by Dan Rogers
There are two primary considerations when considering a diy home solar system. The first consideration, which is strictly a monetary one, is how quickly will your energy cost savings offset your initial capital outlay?
This is referred to as the payback period and the answer depends upon several factors including:
** the type of solar cells you choose to install
** whether you build the solar panels yourself or purchase them from a commercial supplier
** whether you choose to install the panels and balance of system (BOS) yourself.
** Whether or not there are any government incentives that are available
** the cost of financing your solar system, if you choose to do so.
Typical payback periods can range from 1-15 years and as manufacturing capacity and volume continues to increase, costs of commercial systems will drop further.
Another consideration from an environmental standpoint is the net energy savings to expenditure ratio. In other words, how much energy is consumed in the production of the materials needed to build the PV system in relation to the energy saved following installation?
This consideration was much more of a factor in years past when both production costs and the solar cells themselves were less efficient. If a solar system consumes more energy being produced and installed that it will save once installation is complete, it makes no sense from the environmental point of view.
Building a diy home solar system is relatively simple. Providing you have some basic handy-person skills, building your own panels if definitely something worth considering. Although the efficiency of homemade panels may be lower than the alternative commercial systems, the low cost more than compensates for this reduced efficiency.
When building you home solar system, unless you have an unlimited budget, you will likely be using one of two types of solar cells for residential or small commercial applications:
1) A polycrystalline solar cell runs between 12-14% efficiency and is reasonably inexpensive to produce. This type of cell offers an excellent balance between price and efficiency.
2) Alternatively, you could use what is called an amorphous silicone cell. These types of cells are even less expensive than polycrystalline but only offer around 6% efficiency.
There are a wide variety of diy home solar instructional guides available on the internet and their low cost makes them a worthwhile investment, especially if you are new to solar power or are still in the research stage. Supplies can often be purchased from a local hardware store or through ebay.
Click here to read more tips and DIY home energy saving tips