homemade solar panel

i already have one generator that i hooked up, now im thinking of building a panel. wondering if there are any good sites you can reccommend for making a solar panel, is ebay the best place to get pv pieces, if i need a diode or solar charger, and how the wiring would be hooked up on the back of the panel for the charger to hook up to?

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,608 admin
    Re: homemade solar panel

    There is this thread:

    Sticky: Anyone build your own panels?

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • krismankrisman Solar Expert Posts: 57 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: homemade solar panel

    ok so i guess it isnt a good idea to build a small 50-100 watt solar panel myself huh? i guess my original bike generator idea would work better?
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,608 admin
    Re: homemade solar panel

    Personally?

    It is very difficult to build a reliable panel (that will last out in the weather more than a few months) and the larger ones can catch fire if there is an electrical problem (most people build the fronts and backs from plastic and wood).

    Very roughly, a single person on a bicycle generator will provide the equivalent amount of power as a single 40 watt panel per day.

    Sort of your choice--grinding away on a bicycle for 30-60 minutes a day--Or just mounting a single moderately sized 40 watt solar panel on the roof that will generate power daily for the next 20-40+ years.

    Depends on your needs. The exercise can be worth the effort--but I like to watch the scenery pass by when I ride...

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • krismankrisman Solar Expert Posts: 57 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: homemade solar panel

    maybe i am looking at it the wrong way then. i dont really have the room for a wind turbine, but if i could mount one on a pole by my tv antenna or something, would it be worth putting one up? or building a small one?
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,608 admin
    Re: homemade solar panel

    Building what? A small wind turbine or a small solar panel?

    In either case, small turbines and solar panels generate small amounts of power relative to a home that is on the grid.

    Mounting anything like a turbine or a solar panel on a tv mast is probably go blow over in a heavy wind storm.

    We usually tell people: 1. spend your money on conservation; 2. spend your money on energy star/low power appliances; 3. measure your power needs (peak Watts, and Watt*Hours per day)...

    Once you have done the above, then we can talk about what would meet your needs.

    If you want to just build a small system for experience (wind/solar; battery charger, battery, inverter)--many people do this. But, most people need a "reset" on how much power they can expect from a single large solar panel (~200 watts or so). Realistically, you can average around 50% of panel rated output for 2-5+ hours per day (depending on location and season). Can be nice for emergency power--but is not going to reduce your power bill in any measurable way (most likely).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • krismankrisman Solar Expert Posts: 57 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: homemade solar panel

    well i just decided on a bigger inverter, maybe that will solve the whole problem entirely. i do have one question. if my solar charger ever went out while i was at work or away, would the battery be in danger of exploding? or would the charge controller just stop charging?
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,608 admin
    Re: homemade solar panel

    It is possible for a solar charge controller to fail shorted. But if you stay in the 5-13% or so charge current range (of 20 Hour rating of battery bank)--your batteries should be OK for a few days.

    If a controller failed, and you "boiled" the batteries dry--you could get other problems (hydrogen gas concentrations, overheating of battery bank, permanent bank damage).

    Normally, for wind turbine applications, two controllers are required... The turbine needs a constant load (battery bank) to prevent the turbine from over-speeding. If one diversion load controller failed, the battery bank could fail--and the wind turbine would over-speed and self destruct. Usually two charge controllers are required by code for such an installation. If one diversion controller fails, then the second would continue to operate.

    You could, if this was a critical application, install a second solar charge controller in diversion mode to protect the battery bank if the first controller failed (shorted). I have not heard of anyone doing that--but it is very practical to do (set the charging voltage with the primary controller, and set the diversion voltage high--if the first controller fails--to protect the battery bank).

    Usually would be considered "over kill" to install two charge controllers for a solar PV panel based system.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • GreenPowerManiacGreenPowerManiac Solar Expert Posts: 453 ✭✭✭
    Re: homemade solar panel

    I'm not having any problems with my wooden based panels. The trick to keeping them cooler and fog-up free is.............

    I used to have two controllers for my wind/solar setup. Found out that one charge controller does both. Now my solar SunSaver controllers sit on a shelf.
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