DIY Solar Panels

Do you want to become energy independent and completely off grid, or do you want to reduce your energy usage and save on your power costs? Whatever your reasons, solar energy may be the solution you are looking for. With the rising costs of energy it is becoming more expensive to power your home. With solar energy you will be able to save money on your power bill immediately. The advantages of solar energy are very attractive, but a complete solar energy system can initially cost a lot of money. If you don’t have that kind of money up front, you can reduce your costs with DIY solar panels. Do-it-yourself solar panels for your home are easier to make than might you think. They will reduce your costs considerably, which will result in a quicker payback on your investment. Once your initial investment is recovered, you will save money on your energy bills, or completely eliminate them for the rest of the life of your system.

Harvesting solar energy can be done in a variety of ways with systems of varying size and design. Your motivations for wanting to use solar energy are most likely to do with saving money, but there are other reasons that may appeal to you. Reducing your energy consumption is good for the environment. Solar energy has no harmful emissions, therefore it does not contribute to greenhouse gases and global warming. By using solar energy, you are actively reducing reliance on dirty fossil fuels. Helping the environment and saving money are great reasons to use solar energy. If you have an interest in DIY projects then you can reduce the cost of your system by learning how to make solar panels yourself. Making your own home solar panels will require some initial knowledge and skills, but don’t be put off by this, you can find out all you need online. Here are some basics to get you started.

Solar Panels and Solar Energy
Solar panels are the key to your solar energy system. A solar panel is a collection of individual silicon cells that generate electricity from sunlight. The photons, or light particles, produce an electrical current (DC) as they strike the surface of the thin silicon wafers. A power inverter is used convert the DC power to AC so that you can power your appliances. The power is stored in rechargeable batteries so that you have power even when the sun is not shining. Solar energy can be used around your home on a small scale, like with a few solar lights, or on a large scale, with a complete solar system that will power your entire home.

Tools and Equipment
You will need a manual or instructions for your project, which can be found online. You can pay for a comprehensive instructional program like, Earth4Energy, that will teach you all you need to know. Or you can search online to find the information you need. There are plenty of videos on Youtube for DIY solar panels, this may be enough to help you complete your project. There are a few other things you will need as well:

  • solar panels, 12 or 16 volt, can be purchased on eBay, or from your local supplier, you will probably need 4 to 8 for a small to medium system
  • batteries to store the electrical power that is generated, a lead or acid rechargeable 12 volt battery should do the job
  • a battery box to protect the battery
  • a charge controller to prevent overcharging of the batteries, proper charging will prevent damage and increase the life and performance of the batteries
  • a power inverter to convert the DC power to AC, to power your AC appliances
  • wires and cables to connect everything together
  • handheld drill and bits

Steps
There are a few steps required for making DIY solar panels. The first is planning ahead to ensure you have everything you need. How many solar panels do you need? This will depend on the amount of energy you use in your home and whether you want to completely replace electricity with solar power, or just reduce your electric power usage. You can use past power bills to get an indication of how much you use, and you can also look for ways to reduce your energy usage further. You will need to work out where you are going to put your DIY solar panels. You can have them lying flat on the roof or angled towards the sun, or on the ground in a built enclosure. Once you have everything you need the steps are simple:

  • Build a container to hold the cells and mount them. A simple way to do this is with a ground based frame angled toward the sun. You can also have an adjustable angle mount than can be altered to account for the movement of the sun throughout the year. A more complex, and more expensive, solution is a tracking mount that will automatically follow the sun each day. For most, the simple angled frame will do the job.
  • Connect your solar panels together. You need to wire the solar panels together and attach them to the frame.
  • Test your system before installing it on your roof to ensure it is working as it should.
  • Install your system on the roof, or wherever you want it to go, and connect it to your home. This may be something you need professional help with, or perhaps you can work this out on your own as well.

This is a very simplified version of the steps required, just to give you an idea of what is involved. If you decide to go ahead with your DIY solar panels, you will need the more comprehensive instructions in a manual, or one of the many step-by-step videos available online.

Eco friendly homes use alternative energy sources to reduce energy usage and save money on energy costs. You can enjoy the same benefits with DIY solar panels for a system that will save you money and benefit the environment.

Advantages of Solar Energy

Many of us use solar energy on a daily basis without even realizing it. We use it to dry our clothes, to dry food and to light up and warm our home. We can always do more. Using solar energy for homes is a great start on your journey towards an energy efficient household. There are great advantages of solar energy you should know about to help you make the right choices. Energy conservation or increased energy efficiency in your home is an investment that will continuously pay you back over time. You are far better off if you can save energy rather than buying it.

Solar energy is created by sunlight, radiant light-waves, that can be collected and transformed into power. Solar panels absorb energy from sunlight and transfer it to power that can be used in many different ways. Uses of solar energy include heating spaces, heating water, or as electricity for household appliances. The solar panels are made up of photovoltaic panels that are thin layers of silicon, which is a semi-conductive substance that is able to alter the sun’s energy into electricity.

Solar energy systems can be used in many areas of your home for some great advantages. Heating water and heating the home comprise a major part of energy costs in the average household. This is where solar energy can be used to great advantage. Solar water heating systems can be installed in any home to eliminate the need to use electricity for heating your water. A solar panel system can be installed on the roof of your home, so no new space is required. You can even make your own DIY solar panels to help reduce the cost. There are financial incentives and rebates offered by governments and utility suppliers, so check in your area to see what is available. If you cannot afford a complete solar energy system don’t worry, you can still benefit from the advantages of solar energy by using it for things like solar lights for your outdoor lighting.

Solar energy advantages include using a renewable, alternative solution to powering your home. Solar panels are non polluting, silent with no moving parts, low maintenance, durable and long lasting, and easy to install. After your initial investment has been recovered, the energy is completely free. If you can produce more energy than you need, your utility company may buy it back from you. Solar panels are usually positioned on the roof of your home, but this is not absolutely necessary. The advantages of solar energy are of particular use in remote areas where there is little or no access to electricity.

Solar energy systems may seem like too big an expense for you, but you can start with using passive solar energy to reduce your energy usage. Passive solar energy is using the sun’s energy to your best advantage to reduce the cost of your electricity and heating. If you can reduce your energy consumption it can help you save up enough money so that you can install a full solar energy system for your home. There are some small things you can do that will reduce your energy use:

  • letting more sunlight into your home during the day to help keep it warm inside and to eliminate any need to turn on lights during the day
  • hang your washing outside during the day instead of using the dryer
  • use solar lights for your outdoor lighting to reduce your power bill

All of these things will save your energy and reduce your power costs.

Building eco friendly homes is where you can find the best advantages of solar energy. You can install a solar thermal collector to amplify the heat of the sun and transfer it to water or air. This can be used for a hot water system, or to heat the air inside your home. The more you can utilize solar energy around your home, the more you will reduce your energy usage and save money.

Advantages of solar energy include saving money over time and reducing your energy usage. This will result in fewer harmful emissions entering the atmosphere due to a reduction in your reliance on electricity and other dirty forms of power. Reducing, or eliminating these harmful emissions is a step towards slowing global warming.

Eco Friendly Homes

Posted February 22nd, 2011 by katael and filed in Eco Friendly
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Most of us want to live a better life – happier, healthier and greener. If you have an awareness of your environmental surroundings and would like to minimize your impact, then you may want to make your home a healthy and safe environment for you and your family. Eco friendly homes can be built from scratch with environmentally friendly materials and can also be entirely off the power grid. If you already have a home, however, you can make your existing home green with just a few changes. If you find yourself at a loss as to what to do, or think that nothing you do will have any effect on the global environmental issue, don’t worry, there are some things you can do to make your home a little greener.

These days it is more important than ever to do what you can to have as little impact on the environment as possible. There are many ways that eco friendly homes can contribute to environmental solutions. Using alternative energy sources is a great way to reduce your impact and help the environment. Using solar power, or wind power, will save the environment from harmful carbon emissions, help prevent fossil fuel exhaustion, and will save you money on your electricity bill at the same time. Some eco friendly homes are completely off the grid and don’t use any electricity at all, and they can sometimes supply their excess power back into the grid as well. This may be easy to set up if you are building eco friendly homes from scratch, but what can you do in your home now?

Reduce your energy usage with some of the following ideas:

  • Install a skylight if you are using lights inside during the day
  • Install a solar hot water system so you won’t need electricity to heat your water
  • Install solar panels for part or all of your electricity requirements
  • Use solar lights for your outdoor lighting needs

Water conservation is another area where modern eco friendly homes can reduce their impact on the environment. Water conservation can include reducing the amount of water you use, or recycling and reusing your water. Collecting rainwater from roofs, gutters and hard surfaces and storing it in a water tank is a good way to reduce your water usage. You can use this water on your gardens and in your pool, or even connect it inside your house for toilets, taps and washing machines. You can also install a greywater system to recycle some of your water for use on your gardens. Each raindrop saved will save tax dollars associated with water and reduce your water costs. Don’t think you can afford to install a tank or greywater system?

Reduce your water usage with the following ideas:

  • Install low flow shower heads and taps throughout your home
  • Install low flow or half flush toilet buttons and educate your family about using them
  • Put a few buckets outside when it rains and use the water on your plants and gardens
  • Install a diverter that sends rainwater from the roof to your pool, pond or garden

Many people are building small eco friendly homes that are entirely off the grid and completely green. Not only do they use alternative energy and water conservation, but they are made from all natural, recycled materials that are chemical free and non toxic. Recycled and natural materials like timber and bamboo are ideal for building a green house. The structure, floors and furnishings can all be made with these natural materials. If you already have an established home you may be wondering what you can do in this area to go green.

Use only recycled, natural, non toxic materials in your home:

  • Every time you need to buy new furniture, look for natural and recycled items
  • When buying things like clothes, sheets, towels, kid’s toys and pet accessories, look for natural, organic, non toxic products like bamboo and organic cotton
  • Eliminate all of those toxic chemical cleaning products and look for more natural alternative solutions, like vinegar and bicarb soda
  • If you need to do any painting, especially in the kid’s rooms, look for the non toxic, low VOC (volatile organic compound) paints that won’t release toxins into the air

Whether you are building eco friendly homes or you want to reduce your impact on the environment in your established home, there are plenty of ways you can improve your life. Using alternative energy sources, saving water and buying natural, organic products will not only benefit you and your family, but will benefit the environment as well. Imagine the impact we could have if everyone made just a few of these changes.