not stuck open or closed.

  • Dampers (in solar air heating systems)

    If possible, make sure the dampers open and close properly.

  • Pumps or blowers

    Verify that distribution pumps or blowers (fans) are operating. Listen to see if they come on when the sun is shining on the collectors after mid-morning. If you can’t hear a pump or blower operating, then either the controller has malfunctioned or the pump or blower has.

  • Heat transfer fluids

    Antifreeze solutions in liquid (hydronic) solar heating collectors need to be replaced periodically. It’s a task best left to a qualified technician. If water with a high mineral content (i.e., hard water) is circulated in the collectors, mineral buildup in the piping may need to be removed by adding a de-scaling or mild acidic solution to the water every few years.

  • Storage systems

    Check storage tanks, etc., for cracks, leaks, rust, or other signs of corrosion.

Source: EERE, U.S. Department of Energy

The Economics of a Solar Water Heater

Solar water heating systems usually cost more to purchase and install than conventional water heating systems. However, a solar water heater can usually save you money in the long run.

How much money you save depends on the following:

* The amount of hot water you use
* Your system’s performance
* Your geographic location and solar resource
* Available financing and incentives
* The cost of conventional fuels (natural gas, oil, and electricity)
* The cost of the fuel you use for your backup water heating system, if you have one.

On average, if you install a solar water heater, your water heating bills should drop 50%–80%. Also, because the sun is free, you’re protected from future fuel shortages and price hikes.

If you’re building a new home or refinancing, the economics are even more attractive. Including the price of a solar water heater in a new 30-year mortgage usually amounts to between $13 and $20 per month. The federal income tax deduction for mortgage interest attributable to the solar system reduces that by about $3–$5 per month. So if your fuel savings are more than $15 per month, the solar investment is profitable immediately. On a monthly basis, you’re saving more than you’re paying.

Source: EERE, U.S. Department of Energy

A Solar Power Inverter: Its Purpose

by: Anna Williams

A solar power inverter forms an important part of any home solar energy system which supplies enough electricity to get you off the grid.

The inverter converts direct current, which is produced by a solar panel, into alternating current.

There is also a charge controller, which can use excess power to charge your system’s battery, and provide energy without any waste.

In some cases, solar power might be your best solution, if you want to get your home running off the grid. It is also relatively simple to install, and doesn’t require a large quantity of parts and components, in order to produce electricity.

Each system is different, but generally speaking, all you need is:

Your wiringA battery to store electricity inA set of solar panelsA solar regulator or charge controller

Solar panels usually produce 12 to 24 volts DC. Some appliances can run on this power, but most home appliances require 110 or 220 volts AC.

This is where a solar power inverter is needed. It converts the direct current into alternating current.

What is direct current? Direct current, or DC, flows continuously in one direction, while alternating current changes in its direction of flow.

Alternating current (AC) is used because it is a type of electricity which can be carried over longer distances, with minimal energy loss . Oddly enough, however, most household appliances have built in devices which convert the AC into DC, in order to operate.

Various types of solar inverters can be found on the market currently. You might come across some which are pretty cheap. But keep in mind that these might be inferior in quality. Some inverters get warmer when in use – and that heat adds up to a loss of energy.

Different solar inverters use different “loads,” as well. The “load” is the amount of current or energy that the inverter can handle. For home use, you might want to get a solar inverter that can handle a couple of hundred watts, at any given time. These aren’t always cheap, but they will be worthwhile in the long run.

Possibly the best choice of solar inverter is the true sine wave. This type of inverter produces power identical to what you would receive from the main supply grid. When viewed on an oscilloscope, the waves are smooth.

If the true sine wave is beyond your budget, you might settle for a modified sine wave. This gives a lesser quality power than the true sine wave does, but is less expensive.

Getting Completely Off the Grid

If you are looking to get your home running off the grid completely, then get a “stand-alone power system inverter.” With this type of device, you plug the deep cycle batteries in – and it can be installed by virtually anyone.

You can also get a “mains grid inverter,” which draws power from your solar panels, and at the same time feeds excess energy back to the main grid. In some states, you can earn money back from the power companies when you produce excess power and feed it back to the grid.

Installing a Solar Power System in Your Home

When installing a partial or complete solar energy system into your home, there are generally two ways to go about it.

1.Hire a professional installation company to install your system

2.Do it yourself.

The least expensive choice is the latter – do-it-yourself.

There are many high-quality and popular do-it-yourself guides available, which will teach you how to install your own solar power or wind power system at home. These guides often include manuals, instructional videos, diagrams, and step-by-step instructions. For more information on these guides, please see DIY Solar Power.

You can find solar inverters and related solar power products at Solar Power Inverter.

About The Author

For more information on this subject, please visit DIY Solar Power.