The sun is shining, and the only cloud in the sky is the latest utility bill that seems to rise every month…
The answer may be that you need to seriously examine how to build your own solar panels, and here are a few tips that just might help…
Check out the online specials for materials and save on the construction cost. In addition, there are many suppliers who will offer everything that is required to complete the job, as well as plans and advice on assembly.
The tools needed to build your own solar panels will probably already be found in the workshop and include hammer, saw, soldering iron, screw drivers and a knife.
The materials list is a little longer but most people already have some timber to make the frame for mounting the panels on the roof and the screws and wood panels to make the housing for the cells.
Purchase pre tabbed photo-voltaic cells and the tab wiring to connect them. Some eva glue, solder and flux, plastic sheeting to cover the lid of the housing as well as blocking diodes to stop current reversal, and the project can be started.
The next step is to make a cup of coffee and make some decisions on where the panels are going to be sited. A south facing slope of 30˚ that is not shaded or in the path of natural pests is required, and if possible one that will allow wiring to be easily conducted into the area you choose to house the storage batteries.
When starting out to build your own solar panels, allow a weekend and clear a space on the workshop floor that is clean and dust free. The process is essentially an assembly project once the cells are fixed to a backing board in rows, usually of 6×6.
Join the cell tabs with the wire and add the blocking diodes and cable to connect up to the storage battery and cover with the plastic lid. Seal the whole unit with the silicone grouting.
Mounting the panels on the roof should occur after some insulation has been applied to the rear of the housing, and to really make the unit efficient paint all the housing black – not the lid though!
This may be a two person job, not just because it is heavy, but because it is awkward and made more difficult when working at heights.
If the whole thing seems a little too much for the DIY skills at hand, then you can purchase a kit set or even a complete unit. Before you buy, check out someone who has already gone down the same track, or at least try to see a solar powered unit in action.
The project should be fun, as learning how to build your own solar panels is survival technology that can give the homeowner some true independence in times when supply of power can be unreliable.