View Full Version : buliding solar pannels
October 6th, 2008, 15:50 PDT
Hi all I would like to a materials list to build a solar pannel , the goal is to build enough to do reverse metering. maybe some tech support as well.
Thanks and God bless,
October 6th, 2008, 19:14 PDT
I suggest that you spend some time reading on this site and elsewhere to gain some knowledge about solar panels, net metering etc. "Building" your own solar panels is not an easy task. Solar panels are only a small part of the equation.
October 6th, 2008, 20:29 PDT
gee, it seems this forum has become a magnet for all who want to build themselves a pv to power their whole house with. i suppose we can thank all of the little spiders and bots for that. i guess i'll have to say it again. it is nice to build it yourself as a little side project, but you'll find it won't be cheaper than or better quality than a commercial pv and in no way will this pv provide all of your power needs for your home. if it were that simple then we wouldn't still need the massive utility generators and, no, it isn't a coverup thing either. i can say that utilities don't like being forced to allow other generator sources onto 'their grid' without being 'in their control', but solar power is by no means going to put these utilities out of business.
i don't want to discourage you in trying to go solar, but you must arm yourself with knowledge and that'll happen when you start reading up on the subject. this is a good sized forum so go for it, but this isn't the only place to learn either as their are other forums and even magazines that can help you understand and learn. this kind of thing isn't for anyone looking for a miracle power source that is cheap as it is neither. it is what it is with its limitations and rewards that comes at a cost.
why do i feel like mr. wizard?:confused::p
October 6th, 2008, 20:42 PDT
I was trying to be a bit more diplomatic,,,
October 6th, 2008, 21:12 PDT
diplomacy is fine, but it gets redundant and i tire after so many of these same questions along this line being asked and i blame the spiders for bringing that question here over and over again because people are doing searches on it. some people also don't like to read or sometimes don't accept the answers they read and i thought it better to go right to the point rather than the same subject being drawn out into a lengthy thread again and again and again. just to clarify, there's nothing personnal to the ones asking though as my beef is with search engines bringing them here and leading these people to think their instructions to build their pvs are here. by all means read and learn and if you still want to do it knowing how difficult it is to do and knowing the costs would be more justified with a commercial pv for the result you'll get, then by all means do so. know what you're getting into first before you decide. to clarify, the instructions to build a commercial pv are not here.
October 6th, 2008, 22:15 PDT
Just for the record, I found this forum on the on the Northern Arizona Wind and Sun website. I only belong to one other discussion forum which relates to a Porsche turbo car that I enjoy modifying and increasing power on. 3 years ago I knew practically nothing about cars, and after reading tons of threads, have become pretty knowledgeable about safely getting lots of power out of the car, and am now fairly well respected in that particular online "community". Sure there are plenty of vendor websites, and they all are very convincing that their way is the best way, and that you're a fool to spend your money elsewhere. My feeling is that on a discussion forum there are lots of people with diverse experience who will hopefully give unbiased opinions about different products. Niel, I understand your frustration with new guys like us who seem not to have done their homework and expect to get miracle answers. I personally will try to read up a lot more on the subject before asking any more questions that have probably been answered many times. The usual response to repeated questions on the Porsche website is "Do a search!"
GoodfellaNY, there are a few basic youtube videos and some other internet sources if you search for "DIY solar panel" but I haven't found anything very useful for free. There are also some e-books, etc. on the subject that aren't very expensive. If I were building an off-grid system that I needed to depend upon, there's no doubt I'd buy commercially produced solar panels. For those of us that get satisfaction in building things ourselves, I do think a decent panel can built that will produce useable power and last for while if built carefully.
I realize that if I went to AZ Wind & Sun and started talking about building my own panels I would probably be laughed right out of the store. My hope is to learn enough here to be able to eventually talk intelligently enough to be taken seriously when I'm ready to spend some money.
October 6th, 2008, 22:52 PDT
as i said, this wasn't aimed at anyone personnally so please don't take offense as it wasn't meant that way. incidentally, seeing as how you did direct at me did you not read in my signature line that i am not employed by naws? oops there's that reading thing.
October 7th, 2008, 8:11 PDT
Gridtie systems require UL approved panels, even if you make panels as good as store bought, they would not met the requirements for net metered system ( which require inspections )
October 7th, 2008, 10:35 PDT
thank you guppy for the information , so what site sells every thing i need i want to start out with a sytem them add to it over time is that possible?
October 7th, 2008, 11:11 PDT
There is the host of our forum:
Northern Arizona Wind & Sun (http://store.solar-electric.com/)
You can go to a manufacturer like Xantrex (http://xantrex.com/) or Outback (http://www.outbackpower.com/) (and others) and read their application notes (Outback even includes pretty detailed drawings and parts lists)...
Xantrex tends to have pure grid tied and hybrid grid tied / off grid (battery backed) systems (larger sizes). Outback tends more towards off-grid system, both smaller and medium sized systems. Both have overlapping product lines (inverters, charge controllers, grid tied inverters, etc.).
Please note that systems are not cheap, and if grid tied in the US, you will need building permits, inspections, and utility approvals.
Off-Grid Cabins will not normally have these type of requirements... However, if this is for an off-grid home, then following building codes (and NRTL approved equipment) will help insure that your home-owners insurance does not attribute a fire to a home brewed system (not to say the potential for loss of life when dealing with large batteries and DC/AC power distribution systems).
First thing that most people should do is 1. Conserve, 2. Insulate, 3. Energy Star Appliances, 4. change your energy usage patterns--turn stuff off, only use power your need. 5. Figure out how much power you will need (kWhrs or Watt Hours per day/week/month/season). 6. Evaluate your site for amount of Sun, Wind, Hydro, etc... 7. Put some paper systems together and see how much they cost (especially $/kWhrs--Grid Tied is around $0.25 per kWhr and off grid power is around $1.00 per kWhr--based on 20-25 year system life and battery replacement--compared to $0.10 to $0.35 per kWhr for utility power--depending on where you live/how much you use).
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