Building a Homemade Solar Power System
- How it all Goes Together
There are various pieces of equipment needed but the main components of a Homemade Solar Power System are listed with a brief explanation of what they are for.
Homemade Solar Requirements
This converts the sun’s rays into DC electric current, which is stored in the batteries. You can build one yourself or buy one direct. They can also be connected together to form a larger more powerful system called an array.
Battery Charge controller
This regulates the amount of current that goes to the batteries so they get a consistent supply of current and that the batteries are not overcharged and thus damaged.
Batteries – Deep Cycle Storage Batteries
These are the types of batteries that are in Fork Lift trucks and other electric vehicles. They are heavy duty and much more robust than normal car batteries. You may be able to get second hand or reconditioned ones. You can also recondition old batteries that can be picked up for free.
This converts the DC electric current to AC for the domestic supply. An inverter is a piece of kit that converts DC to AC. They are standard pieces of kit that come in all shapes and sizes in addition, is readily available.
Detailed Instructions and Plans
You will need a guide with good instructions to show how to obtain the parts needed, building and installing all the components of a home solar power system.
You will need wiring instructions and plans to connect your supply to the home wiring system.
Connecting your system to your existing electrical panel, this should be done by a qualified electrician.
It is possible to generate your own electricity and power a percentage of your home at the beginning. When you are satisfied all is running smoothly and you feel more confident you can add more solar panels to completely power your home. It would also be advisable to get back up systems such as wind power or geothermal systems in case of a long period of dull days.
Getting on the Grid
Even better, you may have so much spare capacity you can sell your electricity back to your power company. This is known as being on the grid. The electric company will work out how much electricity they have provided to you, how much you have provided to them and work out the difference. They may end up paying you for your electricity. Many people have already done this. This would effectively be an additional income.
Being off the Grid
In remote areas where there is no utility company your solar power system will be a standalone system, known as off grid.
A Homemade Solar Power setup can save you money and even earn you money if you are on the grid. If you get several types of energy inputting energy into the power grid it could be an extra income, and no more energy bills.
To find out more on how to build a Homemade Solar Power System then go to the Earth4Energy main site for a short video presentation which explains in plain English how it all works
Watch the video above to get an Overview of how DIY Solar Installation works
Generate Your Own Electric Power
Be Independant – Get Off the Grid
In this modern world where so much operates on electricity there has occurred a shortage of energy sources, resulting in a greater consumption of fossil fuels and non renewable energy.
There is an ever increasing demand for energy and we constantly hear daily warnings about the environment. There are enough signals to tell us that it is long overdue to do something.
How about generating your own electricity from natural sources and not using energy from power companies. This is often known as living off the grid.
Take a Closer Look at the Advantages of Getting off the Grid
Be independent of the big power companies and the utility grids.
Do you really want to depend on public utilities all the time? Living off the grid enables you to be independent and rely on your own energy supplies and not the ones supplied by power companies.
You can take charge of your own energy generation with alternative power technology. Less risk of power outages and wondering when the power will go back on again. If a storm knocks down the power lines, it may take days or weeks for repairs.
Being without hot water or heating is not funny when you have to wait for somebody else to fix power lines. It is not pleasant to sit indoors with no lights in winter.
Will the grid always be there? If a natural or man made natural disaster destroys the electricity supplies there may be no grid power for weeks or even months.
Save Money on Energy
what a great feeling when you do not have to pay for the power you use. You can enjoy using as much power as you want without worrying about the electricity meter. You can make use of the abundant power available from nature to light up your home, power all your gadgets and cook your food. Solar and wind power solutions could well be the answers to your power problems.
What a great feeling when those electricity bills stop coming in your letterbox. Home generated power systems can give you a return on investment very shortly, therefore making the energy to your home eventually free of any regular costs./
Helping the environment and the Planet
Make the future of your future generations secure by giving them a greener, healthier world. Making way for a healthier environment Cut down on the usage of non renewable sources of energy.
Is it really possible to Get off the Grid?
Maybe you have been thinking that is not very realistic to live off the grid. If you take a good look at many of the alternative power solutions and you may be surprised to learn that they are cost effective but when you get yourself organised and make the effort you may find that it was not as difficult as you thought it would be.
It is entirely possible to generate most of your electricity requirements, and possible for you to generate so much that you can give some back to your electric company. The power companies will pay you for the electricity that you generate.
- Save money, no more utility bills. The utility company may even pay you for your power
- Help the environment and future generations. Get closer to nature
- Be energy independent. Rely on yourself and not on a power company
How to Build a Solar Panel From The Very Beginning
When it comes to easy-to-harness and freely available energy sources, they do not come any better than solar energy. However, it is one thing to walk into a department store and buy a complete ready-for-install solar panel off the shelf. It is entirely another to try constructing a solar panel yourself from scratch. Of the two alternatives, the latter may take longer but it is more fun, cheaper and equips you with useful practical knowledge just in case the solar panel requires repair. Here’s how to build a solar panel from scratch.
- Identify the preferred location for the solar panels. The principal consideration is the maximum amount and duration of sunlight. Obstructions you may want to consider in this regard include trees, tall nearby buildings, billboards and hanging lines. Naturally, the roof will usually be the most ideal place for the panels. This is not always the case though – the obstruction/shade from some of the objects listed above could in certain cases render the roof a less efficient location than say the backyard.
- Develop a plan and prepare the tools – When it comes to building a solar panel from scratch, you will need an electric drill, acrylic cutter, caulking gun, soldering iron, fine pliers, screwdriver, carpenters square, eye protection and a pencil.
- Raw Materials – The raw materials will depend on the approach you take. You can either purchase the elements from a store or you could improvise using recycled items. If the former, your raw material will include solar cells, liquid silicone, plastic acrylic sheets, flux solder and pen, double terminal strip, bus wire, J-Box, nipple, chase and aluminium frame. For the latter, the type of materials used will vary from case to case depending on what is available.
- Assembly & Installation – Connect the cells in series (as opposed to parallel connection). Serial connections deliver a significantly higher power output all other factors constant. Join the cells with bus/tabbing wire. You will need to do some soldering to each cell. Smear the soldered joints with liquid silicon to curtail corrosion. To hold the cells in position, smear liquid silicon around the cells.
If you are keen on saving time, purchase pre-tabbed solar cells. Pre-tabbed means the cells have already been pre-soldered with the wire connections necessary to make the panel work. Without pre-tabbed cells, you would have to do the soldering yourself – one of the more time consuming activities in the entire process of how to build a solar panel from scratch.
The actual assembly can be completed in a matter of hours or days depending on the size and complexity of the solar panel. Planning, measuring and ordering can take anything from a couple of days to several weeks depending on the place you buy the raw materials from, material availability and where you live.
Make the Most of Your DIY Solar Panels
The merits of DIY solar panels are not just restricted to the direct benefits of generating clean, renewable and (in the long term) lower cost energy. In many jurisdictions particularly in developed countries, power utility firms can buy off any extra electricity your solar panels generate over and above your domestic needs. This is a useful way of starting to claw back your investment from the get go.
That said, the ‘feed in’ tariff is not always attractive. In certain countries, the tariffs have stagnated or been on the decline especially for small scale power producers such as homes. Depending on that alone is not necessarily the most optimal use of the power your DIY solar panels generate. Solar panel owners must identify creative avenues for making their investment that much more compelling.
One way of doing this is a manual or automated process for data collection and monitoring of power usage. Traditional solar power systems send all unused power back to the local power grid. For instance, when the DIY solar panels are generating electricity in the day time (during which time the home’s residents are probably away at work or school) there is a good chance that the bulk of energy generated is simply ‘wasted’ by being fed to the grid at low rates.
To make matters worse, several power utility companies go with a flat rate as opposed to actively monitoring the specific amount of electricity each home sends back to the grid. As such, homes that send back significantly more power may very well be paid the same amount as homes that send back far less power. As a customer, you do not have much control over the power utility’s system of paying for user generated solar power.
However, you can save substantially by only sending back to the power grid the power that will qualify you for the maximum payment in your category and automatically divert the rest to domestic use. That way, you can either store or directly use the power from your DIY solar panels as opposed to exporting it to the grid and later importing power from the grid to cover on shortfalls during peak periods. There are several battery systems available in the market today that allow for such excess power storage and retrieval for use later.