Sedona Creations

DIY Solar Panels

Written By: Michael

I have always been intrigued with solar and while living in Arizona, my friend, an electrician installed solar units on his parents house and then his rental home.  It gave me an opportunity to ask some questions.  Then while living in Hawai’i, I became friends with a couple of people that were living off the grid.   While living in Hawai’i, the desire to get involved with solar was really growing, though it wasn’t the right time.  No, I waited until I moved back to Michigan,  the area that probable gets the least amount of sun.
So, this is going to be about the things to keep in mind when thinking about going solar, some you may not be aware and other things you want to know if you do go solar.soldered solar cellsI went to school for electronics so I was familiar with the math equations that are necessary to understand what I was working with.   I will pass that along to you and explain how it works, a little bit later.   For now let’s start at the beginning.  I know you probable want to jump to the end to get the answer you’re looking for.  That’s me.  In all fairness I will take you through the ups and downs that I went through, by the end you will have a pretty good understanding.  I will also include all the links to what I came up with so you can access the same information.

Above, these are the solar cells that I choose to work with.  They are from Everbrightsolar.net .  There is a lot of money to be made in this industry which means you could accidentally end up paying a higher price for something that was yesterday news.   There are some big bargains out there if you start looking.  Let’s look at those bargains, many times you will find huge bargains on “Mono Crystalline” solar cells verses “Poly Crystalline” solar cells.  What does it mean?  First of all, stay away from “Mono Crystalline,” if you are serious about what your doing.  Here’s the difference, “Mono Crystalline” is one layer of conductive material where as “Poly Crystalline” has several layers of conductive material.  You will usually see higher volts, amps and watts with a poly crystalline cells.

Before you get started building your solar panel there are some things you might want to think about first.  Why do you want to build a solar panel?  What are you planning to use it for?  I was surprised to find out that if you want to build your solar panels and then use them on your house, you probable won’t be able to.  You have to check and see what your local codes require to get permitting most times they require UL and possible CEC certification.  Now your back to big bucks for just one panel.  If you are planning on installing solar panels on your home, you maybe required to have a licensed electrician overseeing the project.  I know, you’re only working with 12 volts maybe 24 volts.  Here’s something else to think about.  If your home is currently using line voltage, (AC) you may have to get permitting from your utility company to put solar on your home.   Yup, you got that right!  How about this, if you plan on selling back the extra electricity that you aren’t using, on top of getting permits from the utility company, they may not buy your extra electricity.  They may offer you, for example five cents per kilowatt hour meanwhile you pay them thirty one cents per kilowatt hour.   It may seem like I’m throwing in the towel on the idea, I’m not.  I am pointing out the little surprises I discovered.  This is where we the people have to step in and demand changes.  Keep in mind if you bought your home and it has line voltage, you installed your panels and now a neighbor is complaining that it’s an eye soar, you could have some big problems that run into big bucks.  The same applies to wind generators too.  The neighbor has a better chance of winning in court.

Let’s take a look at the next section: Ok, so you decided to build a solar panel.