According to data from the EnergySage Solar Marketplace, the average gross cost of going solar for homeowners (meaning your costs before incentives and rebates are applied) was $18,840. Of that amount, design and installation labor costs contribute about ten percent of the total bill – this ten percent is what homemade solar panels will save you in essence, since you’ll still have to buy the equipment yourself. Regardless, it’s still tempting to look into building your own solar panel installation to save money and be in full control of your project.
DIY solar is for someone capable of reading with understanding. For any DIY that does not want to take the time to study about what he is planning to do, then DIY solar is a big fire risk for the homeowner DIY. Solar is not too difficult, but it is not easy as pie either. Wire sizes, connections, and fusing have to be undersood, and contrary to most DIY experiences with electricity, DC is a very unforgiving beast; way different from AC.
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"Hello, we have lots of wind in our area and I want to add a wind generator to my off-grid home. It is always windy here." Many a homeowner has learn an expensive lesson the hard way because they have not taken the time to understand the basics of wind generation which is wind generators placed in areas of insufficient average wind are like dams placed in streams with little water, they do not work.
The DC system voltage is established by the battery bank in off-grid systems. A major factor in making this decision is how much power will be required from the batteries. As power demands increase it is advisable to raise the battery voltage. This voltage is important because establishes the type of charge controller and inverter that will be selected. The selection of the battery bank voltage affects the currents. A 1200 watt off-grid system operating at 12 volts draws 100 amps. (1200w / 12v = 100A). The same system draws only 25A at 48 volts. Lower amps reduces the size of conductors, over current protection devices, disconnects and charge controllers. Additionally, since voltage drop and power losses are smaller at lower amps, higher voltage off-grid systems are more efficient. As a rule of thumb, off-grid systems up to 1000 watts use a minimum 12 volt battery bank which limits DC currents to less than 84 amps. For 2000 watt systems, 24 volt battery banks are used. For 5000 watt system a 48 volt battery bank should be selected.
After calculating the battery capacity and solar panel rating you have to wire them. In many cases the calculated solar panel size or battery is not readily available in the form of a single unit in the market. So you have to add a small solar panel or batteries to match your system requirement. To match the required voltage and current rating we have to use series and parallel connections.
I’ve had solar for a couple of years. They don’t really become outdated. New panels will of course be more efficient and you would have a smaller array to produce the same amount of power. The panels do lose 1-2% of efficiency per year but in 10 years they should essentially still be doing the same thing. No maintenance, no moving parts. They are beautiful in their simplicity.
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DIY solar is for someone capable of reading with understanding. For any DIY that does not want to take the time to study about what he is planning to do, then DIY solar is a big fire risk for the homeowner DIY. Solar is not too difficult, but it is not easy as pie either. Wire sizes, connections, and fusing have to be undersood, and contrary to most DIY experiences with electricity, DC is a very unforgiving beast; way different from AC.
I don’t think people have fully realized the consequences of prices this low. Price per kWh installed could (with appropriate automation) reach under 1 cent per kWh over 25 years (the cells themselves accounting for just a quarter of this), meaning you can install enough solar panels to still provide electricity on cloudy days and with battery backing during nighttime while still being cheaper than fossil fuels.

"Wholesale Solar and John Grenvik where a pleasure to do business with. I found it interesting and quite unusual that John would not let me up-size my battery bank beyond what my panels would support on my off grid system, as he said I would be destroying the batteries by their not getting a full charge. How's that for looking out for the customer even at the expense of additional sales."
Local, state, and federal rebates for solar panels often require that a licensed installer do the work in order to qualify. Missing out on rebates and tax incentives can mean losing a significant amount of money. Not only will your installer make you eligible for this cash, they’ll also know which incentives will work for you, and can help you apply.
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$60) dollars a sq ft range with a 50 percent mix, making it way more expensive than any other roofing material or solar panel. It also does not appear to lend itself to roofs that have hips, dormers, multi planes, etc. Who knows, when it finally comes to market cost may come down, but today its in the rich folks only bracket I believe. I don’t see it being a commodity dyi item for installation like this article any time soon.
Next step is preparation, protection and painting of timber box (solar panel housing). Special hooks have to be attached to all four corners of the solar collector, so that it can be easily mounted on the wall (Fig. 16) using 10mm/0.4in screws (Fig. 17). Empty box is placed on the wall in order to precisely mark the spot for drilling the air inlet/exhaust.

It is important to note that we are dealing with the DC current. So the positive (+) is to be connected to positive (+) and negative (-) with negative (-) from Solar Panel to Charge Controller. If it gets mixed up, the equipment can go burst and may catch fire. So you need to be extremely careful when connecting these wires. It is recommended to use 2 color wires i.e. red and black color for positive (+) and negative (-).If you don't have red and black wire you may wrap red and black tap at the terminals.

There are a lot of solar cell types that you can choose from. There are the Chinese ones, with good results, the best price, but not guaranteeing much, there are the Japanese ones with good performance, good price and the guarantee of Japanese work, and there are the American ones, with the best performance, the highest price and again, guarantees over guarantees. Choose wisely with regard to your budget. For example, a rule of thumb in 2012 would be that the cells shouldn’t sell for more than $1.3 per watt. Buy a couple of cells you think would fit your solar panel system’s budget and preferences, and move on to step #2.


Scientists from Spectrolab, a subsidiary of Boeing, have reported development of multi-junction solar cells with an efficiency of more than 40%, a new world record for solar photovoltaic cells.[11] The Spectrolab scientists also predict that concentrator solar cells could achieve efficiencies of more than 45% or even 50% in the future, with theoretical efficiencies being about 58% in cells with more than three junctions.
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There are only a few more things to do to complete your diy solar panels.  First you have to drill a hole through the bottom of the container for the wires to come out.  You should use caulk to fill in the hole after you put the wires through to keep moisture out.  Next, glue the substrate with attached solar cells into the container.  Finally, screw your plexiglass down on top of the container. It is also a good idea to solder a connector on to the end of the wires. What kind of connector depends on what you intend to connect your panel to.
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Important consideration: when you are selling your solar power into the grid the IRS gets involved and you will PAY taxes for the wonderful earnings of your solar array. If you are looking at ROI for your grid-tied system it might be a small thing or a large thing depending on your situation so just be aware especially if you are trying to save money over time.
While I think on a personal level, distributed solar/storage is great, it just doesn’t seem to scale on a system level, since there is a lot of economies of scale in terms of cost (compare $1/W utility PV vs. $2-3/W rooftop PV), and a lot of benefits from geographical diversity, both in terms of load (your load is way more spikey than CO’s average load), and renewables (while your solar array might be doing bad during a cloudy winter day, the wind could be howling at a wind farm in Iowa or it could be sunny in New Mexico). If we really want to go 100% carbon free, we will need all the geographical diversity and economies of scale that we can. A bunch of people with rooftop solar + a battery won’t cut it sadly.
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Without a deep cycle battery system, you will be unable to store the electricity that your solar power unit generates. This means basically that you will only have power when the sun is shining. Deep cycle batteries are specially configured to be charged and discharged frequently with a high demand system like a solar power system. The battery monitor provides a visual gauge of the electricity generated and stored by your solar power system, while the solar charge controller manages the process of charging your deep cycle batteries making sure they receive just the right amount of power but controlled and regulated throughout the day.
Flexible thin film cells and modules are created on the same production line by depositing the photoactive layer and other necessary layers on a flexible substrate. If the substrate is an insulator (e.g. polyester or polyimide film) then monolithic integration can be used. If it is a conductor then another technique for electrical connection must be used. The cells are assembled into modules by laminating them to a transparent colourless fluoropolymer on the front side (typically ETFE or FEP) and a polymer suitable for bonding to the final substrate on the other side.

Our company takes on the challenge of helping independent minded people, create their own energy. With each package or kit, you get assigned a System Integrator. Your personal Solar Consultant will be a phone call away ready to provide you with after the sale polished technical advice on the design and execution of your installation. One person to call who intimately knows your system and coordinates all the activities related to your purchase. This personalized advice is one of the services that receives the most recognition from our customers.
An indemnity is an agreement between two parties in which one agrees to secure the other against loss or damage arising from some act or some assumed responsibility. In the context of customer-owned generating facilities, utilities often want customers to indemnify them for any potential liability arising from the operation of the customer's generating facility. Although the basic principle is sound—utilities should not be held responsible for property damage or personal injury attributable to someone else—indemnity provisions should not favor the utility but should be fair to both parties. Look for language that says, "each party shall indemnify the other . . ." rather than "the customer shall indemnify the utility . . ."
"Wholesale Solar and John Grenvik where a pleasure to do business with. I found it interesting and quite unusual that John would not let me up-size my battery bank beyond what my panels would support on my off grid system, as he said I would be destroying the batteries by their not getting a full charge. How's that for looking out for the customer even at the expense of additional sales."
With over 100% year-on-year growth in PV system installation, PV module makers dramatically increased their shipments of solar modules in 2010. They actively expanded their capacity and turned themselves into gigawatt GW players.[39] According to PVinsights, five of the top ten PV module companies in 2010 are GW players. Suntech, First Solar, Sharp, Yingli and Trina Solar are GW producers now, and most of them doubled their shipments in 2010.[40]
The distance between the combiner box, which is usually located near the solar panels, and the charge controller will be a factor in choosing the best string voltage for the charge controller and battery system. The higher the input voltage the smaller the wire can be for any given amount of power. For example, a system with a 12 volt battery and solar panels consisting of four 6.75 amp 12 volt DC nominal modules located at a distance of 40’ from the batteries could have the modules wired in series, parallel or series and parallel. Input design possibilities in this example are 12, 24, and 48 volts DC. If the panels was configured with the panels wired in parallel the input voltage would be 12 volts DC with an input current of 26 amps. The same panels wired in series would have an input voltage of 48 volts DC and an input current of 6.5 amps. In this example #1, the 26 amp 12 volts DC panels #1/0 wire, which is prohibitively expensive, would be required to limit voltage drop to 2% which is recommended for 12 volt DC systems. The same panels wired for 48 volts dc would only require a #8 wire. With the #8 AWG wire the 12 volt dc panels would have to be within 7’ of the batteries. The distance that #8 wire can be used is over 5 times greater at 48 volts DC than 12 volts DC.
I’m sold in on solar from an environmental standpoint but still not at these prices even as a DIY. You have a lot of solar needs with multiple facilities and autos using the juice. We are just a middle-aged couple working from home in a small house. Our typical electric bill is $60/mo. I’m waiting for the price to come down much more and to become much easier to install DIY.

Wind is created by the unequal heating of the Earth's surface by the sun. Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy in wind into mechanical power that runs a generator to produce clean electricity. Today's turbines are versatile modular sources of electricity.[3] Their blades are aerodynamically designed to capture the maximum energy from the wind.[4] The wind turns the blades, which spin a shaft connected to a generator or the generator's rotor, which makes electricity.
Your goal is to expose the solar panel to as much sunlight as possible. First and foremost, this means you need to avoid shade - one panel in the shade can affect the efficiency of the entire system. Be sure to keep details in mind: Will the neighbor's big oak tree grow in the next ten years? Will something that's out of the way at this very second be casting a shadow later in the day? You also need to consider the qualities of your roof. In order to get the most direct sunlight, your panels should point towards the equator (South, in the Northern hemisphere) - will your roof accommodate this? And is the roof big enough to hold your panels? Another, more obscure consideration is your homeowner's association. Some people think solar panels are an eyesore (personally, I think they make your house look great) and may have banned them in your neighborhood.
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Until very recently there were few options available to homeowner with grid-tied systems to utilize the energy from their solar panels when there is a utility blackout. On our backup solar page we offer a number of stand alone AC coupled emergency backup kits that use your existing solar system with our AC coupled system to provide power to your home in the event the utility goes down. The AC coupled system will take the energy from your solar panels and use it to charge a battery bank that will in turn power your essential loads. Additionally, SMA Sunny Boy 3000TL-US / 4000TL-US / 5000TL-US is a new innovative design and the next step in performance for UL certified inverters. A unique feature provides daytime power from your solar panels even in the event of a grid outage, without the need for batteries.
Keep in the mind the costs associated with mounting your solar energy systems. You’ll need racking equipment to attach the solar panels to your roof and you’ll need the correct mounting system for your yard as well. And also keep in mind you need to really research the best positioning of the system to maximize the amount of sunlight you capture, taking into account the location of the sun during peak sunlight hours in addition to the location of any shade inhibiting objects (e.g., trees, buildings). Even one panel that is blocked from the sun due to a shade tree can inhibit the efficiency of the entire solar energy system.
Varied wind resources can exist within the same property. In addition to measuring or finding the annual wind speeds, you need to know about the prevailing directions of the wind at your site. Knowing the prevailing wind direction(s) is essential to determining the impact of obstacles and landforms when seeking the best available site location and estimating the wind resource at that location. To help with this process, small wind site assessors typically develop a wind rose, which shows the wind direction distributions of a given area. The wind rose divides a compass into sectors (usually 8 or 16) and indicates the average wind speed, average percentage of time that the wind blows from each direction, and/or the percentage of energy in the wind by sector. Wind roses can be generated based on annual average wind speeds, or by season, month, or even time of day as needed.[30]
Important consideration: Because I was putting this on a garage roof (technically “unoccupied space”), I was able to squeeze them all the way to the roof edge. If you are installing on a house, your city’s fire code may require that you leave a 3 foot walking access around the edges. Sometimes it’s wise to think outside the box: a garage roof, a standalone ground-mounted rack if you have lots of unused land, or creating the new workshop/carport/garden shed you’ve always wanted in the sunniest part of your yard.
The Wind Energy Payback Period Workbook is a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet tool that can help you analyze the economics of a small wind electric system and decide whether wind energy will work for you. It asks you to provide information about how you will finance the system, the characteristics of your site, and the properties of the system you're considering. It then provides you with a simple payback estimation (assumes no increase in electricity rates) in years. If the number of years required to regain your capital investment is greater than or almost equal to the life of the system, then wind energy will not be practical for you.

In many regards what occurs with a manufacturer in many cases is a delicate balancing act which must account for many variables. If the wire is too fine a generator may “cut in” i.e. bring the voltage up past that of the battery bank. If the cut in is too low the resistance will drag the turbine, water wheel ect with resistive load due to a lack of torque. Excessive heat can build up when the winding is trying to pass current wher adequate torque is present to overcome the “resistive load” i.e. when the generator become harder to spin after the cut in has been reached”. Conversely in the case where a generator uses a winding set that is too thick or heavy the potential to make a lot of current exists but due to RPM limitations of the specific application no power can be generated due to failure to reach the cut in point. Example battery voltage is a 13.3 but open voltage reading on the generator is 8.8. Voltage flows from higher pressure to lower pressure”
This can get a bit tricky, but once you get the hang of it, can be done fast enough. First, some technical notes: In order to get higher voltage, you need to connect two cells in series. This means that the negative part of the first connects to the positive part of the second. As you continue to add more cells in series, you will get a higher voltage from side to side on your solar strip. This is all good, but if your cells are small-ish, they won't generate much amperage. So even if you have a high voltage, you probably won't be able to give it any load (probably will hardly light an LED). In order to get higher amperage through the circuit, you need to connect cells in parallel (positive side to positive side, negative side to negative side). When you do this, make sure the positive and negative leads (copper mesh in this case) don't short themselves out. 

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The energy in the wind goes up with the cube of the wind speed. Double the wind speed and you have 2 * 2 * 2 = 8 times the energy! Sit back and let the full weight of that sink in for a moment: It means that even a small difference in annual average wind speed will make a BIG difference in how much your wind turbine will produce: Putting that turbine in a place that has just 10% more wind will net you 1.1 * 1.1 * 1.1 = 1.33 = a full 33% more energy!
Thanks for the write up. Very interesting. Being concerned about the carbon output as well, has there been any research into the CO2 produced in the production of the material being installed? I was really convicted about this concern when I started considering the CO2 given off by things like spray foam on building projects I have done in the past.
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