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Solar Panel Kits for the Do-it-Yourselfer

Updated on December 16, 2013

Rooftop Solar Panel Array

Example Rooftop Solar Panel Array
Example Rooftop Solar Panel Array

Solar Panel Kits

Tired of paying too much for your electric every month? Now, you can find solar panel kits. anywhere from 5 watts to 500+ watts. But, before you undertake such a project, you should read some books on solar panel installation so you have some basic background knowledge. It wouldn't hurt anything to have some understanding of photovoltaics too.

There are many great books available on these subjects, from places such as Amazon, E-Bay, and ABEbooks, just to name a few of the ones online. Sometimes, if you get lucky, you can find books such as these in your local thriftstore. I have found several science and technology books in our local thriftstores for as little as fifty cents. Also, many public libraries give away their old books on a regular basis to make room for newer books. Just because a book is slightly old, doesn't necessarily mean that the information contained in it is worthless. Sometimes, it may be slighly outdated, but even so, there can be useful information there. Another good source of information, is just to take a drive around your locality. If you see a house that has solar panels installed, maybe ask the homeowner if he/she is willing to share some information about their experiences using solar energy.

Like everything, there are some pros and cons. Make sure you know if Solar Panels are right for you, before you invest a lot of money in them. Most importantly, you have to make sure that you have a place that receives a lot of daytime sunshine. If your house is surrounded by trees, solar panels aren't going to be of much use to you. Also, you need to have sufficient space, as solar panels take up a lot of room. The more surface area you have exposed to the sunlight, the more solar energy you can turn into electricity. Most solar panels that I've seen installed on houses are on the roof; however, solar panels don't HAVE to be on the roof. They can be anywhere where there is enough space, sunlight, and where the wiring is protected from the elements.

Good luck with your project, and thank you for helping to save our environment..

For a great selection of solar panels and accessories, please visit our Amazon Solar Panel Associates Store.

You can find nearly every solar panel kit that is listed on Amazon here, nicely catagorized by the type of silicon crystal structure. You can also find books on the subject of solar panels, solar panel kits, and solar panel design and installation here.

The Basic Premise

The basic premise for a solar panel is pretty simple. Take solar energy that the earth is bombarded with every day, harness it, and turn it into electrical energy. Keep in mind the laws of thermodynamics, which in very short terms state that "energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it can only change forms." So, the underlying problem has always been, how do we capture the energy from the sun and turn it into useable electricity. In order to harness that energy, there must be some way to absorb it and transfer it; hence the solar panel. Some entertaining reading on this subject that I suggest is: Solar Energy Projects for the Evil Genius.

A solar panel is actually a relatively simple device, but the underlying concept is more complicated than the average homeowner needs to know. The most important thing to know about a solar panel is how efficient is it at capturing the sun's energy. The more light a panel absorbs, the more energy it convert into electricity. If you want to learn more about how efficiency of a solar panel can be increased, I would highly recommend reading this article: This article is fairly technical, and geared toward the reader who has some scientific background and some basic understanding of the properties of light and interactions of light with Photonic Crystals, such as monocrystalline and polycrystalline silicon..

Solar Cell Manufacturing

Solar Panel Installation (Professional)

Practical Differences Between Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline Silicon

"So what is the impact on cell performance?

Since polycrystalline cells contain many crystals, they have a less perfect surface than monocrystalline cells. This means that they absorb slightly less solar energy and produce slightly less electricity per square metre. On the plus side, the process of creating the silicon for a polycrystalline cell is much simpler, so these cells are generally cheaper per square metre.

On balance, the cost of monocrystalline vs polycrystalline based panels per Watt of power output works out about the same, but the polycrystalline panels will be slightly larger than equivalent monocrystalline panels. This is generally not a problem unless you have a very limited area available for the installation, in which case you will want to maximise the power output per square metre.

Monocrystalline and polycrystalline can also look different. Monocrystalline cells will usually have a perfectly uniform appearance, but polycrystalline cells will appear “grainy” – think of how a granite worktop looks and you’ll get the idea. From a distance this will not be noticeable, so if they are going on your roof this is unlikely to worry you." Quoted from:

Masdar City Solar Farm

Abu Dhabi's Masdar project has officially inaugurated the world's largest solar thermal power project, after yesterday bringing online the 100MW Shams 1 concentrated solar power (CSP) plant. Source:
Abu Dhabi's Masdar project has officially inaugurated the world's largest solar thermal power project, after yesterday bringing online the 100MW Shams 1 concentrated solar power (CSP) plant. Source:

Masdar City Model

City model showing rooftop solar panels This image was originally posted to Flickr by Jan Seifert at It was reviewed on 14 July 2012 by the FlickreviewR robot and was confirmed to be licensed under th
City model showing rooftop solar panels This image was originally posted to Flickr by Jan Seifert at It was reviewed on 14 July 2012 by the FlickreviewR robot and was confirmed to be licensed under th

Did You Every Hear of Masdar City Before Reading This Article

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We Should Take a Lesson from Masdar City

Masdar City: A Lesson in Sustainable Living

We in America, (and other countries), need to take a lesson from Masdar City in the United Arab Emirates. This city has been built to be powered on clean energy, and to recycle or repurpose everything that is used during everyday life, that we in other parts of the world, would simply dispose of.

One of the main ingredients in the sustainable living plan is Masdar City's immense solar farm that is the size of 300 football fields. The solar farm produces enough energy to power the entire city, with energy to spare. The UAE has realized that they can not rely on utilizing their own oil reserves forever, and not only that, every barrel of oil that they DON'T use is a barrel of oil that is saleable to nations who are dependent on foreign oil, such as we currently are.

Alternative energy sources are becoming more and more of necessity every single day as we carelessly plough through our exaustable and non-renewable resrouces. Now we need to focus on solar power and hydrogen fuel cell power more than ever. Someday, the wells are going to go dry. No one knows for sure when that will happen, but everyone knows for sure that it WILL happen someday, and we need to be prepared to deal with it when it does happen.


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    • pocono foothills profile image

      John Fisher 6 years ago from Easton, Pennsylvania

      You can find some videos about installations on YouTube too. I am going to add one to my HubPage later on this week, but I need to watch a few and see which one seems to be the most informative. Thanks for reading my page.

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      Vanessa McKay 6 years ago

      Thank you for the information, we are looking into installing these to our house and I will be passing this article onto my husband.