Your Questions About Solar Panels For Your Home

Richard asks…

how can you make your own solar cells for solar panels?

i see these things all over the internet on how to make ‘home made solar panels‘ but all of them require you to buy the solar cells and nothing tells you how to make your own. So how can you make your own solar cells?

ssadmin answers:

Firstly, to address the link pointed out by bwise; that's hardly what constitutes what we mean by a “solar panel” is it? Sure that can be a solar cell, but I'd like to see anyone build an array of these and get 175W of energy and compare the size difference between what we mean when we say “Solar Panel”.

Ok, to the asker, i a not sure what you are referring to when you refer to these online “guides”; but if there is anyone one out there that has a a process of building solar panels from materials made in the home, not only is he going to become a billionaire but also I want a share of it 🙂

So, just to give you an understanding of what a solar “cell” is made up of and the complexity of the process in producing it, you will understand that to make a solar panel, you NEED to BUY the cells indeed.

Solar panels are made up of “solar cells”, for sake of completeness. The solar cells on the other hand are made up of semiconductor technology, which is basically the stuff that runs our world today, commonly known as “chips” or computer chips. These “chips” that are in almost EVERY single electronic device that exists today can be made with different parameters to exhibit and/or exploit its various properties. Having said this, if you have a slight knowledge of electronics you will know what LEDs are. LED is an acronym for Light Emitting Diode. This is a device which when a voltage is applied, emits light as its name suggests and uses very little power. These are made with tiny chips enclosed in translucent housing so the light can be seen.

The solar panel works on the reverse principle. A solar cell has many LED like structures engineered to work in the reverse process. When the light hits these “cells” the electrons are energised by the photons (a light component) and they are mobilised producing current; i.e. Electricity.

Now silicon, a semiconductor material is made from sand. (YES sand, like that of the stuff found on the beach 🙂 It's heated up to to a molten state, purified…etc etc… And then cut to circular discs called wafers, doped with boron or another depending on the required parameters, the stencil being applied and stuff…. All this being taken place in a multi million dollar semiconductor facility with clean rooms and where all the personnel working there are covered head to toe in white suits and masks whose breath might even be dangerous for the products being developed….

So, as you can see this is a very very very complicated and expensive process hence for anyone who has a much cheaper alternative, that is why I would want to be a part of it as it would be an electronic revolution.

So in conclusion, I would say from what I know and have conveyed the home production of conventional solar cells by us enthusiasts is pretty much impossible. Though, I would appreciate it if you could if you could give me a few of the links that you are referring to that sparked this question. I think it will be an interesting read at worst.

Hope this helped.

Charles asks…

making your own home solar power panels?

I am confused over this issue.

There are multiple companies selling information on how to make them for cheap, but I do not know which one is the best.

I hear mixed reviews some saying these homemade ones are just as good as the professional and others saying they will not produce the same power or will break easy or not be legal to hook to the grid and other various things.

I also am not sure if you really can make them for cheap because I think you might still need to buy energy converters or other ect.

So I hope someone here can give me an objective answers from real knowledge or experience and give reasons and not just answers so that I can see for myself thanks!!!

ssadmin answers:

Well if you are doing a direct comparison (i.e. Power output per panel), homemade solar panels are not as good as professional one's, the materials used to make the panels themselves absorb much more energy over its surface area in a professionally made panel.

Having said that you can get good benefits from home made solar panels, once you have made one you only need to make another to increase the amount of power produced. The home made solar panel is allot cheaper to purchase, you could make 20 home made panels for the price of one production panel.

As for converters / storage, the DIY guides around the place show you how to assemble / source them cheaply

There is a review on the following site http://solarpowerdiy.info/

My hubby is a DIY nut and he has assembled and implemented two of these now, we use the energy produced more to supplement our power usage, he estimates we will save around 40% (we are pretty conservative with our energy usage though)

When you ask, will they break easy, that probably is more dependant on the workmanship of the handyman putting it together.

Hope that helps 🙂

Susan asks…

Do you have experience with solar power in your home?

I’m doing research for our home. I’m wondering how long the solar panels last and if there is any maintenance. The dealers I’ve spoken to seem to offer a 25 year warranty and say there is no maintenance needed. What about roof repair or replacement with the panels in place? The dealers say that the roof can be accessed under the panels for repair and that they will increase the lifespan of the roof. Any info to share?

ssadmin answers:

I am a solar tech, so believe me when i say do not put pv panels on your roof because your investment will not be returned unless you have 40,000 sq ft of roof space to sell back your power to the grid. The installation costs of pv is, at a conservative rate, beyond $30,000.

Here is what you need to do. First, is your roof facing south? Is in clear of trees? Is it new construction or existing? If your facing south your in business. Some states won't allow tax benefits if your not facing south. You need to install a solar THERMAL system on your house. Depending on your sq. Footage, it will determine how many panels you need. Say you have 2,000 sq ft, and you want domestic hot water only, you only need 2 panels and a 108 gallon hotwater heater. If you install a solar heat exchanger in your hvac duct (recommended) you need a third panel. The payback for solar thermal (including tax benefit) is roughly 3 years. There is so much info i can tell you, but i don't want to take up a ton of space on this post. The warranty is correct, the lifespan of the roof increases because you are shading the roof with the panels, so there is truth to that. But if your only putting 2 or 3 panels on the roof, its a small factor.

William asks…

A couple questions about home made solar panels?

Is there a free site or resource that will teach you how to do this? Hopefully step by step and tells you how to buy all the parts ect?

Which is the best resource for sale earth4energy, homemadeenergy, ect? Do they actually work and also as well as those which are professionally done?

They say it will cost under $200 for a panel, but how much will this panel actually produce I mean how many panels would you have to make to produce 100% of your homes energy?

ssadmin answers:

Sorry to deliver bad news, but the truth will ultimately benefit you. Those companies suggesting you can produce cheap energy from your own solar panels are inaccurate. And their guarantees do not seem to be honored, either.

Here are some customer experiences from such a company:
http://www.ripoffreport.com/searchresults.asp?q5=earth4energy&q1=ALL&q4=&q6=&q3=&q2=&q7=&searchtype=0&submit2=Search%21

I'm not suggesting that you do this, because it would violate copyright, but if you wanted to search torrents, I'm sure some unsatisfied customer has posted the materials under “solar panel” or something like that. If you were to do this, you could judge how vague and unworkable the plans were.

Joseph asks…

How hard is it to convert your home to solar energy?

And can it be done without ruining the outside appearance of your house? All the solar homes I see are covered with funky panels, and it looks like a mess.

How much $$ would someone need to dish out for a transformation like that?

ssadmin answers:

They run plumbing all through the walls to pump water through to warm the floors and keep plumbing all insulated…
The lighting comes from the sun through special glass panes that filter warmth into the house…
It keeps everything warm in winter…
As for summer, the same windows are covered to keep the house cool and the plumbing is controlled by electronics to keep it cool…
I have seen the builders put in these big boxes that convert all your wires and plumbing to meet the needs of the house…
They have all kinds of buttons on them for setting special heat and cooling in different rooms…
It looks like you need a degree in electronics to learn to use them…
I am sure though I could never afford them and they would not work in my house because I have a manufactured home that does not have thick walls or strong exterior…
My house is all wood…

I came accross a new, proven and tested home made wind power system and solar power system which eliminates our electricity bills. It was written by a Renewable energy enthusiasts Michael Harvey the diy called Earth4energy. You can get your copy to save energy and help environment while eliminating your power bills. Get it from here:
http://buildyourownhomeenergy.blogspot.com/

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