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Build Your Own Solar Power System

The problem is the up-front costs. A home solar system fully installed can cost well over ten thousand dollars per kilowatt of capacity. For a typical home, that means twenty thousand dollars or more to fully cover the need for electricity. It can take a very long time for that up-front cost to be repaid by the savings on your electrical bill, long enough that by the time it is the solar panels have degraded to the point where they need replacing and a substantial portion of the cost must be spent again.

This can be somewhat alleviated through tax credits from the government. But a large part of the cost of a professionally-installed solar system is not the materials but the skilled labor to install it. By building your own solar power system, you can save more than half of the cost of a system fully installed and cut short the repayment time.

Can You Build Your Own Solar Panels?


If you do a search online, you will find websites that advertise information about how to build your own solar panels using solar cells which you can buy in bulk. Sometimes the information is free. Sometimes a small payment is asked (around $50 in most cases). Is this actually possible?

It is; however, for several reasons it isn't a good idea. In the first place, the skill necessary to do the work well is far from trivial. This is difficult electrical manufacture. Some of the information you can find is also rather dubious. For example, using wood for the frame for a solar panel is unwise, as it presents a fire hazard.

In addition, there are legal problems involving building codes, requirements for using net metering with a utility, and homeowners insurance policy provisions that make the savings not worth it even if you can weed out the bad advice and have the necessary skills.

Solar Power Kits


Kits that will allow you to build and install your own solar system are available from a number of sources, including Amazon, Home Depot, and other sources that pop up readily on a net search. The cost is well under ten thousand dollars for a system sufficient to power most homes. (As of the date of this article, a 3-kilowatt solar system kit with grid tie can be purchased for a little under $7,500.)

Installing such a system from a kit or from parts is work requiring non-trivial skills. However, it is a great deal easier (and less tedious) than building solar panels from scratch. Before going this route, you should look into your local building codes, what is necessary to use net metering with your electric utility, and the fine print of your homeowners insurance policy to make certain that a self-installed solar power system meets these requirements. Most of the time it will, but there are exceptions and you should make certain before proceeding.


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Solar power is a form of energy that is renewable, inexhaustible, environmentally friendly, and free of any fuel cost. That doesn't make it genuinely "free" energy, however. The costs of solar power are the initial cost to construct and install generating facilities and maintenance costs thereafter. These costs are not trivial.

Because solar power does not involve any cost for fuel or the equivalent, installing a home solar power system can save a great deal on a monthly and annual basis from your electric bill, potentially even eliminating it altogether. Maintenance costs are not extravagant; certainly nowhere near the savings in electrical bills from having a home solar system.

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Build Your Own Solar Power System

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~ Updated January 26, 2018