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

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

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

Solar Radiation Basics

Solar radiation is a general term for the electromagnetic radiation emitted by the sun. We can capture and convert solar radiation into useful forms of energy, such as heat and electricity, using a variety of technologies. The technical feasibility and economical operation of these technologies at a specific location depends on the available solar radiation or solar resource.
Basic Principles

Every location on Earth receives sunlight at least part of the year. The amount of solar radiation that reaches any one “spot” on the Earth’s surface varies according to these factors:

* Geographic location
* Time of day
* Season
* Local landscape
* Local weather.

Because the Earth is round, the sun strikes the surface at different angles ranging from 0º (just above the horizon) to 90º (directly overhead). When the sun’s rays are vertical, the Earth’s surface gets all the energy possible. The more slanted the sun’s rays are, the longer they travel through the atmosphere, becoming more scattered and diffuse. Because the Earth is round, the frigid polar regions never get a high sun, and because of the tilted axis of rotation, these areas receive no sun at all during part of the year.

The Earth revolves around the sun in an elliptical orbit and is closer to the sun during part of the year. When the sun is nearer the Earth, the Earth’s surface receives a little more solar energy. The Earth is nearer the sun when it’s summer in the southern hemisphere and winter in the northern hemisphere. However the presence of vast oceans moderates the hotter summers and colder winters one would expect to see in the southern hemisphere as a result of this difference.

The 23.5º tilt in the Earth’s axis of rotation is a more significant factor in determining the amount of sunlight striking the Earth at a particular location. Tilting results in longer days in the northern hemisphere from the spring (vernal) equinox to the fall (autumnal) equinox and longer days in the southern hemisphere during the other six months. Days and nights are both exactly 12 hours long on the equinoxes, which occur each year on or around March 23 and September 22.

Countries like the United States, which lie in the middle latitudes, receive more solar energy in the summer not only because days are longer, but also because the sun is nearly overhead. The sun’s rays are far more slanted during the shorter days of the winter months. Cities like Denver, Colorado, (near 40º latitude) receive nearly three times more solar energy in June than they do in December.

The rotation of the Earth is responsible for hourly variations in sunlight. In the early morning and late afternoon, the sun is low in the sky. Its rays travel further through the atmosphere than at noon when the sun is at its highest point. On a clear day, the greatest amount of solar energy reaches a solar collector around solar noon.

Source: EERE, U.S. Department of Energy

How to Evaluate Your Site’s Solar Resource for Solar Electricity

The solar resource across the U.S. is ample for solar electric systems—also known as photovoltaic (PV) systems—because they can use both direct and scattered sunlight. However, the amount of electricity generated at a particular site depends on how much of the sun’s energy reaches it. Thus, PV systems function most efficiently in the southwestern United States, which receives the greatest amount of solar energy.

Before you buy a PV system, you’ll want to be sure your site has enough solar energy to meet your electricity needs efficiently and economically. Your local system supplier can perform a solar site analysis for you or show you how to do so on your own.

When evaluating your site, you’ll also need to consider both the geographic orientation and the tilt of your solar panels—PV modules—as both can affect your system’s performance.

Source: EERE, U.S. Department of Energy

Considering a Small Solar Electric System

To help evaluate whether a small solar electric system will work for you, you should consider the following:

  • Your available solar resource—do you have clear and unobstructed access to sunlight for most or all of the day, throughout the year?
  • The system size—do you have a roof or area large enough to accommodate it?
  • The economics—is it worth the investment?
  • Local permits and covenants—are there any issues with installing a system?

Source: EERE, U.S. Department of Energy

How Small Solar Electric Systems Work

Solar electric systems, also known as photovoltaic (PV) systems, convert sunlight into electricity.

Solar cells—the basic building blocks of a PV system—consist of semiconductor materials. When sunlight is absorbed by these materials, the solar energy knocks electrons loose from their atoms. This phenomenon is called the “photoelectric effect.” These free electrons then travel into a circuit built into the solar cell to form electrical current. To see a simulation of the photoelectric effect, please view our animation. Only sunlight of certain wavelengths will work efficiently to create electricity. PV systems can still produce electricity on cloudy days, but not as much as on a sunny day.

The basic PV or solar cell typically produces only a small amount of power. To produce more power, solar cells (about 40) can be interconnected to form panels or modules. PV modules range in output from 10 to 300 watts. If more power is needed, several modules can be installed on a building or at ground-level in a rack to form a PV array.

PV arrays can be mounted at a fixed angle facing south, or they can be mounted on a tracking device that follows the sun, allowing them to capture the most sunlight over the course of a day.

Because of their modularity, PV systems can be designed to meet any electrical requirement, no matter how large or how small. You also can connect them to an electric distribution system (grid-connected), or they can stand alone (off-grid).

Source: U.S. Department of Energy – Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Small Solar Electric Systems

A small solar electric or photovoltaic (PV) system can be a reliable and pollution-free producer of electricity for your home or office. And they’re becoming more affordable all the time. Small PV systems also provide a cost-effective power supply in locations where it is expensive or impossible to send electricity through conventional power lines.

Because PV technologies use both direct and scattered sunlight to create electricity, the solar resource across the United States is ample for small solar electric systems. However, the amount of power generated by a solar system at a particular site depends on how much of the sun’s energy reaches it. Thus, PV systems, like all solar technologies, function most efficiently in the southwestern United States, which receives the greatest amount of solar energy.

Source: EERE, U.S. Department of Energy