Off grid solar panels is one of the fastest ways to begin with living off the grid and it's not really that hard, here is what you need to know.
With so many choices out there today we figured the best solution was to build our own. We set out to do just that, to solve the problem of high prices, reliability and ease of construction. The problem was that there were no books on the subject when we started. It seemed that no one wanted us to know how to do this for ourselves.
They now come in many shapes and sizes to reflect growing demand for the products. In fact, there are so many companies out there and so many new products that figuring out which ones to buy has become much more difficult than it should be.
We figured 'there has to be a better way.' During our research we discovered that there is a lot of misinformation out there, and just plain wrong information, so we decided to build solar panels ourselves. You can see from this video that with only simple skills and learning where to find solar cells you can do the job yourself. Now, don't be scared off by the fact that the video shows some pretty specialized tools, you can do the job at home with basic tools too and a good set of plans.
Let's get started.
If you are looking to save money and you are of the diy mindset, then off grid solar panels just might be for you. By making our own we saved thousands of dollars over the cost of buying new ones, and you can too. You don't need any special tools, no previous experience or any technical knowledge at all. We started with no knowledge of the subject 15 years ago and we built our entire renewable energy system, solar and wind generator (yes, you can do that too ).
We figured why on Earth would we want to spend thousands of dollars when we could do the job ourselves. It was a great family project too for a small fraction of the cost. Usually under $100. You will benefit from our research and development. Our family not only learned how to do all of these things from building solar panels and install them to build our own wind generator, we also learned how NOT to do them.
We have learned from others and made some mistakes ourselves as part of our learning. We can pass that knowledge onto you so you don't make any of our mistakes. Here are some of the things you will learn.
Where to find solar cells, Learn all the skills necessary to install solar panels, Find out if you have a good location for solar energy, Learn building solar panels from scratch, Find sources of all the materials needed, Monocrystaline, Polycrystaline or thin film technology, what is best?
For those of you considering renewable energy for your home the option of learning how to diy should be considered.
The main reason of course is price, compared to a cost of perhaps $3 per watt for manufactured solar panels you can build your own for under $1 per watt. When you factor in that you will need 3000 watts of power production at least to run your home that is a minimum savings of over $6000 - right in your pocket. That is a substantial sum to any family considering this option, money that could be better spent for other purposes, inverters, wiring, batteries or any number of items for your household energy system.
Saving money has become a bit of an obsession for us here , saving a couple bucks at the expense of hundreds of hours of work is not something we usually consider. But, that is not the case here.
Let's examine some of the main points before getting started.
- You will need good plans for building solar panels.
- Any spare room or garage is suitable for a work space.
- A good workbench or sheet of plywood works best for a work area.
- Only simple tools and easy to find parts are needed.
Let's get started.
The first item you will need to find are solar cells. We have always used ones that are not tabbed, but recently pretabbed solar cells are coming onto the market thus saving a ton of time.
Next you will need a backer board made of plywood or plexiglass (the plexiglass is also used to cover the front), or we use tempered glass found in windows.
Wiring is done with simple soldering. And don't worry it is a very simple process to learn. A pencil type soldering iron with a holder is very inexpensive and works best.
The process is easy to learn and we now have it down to almost an hour of actual construction time to build one panel.
Once you understand the process you can keep producing more and more panels for your home. It makes a great project for saturdays, one panel per week and you will soon have enough to power your home. Solar panels just might be the answer to your high energy costs, and beginning your off grid journey, give it a try.