I like many out there look for ways to reduce my monthly utility bills and alternative energy has been an interest to me since the 1970’s when I first saw a home with panels and asked what they were for.
Recently … I would say in the last 6 months I have been coming across articles on large websites not independent ones claiming that the average person who is handy can build their own solar panels for electricity generation.
First I want to say water heating solar panels can be built from average materials that you can purchase at a good hardware store but they are not the same quality that you can get from buying an engineered product.
That is for hot water that can be used for heating your home or your water. They are not for electric generation.
These scammers are trying to get people to believe they can build $15,000 worth of solar panels for Electric generation from a few hundred dollars of hardware materials.
IT CAN NOT BE DONE AT HOME
If you want to learn about how solar panels are made you should hit YouTube and look for a manufacturer’s videos where they will show you all of the special equipment including high temperature kilns used in the process of building solar cells that can produce electricity.
The fact is the process is expensive when the manufacturer is only making thousands of panels. If these companies were to ramp up production as high as LCD Television sets every home could have a roof covered in solar panels for 1/4 the price we pay today. The first television set cost thousands of dollars back when cars cost less then the tv … but through mass production the price goes down.
As a matter of fact General Electric one of the largest manufacturers of Solar Panels in the World and the USA just shut down their solar panel plant in Delaware in the fall of 2009 with no plans to reopen it because the cost of building panels was higher then the price they could charge…. and this is due to their not increasing production over the 30 years that the plant was in operation.
So please you can not build solar panels at home with a handful of parts found in a average hardware store.
On the other hand you can install them your self and you could probably repair them yourself if you are handy.
So, you are thinking what if you purchased the parts and assembled them yourself you may save a few hundred dollars…
No, actually you wouldn’t because manufacturers of finished panels are not going to sell you the parts at their cost and although you may be able to substitute some parts and labor your finished product will not be as good as a product that comes with a 20 year warranty.
So, If you want to learn how to install electric generating Solar Panels or how to build your system with pre-made panels please read our other HowTos.
We will also cover building your own hot water solar panels but unfortunately even building those for low grade systems can be expensive with the cost of copper today.