Ok, the solar power era is definitely here. Solar roof panels are everywhere, and people are saving big on power bills. But it still costs a lot to buy ready made solar cells and solar panels UNLESS you know the simple methods you can use to make your own solar panel at home using step by step instructions.

Make the Power Company Meter Readers Mad!

Click here for a detailed easy to follow step by step guide to make your own solar panels.

Make your own solar panels at home

Residential Solar Panels

    Comments Off on How to Make Solar Panels at Home for Less on Jun 6th 2010

    Solar Powered Refrigerators

    If you have a remote cabin or rural dwelling that you only visit periodically, a solar powered refrigerator may be just the thing for you. Solar powered refrigerators or solar powered fridges operate on 12 volts DC which is the same as a car battery. Your home refrigerator operates on 120 volts AC. Visit our other blog post for a good description of DC vs. AC.

    Click here to visit our Solar Powered Refrigerator Store.

    Solar Powered Refrigerator Capacity

    It comes as no surprise that these solar powered fridge is smaller than what you’re normally used to . A typical residential refrigerator is 18 cubic feet. These solar powered refrigerators range from 1.8 cubic feet to 8.0 cubic feet.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Comments Off on Solar Powered Refrigerator on Feb 26th 2012

    Build Your Own Solar Panel Cell Phone Charger

    Have you ever had your cell phone or mp3 player die and you’re not close to a computer? In many cases, today’s cell phones and other portable electronics use a standard miniUSB or microUSB jack. That means you can use a standard computer’s USB cable to charge your phone or mp3 player.  This post discusses the components of a typical solar USB Charger. Read the rest of this entry »

    Comments Off on Solar Panel USB Charger on Aug 24th 2011

    Solar Backpacks Reviews – Back To School

    The Back To School rush has started again.  In looking around the internet, I noticed that now some solar backpacks are being offered.  Basically, these backpacks have a flexible solar panel on the outside of the backpack which charges a battery.  This battery/solar panel can then recharge portable devices.

    Big Disclaimer here – These are SMALL solar panels and battery packs on these solar panel backpacks.  You won’t be able to recharge your laptop.  These are designed to recharge your iPod, iPhone, mp3 player, cell phone, or other small portable electronics.  You’ll typically plug your device into the USB port on the battery pack to recharge.  Read on for reviews of the solar backpacks we looked at. Read the rest of this entry »

    Comments Off on Back to School Solar Backpack Reviews on Aug 20th 2011

    Solar Power System Design For The Home.

    The general layout of a residential solar power system design is shown in the image below (thanks to the Dept. of Energy).  This article discusses the different components of designing a Solar Panel system for a home.

    Residential Grid Connected PV System

    PhotoVoltaic System View

    Comments Off on Solar Power System Design on Aug 3rd 2011

    Filed under How-It-Works

    DC vs. AC

    DC and AC in Solar Panel Systems

    DC Current

    Photovoltaic solar electric panels, or PV modules, generate electricity by converting sunlight directly into power.  The PV modules generate direct current, or DC electricity.  DC electricity is what you’ll typically find in batteries.  Direct current flows in one direction (more about this vs. AC below).  DC is typically hard to transmit over long distances because the voltage can’t be easily increased. The source generation needs to be matched to the load and the distance from the load.  In a long transmission line, the voltage drop is current * resistance or (I *R).  Wire has a fixed resistance so you need a high starting voltage to overcome the voltage drop.  Read the rest of this entry »

    Comments Off on DC vs. AC on Jul 31st 2011

    Solar Power Tax Incentive and Solar Power Grants

    You are interested in solar power but you’re not so sure about the price. I hear you – I’ve struggled with the question too. In the last few years, the government has created some amazing tax incentives and solar power grants to help encourage solar power that you need to be aware of.  Remember that tax credits are even better than tax deductions because they reduce your taxes dollar for dollar.  I summarize the credits below. Read the rest of this entry »

    Comments Off on Solar Power Tax Incentive on Jul 29th 2011

    With electric rates on the rise again (another rise occurred for the new financial year), and yet more hikes predicted as government policy changes, homeowners everywhere are warming to the idea of installing solar panels on their rooftops and taking back some control of the household energy. This article will walk you through the steps to installing a full commercial system, such as those available from BP Solar, in your home. Read the rest of this entry »

    1 Comment on Aug 3rd 2010

    I’ve written a lot about making solar panels at home to save huge amounts on your electricity bill and slash your carbon footprint, all without paying big supply and installation costs. However what if you don’t want to take this step right now, instead you just want to have a play with solar technology and see what it can do? Here we present several simple and fun experiments you can do without breaking the bank. Read the rest of this entry »

    Comments Off on Simple Solar Power Projects for DIY Fun at Home on Jun 25th 2010

    You’ve decided you want to build solar panel technology, now you want to find out just how much DIY solar panels will cost. In this article we will do a little experiment – we will go to eBay, do a little searching, find the gear we will need to build solar panel arrays that are equivalent to commercially available solar panels, but at a fraction of the price. We will aim make solar panel of 36 solar cells, which will provide about 18V nominally, enough to charge a 12V lead acid or gel battery. Read the rest of this entry »

    Comments Off on DIY solar panels let you make solar power a reality for less than $40 on Jun 19th 2010

    Build Your Own Solar Panel for Shocking Low Cost – Part 4

    Bringing It All Together and Finishing Up

    Last time we saw how to mount your solar cells within our home built housing and now its really starting to look like a professionally built solar cell array panel. But there’s a few more steps before we will be ready to put our solar panel outside.

    First we need to test our wiring, so place the panel somewhere in the light – preferably in direct sunlight, so we can check our panel produces the full voltage. If your are following our example blueprints here you will be building a solar panel which uses an array of 36 solar cells. Each cell produces 0.5V, depending on the incident light so our solar generator will produce around 18V in full sunlight. If you are getting significantly less than this or nothing at all, check the series connections between each solar cell carefully.

    Now, we need to fit an electrical part called a diode in series connection with our solar cells (remember our definition of series connection? – daisy chain one to the next). The diode is essential to prevent your solar panel draining a connected battery during cloudy conditions – it ensures power can only flow in one direction. Your diode should be of a type that is rated for at least 1A (A is short for amp). The diode has a band around it on one end. Connect the end without the band to the positive wire from your solar cell array. Solder on some red/black extension wire to a convenient length. Now I recommend you use a polarized Jones Plug on the end of your cable, but it is not essential if you other ideas in mind.

    Now our panel is electrically complete and working, but we have one vital step left, and that is to fit the plexiglass (perspex) cover over the wooden frame to keep rain and moisture out of our box. Use screws into the timber frame to hold the plexiglass cover in place, however be very careful when drilling the plexiglass, as it is very easy to crack.

    Your solar panel is now ready for action! A solar generator of this size is perfect for charging a 12V gel cell lead acid battery, and the battery in turn can supply all sorts of things. I suggest you let your imagination run wild – solar powered pond pumps, garden lights, and of course all this naturally leads to expanding your system and powering your life and home with cheap, readily available solar power from the sun. When you are ready to take the next step, you can learn ways to use aluminum (aluminium) housings for your solar panels, even cheaper broken or un-wired solar cells that you can get for peanuts or even for free, and how to wire up an array of solar panels, and use inverters and deep cycle batteries so you can generate serious power and use your 120V or 240V household appliances and household lighting with your solar power system.

    This series of articles has hopefully given you a fun and practical introduction into solar power for your home, and detailed, step by step, guides are how I recommend you proceed. Grab yourself a good, well tried and tested guide (they are available on the internet) and don’t be afraid to start the solar power revolution in your home – you cando it for less than the big companies will have you believe.  Good luck and remember to have fun!

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    Residential Solar Panels

    Comments Off on DIY Solar Panels – Part 4 on Jun 12th 2010

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