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Home Solar Panels Kits

Brandy Said:

solar pannels?

We Answered:

6,000 days = Just under 16 and a half years

Which is exactly why you don't see millions of these installed all over the place - too expensive to be cost effective and that is without any maintenance costs.

Carl Said:

How many solar panels?

We Answered:

There are lots of books you can get at the library for free or at that go into the detail you need to be self-sufficient in greenhouse growing with only solar heat or electric for a source.

The problems arise in the winter. Often the sun is out with any intensity for only around 5 hours in dec-jan. The electricity production or generation of solar heat are very low during these months. Also the glass used in a greenhouse is very low in insulative properties so it loses more heat than it gains especially during the long nights.

What you need is some extras. Maybe a wood fired heater in the greenhouse, or a windmill if you have any windpower in the winter in your region.

You may also want to consider slide on insulating coverings. These would be either foam panels or fiberfill batts that you can slide over your glass at night to help retain heat much better.

There is a magazine I've been getting for 30 years that is now online and gives many many stories of self sufficiency in energy (and food, home and work for that matter). They have many articles in their archives for making greenhouses and solar panels and solar heated water.
Solar heated water is the most cost effective and best use of the sun's energy in comparison to solar electric panels. In a greenhouse you are worried about heat more than electricity. A 3000 btu heater in solar might only cost $200. To make enough electricity to run a 3000 btu heater in electric might cost $2,000 and be more complicated and need batteries and so forth.

With solar heat you can just heat up a big tank of water during the day, with some black painted glass covered panels and blow the stored heat over some large rocks or bubble thru some water and let the stored mass give off it's heat during the night. (You still need to cover the greenhouse with some roll-on roll-off insulation panels.…

Andre Said:

"home made energy kit" is it a scheme?

We Answered:

I don't know if I have seen the one your talking about but I have seen some similar to what you are talking about and more or less it shows you how to make a crude inefficient solar panel but it is great as a demonstration of how pv (solar) works. I would say worth the some money for a school project or to teach with but for power generation I'm pretty sure you would do better picking up a copy of Solar Today or Homepower (Homepower also has a website) magazine and finding a dealer near you.

Mathew Said:

Are Amorphous Solar Panels efficient solar panels to buy?

We Answered:

Hey Edwin, I have to go with Roderick, my numbers are just slightly different than his. Accounting for everything else, including efficiencies of an inverter and losses in battery charging, My estimate is something closer to 500 total watts of solar. That amount of panels would fit easily in your 200 square foot space. As a further example, consider our home, it uses about 5 kwh per day, and we generate about 80% of our energy with a 1.6 kw array (1600 watts total solar). Our entire array only takes up about 175 square feet. Again, I agree with Roderick, that this might not be the answer you were looking for, but it's pretty honest and straight forward. It sounds like you know basically what you're trying to do and how to get there, just fuzzy on the numbers. What I would suggest is you buy a subscription to Home Power Magazine. Once you subscribe, you have access to all their archived issues, and in several of them they have listed all he commercially available panels, who manufacturers them and their specs. It's a great place to comparison shop if you can find the right back issue at the website.

J, I think you might have an extra decimal somewhere in your calculations, a 6800 watt array would run our entire home and the two neighbors on each side, certainly way more than Edwin would need at 1.7 kwh per day. But your descriptions of the other accessories sounds fine to me.

I would also add that personally, I don't care for the sunforce products. I think they work fine from a photovoltiac perspective, but mechanically I don't think they stand up against many of the other products available, and you can probably find a better deal if you shop around. The big advantage to that package is its ease of installation, with all the wiring harnesses already made up for you, but in the end, if you do some more research, you could have a better working overall system for the same money. You will need something in the 400 to 500 total solar watts range to make the power you need, that might be a good starting point for getting a better look at your budget. Take care Edwin, Rudydoo

Carolyn Said:

I'm Thinking Of Getting This Solar Panel Kit, Is It Feasible?

We Answered:

Alright, first of all I do not think the site is a scam, but what they are telling you is not the whole story.
What they sell you is the basic concept of building a solar panel. They explain how to connect the solar cells, and fabricate a panel using basic supplies that you can purchase either at a hardware store or at Radio Shack. If you do some research on the internet you can find sites out there that provide this information for free.

As far as building the solar panel for $200. that is a relative price depending on what materials you are able to salvage. Your big expense is the solar cells themselves. Most likely what they are going to tell you is to look online for damaged, or second hand solar cells. Sometimes you can find them on Ebay, and there are numerous companies out there that sell bulk solar cells, both new and used. Damaged or used solar cells are cheaper, but require a lot more work to utilize, new is easiest, so you will pay accordingly.
The rest of the materials are pretty inexpensive. Plywood, plexiglas, silicone caulk, etc. The materials you need from Radio Shack cost about $20. for the initial investment, and the materials will last a good while. In a nutshell, if you use scrap lumber, and used solar cells you might be able to build a 100 watt panel for under $200. maybe even less. If you really dig around, there are places where you can find damaged solar panels, that have been discarded, and you can tear them apart and recycle the solar cells.
Once you build the solar panel, you are only part way there. The panel is producing DC current, and your home runs on AC. The normal home set up would have the solar panels connected to a battery bank, so the panels keep the batteries charged, and the home runs off the batteries. Same problem, batteries are DC, your home AC.
You would need an adapter to change the DC to AC before you could hook up to your home. A DC converter will run you about $200. normally. The big problem is this. When you convert from DC to AC you lose most of what you have generated. Here is an example:
A compact flourecent bulb is using about 40 watts of power, maybe a little less. Your solar panel is only producing 100 watts, so you will only be able to power two lights in the house, three at the most.
In order to run the lights, fans, radio, etc. you will need a roof full of solar panels. Nobody ever tells you this.
Here is a simple solution if you are really serious. The trick is to run part of your home straight DC. Then there is no need for a DC converter. You can get DC flourescents which only require about 4 watts of power. DC fans, are the same, they require very little DC current to operate. Basically anything you have in your home that runs on batteries, a laptop for instance, can handle the DC current.
You can have an electrician re-route some of the wiring in the house to your solar system. Lights, ceiling fans, and a few outlets for DC appliances. Eventually you could convert the entire home to DC, but just getting the lights and other smaller appliances on DC will same you a lot of money. With a DC system you only need a few solar panels to do the whole job, not a roof full.
You will still need a bank of batteries which are a little on the expensive side. If you are running DC however, you only need a few batteries to support the system, instead of 8-10 batteries. The batteries will need to be a deep cycle battery that are made to be recharged regularly. Car batteries do not work very well. The batteries you need are like the ones used in golf carts, fork lifts, etc. You can purchase reconditioned batteries at a reasonable price ($30-40 a piece) in most parts of the country, and usually they will give you a warranty if they are reputable.
Anyway, I tried not to be over detailed here, so I could keep this fairly short, so I hope you get the basic idea.

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