provides you with informative tips on how to build solar panels and solar water heaters. With us, you will know the various uses and benefits of these amazing systems. Now, you can save over 80% of your electrical bills and protect our environment today!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Generate Your Own Electricity With Solar Panels

A majority of the electric power we are consuming daily comes from power plants using coal and oil to generate electricity. Do you know that we can actually replace these dirty energy sources with more green and nature-friendly alternatives such as solar power? Here are tips for you to start to do your very own GREEN panel.

A solar panel consists of the following fundamental components, such as the photovoltaic cells, holding frame, plastic or glass cover and wires.

The key factor to build your own solar panel is to get a workable photovoltaic cell for your project, in term of price and user-friendliness. You might get a compact lightweight 3.6V 70mA solar cells made with a thin film of Copper Indium di Selenide (CIS) to build your own panel.

Buy a tabbed CIS cells which already had the two little pieces of wire soldered onto them. These tabs makes building solar panels much faster because you can jump right in and string the cells together. The number of cells you need to build your solar panel will depends on how much voltage you need to charge. You could easily to find a source to purchase by Google it.
Next will be just the action steps to put stuff together to make your solar panel works.

Connecting these cells together in series, with the negative side to the positive side of the adjacent cell through the tabs on the side of each photo cell, to accumulate total voltage charges you required. Soldering these cells together, then attach it to the holding frame with glue. Cover these photo cells once you have done the wiring with glass or plastic cover.

The use of solar energy is not yet prevalent enough to find everyone using it but there are a few people that feel they can help the environment with the use of solar power. With the cost of electricity on the rise and the economy spiraling downward, more people are interested in saving on their utility bills or totally eliminating them with the use of solar power. Home solar power systems are great alternative power generating systems that can help you save money and do its part in saving the planet. There is much talk about global warming and the greenhouse effect and the use of solar power, as an alternative power source, can make us feel good about ourselves as we do our part.

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Building Solar Panels - Identifying The Path of The Sun Across The Sky

Once you have identified a suitable position for your solar power system, it’s time to be a little more scientific in ensuring there are no obstructions that will block sunlight from reaching the solar array at different times of the year.

The path of the sun across the sky changes throughout the year. This is why carrying out a site survey is so important – you can’t just check to see what the sun is shining on today, as the height and position of the sun constantly changes throughout the year.

Each year, there are two days in the year when the day is exactly twelve hours long. These two days are the 21st March and 21st September and are known as the ‘solar equinoxes’. On these equinoxes, the sun rises due east of the equator and sets due west of the equator. At solar noon on the equinox (i.e. exactly six hours after the sun has risen) the angle of the sun is 90 deg. Minus the local latitude.

In the Northern Hemisphere (i.e. north of the equator), the longest day of the year is the 21st June and the shortest day of the year is the 21st December. These two days are known as the summer and winter solstices respectively.

On the summer solstice, the angle of the sun is 23.5 deg higher than it is on the equinox, whilst the angle is 23.5 deg lower than the equinox on the winter solstice.

These two extremes are due to the tilt of the earth, relative to its orbit around the sun. In the Northern Hemisphere, the summer solstice occurs when the North Pole is tilted towards the sun, and the winter solstice occurs when the North Pole is tilted away from the sun.

We’ll take London, United Kingdom as an example. London’s latitude is 51 deg. On the equinox, the angle of the sun at noon will be 39 deg (90 deg – 51 deg). On the summer solstice the angle will be 62.5 deg (39 deg + 23.5deg.) and on the winter solstice it will be 15.5 deg (39 deg – 23.5 deg).

Now that you have understood the Path of the sun, your next objective is to learn how to build a solar panel.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ground Mounting For Your DIY Solar Panel

If you want to mount your solar array on the ground, you will need a frame to mount your DIY solar panel on to. Most solar panel suppliers can supply suitable frames or you can fabricate your own on site.

There are benefits for a ground-mounted solar array: you can easily keep the array itself clean and you can use a frame to change the angle of the array at difference times of year to more closely track the height of the sun in the sky.

Take a note of ground conditions, in case you need to build foundations for your frame.

Incidentally, you can buy ground mounted solar frames that can also move the panel to rack the sun across the sky during the day. These ‘solar trackers’ can increase the volume of sunlight captured by around 15-20% in winter and up to 55% in summer.

Unfortunately, at present, commercial solar trackers are expensive. You would be better to spend your money on a bigger array which has a better return on investment.

However, for a keen DIY engineer who likes the idea of a challenge, a solar tracker that moves the array to face the sun as it moves across the sky during the day could be a useful and interesting project to do. There are various sites on the internet where keen DIYers have built their own solar trackers and provided instructions on how to make them. Learn how to build a solar panel today!

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Roof Mounting For Your Solar Array

If you are planning to mount your home solar power systems on the roof, you need to gain access to the roof to check its suitability.

Use a compass to check which direction the roof slopes in. If it is not directly facing south, you may need to construct an angled support in order to get the panels angled correctly.

You will need to find out the pitch of the roof in degrees. Professionals use a tool called a roof angle finder to calculate this. Roof Angle Finders (sometimes called Magnetic Polycast Protractors) are low cost tools available from Builders Merchants. You press the angle finder up against the rafters underneath the roof and the angle finder will show the angle in degrees.

Alternatively, you can calculate the angle using a protractor at the base of a roof rafter underneath the roof itself.

Solar panels in themselves are not heavy – a 15-20 kilograms at most – but when multiple panels are combined with a frame – especially if that frame is angled – the overall weight can become quite significant.

Check underneath the roof to see the structure and to ensure that it is strong enough to take the solar array and to ascertain what fixings you will need. It is difficult to provide general advice on this point as there are so many different designs of roof it is not possible for me to provide suitable general information in this book. If you are not certain about the suitability of your roof, ask a builder or an architect to assess your roof for you.

Roof mounting kits are available from solar panels suppliers. Alternatively, you can make your own. Learning how to build a solar panel isn't really a difficult task only if you know how to.

If it does not compromise your solar design, it can be quite useful to mount your solar panels at the lowest part of the roof. This can make it considerably easier to keep the panels clean: most window cleaners will a happily wash easily accessible solar panels if they are situated at the bottom of the roof, and telescopic window cleaner kits are available to reach solar panels at the lower end of a roof structure.

Measure and record the overall roof-space available for a solar array. It is also a good idea to use your cardboard cut-outs you made earlier and place these on the roof to give a ‘look and feel’ for the installation and help you identify any installation issues you may have with positioning and mounting your DIY solar panel.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Planning a Suitable Site For Your Solar Power System

It can be helpful to draw up a rough sketch of the site. It doesn’t have to be accurate, but it can be a useful tool to have, both during the site survey and afterwards when you are designing your system.

Include all properties and trees that are close to your site – not just those on your land – and make a note of which way is north.

Positioning the Solar Array

Your next task is to identify the best location to position your solar array.

Solar arrays need to be mounted at an angle, facing into the sunshine. The optimum angle varies throughout the year, but the best compromise is to install the solar arrays at an angle equal to the angle of the sun in the sky during March and September.

I’ll explain how you can calculate that later, but for now you’re looking at an optimum angle of between 40 deg and 64 deg from vertical in the United States, 33 deg and 40 deg from vertical in the United Kingdom and between 20 and 40 deg from vertical in Canada.

If the solar array is going to be installed in a building, then the solar array itself is quite often installed on the roof on the building.

This is an effective solution where the roof is south facing or where the roof is flat and angled mountings can be used to mount the solar array.

Other alternatives are to site solar panels on a wall. This can work well with longer, slimmer panels that can be mounted at an angle without protruding too far out from the wall itself.

Alternatively, solar panels can be ground mounted or mounted on a pole.

When considering a position for your solar array, you need to consider how easy it is going to be to be able to clean the DIY solar panels. Solar panels don’t need to be spotless, but dirt and grime will certainly reduce the efficiency of your home solar power systems over time, so whilst you are looking at mounting solutions, it is definitely worth considering how you can access your panels to give them a quick wash every few months. Learn how to build a solar panel today!

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Monday, May 17, 2010

What You Will Need for Installing Your Home Solar Power Systems

Here you will learn the essential things you need for installing your home solar power systems successfully.

Inevitably a ladder is required if you are planning to mount the solar array on a roof. A camera can also be extremely useful for photographing the site.

I also find it useful to find some large, old cardboard boxes, open them out and, with knife and tape, cut them into the rough size of your proposed solar array. This can help you when finding a location for your solar array. It is far easier to envisage what the installation will look like and it can help highlight any installation issues that you would otherwise have missed.

If you’ve never done a solar site survey before, it does help if you visit the site on a sunny day. Once you have some more experience with doing solar site surveys you’ll find it doesn’t actually make much difference whether you do your site survey on a sunny day or an overcast day: part of the site survey is to manually plot the sun’s position across the sky, so sunny whether actually makes little difference to the quality of the survey.

When you first arrive on the site, the first thing to check is that the layout of the site gives it access to sunlight.

We’ll use a more scientific approach for checking for shade later, but a quick look first often highlights problems without needing to carry out a more in-depth survey.

Look from east, through south and to the west to ensure there are no obvious obstructions that can block the sunshine.

(Incidentally, this assumes you are in the Northern Hemisphere. If you are in the Southern Hemisphere, you need to check east, through north to west. From the equator, the sun passes overhead and so only the east and west are important).

Look around the site and see if there are better places than others for positioning an array. If you are considering mounting your solar array on a roof, remember that the world looks a very different place from a roof-top, and obstructions that are a problem standing on the ground look very different when you are at roof height.

Learning how to build a solar panel isn't really a difficult task only if you get the required materials right.

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Running Your Solar Power Systems

Most home solar power systems run at fairly low voltages – 12 volt or 24 volt is common. Unless you are planning a pure grid tie installation, you may wish to consider running at least some of your devices directly from your DC supply rather than running everything through an inverter (which adds an additional element of inefficiency to the system).

Thanks to the caravanning and boating communities, lots of equipment is available to run from a 12 volt or 24 volt is common. Unless you are planning a pure grid tie installation, you may wish to consider running at least some of your devices directly from your DC supply rather than running everything through an inverter (which adds an additional element of inefficiency to the system).

Thanks to the caravanning and boating communities, lots of equipment is available to run from a 12 volt or 24 volt supply: light bulbs, fridges, ovens, kettles, toasters, coffee machines, hairdryers, vacuum cleaners, televisions, radios, small washing machines and laptop computers are all available to run on 12 volt or 24 volt supplies. You can also charge up most portable items such as MP3 players and mobile phones from a 12 volt supply.

In Conclusion
  • There are various components that make up a solar power system.
  • Multiple solar panels can be joined together to create a more powerful solar array - Learn how to build a solar panel.
  • Solar electricity is stored in batteries, to provide an energy store and provide a more constant power source.
  • A controller manages the batteries, to provide an energy store and provide a more constant power source.
  • A controller manages the batteries, ensuring the battery pack does not get over charged by the solar array and does not get over discharged by the devices taking current from the batteries.
  • An inverter takes the low voltage DC current from the batteries and converts it into a high voltage AC current that is suitable for running devices that require mains power.
  • Generally, it is more efficient to use the electricity as a DC supply than a high voltage AC supply.
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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Managing Solar Power System With a Controller

Unless you are going for a grid tie system, your solar power system is going to require a controller in order to manage the flow of electricity (the current) into and out of the battery.

Batteries must not be overcharged by the solar array as this will damage, and eventually destroy the battery pack. Likewise, batteries must not be allowed to discharge completely as this will quite rapidly destroy the battery pack.

There are a few instances where home solar power systems do not require a controller. An example of this is small ‘battery top-up’ solar panel that is used to keep a car battery in peak condition when the car is not being used. These solar panels are too small to damage the battery when the battery is fully charged.

In the majority of instances, however, a solar power system will require a controller in order to manage the charge and discharge of the battery and keep the battery pack in good condition.

The electricity generated by a solar power system is a low voltage direct current (DC). Mains electricity is a high voltage alternating current (AC).

If you are planning to run mains-powered equipment from your solar power system, you will need an inverter to convert the current from DC to AC and step the voltage up to mains voltage levels.

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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Solar Panels and Lead Acid Batteries

Solar panels rarely, if ever, power electrical equipment directly. This is because the amount of power the solar photovoltaic panel collects varies depending on the strength of sunlight it can collect. This makes the power source too variable for most electrical equipment to cope with.

In a grid tie system, the inverter handles this variability – so if demand outstrips supply you will get power from both the grid and your solar system. For an off-grid or a grid fallback system, however, you will rely on batteries for storing the energy.

Solar panels generate their maximum power when the sun is shining at its brightest – not necessarily when it is needed. Batteries are used to store the energy and to provide a constant power source for electrical equipment.

‘Deep cycle’ lead acid batteries are used to store the energy. These are similar to car batteries but have a different internal design which allows them to be heavily discharged and recharged several hundreds of times over.

Most lead acid batteries are 6v or 12v batteries, and like solar panels these can be connected together to form a larger battery pack. Like solar panels, battery packs can be connected in series to increase the capacity and the voltage of the power store, or in parallel to increase the capacity whilst keeping the voltage the same.

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Using Solar Power to manage power bills effectively

What are home solar power systems? We all know about the importance to wean ourselves off of foreign oil. We all also know about the increasing costs of electricity. There is more of a need now than ever to switch to renewable energy resources. Simply put, a home solar power system generates electricity by harnessing the power of the sun to power up home appliances, lighting and other electrical appliances in the home.

Renewable energy sources such as solar and wind energy are becoming extremely affordable. Do it yourself solar kits costing less than 200 can provide you with all the material to build your own solar panel. Solar energy does not need to cost $27,000. The cost of materials can be further subsidized through tax credits and rebates saving you money while ensuring stable electricity prices. You can combat rising electricity prices while making an impact on the environment.

Solar panels take energy from the sun, the most abundant source of energy known to man. Solar energy is no longer for just the wealthy or corporations. Affordable solar kits are showing up everywhere including your local hardware store. These diy solar panels include solar cells, tabbing wire, and flux pens all designed to efficiently convert sunlight into electricity.

For under $200 you can purchase a solar kit that contains all the materials to create your own solar panel. Once you master the basics of solar system assembly you can move on to bigger and bigger systems until you can power your entire home using solar. Once you get to higher scale systems, you can tap into government and state tax incentives and rebates further driving down the cost of solar.

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Learn How to Build a Solar Panel at Home

Learning how to build a solar panel at home starts with having a comprehensive manual, which teaches you how to choose a good solar energy system, the component required and the installing method.

A comprehensive manual is a manual that is written from a unique perspective that is well balanced of both practical and theory and can be capable of teaching you how to build one from pictorial and diagrammatic examples.

The accurate knowledge of the components required for building solar panels and the place to buy them at a cheaper rate is the first step to building one.

The components required are:

1. Solar panels
2. Inverter
3. Charge controller
4. Net metering
5. Circuit breaker

Having a good idea of these component mentioned above and their cost save you from paying much to the hands of experts who capitalizes on peoples ignorant.

The most important question begging for an answer is how one can installs these components for an effective performance.

You can install the panels in two ways, it could be self-installed or commercial installed. Self-installed means that you will follow a laid down instructions either pictorial or diagrammatic to do it yourself, an analytical method of installing it your self is shown below.

The arrangement of the inverter, solar panel in series with the sun energy and your home makes it possible for the panel to trap most of the rays from the sun and easily convert it to DC current without much energy loss in the process.

Commercial built method involves the engaging of the services of the experts who has much experience in building one. However, it is very expensive to make one using this method but with proper market research and collecting several quotes from the experts you can settle for a good deal. There are many advantages in using the services of experts, such as getting government rebate, a minimum of 20 years warranty and short time of installation.

In summary, building a solar panel at home is a wise decision of cutting cost and saving the environment from further degradation. You can achieve this by buying a recommended manual, which really has helped many in building a cheap DIY solar panel at home.

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