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Are DIY Solar Panels Worth it?

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  • Originally posted by russ View Post
    While none of us here (or few) advocate building your own panels to generate any amount of power we all support people doing so as fun or educational projects. We have seen a few that came out quite well.

    A couple of years back it was more attractive until panel prices dropped to their present levels.

    The ability to get 1st grade cells, decent prices on sealant materials (in bulk) and having all the proper equipment give the manufacturers a real advantage.
    ...true enough.

    Comment


    • Its nice to see that its still considered possible to build your own panels its just not economically viable

      I'm one of the many who have no doubt done all the 'electrical calculations' and then bought cells /before/ looking at how to make the panels. its a very common misconception that you ''just solder them'', and yes i'm in that group.

      I know find that my £200/$300 of cells for 1000w is going to have a build price of just over double the cell cost and thats if i dumpster dive for free glass!

      I'm a bit lucky in that i already have the glass...

      The advantage to me of this is that I can panels in shapes that fit around where i want them to go, instead of the usual rectangular standard panel size that everywhere sells.

      I'm still undecided to try the eva or the resin approach, i think cost is going to be the deciding factor.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by flez1966 View Post
        Its nice to see that its still considered possible to build your own panels its just not economically viable

        I'm one of the many who have no doubt done all the 'electrical calculations' and then bought cells /before/ looking at how to make the panels. its a very common misconception that you ''just solder them'', and yes i'm in that group.

        I know find that my £200/$300 of cells for 1000w is going to have a build price of just over double the cell cost and thats if i dumpster dive for free glass!

        I'm a bit lucky in that i already have the glass...

        The advantage to me of this is that I can panels in shapes that fit around where i want them to go, instead of the usual rectangular standard panel size that everywhere sells.

        I'm still undecided to try the eva or the resin approach, i think cost is going to be the deciding factor.
        FWIW: On the shape thing, I'll share an idea: Back in the late '90's, I came up with a thought that solar panels in the shape(s) of something called Penrose tiling (after their inventor (discoverer ?) Roger Penrose), or sometimes called darts and kites, may have some advantages for odd sized/shaped, or maybe any size or pattern application for solar panels. Perhaps the size of the darts would need some upward adjustment to equal that of the kites. As they are, the sides of the shapes and their areas are related to the golden ratio.

        I'd get Prof. Penrose's OK before commercial production however. I believe he threatened legal action on a crap wrap co. (that was eventually resolved without resorting to litigation) for embossing his design(s) on their product. I'd have done the same if for no other reason than that's a crappy way to express and opinion about someone else's work.

        With my tongue only a bit in cheek,

        Beat Regards,

        Comment


        • haha i see, my size/shape was more based around simpler geometry that the average panel is 4x9=36 and 9 cells is 4-1/2', which may be an issue in a 4' space...

          Well back off holiday and I have the tabbing wire shipping with a new flux pen and a larger 50w iron as my 25w one i usually use for board work gets all its heat sucked out of it as soon as it touches a cell...

          I'm still trying to find the holy grail of a pourable 'ticks all the boxes' potting compound at $1 a pint....

          I also just worked out the volume of 'goop' required for 250 6x6 cells, its looking like 6ltr 19uk pints 12us pints......

          Just reading up on the UV glue used to fix phone screens after a friend suggested it, it stays clear under uv etc but no data on life of product in our use.

          Comment


          • Re: Need Help, by alexchong

            Hi Alex. I have moved your post to start a new thread at http://www.solarpaneltalk.com/showth...78-Need-Advice where it fits in better.
            ---Inetdog
            SunnyBoy 3000 US, 18 BP Solar 175B panels.

            Comment


            • My personal belief is DIY is better and cheaper. You can buy solar cells at fractions of the costs compared to buying a solar panel already built at a retailer. And most retailers sell the standard solar cells. I know in my town there is 4 places to get solar panels, and they are expensive.. For just standard solar cells. I personally like Mono Cells.
              The assembly is the tricky part but I like a good challenge.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by GoldCobra View Post
                My personal belief is DIY is better and cheaper. You can buy solar cells at fractions of the costs compared to buying a solar panel already built at a retailer. And most retailers sell the standard solar cells. I know in my town there is 4 places to get solar panels, and they are expensive.. For just standard solar cells. I personally like Mono Cells.
                The assembly is the tricky part but I like a good challenge.
                This is any old thread but getting fresh data is always worth seeing.

                If you feel you can build a quality solar panel cheaper than purchasing it, then good for you.

                Based on what most others have posted the price of a manufactured panel has come way down and in most cases is much less to purchase then go through the process of building your own.

                If you can do it then please share your process and materials used. I am sure others would be interested in what you have done.

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                • I plan to SunEagle..
                  One must be pretty patient to be building a string of solar cells and not to get to furious when working and one happens to break on you in the middle and you got to replace it.
                  And the fact that a Robot could solder a string of cells together in less that a minute, flawlessly and perfect.
                  Makes me jealous.

                  Comment


                  • There is a Jacksonville based company called InsiteNRG that focuses on DIY solar panels.LINK DELETED
                    Check out this website: deleted active link to buysunshield.com

                    Mod note, direct links like you used, make it appear you are a shill for the vendor, so we delete the links

                    Last edited by Mike90250; 04-03-2016, 01:01 AM.

                    Comment


                    • With 300 Watt Solar Panel and 1000 watt inverter along with 12volt 100 amp battery, What can I run?

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by SNF View Post
                        With 300 Watt Solar Panel and 1000 watt inverter along with 12volt 100 amp battery, What can I run?
                        A laptop? A few cellphones? Small light for a few hours? Things like that. Depends on how often you use them.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by SNF View Post
                          With 300 Watt Solar Panel and 1000 watt inverter along with 12volt 100 amp battery, What can I run?
                          That 12v 100 Ah battery should safely get you about 300 watt hours when the sun isn't shining and depending on how much it needs to be charged that 300 watt panel might get you another 100 watt hours depending on what time of year it is and where you live.

                          So to be safe I would not power anything that draws more than 350 watt hours in a 24 hour period.

                          A side note is that 1000 watt inverter can easily drain your battery in a couple of hours if you load it up so make sure your loads are less than 100 watts and you can run them a few hours.

                          Comment


                          • I have installed 300 Watts of Monocrystalline Panels, each panel is 150 Watt, with 30 Amp PWM Charge Controller. I want to run:
                            80 watt of Ceiling A/C - 2 Fans.
                            3.5 watt LED Light A/C - 3 Lights
                            Just for 3 hours in night.

                            1.During daylight how much load above mentioned I can run?
                            2.How much current required to fully charge the battery?
                            3.Is 150 watt panel enough to fully charged a 12 volt 100 Amp battery?
                            4.How it will take long to be fully charged on 150 watt panel or 300 watt panel?

                            Secondly, How it would be if I replace 12 volt 1000 watt inverter with 24 volt 500 watt inverter. Now I try to run 24 volt inverter with 12 volt battery through 12 volt to 24 DC converter, will it be efficient?
                            Last edited by SNF; 04-05-2016, 12:53 AM.

                            Comment


                            • I have 300 watts Monocrystalline Panels, each one is 150 watt, with 30 Amp PWM Charge Controller.
                              I want to run:
                              - two 80 watts of ceiling fans
                              - and three 3.5 watts of LED Bulbs

                              Just for 3 hours during night.

                              1.How much above mentioned load I can run during daylight with battery charging?
                              2.How long it will take to fully charge a 12 volt 100 Ampere battery?
                              3.Is it enough to charge a 12 volt 100 Ampere by a 150 watt panel?

                              Comment


                              • Hello SNF and welcome to Solar Panel Talk

                                Based on the wattage of those fans and lights your load is estimated at (2 x 80w x 3 hr = 480wh) plus (3 x 3.5w x3 hr = 31.5wh) ~ 512wh daily. That 12v 200Ah battery (2 x 100Ah wired in parallel) system gets you (12v x 200Ah x 25% = 600wh per day) which should be enough to run your loads each day without hurting the batteries.

                                Now with a PWM CC your charging amps would be the Imp of each of those 150w panels x 2 or I estimate that to be about 16 amps total times the number of sun insolation hours each day.

                                That comes to 200Ah/16A = 12.5hr which is the minimum needed to charge a 200Ah system. So some days you may not get enough amps to charge the batteries back up to 100% SOC.

                                A 150w panel might be able to charge a single 12v 100Ah battery but one battery will not provide you enough power to run both fans and all 3 lights for 3 hours.

                                One last item. A PWM charge controller is robbing you of wattage. It basically turns that 300 watts into about 200 watts because it can only generate the total amps at the battery voltage or (16a x 12v = 192watts). Once you go above 200 watts you should consider using an MPPT type charger which will use all 300 watts for charging.

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