Dirty Energy & Fuel homemade-solar-panels

Published on October 26th, 2010 | by Zachary Shahan


Homemade Solar Panels | How to Make Solar Panels


Benefits of Building Your Own Solar Panels


Making solar panels for your home is a popular option for a lot of people because:

  • you can cut out the middle-man, the installer, potentially saving a ton of money;
  • learning how solar panels work and how to build solar panels is fun and empowering;
  • who wouldn’t like to say, “Yeah, I built those;”
  • you get to save money and help the planet at the same time.

Check out the instructional video below to learn more about the benefits of DIY solar, as well as how to set up your own panels at home.

How to Get Started Building Homemade Solar Panels

Though I have not built solar panels myself, this is a topic I’ve been interested in for awhile. From what I’ve learned, one of the most important things is to get a good guide. While a good guide may cost more, it can also save you a lot of money (and time) in the long run.

There is a TON of free information about building solar panels that you can find online, but having a guide makes it super easy for you to know exactly what you should do.

If you decide to buy a DIY guide, make sure they provide a money-back gaurantee in case you are not satisfied with the instructions.

5 More Key Tips

A few more key tips I’ve picked up from looking into this topic include:

  1. Don’t buy broken solar cells — it’s not worth it.
  2. Go high-quality on the backing material. This is one of the hardest parts to replace and, given that your solar panels are expected to last 25-40 years, you want to make sure your backing material lasts that long as well.
  3. Don’t jump in too fast. I know, when you start getting excited, it’s hard not to. But make sure you carefully read any guides you buy before you get started.
  4. Get a professional electrician to do the final wiring. It probably won’t cost you a ton and could save you big headaches and a lot of money. This part can be tricky and is really best left to a professional, or so I hear.
  5. If you use batteries, keep your system charged. Keeping your batteries 50-80% charged will give them longer lives.

If you have actually built your own solar panels, I’d also love to find out about your experience via the comments below.

There are many ways to go solar. If this one doesn’t work for you, look into one of the many other ways!

Connect with me on Twitter @zshahan3FacebookStumbleUpon.

Photo Credit: 917press via flickr under a CC license. More solar energy basics.

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he's the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ghalied.dollie Ghalied Dollie

    I have built my own solar panels. Its very rewarding and as you said saves tons of money. Very good key tips given, I have discovered this the hard way. Lost a panel or 2 because of this. Take your time when building your own panels, the quality is very important. As I am in South Africa, can’t get EVA or tedlar locally, had to improvise with using local material, eg multi-wall ply-carbonate sheeting as backing. My project currently consists of 2 solar panels, a windturbine, 30A MPPT charge controller, 4 deep-cycle batteries and a 1500w 24v inverter.

    • http://cleantechnica.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Thanks for the note. :D

  • http://www.thesolarenergyfacts.net/ Jonathon Henly

    Some really good points there.

    I really appreciated how people want to save and reuse solar panels, but its important to realize that once things are broken, well, they are broken.

    Especially since you can buy those new solar panel cells in bulk and put those together. It makes a lot more sense.

    • http://zacharyshahan.com Zachary Shahan

      Thanks. Good points. With the price of solar cells so low these days, that seems more sensical :D

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  • http://alnergy.com solar energy

    I’ll immediately clutch your rss feed as I can’t in finding your e-mail subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly allow me recognise in order that I may subscribe. Thanks.

    • http://importantmedia.org/members/zshahan/ Zachary Shahan

      Yep, Email subscription box is right up there under the RSS button. :D

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  • http://tinyurl.com/homemadesolarpanels3 Janna Fogerson Of Homemade Solar Panels

    Solar energy technology has really reached a spot of its growth where it power many equipments, from energizing your entire residence down to small electronics appliances. It really is very cool to know that people have other limitless resource of electrical energy and it’s really clean compare to the standard method of generating electricity. We can expect more on this in the future years and expect a lot nations around the world to compliment those who are producing the solar energy innovation. I’m among those folks who are prepared to utilize the free energy converted into operational electricty for home which power the home equipment, water heating and down to chargers for notebook computers, ipods, mp3 players and many other things.

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  • http://www.mychoicegreen.com mike


    Good tips, I have wrote a small guide actually to those who are interested in putting solar panels for their houses, things to consider before actually deciding on going solar. you can download it for free now at http://www.mychoicegreen.com.
    Keep the good work , any small act can help in saving our planet.

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