The price of commercially made solar panels on eBay is around $1 per watt and have been for a few years, but the price of individual solar cells are likewise at a low price per watt, around $0.48.  Looking at those prices, it’s tempting to say that it’d be cheaper to just buy the solar cells and put together your own panels. But is it? Simply adding up all the costs might seem like a good way to tell, but you’d need to make a panel to really see what works and what doesn’t.

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.
The parts for my solar panel cost $129.  I actually paid a little extra for pre-tabbed solar cells and I had to buy all the wood.  If you have some scrap plywood laying around and tab the cells yourself, you could easily build diy solar panels for under $100.  I checked around on the internet and I saved between 50% and 75% versus buying a pre-made solar panel.  I’m very happy with how my panel turned out and how much I saved by building it myself.
Since we mentioned maintenance: Consider that in a reasonably windy place a wind turbine can run 7000 hours or more per year. If it were a car, going at 50 km/h (30 mph), it would travel 350,000 km (or 200,000+ miles). That means you should plan for an annual inspection, and perform the needed maintenance (greasing for example), regardless of the recommendation of the manufacturer. It is just as important to inspect and maintain the tower annually. We know of a tower that collapsed because nuts worked themselves loose from their bolts over 2½ years time, no inspection nor maintenance were done during that time, ultimately leading to its undoing. Wind turbines and towers live in a very harsh environment. It is important to check for issues, such as loose bolts or tower guy wires that need re-tensioning, before they become a problem.
This is harder to predict, but, ideally, you want a company that will stick around for the lifetime of your installation. Since solar cells don’t have moving pieces, they tend to need very little maintenance, Larson says. Still, in the event that anything does stop working during the warranty period, you don’t want to realize that your installer isn’t around to fix it.
The Interstate Turbine Advisory Council (ITAC) compiles a national unified list of small and mid-size wind turbines eligible for incentive funding from ITAC state and utility member programs. In addition to requiring certification for small wind turbines, ITAC reviews manufacturers' consumer and dealer services, marketing consistency with third-party testing, turbine operational history, turbine warranty, and manufacturers' response to technical problems, failures, and customer complaints. As a collaborative and common inventory of turbines, the unified list assures customers that tax- or rate-payer funding fully supports the installation of reliable and safe technology as well as enables improvements in program consistency, transparency, and benefits.[19]
Local utilities and regional power authorities are investing increasing resources to solar power generation. Both private and government-owned utility companies can leverage the recently-extended federal tax credits to encourage additional investments in renewable energy by their individual customers. As solar power generation increases on the large scale, prices for equipment will be driven down further, making it more feasible for a homeowner to invest in solar installations on their homes.
People (like me) go with grid tie because net metering makes it economically a win (unless you end up in a bad lease, PPA or simply over-pay). I installed my 4 kW system myself for $8000, the IRS gave me back 30% of that and my $1200 annual power bills are now slightly negative :-) I've paid no power bill for two years now, and it's a pretty good feeling, and slightly weird to have the power company owe me money.
Excellent product; high quality easy to assemble with a ratcheting crimp tool. Assembly and disassembly of Male to Female connectors is a snap with the Sunway Solar tools provided in the order. I highly recommend Sunway Solar as you definitely want the provided tools which come with the connectors. (The ratcheting crimping tool must be purchased separately).
In any generator whether it be a re manufactured delco permanent magnet alternator, our white lightning radial or even the larger axial flux designs different wire gauges can be used and are used for different reason for a given application. It is important also to understand that generally speaking when you are looking at a permanent magnet alternator for sale on our site ebay youtube Amazon ect when you see a voltage advertised such as frequently 12, 24, and 48 models this usually does not mean that there is some sort of internal regulator which limits the output voltage of the generator or pma to an adequate charging voltage level for an application This is one of the biggest mistake we see do it yourselfers make when selecting a generator. Typically sellers and manufacturers rate a permanent magnet alternator as for instance 12 volt when the RPM range of the generator is sufficient to reach Cut in Voltage to charge a given battery bank. Windmill, wind generators, wind chargers, or residential wind turbine kits terms we often see used interchangeably are trying to tell you that in a direct drive application with a particular blade set that they would use a particular generator for an application. So what’s the difference? Any style generator has a capacity “slots” or area that a winding can fit in. This will be unique to the particular generator. It is important to understand that within the working area different wire gauges can be used. In the area of the generator windings more “ turns” wraps or whatever terminology you prefer can fit in a given area with finer wire that with thicker wire as a matter of what will physically fit in a given stator coil, wrap , winding and or slot “again whatever terminology is appropriate for the given alternator.
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.
When it is sunny, regardless of outdoor temperature, pop cans (painted black) heat up very quickly. The fan drives cold air from inside of the home, through heated pop-cans and then back into the room. During this journey air collects the heat from can wall and brings it into the room. Read the following post if you are looking for more details about how solar thermal system actually works.

Equipped with a 3-phase External Rectifier pigtail. This small black connector on the back of the unit allows you to run less costly 3-conductor wire to your battery location instead of large heavy battery cables in addition to lessening the voltage loss you get with DC power. Once at the battery location the 3-phase power is fed into the included Charge Controller and is converted to DC for connection to the battery.
Manufacturers often claim that their vertical axis turbine is superior to a horizontal one, because it always faces the wind. So does any horizontal axis turbine, thanks to their tail or yaw mechanism. If the airflow is such that wind directions change drastically from one second to the next it means you have lots of turbulence, and that means it is a poor place to put any wind turbine, HAWT or VAWT.
Since we mentioned maintenance: Consider that in a reasonably windy place a wind turbine can run 7000 hours or more per year. If it were a car, going at 50 km/h (30 mph), it would travel 350,000 km (or 200,000+ miles). That means you should plan for an annual inspection, and perform the needed maintenance (greasing for example), regardless of the recommendation of the manufacturer. It is just as important to inspect and maintain the tower annually. We know of a tower that collapsed because nuts worked themselves loose from their bolts over 2½ years time, no inspection nor maintenance were done during that time, ultimately leading to its undoing. Wind turbines and towers live in a very harsh environment. It is important to check for issues, such as loose bolts or tower guy wires that need re-tensioning, before they become a problem.
Solar panels are becoming more user-friendly, but as of now, their integration still requires a level of technical know-how that many consumers lack. The panels must be mounted and secured to your home’s roof, positioned to capture the maximum amount of sunlight, and correctly integrated into your home’s electrical system. As such, we recommend that consumers always work with qualified installers to receive the full value of their solar investment.

Solar Power Rocks provides free comprehensive guides to solar policy and incentives for all 50 states and the District of Columbia, along with hundreds of helpful and informative articles about recent solar news and general information related to home solar power. For media inquiries, general questions, or to report an error, you can reach us here.
For a long time, we have been only familiar with solar as the best alternative energy source. Well, things have changed recently with many companies turning up with an amazing line of rooftop wind turbine kits. Coming in different sizes and capacities, you can easily find a matching wind turbine for your needs. Anyway, here we introduce you to a list of ten wonderful residential wind turbine kits.
We all know that outfitting a house with solar panels is not cheap right now. Harnessing enough sun to be able to live completely off-grid costs many thousands of dollars, up to many tens of thousands depending on how much electricity is needed. But do we really need to go from 0% to 100% clean energy in one go? That's not usually the way things are done; we usually do incremental changes. The idealist will say that it's not fast enough (and might be right), but the realist will say that the mainstream has more chances of going for it if it's not too radical and expensive, and that the power of numbers is hard to deny. So the question is: Do we really need to go 100% solar at once? What is the least you could pay and still end up with enough solar juice to run some things around the house? The Off-Grid weblog answers that question.
The downside is the rising costs of wind machines. One would normally expect prices to go down as technology became more advanced and available, but statistics show that turbine prices have increased more than 70% for land-based turbines and almost 50% for offshore wind turbines. The price hike has made offshore wind turbines cost a half and three million dollars per megawatt of capacity, and land based turbines, two million dollars per MW.
Manufacturers often claim that their vertical axis turbine is superior to a horizontal one, because it always faces the wind. So does any horizontal axis turbine, thanks to their tail or yaw mechanism. If the airflow is such that wind directions change drastically from one second to the next it means you have lots of turbulence, and that means it is a poor place to put any wind turbine, HAWT or VAWT.
As you can see from the picture above, I’ve started by building a relatively small solar array. There are twelve panels, each about 40 x 60 inches. Each one generates 300 watts of electricity when the sun shines, and when you run the numbers for my climate, the whole setup will crank out about 6100 kWh/year of electricity, a chunk which is worth about $732 per year at average US power prices.
Noise Issues: Small wind turbine noise is only slightly above wind noise. (Click On Video Tab Above) You may be able to pick out the sound of a hybrid wind turbine if you strain to listen but most people would not find it objectionable. However, if there is any doubt if your wind turbine will disturb your neighbor, be a good neighbor and have a conversation with your the family living next door in advance.
In states that have retail competition for electricity service (e.g., your utility operates the local wires, but you have a choice of electricity provider), you may have to sign a separate agreement with each company. Usually these agreements are written by the utility or the electricity provider. In the case of private (investor-owned) utilities, the terms and conditions in these agreements must be reviewed and approved by state regulatory authorities.
The amount of current (amps) traveling through any electrical circuit depends on the size of the wire (AWG), the voltage of the array or battery bank, and the one way distance of the wire run. Lower AWG gauge wire has less resistance than larger gauge wire. The longer the distance of your wire run while using lower voltage the larger gauge wire you are going to need. If your solar array consists of 4 or more 90 watt panels and is more than 50' from your battery bank, you should consider using 24V as a minimum with 48V being a better choice.

An off-grid inverter must supply enough power to meet the needs of all the appliances running simultaneously. Before selecting an inverter, you must know the watts your appliances will require and their amp and surge needs. Sizing an inverter for an off-grid system, which is based on instantaneous load, is very different from sizing a grid tied inverter, which is determined by the solar panel array size. In the case of an off-grid inverter, the inverter has to provide enough energy to all the AC loads, sometimes at the same time. Say you need to simultaneously power 3,000 Watts from various appliances. For an off-grid system, you’d need an inverter that could supply at least that amount. Note that the solar array size does not enter into this inverter sizing since the inverter pulls its power from the battery bank.


Great article. I had solar panels fitted around 2 years ago here in the UK, costs are a lot higher and our panels are South-East facing. Even so our electricity bills are around a third lower than they were & this year has seen an improvement on that because we charge phones etc and run the washing machine / dishwasher during the daytime whenever possible. Payback is looking to be around 7 years. The only negative is that we had to pay for mesh around the panels because for the first two Summers we had a problem with jackdaws trying to nest under them causing an almightly racket, large (6+ feet) piles of twigs and attacking the wires.
After the photons are transformed into electricity, the panels direct this energy to power the home. Some homes, those independent of the utility grid, must rely on battery storage to store energy, yet they may also have to rely on backup generators when there is too much demand on the size of the system. Many people use solar in tandem with the utility companies so that they have a convenient back-up during fluctuating periods of energy. This net metering partnership is a bit involved, but it has also been evolving to become more effective as more and more people choose solar to provide the bulk of electricity to power their homes.
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