Solar panels and wind power towers have quickly become one of the most popular ways to wean a home off of the electrical power grid. There are several reasons for this:
The low cost of building, installing and maintaining solar panels and wind power towers;
The ease of building them – there are currently many well-made guides and helpful videos full of step-by-step diagrams and photos to make building them easy enough for children to build;
For families with children, the value of creating a project that will allow children to learn how a renewable energy system works so they can then use the knowledge they have gained to expand their own solar systems and wind power towers and to teach others how to build passive renewable energy systems;
Proving that it really is possible to get off the electrical grid for good and stay off it by building passive renewable energy devices gives one unmatched confidence and pride of ownership;
The potential for creating a viable working home business in selling renewable energy devices that anyone can build to a burgeoning alternative home power energy market;
Once a home is off the grid, the ability to sell electricty back to the power companies is attractive passive income for many;
Finally, the growing tax credits available to those who build their own alternative energy systems can be substantial and make it worth it to many.
Professionally installed panels are overpriced. The shortage of installers of renewable energy devices provides an excuse for power companies and other large companies to overcharge for installation. Having a qualified and licensed electrician hook the system up to your home is certainly desirable if one is not able to or doesn’t feel confident enough to do the electrical hookups themselves.
Any motivated do-it-yourselfer can learn how to make solar panels for their home, workshop or business. All materials are easily and widely available in most hardware stores. Parts are not expensive. In fact, it’s possible to build a solar panel system or a wind power tower for less than $ 200.
A quality instruction manual will contain a shopping list and thorough instructions on how to make solar panels. Plywood, sheets of glass, and a roll of copper wire are easy to find. Suppliers of inexpensive solar or photovoltaic cells to use in your project are also listed in most good manuals. Many parts are available over the Internet if you cannot find a retailer near you.
If you’re just starting out with little experience in building anything, building a solar panel that produces 100 kwh of power will take a weekend at most after you have your parts. This is the perfect amount of electricity to operate small appliances or a small workshop and it’s a great start.
As you expand the system and learn to connect the panels to one another, you will find that it is possible to get completely off the grid.
The primary drawback to a passive solar system like solar panels is that the sun rarely shines every day all day. This is the reason most solar panel systems encourage you to also learn to build and install wind power towers or windmills. They too can be built at very low cost and are easy to build. Most good instructional manuals will carefully lay out the preferred requirements of using renewable energy devices. A good start would be to have almost 180 days of sunshine a year. Living in a location with winds that blow at least 15 mph is also helpful.
Get a a quality manual with detailed instructions for learning how to make solar panels. In many cases you get what you pay for, so don’t be afraid to spend a few extra dollars on an instruction manual that others like. Overall, the cost of making your own panels is low, the instruction manual is essential and educational.
Good things come to those who are willing to make a little effort. Passive renewable energy systems are no exception. The benefits far outweigh the costs. Your lights will still be on while others are suffering from brownouts and blackouts. Be prepared to share. More serious challenges lie straight ahead. Don’t get caught flat-footed.
The author is a self-styled renewable energy evangelist. He recommends two energy systems that stand head and shoulders above most systems today: Earth4Energy and Solar Panels.
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