DIY Solar Panel Projects.. 

Step by step instructions installing solar panels... 

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Pine Paneling Installation

Tongue and groove pine offers a warm, attractive finish that’s especially suited for walls and vaulted ceilings. Pine is the most used material for tongue and groove paneling.

Bathroom Faucet Installation

One piece bathroom faucets, with either one or two handles are the most popular fixtures. Step by step instructions on installing bathroom faucets

 

Granite Tile Countertops

The hottest countertop material for kitchens, bathrooms, and patios today is natural stone. Step by step instructions on installing granite tile.

 

 

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Wood Decks

How to build a deck.

A deck may be one of the best single investments you can make in your house. It gives you added space, opens the house up to the yard, and ties indoor activities with outdoor activities. You can entertain on it, eat on it cook on it or just lounge around on it. Start planning your deck today. Its a great do-it-yourself project.

Log Homes

Modular Log Home

Pictures of a Blue Ridge Modular log home being install by a large crane. This modular log home sets on a full basement and was install in a day

        Outdoor lighting

Installing low voltage lighting.

Here is a way to provide pleasant illumination to outdoor areas for a small amount of money. You can purchase most of the components in a kit. Some kits come with a timer or a photovoltaic sensor to turn lights on at night and off during the day. Installing low voltage lighting is a good do-it-yourself project.

 

DIY Solar Panel Projects

 

Solar panel powered homes.

Here’s how solar power works. A solar panel is made up of small solar cells, each containing a thin slice of silicon, the same material used widely in the computer industry. Silicon is an abundant natural resource extracted from the earth’s crust. It has semi conductive properties, so that when light strikes the positive side of the slice, electrons try to move to the negative side. Connecting the two sides with a wire creates an electrical circuit and a means for harnessing this electrical activity.

Solar panel cells are grouped together and connected by wires to create a module, or panel. Modules can be installed in a series to create a solar array. The size of an array as well as the quality of the semiconductor material, determines its power output.

The electricity produced by solar cells is DC, or direct current, which is what most batteries produce and what battery powered devices run on. Most household appliances and light fixtures run on AC, or alternating current, electricity. Therefore, PC systems include an inverter that converts the DC power from the solar panels to AC power for use in the home. It’s all the same to your appliances, and they run just as well on solar generated power as on standard utility power.

 

 

 

                            Solar panel grid connected systems and off grid systems

 

Solar panels on grid system’s

Home PV systems can be designed to connect to the local utility network, the power grid or to supply the home with all of its electricity without grid support. There are advantages and disadvantages to each configuration.

In a grid connection setup, the utility system serves as a backup to supply power when household demand exceeds the solar system’s capacity or during the hours when the sun is down. This elimates the need for batteries or a generator for backup, and makes grid connected systems simple and less expensive than off the grid systems. One of the best advantages of grid connection is that when the solar system’s output exceeds the house’s demand, excess power is delivered back to the grid and the homeowner often gets credit for every watt produced. This is called net metering and is guaranteed by law in many states, however, not every state requires utility companies to offer it, and not all companies offer the same payback. Some simply let the meter roll backwards, essentially giving you full retail value for the power, while others buy back power at the utility’s standard production price much less than what they charge consumers.

That main drawback of being tied to the grid are that you may still have to pay service charges for the utility connection even if your net consumption is zero, and you’re still vulnerable to power outages at times when you’re drawing from the grid.  But the convenience of grid backup along with the lower cost and reduced maintenance of grid connected systems make them the most popular choice among homeowners in developed areas.

 

Solar panels off grid systems

Off the grid or standalone, systems serve as the sole supply of electricity for a home. They include a large enough panel array to meet the average daily demand of the household. During the day, excess power is stored in a bank of batteries for use when the sun is down or when extended cloud cover results in output. Most standalone systems also have a gas power generator as a separate, emergency backup.

For anyone building a new home in an undeveloped area, installing a complete solar system to provide your own power can be less expensive than having the utility company run a line out to the house beyond a quarter mile or so, new lines can be very costly. There are some maintenance costs such as battery replacement, but it’s possible to save a lot of money in the long run, and never having to pay a single electric bill is deeply satisfying to off the grid homeowners.

As mentioned, off the grid systems are a little more complicated than grid connected setups. There are the batteries to care for, and power levels have to be monitored to prevent excessive battery run down and to know when generator backup is required. To minimize power demands, off grid homes tend to be highly energy efficient. Smaller steps such as connecting chargers and other electronic devices to a power strip that can be turned off when the devices are not in use.

 

 

 

 

Types Of Solar Panels

PV modules come in a range of types for different applications and power needs. The workhouse of the group is the glass or plastic covered rigid panel that can be mounted to the roof of a house or an exterior wall. Solar panel arrays can also be mounted onto solar power tracking system that follow the sun for increased productivity.

Rigid modules, sometimes called framed modules, are designed to withstand all types of weather, including hail, snow and extreme winds. Common solar panel sizes range from about 2 ft. to 4 ft. in width and from 2 ft. to 6 ft. in length.

In addition to variations in sizes, shape, and wattage rating. PV modules can be made with two different types of silicon cells. Monocrystalline cells contain a higher grade of silicon and offer the best efficiency of sunlight to electricity conversion, but are more difficult and expensive to make. Multicrystalline, or polycrystalline, cells are made with a less exacting and thus cheaper manufacturing process. All solar panel cells degrade slowly over time. Standard monocrystalline and multicrystalline cells typically lose 0.25 % to 0.5 % of their conversion efficiency each year. Amorphous solar cells is another group of solar products is made with amorphous, or thin film, technology in which moncrystalline silicon is deposited onto substrates such as glass or stainless steel. Some substrates are flexible, allowing for a range of versatile products such as self-adhesive strips that can be rolled out and adhered to metal roofing and thin solar modules that install just like traditional roof shingles. Amorphous modules offer lower efficiency roughly half that of crystalline and faster degradation of 1 % or more per year.

 

 

 

More DIY Solar Projects

Solar panel safety

Installing a low-watt solar panel system

Solar power for off grid system, and on grid system

Batteries for your solar panels

Making your own solar cells

Mounting solar panels

Solar water heater

Solar heat

 

 

 

 

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