Diy Solar Panel Pros And Cons: Should You Install Solar Panels Yourself
Find out if do-it-yourself solar panels are worth the effort.
DIY solar panels: Good idea? Bad idea?
If you’re a homeowner, it’s not hard to see the appeal of solar panels. Whether you are conscious of your carbon emissions or your budget , installing DIY solar panels can shrink your impact on the planet and lower the monthly energy bill.
But while the DIY solar panels can be an elegant and eco-friendly option in some situations, they aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution for everyone’s energy-related issues. Below, we’ll walk you through the pros and cons of undergoing the DIY project of installing your own solar panels. And we’ll help you decide if you want to take on the task or pursue another option like a solar power purchase agreement or having solar panels installed professionally.
Mounting The Solar Panel
After design the solar system. Buy all the components with an appropriate rating as per the previous steps.
Now it is time to mount the solar panel. First, choose a suitable location on the rooftop where there is no obstruction sunlight.
Prepare the mounting stand: You can make it on your own or it is better to buy one from any store. In my case, I have taken the drawing from the solar panel company and made it at a nearby welding shop. The tilt of the stand is nearly equal to the latitude angle of your location.
I made a small wooden mounting stand for my 10 Watt solar panel. I have attached the pictures so that anyone can make it easy.
Tilting: To get the most from solar panels, you need to point them in the direction that captures the maximum sunlight. Use one of these formulas to find the best angle from the horizontal at which the panel should be tilted:
> > If your latitude is below 25°, use the latitude times 0.87.
> > If your latitude is between 25° and 50°, use the latitude, times 0.76, plus 3.1 degrees.
For more details on tilting click here
First place the stand in such a way that the face is directed towards the south.Mark the leg position over the roof.
To get the south direction use this android app compass
Then make a rough surface at each leg of the stand by using a sharp object. I made around 1Sq feet size rough surface over the roof at each leg. This is helpful for perfect bonding between the roof and concrete.
Testing Your Solar Cells
Now that you have attached the tabs to your solar cells or simply bought pre-tabbed solar cells, the next step involves testing your solar cells to make sure they are working correctly before you go any further. It is important to do this before you begin to make solar panels because one bad solar cell can ruin the effectiveness of your whole panel.
otherwise just continue with learning how to build a solar panel below.
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Solar Energy Systems Budgets
Solar energy systems have different budgets. Some are way too much costly and very expensive. This arises when its time to purchase your solar energy components after sizing your solar energy system. These different budgets are also influenced by various factors and points to consider when installing/sizing for your system.
Factors influencing different sizes/budgets of solar energy systems
There are key points and issue which cause a difference in solar energy systems sizes and budgets. Below are main issues and points that cause the variation:
Generation factor of solar panels
Same Solar panels have different generation factor in different climates . For instance, in Thailand, the generation factor is 3.43 and in countries in Europe, the factor is 2.93.the factor is used to calculate the total watt-peak rating for your solar system.
Areas with high generation factor such as Africa receive more sun hour than those with a lower generation factor. So the high the generation factor the less watt-peak of your solar system. And that means the solar panel size will be reduced and thus the cost of solar panels also reduces.
A generation factor for solar panels is not a characteristic owned by the solar panel. Generation factor arises when you think of how much sunshine is in a given area. And for how many hours the place receives full sunlight.
Usage of solar components
Types of appliance
Type of solar components used
Type of current
Type of your solar system
Extend The Service Life Of Solar Systems
The average lifespan of solar systems is 25 years. But solar panels can last longer nowadays, especially if a robust glass is added in the back. This is a common thing in photovoltaic cell manufacturing today, unlike what they looked like previously. Therefore, the longer the service life of the solar panels, the lower their CO2 emissions and the costs.
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Editors Note: This Is An Overview On How To Understand How Much Energy Your Solar System Will Produce And Overall Solar Panel Output
We always advise speaking with at least a few certified solar installers to understand how all the factors will affect solar panel output for your system.
Solar panels indicate how much power they intend to produce under ideal conditions, otherwise known as the maximum power rating.
But how much electricity your solar panels produce depends on several factors.
- Does intermittent shading obscure direct sunlight from hitting the roof?
- How much sunlight does your roof get on average?
- How big are the solar panels, and how efficient are the solar cells at converting energy?
Because the seasons and weather conditions affect the amount of sunlight hitting your roof, and the amount of sunlight also varies on the time day, you cant use just the solar panel ratings to predict how much power youll get. However, your location will allow you to do some math and determine how well a solar panel works where you are.
Impact On Electricity Network
With the increasing levels of rooftop photovoltaic systems, the energy flow becomes 2-way. When there is more local generation than consumption, electricity is exported to the grid. However, an electricity network traditionally is not designed to deal with the 2- way energy transfer. Therefore, some technical issues may occur. For example, in Queensland Australia, more than 30% of households used rooftop PV by the end of 2017. The famous Californian 2020 duck curve appeared often for a lot of communities from 2015 onwards. An over-voltage issue may result as the electricity flows from PV households back to the network. There are solutions to manage the over voltage issue, such as regulating PV inverter power factor, new voltage and energy control equipment at the electricity distributor level, re-conducting the electricity wires, demand side management, etc. There are often limitations and costs related to these solutions.
When electric networks are down, such as during the October 2019 California power shutoff, solar panels are often insufficient to fully provide power to a house or other structure, because they are designed to supply power to the grid, not directly to homes.
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Regular Inspections And Cleaning
Its commonly held that a rooftop solar system should be professionally inspected at least every five years. Similarly, regular cleaning of the solar panels should occur. How often “regular” is can depend on a number of factors, such as what sort of environment surrounds the solar system, and how much dirt and other debris may find their way onto the panels. Nonetheless, ballpark estimates often provide that solar panels should be professionally cleaned at least once every 6 months.
Get Cheap Solar Cells From Ebay
There are a lot of solar cell types that you can choose from. There are the Chinese ones, with good results, the best price, but not guaranteeing much, there are the Japanese ones with good performance, good price and the guarantee of Japanese work, and there are the American ones, with the best performance, the highest price and again, guarantees over guarantees. Choose wisely with regard to your budget. For example, a rule of thumb in 2012 would be that the cells shouldnt sell for more than $1.3 per watt. Buy a couple of cells you think would fit your solar panel systems budget and preferences, and move on to step #2.
Calculate Your Power Load
Before getting to the solar installation task, it is crucial to sum up the power that you use at your home. This isnt rocket science. All you have to do is to note down the home appliances that you use on a daily basis, which include television, lights, fan, and so on. Next, add the time for which these appliances run in a day. Go through the specification chart in your household electric appliances to check their usage duration or run time, and their power rating.
Now calculate the Watt-Hour by multiplying the runtime of an appliance with its power rating. Follow this step for each electrical device, then sum up the individual watt-hour numbers to get the grand total. You can also simplify this calculation by using an online off-grid load calculator.
Solar Panels For Commercial Businesses
For businesses, solar panels might represent an environmental good or a financial strategy.
Whatever the reason could be, solar panels are a great move for all sizes of businesses.
Just as in residential cases, the size dimension of your system will be determined by the same factors listed in the how much power do I need section. And the size of solar panels for commercial businesses are just the same as the ones we mentioned above.
Nonetheless, since businesses require on average more power than homes, the typically used solar panel size in businesses is 72-cells size or more, like that of 96-cells.
The difference lies in the size of the solar panel array, given that the power demand for commercial businesses is higher than for residential use.
The figure below illustrates an approximation of that comparison.
An average home fits its energy needs with systems of around 6 kW or 7 kW. Businesses will require larger systems. In this case, expect to occupy a larger rooftop surface to cover your companys energy needs.
If you install a 6 kW system with, say, 20 average-sized solar panels, expect to occupy a surface of 27 ft. wide by 13 ft. long on your rooftop.
The table below shows a rough idea of the common size of solar panels for commercial businesses and the expected price range
Common system sizes for commercial businesses and expected price range.
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Choosing The Right Solar Panels For The Job
If youre limited on space for your DIY solar project, monocrystalline panels are the best option due to their greatest efficiency and similar cost to their polycrystalline cousins.
Polycrystalline panels may be suitable if space is not an issue and youre trying to reduce costs even in small ways.
Thin films arent suitable for small-scale solar installation projects, nor are they worth it.
How To Build A Solar Panel
This article was co-authored by Guy Gabay. Guy Gabay is a Solar Energy Contractor and the CEO of AmeriGreen Builders, a full-service solar energy, roofing, HVAC and window installation company based in the greater Los Angeles, California region. With over eight years of experience in the construction industry, Guy leads the AmeriGreen team focusing on bringing an educational approach to energy efficient home upgrades. Guy holds a B.S. in Marketing from California State University – Northridge.There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 14 testimonials and 88% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 1,177,266 times.
Solar energy is a renewable source of energy that not only benefits you but the environment as well. With the effort you put into making a homemade solar panel, you can help prevent environmental pollution by reducing fossil fuel usage.XExpert SourceGuy GabaySolar Energy ContractorExpert Interview. 4 August 2020. Whats even better is that youll save money on you electric bill. To build your own solar panel, youll need to assemble the pieces, connect the cells, build a panel box, wire the panels, seal the box, and then finally mount your completed solar panel.
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Getting Panels On Your Roof
Remember: safety first! As you prepare to move your panels onto the roof, keep in mind the safety procedures outlined in the Planning & Safety section of this guide. Be sure to wear protective equipment, use fall protection, and never stand on panels or lift them by the electrical wires.
If you want, you can wrap your panels in a blanket to protect them from hard surfaces as you move them.
Chances are, youll want to rent some equipment to help lift the panels on your roof. There are a few options to choose from:
Ladder Lift. A ladder with a conveyor belt mechanism on it to help move heavy objects up and down the ladder.
Ladder lifts make it easier to move objects up and down the ladder.
Scissor Lift. A lift which extends up and down, as well as side-to-side. The horizontal movement means you can take fewer trips from the ground to the roof and then back again.
Scissor lifts move up and down, as well as side to side.
Boom Lift. A lift with a full range of movement, giving you access to tight spaces. Useful to get over and around obstacles that prevent you from parking a lift directly under the spot where you plan to install your panels.
Boom lifts have full range of motion to help navigate tight spaces.
Scaffolding. Scaffolding works great if there are no obstacles and you dont need lift assistance. Theres no mechanism to make lifting easier, but it does offer a sturdy platform to work on and some extra fall protection.
Choose The Right System
When choosing to install solar power also called a solar photovoltaic system it’s important to consider what size will suit your needs. For example, do you want to go carbon neutral, or do you want to add battery storage? What is your budget?
You should speak to your electricity retailer and installer because installing solar power might impact your current electricity tariff. Some energy retailers require solar customers to shift to time-of-use tariff.In many cases it will be possible to install a PV system that generates as much, or more, electricity as you use in a year. Some of this electricity will be used in your home and reduce your mains electricity consumption, and some will be fed back into the electricity grid. Other ways to improve energy efficiency and reduce your bills include installing LED downlights, improving your insulation and replacing inefficient appliances. Making your house as energy efficient as possible will reduce the size of the solar PV system you need to buy.
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What Are Solar Panels Made From
A solar panel is a sophisticated piece of equipment that is made of a number of components and materials. In terms of general structure, a solar panel or solar PV module is made of solar cells, glass, EVA , a backsheet, and a frame.
The exact materials depend on the type of solar panel, the three commercially-available ones being:
Each of these involves different materials as well as manufacturing processes, although the first two have many similarities, both being types of crystalline solar panels. These kinds of solar panels are primarily made of silicon.
Crystalline silicon panels are also by far the most common, accounting for around 95% of all solar panels currently commercially available.
Mono-crystalline solar panels are made from a single silicon crystal, while polycrystalline ones are manufactured with silicon ingots containing multiple silicon crystals. The former is a more pure form of silicon which is more efficient at converting solar energy into electricity, and is more expensive than the polycrystalline variety.
The various components of solar panels are held together with EVA. The EVA needs to be high quality in order to avoid damaging the cells and to help the panels stand up to extreme weather.
On the other hand, thin film solar panels are made from amorphous silicon, which is more flexible but less efficient than even polycrystalline solar panels.
Should I Buy Or Build Solar Panels
If you make your own solar panels, one of the obvious advantages is that they are much less expensive especially if you need high powered solar panels.
Sure you can find solar panels for sale everywhere these days, at what would appear to be great prices. But take a look at how powerful they are and you’ll soon realise that you need stronger panels . This is not favourable for those on a limited budget or with limited space.
This is why building your own solar panels is the best choice for affordability and for that extra level of personal control over the project.
When you build your own solar panels, you not only save money, but you can maximize and customize your solar system easily and inexpensively instead of being at the mercy of retail solar panel sizes and prices.
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Calculating How Many Solar Panels Are Needed To Power A Home
If you are considering going solar for your home, you are probably wondering, ‘how many solar panels do I need?’ The answer is, it depends. How much power do you use? How large is your home? How many panels can fit on your roof? While you can do simple calculations to estimate how many solar panels you need, it may be best to contact a solar company. For now, let’s dive into more detail about solar panels and how many solar panels power a house.