- Renewable & Alternative Energy
Energy Conservation Tips: Homemade Solar Panels
Solar Panels ... Power from the Sun.
Residential Solar Panel Systems: Solar Panel Tips
Why Solar Energy?
If you are do-it-yourselfer and interested in energy conservation, then this article can help you identify the components of a homemade solar panel. The importance of being energy self-sufficient has increased as the cost of oil has skyrocketed in the past months.
The Photovoltaic (PV) cell is at the core of the solar panel because it is the fundamental element that converts solar energy into electricity. The solar panel is composed of a "series" of these cells connected together. Hiring a contractor to take care of the acquisition and installation of a solar panel can be quite pricey. One way to get the solar panel of your dreams is to either buy a kit or to build one from scratch.
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The Components of a Solar Panel
The basic solar panel consists of four components:
Solar panel - The fundamental and functional component of a solar electricity system is the solar panel, which consists of a group of photovoltaic cells. The number of cells is determined by the energy needs of the household as well as the budget. The beauty of solar panels is that they can also be added-on in sections. Solar panels can generate electricity for real-time use or storage in a battery system (discussed below).
Charge controller (regulator) - The regulator is there to control the battery charge level in an effort to prevent "overcharging". In addition, it monitors the drainage of the battery in the evening. The net effect, is that battery's effective life is maximized.
Battery - Of course, solar panels can not provide a constant level of electricity because the sun does not shine on them 24/7, 365 days a year. The battery, provides the means of storing the unused energy for later use. While it is possible to use a regular automobile battery, the deep-cycle marine battery is the best choice because it is capable of storing virtually all of the electricity produced by the solar panels.
Inverter - The solar panels generate electricity in the form of DC or Direct Current, while virtually all household appliances run on AC or Alternating Current. The inverter provides the means by which DC is converted to AC making the power usable for everything from the toaster to TV.
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Saving Money - Making Money with Solar
If you are hoping to generate enough electricity for all of your needs AND to sell back to "the Grid", you will need an AC Breaker Panel, and a Kilowatt-per-Hour Indicator. The KW-per-hour Indicator for example is necessary to monitor the amount of electricity coming to and from the Grid so as to determine the charge or credit which appears on your electrical bill.
Please do not forge the least expensive and potentially most cost-effective energy conservation tip which is the use of Energy-Saver fluorescent light bulbs to replace incandescent bulb. These may be more expensive in the short run but they consume considerably less energy and last many times longer that the regular bulbs.
Homemade solar panels are a great way to help make the home energy self-sufficient and is one of many excellent energy conservation tips. Such panels can be purchased in kit form or made from scratch, which of course is the cheapest option. There are other uses of solar power which will be discussed in future articles.