Cost of a DIY Solar Panel
Lets ignore the expense of your time. This is a list of the materials required:
– Clear plexiglass or low iron solar glass 2ft x 4ft x 1/4in $34 or more
– 3/4in 2ft x 4ft plywood panel $23
– Solar panel kit (eBay) $119, comprising:
– 50 Solar cells each 3in x 6in, 1.75w, pre-tabbed
– 10ft tabbing wire and 10ft bus wire,
– Flux pen and solder
– Peg board 2 panels 2ft x 2ft $5
– Clear silicone caulk/sealant $3
– Junction box $5
– Paint, stainless screws, wood for frame $10
– Diodes $3
Total cost $202. Take off $20 for the 10 extra solar panels that aren’t required, gives a total of $182 for the materials to make a 60 watt solar panel. Luminaria solar This calculates at $3 per watt.
Cost of Factory Made Panels
If you do an informal search on the Internet, most solar panels work out at $5 – $7.50 per watt. But we ferreted around and found a 120watt panel for $358 retail, equal to $2.98 per watt. Additionally, there are numerous wholesalers willing to market directly to the public, and minimum order quantities is as low as two panels. We found a 225watt solar panel wholesale for $549 (min order 2 panels), equal to $2.44 per watt.
Warnings & Dangers of DIY Solar Panels
Also, if you are thinking about making your personal solar panels to cut the expense of your solar energy house, please know about these:
– In the US, you will NOT be allowed for connecting your home made solar panels to the grid. If you want your solar energy house to be connected to the grid, you have to use solar panels with UL certification. Many countries have similar regulations.
– Commercially manufactured solar panels come with 25 year performance guarantees. DIY solar panels have no guarantees and will likely last just a couple of years at best.
– With any home made solar panel there is a risk of fire from low quality soldering. If your DIY solar panel ignited and resulted in fire damage to your residence, your insurance company might be described as a little reluctant to pay for out for a fire caused by a solar panel that did not have UL certification.
– And the final nail in the coffin of a property made solar energy house: in the US, home made solar panels will NOT qualify for the significant rebates and tax credits that are available.
If you want solar panels for the solar energy house and want a method that is safe, reliable, qualifies for rebates and will really cut your electricity bills, forget DIY. DIY can be a great introduction to understanding what it means to truly have a solar energy house, but it’s not a feasible option to factory made solar panels.
Create a Solar Panel as a Science or DIY Project
However, if you want to make your personal solar panel as a research project, this is fun, satisfying and very rewarding. On completion you will also have a solar panel you are able to showcase to friends and family and something you can use to supply light for a lawn, shed or outbuilding.
If you want to make a solar panel as a research project, consider buying one of many “how too make solar panels” guides. Several of those are great and do a fantastic job of showing you (they have some great videos) what to do, how to accomplish it and when to do. Yes, helpful tips will add $40 – $50 to the price, but that might be money very well spent, just don’t fall for all the marketing hype!
If you’ll need a solar energy home and to reduce your electricity bills, forget the DIY route. But, although you won’t cut costs or lower your electricity bill, making a solar panel as part of a research project ought to be very satisfying and educational. If you may not want to invest the $40 – $50 for one of many DIY solar panel guides, there will be a lot of home elevators the Internet. I wish every success along with your Solar Energy House.