Energy crunch is on, fuel prices have hit the roof and they are slated to break through the roof soon. Days are not far when utility companies will jack up the electricity rates to a point where you will have to run for cover. Everybody is looking for ways to install some alternative energy system at home. Solar power system is one of the popular alternatives. A solar power system comprises of three basic components, apart from the mandatory disconnects and safety accessories:
1. The solar panel;
2. Battery, for storing the energy generated, and necessary charger;
3. Inverter, to convert stored DC power to AC power.
Cost of a solar power system capable of supplying power to all household appliances can be quite substantial and solar panel makes a significant proportion of it. Fortunately the solar power system can be made in a modular fashion; you install the basic requirement and gradually as the time and the cost permit, carry on adding to it. Your own solar panel can be assembled by you; the other components mentioned above will be procured as required from the local suppliers.
What you need
The actual process of assembling your own solar panel is not very difficult. You need a certain amount of guidance on some aspects such as:
How to assess the solar panel power rating to meet your needs Where to buy the solar cells from
How to interconnect the cells to obtain the desired voltage and current capacity
How to assemble the solar panel
How to install the solar panel, etc
There are many guides available to provide such information. These guides cost about $25 to $40. A small search on the internet will get you website addresses at which these guides are available. These guides give step-by-step assembly and installation instructions with pictures/photographs where necessary. Obtain one of these guides, study thoroughly and now you are ready to get going! To assemble your own solar panel you require the following materials:
A sheet of plywood of suitable size
Sheets of glass
Few simple tools such as pliers, screwdriver, hand-drill machine, a soldering iron (with solder, flux, etc) will suffice.
Solar panel assembly:
• Arrange the solar cells in rows on the plywood sheet, with the back of the cells on the plywood and in the configuration suggested in the guide book.
• Drill holes in the plywood sheet so that the wires connecting the cells can be taken through to the back. Interconnect the cells as per the instructions.
• Put a backing board on the back of the plywood so that the interconnected wires are held in place and sealed
• Place the sheet of glass over the top of the solar cells
• Put a framing piece over this assembly (as would be done in framing a photograph)
• Seal the edges of the assembly, and your solar panel is ready.
The assembly procedure described above is the basic process of assembling your own solar panel. Of course you can improvise on it so as to make your assembly more sturdy, make it impervious to ingress of dust, water, etc, make it strong so that its installation outdoor will not cause any problems. A self assembled solar panel can bring about a substantial saving. You can save about 50% or more of the cost of solar panel by doing your own assembly.
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