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Re: [hreg] Building Solar Panels at home.

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  • Susan Modikoane
    That would be a cool class to teach us how to build solar panels. You could probably cover your costs. kayouker wrote:
    Message 1 of 29 , Feb 6, 2007
      That would be a cool class to teach us how to build solar panels.  You could probably cover your costs.

      kayouker <keithyouker@...> wrote:
      Hello, I'm new to this group and was interested in finding if anyone
      else out there is building their own solar or wind power. I started
      about 4 months ago when our electric bill reached $300 for a month and
      decided we needed to make some changes on that front. I have since
      changed to compact fluorescent (and LED when appropriate) and other
      efficiency changes and have begun building my own solar panels of which
      I now have 4 built and online and this last month my electric bill was
      under $70. So far I'm impressed as I have a family of six so there is
      only so much we can cut back or conserve. I have the materials for
      building another 12 panels and would like to talk with someone about
      design changes that might increase efficiency/output and other
      technical details. I'm sure there must be others out there with a
      similar approach to becoming self-sufficient on a budget. To date I
      have spent $2600 total on all my improvements and materials. Thanks for
      any input. Keith



      Everyone is raving about the all-new Yahoo! Mail beta.

    • Kevin Conlin
      Hi Folks, Mr. Solar Curmudgeon here, I m intrigued by the concept of building your own solar modules (I am assuming you re talking about PV), but having built
      Message 2 of 29 , Feb 6, 2007

        Hi Folks,  Mr. Solar Curmudgeon here, I’m intrigued by the concept of building your own solar modules (I am assuming you’re talking about PV), but having built over 125,000 custom solar modules in my career, I’m familiar with the technical issues, longevity issues, degradation and performance issues, and I can honestly say that it is extremely difficult for anyone without the proper equipment to build a PV module that will last a minimum of 30 years under all kinds of weather conditions.

         

        It’s also hard for me to believe you can do it cheaper than the PV companies, all things considered.  I’ll be happy to share what I know with you and how to overcome the problems if you’d care to share your ideas.

         

        Best Regards,  Kevin

         

         

        ________________________

        Kevin Conlin

        Solarcraft, Inc.

        4007 C Greenbriar

        Stafford, TX 77477-4536

        Local (281) 340-1224

        Toll Free (877) 340-1224

        Fax 281 340 1230

        kconlin@...

        www.solarcraft.net

         

        Please make a note of our new contact information above.

         


        From: Susan Modikoane [mailto:suemodikoane@...]
        Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 8:09 PM
        To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [hreg] Building Solar Panels at home.

         

        That would be a cool class to teach us how to build solar panels.  You could probably cover your costs.

        kayouker <keithyouker@ houston.rr. com> wrote:

        Hello, I'm new to this group and was interested in finding if anyone
        else out there is building their own solar or wind power. I started
        about 4 months ago when our electric bill reached $300 for a month and
        decided we needed to make some changes on that front. I have since
        changed to compact fluorescent (and LED when appropriate) and other
        efficiency changes and have begun building my own solar panels of which
        I now have 4 built and online and this last month my electric bill was
        under $70. So far I'm impressed as I have a family of six so there is
        only so much we can cut back or conserve. I have the materials for
        building another 12 panels and would like to talk with someone about
        design changes that might increase efficiency/output and other
        technical details. I'm sure there must be others out there with a
        similar approach to becoming self-sufficient on a budget. To date I
        have spent $2600 total on all my improvements and materials. Thanks for
        any input. Keith

         

         


        Everyone is raving about the all-new Yahoo! Mail beta.

      • jmiggins
        Solar panels are only one part of an energy system, you will need batteries or grid tie electronics. charge controllers, Inverters, fusing, racks etc.. these
        Message 3 of 29 , Feb 7, 2007
          Solar panels are only one part of an energy system, you will need  batteries or grid tie electronics. charge controllers, Inverters, fusing, racks etc..  these are minimum of $2000.
          the cost of $2600 for four panels that reduces the electric bill from $300 to $70 is not realistic.  Solar panels are the largest cost so if you can reduce this cost then that is good progress,  I commend you for your ingenuity. 
           
          As Kevin states it takes alot of pretty expensive equipment to make panels that will last a long time though and be able to brave the elements for that period.
           
          carry on
           
           
          John Miggins
          Harvest Solar Energy LLC
          "renewable solutions to everyday needs"
          1571 East 22 place, Tulsa OK 74114
          918-743-2299 office
          918-521-6223 Cell
          www.harvestsolar.net
          ----- Original Message -----
          Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 8:30 PM
          Subject: RE: [hreg] Building Solar Panels at home.

          Hi Folks,  Mr. Solar Curmudgeon here, I’m intrigued by the concept of building your own solar modules (I am assuming you’re talking about PV), but having built over 125,000 custom solar modules in my career, I’m familiar with the technical issues, longevity issues, degradation and performance issues, and I can honestly say that it is extremely difficult for anyone without the proper equipment to build a PV module that will last a minimum of 30 years under all kinds of weather conditions.

          It’s also hard for me to believe you can do it cheaper than the PV companies, all things considered.  I’ll be happy to share what I know with you and how to overcome the problems if you’d care to share your ideas.

          Best Regards,  Kevin

          ____________ _________ ___

          Kevin Conlin

          Solarcraft, Inc.

          4007 C Greenbriar

          Stafford, TX 77477-4536

          Local (281) 340-1224

          Toll Free (877) 340-1224

          Fax 281 340 1230

          kconlin@solarcraft. net

          www.solarcraft. net

          Please make a note of our new contact information above.


          From: Susan Modikoane [mailto:suemodikoan e@...]
          Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 8:09 PM
          To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
          Subject: Re: [hreg] Building Solar Panels at home.

          That would be a cool class to teach us how to build solar panels.  You could probably cover your costs.

          kayouker <keithyouker@ houston.rr. com> wrote:

          Hello, I'm new to this group and was interested in finding if anyone
          else out there is building their own solar or wind power. I started
          about 4 months ago when our electric bill reached $300 for a month and
          decided we needed to make some changes on that front. I have since
          changed to compact fluorescent (and LED when appropriate) and other
          efficiency changes and have begun building my own solar panels of which
          I now have 4 built and online and this last month my electric bill was
          under $70. So far I'm impressed as I have a family of six so there is
          only so much we can cut back or conserve. I have the materials for
          building another 12 panels and would like to talk with someone about
          design changes that might increase efficiency/output and other
          technical details. I'm sure there must be others out there with a
          similar approach to becoming self-sufficient on a budget. To date I
          have spent $2600 total on all my improvements and materials. Thanks for
          any input. Keith

           


          Everyone is raving about the all-new Yahoo! Mail beta.

        • kayouker
          Hello Kevin, you may recall I visited your business about 4 months ago and I appreciated the tour and discussion. You gave me a figure however of $60,000 for
          Message 4 of 29 , Feb 7, 2007
            Hello Kevin, you may recall I visited your business about 4 months
            ago and I appreciated the tour and discussion. You gave me a figure
            however of $60,000 for the polyvoltaic panels alone which you looked
            up online since you don't actually "build" PV but assemble the other
            components as I understand it. I asked you about how I could "do it
            yourself" and the response was not positive. I am using the more
            efficient monocrystaline cells which I purchased as raw wafers. They
            work although I would put them at about 80% of theoretical output and
            the finished panels power several rooms in my home. Will my panels
            last 30 years? Probably not. Will they handle all weather
            conditions? Probably not. But considering payback is in years and
            not decades they don't have to. Besides, since I built them I can
            repair them also. I am not putting down your company as you are
            making systems for specialized conditions such as stand-alone
            offshore oil rigs, very harsh conditions. Houston needs more PV
            companies such as yours as there are currently only two in this huge
            city and the "other company" wouldn't even talk to a homeowner only
            business entities. It seems to me that many people would like to
            have some solar PV maybe to just run their garage or workshop or a
            few lights in their home. This may not seem like much but if 5% of
            the US population operated one solar panel in their home it would
            likely produce more than one nuclear power plant. The other part of
            the equation is that once people think about energy and install that
            one panel, they will make other changes in their home and lifestyle
            that would make an even bigger impact than the solar panel itself.
            In my case this was true as my first panel powered a regular light
            bulb. Big deal. When I changed to compact fluorescent it now
            powered 6. Adding motion sensors that turned off unused lights so
            they were on much less, it increased this to 10. Now I even find
            myself looking for "phantom loads" and reading box labels for "WATTS"
            rather than choosing a product by color or lowest price. So it is
            not necessarily the output of the panels themselves that have made
            the biggest impact and it has turned out to be economically feasible
            for someone like myself with a modest income. Keith

            Thanks again for your tour and please don't take this as a negative
            response for your company or efforts, this is just my two cents worth.







            --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, "Kevin Conlin" <kconlin@...> wrote:
            >
            > Hi Folks, Mr. Solar Curmudgeon here, I'm intrigued by the concept
            of
            > building your own solar modules (I am assuming you're talking about
            PV), but
            > having built over 125,000 custom solar modules in my career, I'm
            familiar
            > with the technical issues, longevity issues, degradation and
            performance
            > issues, and I can honestly say that it is extremely difficult for
            anyone
            > without the proper equipment to build a PV module that will last a
            minimum
            > of 30 years under all kinds of weather conditions.
            >
            >
            >
            > It's also hard for me to believe you can do it cheaper than the PV
            > companies, all things considered. I'll be happy to share what I
            know with
            > you and how to overcome the problems if you'd care to share your
            ideas.
            >
            >
            >
            > Best Regards, Kevin
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > ________________________
            >
            > Kevin Conlin
            >
            > Solarcraft, Inc.
            >
            > 4007 C Greenbriar
            >
            > Stafford, TX 77477-4536
            >
            > Local (281) 340-1224
            >
            > Toll Free (877) 340-1224
            >
            > Fax 281 340 1230
            >
            > kconlin@...
            >
            > www.solarcraft.net <http://www.solarcraft.net/>
            >
            >
            >
            > Please make a note of our new contact information above.
            >
            >
            >
            > _____
            >
            > From: Susan Modikoane [mailto:suemodikoane@...]
            > Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 8:09 PM
            > To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
            > Subject: Re: [hreg] Building Solar Panels at home.
            >
            >
            >
            > That would be a cool class to teach us how to build solar panels.
            You could
            > probably cover your costs.
            >
            > kayouker <keithyouker@...> wrote:
            >
            > Hello, I'm new to this group and was interested in finding if
            anyone
            > else out there is building their own solar or wind power. I started
            > about 4 months ago when our electric bill reached $300 for a month
            and
            > decided we needed to make some changes on that front. I have since
            > changed to compact fluorescent (and LED when appropriate) and other
            > efficiency changes and have begun building my own solar panels of
            which
            > I now have 4 built and online and this last month my electric bill
            was
            > under $70. So far I'm impressed as I have a family of six so there
            is
            > only so much we can cut back or conserve. I have the materials for
            > building another 12 panels and would like to talk with someone
            about
            > design changes that might increase efficiency/output and other
            > technical details. I'm sure there must be others out there with a
            > similar approach to becoming self-sufficient on a budget. To date I
            > have spent $2600 total on all my improvements and materials. Thanks
            for
            > any input. Keith
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > _____
            >
            > Everyone is raving about the
            >
            <http://us.rd.yahoo.com/evt=42297/*http:/advision.webevents.yahoo.com/
            mailbe
            > ta> all-new Yahoo! Mail beta.
            >
          • Garth & Kim Travis
            Greetings, Sorry, but it is possible to get the inverter etc for far less than $2000. People buy them and don t know what to do with them, hubbies loose them
            Message 5 of 29 , Feb 7, 2007
              Greetings,
              Sorry, but it is possible to get the inverter etc for far less than
              $2000. People buy them and don't know what to do with them, hubbies
              loose them in divorces to wifes that have no use for them etc. Search
              ebay and garage sales, you would be amazed at what is out there. I
              bought a slightly used, 2500 watt inverter/battery conditioner for $100.
              It came complete with all the books.

              For many people, a thirty year life span is not a consideration. If you
              are already 70, how long does the thing need to last? How many people
              at that age have the ability to pay for a 'real' system?

              I for one am very glad to see more DIY on this list, we need it. Keep
              up the good work.

              Bright Blessings,
              Kim

              jmiggins wrote:
              > Solar panels are only one part of an energy system, you will need
              > batteries or grid tie electronics. charge controllers, Inverters,
              > fusing, racks etc.. these are minimum of $2000.
              > the cost of $2600 for four panels that reduces the electric bill from
              > $300 to $70 is not realistic. Solar panels are the largest cost so if
              > you can reduce this cost then that is good progress, I commend you for
              > your ingenuity.
              >
            • kayouker
              FYI, my $2600 figure includes all wiring, charge controller, inverters, racks, fusing and a few batteries (no grid-tie). Please read my other response to
              Message 6 of 29 , Feb 7, 2007
                FYI, my $2600 figure includes all wiring, charge controller,
                inverters, racks, fusing and a few batteries (no grid-tie). Please
                read my other response to understand how 4 panels could have such a
                large impact, because you are correct 400 watts is not much if other
                changes are not made also. Keith --- In
                hreg@yahoogroups.com, "jmiggins" <jmiggins@...> wrote:
                >
                > Solar panels are only one part of an energy system, you will need
                batteries or grid tie electronics. charge controllers, Inverters,
                fusing, racks etc.. these are minimum of $2000.
                > the cost of $2600 for four panels that reduces the electric bill
                from $300 to $70 is not realistic. Solar panels are the largest cost
                so if you can reduce this cost then that is good progress, I commend
                you for your ingenuity.
                >
                > As Kevin states it takes alot of pretty expensive equipment to make
                panels that will last a long time though and be able to brave the
                elements for that period.
                >
                > carry on
                >
                >
                > John Miggins
                > Harvest Solar Energy LLC
                > "renewable solutions to everyday needs"
                > 1571 East 22 place, Tulsa OK 74114
                > 918-743-2299 office
                > 918-521-6223 Cell
                > www.harvestsolar.net
                >
                > ----- Original Message -----
                > From: Kevin Conlin
                > To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                > Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 8:30 PM
                > Subject: RE: [hreg] Building Solar Panels at home.
                >
                >
                >
                > Hi Folks, Mr. Solar Curmudgeon here, I'm intrigued by the
                concept of building your own solar modules (I am assuming you're
                talking about PV), but having built over 125,000 custom solar modules
                in my career, I'm familiar with the technical issues, longevity
                issues, degradation and performance issues, and I can honestly say
                that it is extremely difficult for anyone without the proper
                equipment to build a PV module that will last a minimum of 30 years
                under all kinds of weather conditions.
                >
                >
                >
                > It's also hard for me to believe you can do it cheaper than the
                PV companies, all things considered. I'll be happy to share what I
                know with you and how to overcome the problems if you'd care to share
                your ideas.
                >
                >
                >
                > Best Regards, Kevin
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > ________________________
                >
                > Kevin Conlin
                >
                > Solarcraft, Inc.
                >
                > 4007 C Greenbriar
                >
                > Stafford, TX 77477-4536
                >
                > Local (281) 340-1224
                >
                > Toll Free (877) 340-1224
                >
                > Fax 281 340 1230
                >
                > kconlin@...
                >
                > www.solarcraft.net
                >
                >
                >
                > Please make a note of our new contact information above.
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > --------------------------------------------------------------------
                ----------
                >
                > From: Susan Modikoane [mailto:suemodikoane@...]
                > Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 8:09 PM
                > To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                > Subject: Re: [hreg] Building Solar Panels at home.
                >
                >
                >
                > That would be a cool class to teach us how to build solar
                panels. You could probably cover your costs.
                >
                > kayouker <keithyouker@...> wrote:
                >
                > Hello, I'm new to this group and was interested in finding if
                anyone
                > else out there is building their own solar or wind power. I
                started
                > about 4 months ago when our electric bill reached $300 for a
                month and
                > decided we needed to make some changes on that front. I have
                since
                > changed to compact fluorescent (and LED when appropriate) and
                other
                > efficiency changes and have begun building my own solar panels
                of which
                > I now have 4 built and online and this last month my electric
                bill was
                > under $70. So far I'm impressed as I have a family of six so
                there is
                > only so much we can cut back or conserve. I have the materials
                for
                > building another 12 panels and would like to talk with someone
                about
                > design changes that might increase efficiency/output and other
                > technical details. I'm sure there must be others out there with
                a
                > similar approach to becoming self-sufficient on a budget. To
                date I
                > have spent $2600 total on all my improvements and materials.
                Thanks for
                > any input. Keith
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > --------------------------------------------------------------------
                ----------
                >
                > Everyone is raving about the all-new Yahoo! Mail beta.
                >
              • Roy Holder
                ... You can also get items that are damaged or have intermittant episodes . You of course have to ba careful when buying things off ebay. ... The thing needs
                Message 7 of 29 , Feb 7, 2007
                  At 08:31 AM 2/7/2007 -0600, you wrote:
                  > Greetings,
                  > Sorry, but it is possible to get the inverter etc for far less than
                  > $2000. People buy them and don't know what to do with them, hubbies
                  > loose them in divorces to wifes that have no use for them etc. Search
                  > ebay and garage sales, you would be amazed at what is out there. I
                  > bought a slightly used, 2500 watt inverter/battery conditioner for $100.
                  > It came complete with all the books.

                  You can also get items that are damaged or have intermittant 'episodes'.
                  You of course have to ba careful when buying things off ebay.

                  >
                  > For many people, a thirty year life span is not a consideration. If you
                  > are already 70, how long does the thing need to last? How many people
                  > at that age have the ability to pay for a 'real' system?

                  The thing needs to last long enough to at least repay the energy and effort
                  that went into making it. Even if you are 70 you should not plan to burden
                  future generations with wasteful energy practices.
                  The embodied energy in the solar panels is nearly identical if they last 30
                  years or 5, the difference being the quality and experience of the person
                  assembling the panel.
                  The 400 watt panels would not likely generate more that $70 a year in
                  electricity.
                  Simple payback is more than 37 years.
                  It is very important to get a long life out of these things. Not to do so
                  is a waste of money and energy, even for a DIY situation.
                  Never fear, all is not lost, kayouker has the basics of a system that
                  should be expandable for fewer $ per watt. This will allow the simple
                  payback to be reduced to reasonable levels.

                  The $300 electric bill was for summer peak, winter low(last month) would
                  naturally be lower(not always - some structures consume more electricity in
                  winter than summer). Kayouker should check last years winter bill to
                  compare savings, not summer vs. winter, and average several months to
                  minimize weather anomalies.

                  >
                  > I for one am very glad to see more DIY on this list, we need it. Keep
                  > up the good work.
                  >
                  > Bright Blessings,
                  > Kim
                  >
                  > jmiggins wrote:
                  >> Solar panels are only one part of an energy system, you will need
                  >> batteries or grid tie electronics. charge controllers, Inverters,
                  >> fusing, racks etc.. these are minimum of $2000.
                  >> the cost of $2600 for four panels that reduces the electric bill from
                  >> $300 to $70 is not realistic. Solar panels are the largest cost so if
                  >> you can reduce this cost then that is good progress, I commend you for
                  >> your ingenuity.
                  >>
                  >
                • Garth & Kim Travis
                  Greetings, Many of the homes that the older people live in are being torn down as soon as the elders pass over. Most younger people think they need much
                  Message 8 of 29 , Feb 7, 2007
                    Greetings,
                    Many of the homes that the older people live in are being torn down as
                    soon as the elders pass over. Most younger people think they need much
                    bigger homes and have no interest in living the way their elders do. I
                    don't know a single elderly person that has a $300 electric bill, if
                    they did, they wouldn't eat. Most of the seniors and disabled people
                    around here [NE Grimes County] live on $600/month or less.

                    What many of them have is skill at doing things for themselves.
                    Including building their own computers, butchering, and everything in
                    between.

                    For many of us, the bill rises about $20/month in the summer since we
                    run our fans all day and night. My bill can really jump in the winter
                    when we are dark and dreary and I need to use artificial lighting, not
                    natural.

                    The Seniors around here are wasteful of very little, they nothing to waste.

                    In the last year my highest bill was 614 KWH, September/06 and my lowest
                    was 408 in December/06. A 400 watt system is going to make a bigger
                    impact on my usuage than most people.

                    Bright Blessings,
                    Kim

                    Roy Holder wrote:
                    >
                    > The thing needs to last long enough to at least repay the energy and effort
                    > that went into making it. Even if you are 70 you should not plan to burden
                    > future generations with wasteful energy practices.
                    > The embodied energy in the solar panels is nearly identical if they last 30
                    > years or 5, the difference being the quality and experience of the person
                    > assembling the panel.
                    > The 400 watt panels would not likely generate more that $70 a year in
                    > electricity.
                    > Simple payback is more than 37 years.
                    > It is very important to get a long life out of these things. Not to do so
                    > is a waste of money and energy, even for a DIY situation.
                    > Never fear, all is not lost, kayouker has the basics of a system that
                    > should be expandable for fewer $ per watt. This will allow the simple
                    > payback to be reduced to reasonable levels.
                    >>
                  • Steve Shepard
                    FYI - I have a used Trace DR3624 inverter for sale. Thats 24VDC battery voltage in and 120VAC/60 Hz out, 3600 Watts, 70 Amps. This inverter sells for
                    Message 9 of 29 , Feb 7, 2007
                      FYI - I have a used Trace DR3624 inverter for sale.  Thats 24VDC battery voltage in and 120VAC/60 Hz out, 3600 Watts, 70 Amps.  This inverter sells for $1350.00 brand new.  My price on this used inverter is $350.00.  This inverter does have a lot of hours on it because it was in continuous use since 1999 but it still is in working order.  Please let me know if anyone is interested.
                       
                      Steven Shepard
                      SBT Designs
                      25581 IH-10 West
                      San Antonio, Texas 78257
                      (210) 698-7109
                      www.sbtdesigns.com
                       
                      ----- Original Message -----
                      Sent: Wednesday, February 07, 2007 10:15 AM
                      Subject: Re: [Spam] Re: [hreg] Building Solar Panels at home.

                      At 08:31 AM 2/7/2007 -0600, you wrote:
                      > Greetings,
                      > Sorry, but it is possible to get the inverter etc for far less than
                      > $2000. People buy them and don't know what to do with them, hubbies
                      > loose them in divorces to wifes that have no use for them etc. Search
                      > ebay and garage sales, you would be amazed at what is out there. I
                      > bought a slightly used, 2500 watt inverter/battery conditioner for $100.
                      > It came complete with all the books.

                      You can also get items that are damaged or have intermittant 'episodes'.
                      You of course have to ba careful when buying things off ebay.

                      >
                      > For many people, a thirty year life span is not a consideration. If you
                      > are already 70, how long does the thing need to last? How many people
                      > at that age have the ability to pay for a 'real' system?

                      The thing needs to last long enough to at least repay the energy and effort
                      that went into making it. Even if you are 70 you should not plan to burden
                      future generations with wasteful energy practices.
                      The embodied energy in the solar panels is nearly identical if they last 30
                      years or 5, the difference being the quality and experience of the person
                      assembling the panel.
                      The 400 watt panels would not likely generate more that $70 a year in
                      electricity.
                      Simple payback is more than 37 years.
                      It is very important to get a long life out of these things. Not to do so
                      is a waste of money and energy, even for a DIY situation.
                      Never fear, all is not lost, kayouker has the basics of a system that
                      should be expandable for fewer $ per watt. This will allow the simple
                      payback to be reduced to reasonable levels.

                      The $300 electric bill was for summer peak, winter low(last month) would
                      naturally be lower(not always - some structures consume more electricity in
                      winter than summer). Kayouker should check last years winter bill to
                      compare savings, not summer vs. winter, and average several months to
                      minimize weather anomalies.

                      >
                      > I for one am very glad to see more DIY on this list, we need it. Keep
                      > up the good work.
                      >
                      > Bright Blessings,
                      > Kim
                      >
                      > jmiggins wrote:
                      >> Solar panels are only one part of an energy system, you will need
                      >> batteries or grid tie electronics. charge controllers, Inverters,
                      >> fusing, racks etc.. these are minimum of $2000.
                      >> the cost of $2600 for four panels that reduces the electric bill from
                      >> $300 to $70 is not realistic. Solar panels are the largest cost so if
                      >> you can reduce this cost then that is good progress, I commend you for
                      >> your ingenuity.
                      >>
                      >

                    • phil6142@aol.com
                      Kieth, I have a small solar panel array that I have installed at my house. I did not build the solar panels however, I inhereted them when my grandfather
                      Message 10 of 29 , Feb 7, 2007
                        Kieth,
                         
                        I have a small solar panel array that I have installed at my house.  I did not build the solar panels however, I inhereted them when my grandfather died.  I did build the rack and mount and install them my self though.  The mounting that I used was treated 2x4's and I use a battery for energy storage so my lifespan of this array will definately be much less than 30 years but since my solar panels are already 15 or 20 years old I don't think it is a problem.  My total cost for the inverter (though it is small), battery and wiring was less than $200.  But again I did get the panels and the charge controller for free.  At full sunlight my panels produce about 125 Watts which I use to run my television, entertainment center, and a couple lamps.  I am not sure how much it saves me on electricity bill (I imagine only about 3 to 5 dollars a month) because I installed them at the end of the summer and my bill began to go down consideribly due to using less air conditioner. 
                         
                        I am also looking into installing a small "wind turbine"  though since I live in town it will have to break all of the conventional wind turbine rules about being above the tubulent boundary layer of the wind and size.  But I think I can build it for farely cheap and since I think it is an interesting project I don't mind spending a little money to test it out.  I am afraid that my experience won't offer much technical benefit to you yet with the question you asked about increasing efficiency but I would be very interested in hearing more about what you have done as I am interested in doing something similar.  Will you be attending the Green Homes 101 thing at UH on monday?
                         
                        Phillip Hamilton
                         
                         
                        -----Original Message-----
                        From: keithyouker@...
                        To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                        Sent: Tue, 6 Feb 2007 6:44 PM
                        Subject: [hreg] Building Solar Panels at home.

                        Hello, I'm new to this group and was interested in finding if anyone
                        else out there is building their own solar or wind power. I started
                        about 4 months ago when our electric bill reached $300 for a month and
                        decided we needed to make some changes on that front. I have since
                        changed to compact fluorescent (and LED when appropriate) and other
                        efficiency changes and have begun building my own solar panels of which
                        I now have 4 built and online and this last month my electric bill was
                        under $70. So far I'm impressed as I have a family of six so there is
                        only so much we can cut back or conserve. I have the materials for
                        building another 12 panels and would like to talk with someone about
                        design changes that might increase efficiency/output and other
                        technical details. I'm sure there must be others out there with a
                        similar approach to becoming self-sufficient on a budget. To date I
                        have spent $2600 total on all my improvements and materials. Thanks for
                        any input. Keith


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                      • Kevin Conlin
                        Hi Keith, Don t worry, I do not take your comments at all negatively, I m glad there are people passionate enough to take the initiative to try and build
                        Message 11 of 29 , Feb 7, 2007

                          Hi Keith,  Don’t worry, I do not take your comments at all negatively, I’m glad there are people passionate enough to take the initiative to try and build their own modules, even though I really think the time and effort could be better spent.  As members of this group we all try and help each other when we have areas of expertise that others may not.  I was merely offering my expertise in the context of maybe helping you or others avoid fatal mistakes that would lead to the modules degrading over a relatively short period of time, even the early module manufacturers made mistakes early on.

                           

                          I’m not sure how much your modules cost, but as someone who builds systems with a minimum 30 year design life, even if you can build a module for half the retail cost, if it only lasts 10 years you are not saving money as a commercial module will last 30.

                           

                          I’m here if you need me.

                           

                          Best Regards,  Kevin

                           

                           

                          ________________________

                          Kevin Conlin

                          Solarcraft, Inc.

                          4007 C Greenbriar

                          Stafford, TX 77477-4536

                          Local (281) 340-1224

                          Toll Free (877) 340-1224

                          Fax 281 340 1230

                          kconlin@...

                          www.solarcraft.net

                           

                          Please make a note of our new contact information above.

                           


                          From: kayouker [mailto:keithyouker@...]
                          Sent: Wednesday, February 07, 2007 8:23 AM
                          To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                          Subject: [hreg] Re: Building Solar Panels at home.

                           

                          Hello Kevin, you may recall I visited your business about 4 months
                          ago and I appreciated the tour and discussion. You gave me a figure
                          however of $60,000 for the polyvoltaic panels alone which you looked
                          up online since you don't actually "build" PV but assemble the other
                          components as I understand it. I asked you about how I could "do it
                          yourself" and the response was not positive. I am using the more
                          efficient monocrystaline cells which I purchased as raw wafers. They
                          work although I would put them at about 80% of theoretical output and
                          the finished panels power several rooms in my home. Will my panels
                          last 30 years? Probably not. Will they handle all weather
                          conditions? Probably not. But considering payback is in years and
                          not decades they don't have to. Besides, since I built them I can
                          repair them also. I am not putting down your company as you are
                          making systems for specialized conditions such as stand-alone
                          offshore oil rigs, very harsh conditions. Houston needs more PV
                          companies such as yours as there are currently only two in this huge
                          city and the "other company" wouldn't even talk to a homeowner only
                          business entities. It seems to me that many people would like to
                          have some solar PV maybe to just run their garage or workshop or a
                          few lights in their home. This may not seem like much but if 5% of
                          the US population operated one solar panel in their home it would
                          likely produce more than one nuclear power plant. The other part of
                          the equation is that once people think about energy and install that
                          one panel, they will make other changes in their home and lifestyle
                          that would make an even bigger impact than the solar panel itself.
                          In my case this was true as my first panel powered a regular light
                          bulb. Big deal. When I changed to compact fluorescent it now
                          powered 6. Adding motion sensors that turned off unused lights so
                          they were on much less, it increased this to 10. Now I even find
                          myself looking for "phantom loads" and reading box labels for "WATTS"
                          rather than choosing a product by color or lowest price. So it is
                          not necessarily the output of the panels themselves that have made
                          the biggest impact and it has turned out to be economically feasible
                          for someone like myself with a modest income. Keith

                          Thanks again for your tour and please don't take this as a negative
                          response for your company or efforts, this is just my two cents worth.

                          --- In hreg@yahoogroups. com, "Kevin Conlin" <kconlin@... > wrote:

                          >
                          > Hi Folks, Mr. Solar Curmudgeon here, I'm intrigued by the concept
                          of
                          > building your own solar modules (I am assuming you're talking about
                          PV), but
                          > having built over 125,000 custom solar modules in my career, I'm
                          familiar
                          > with the technical issues, longevity issues, degradation and
                          performance
                          > issues, and I can honestly say that it is extremely difficult for
                          anyone
                          > without the proper equipment to build a PV module that will last a
                          minimum
                          > of 30 years under all kinds of weather conditions.
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > It's also hard for me to believe you can do it cheaper than the PV
                          > companies, all things considered. I'll be happy to share what I
                          know with
                          > you and how to overcome the problems if you'd care to share your
                          ideas.
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > Best Regards, Kevin
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > ____________ _________ ___
                          >
                          > Kevin Conlin
                          >
                          > Solarcraft, Inc.
                          >
                          > 4007 C Greenbriar
                          >
                          > Stafford, TX 77477-4536
                          >
                          > Local (281) 340-1224
                          >
                          > Toll Free (877) 340-1224
                          >
                          > Fax 281 340 1230
                          >
                          > kconlin@...
                          >
                          > www.solarcraft. net <http://www.solarcra ft.net/>
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > Please make a note of our new contact information above.
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > _____
                          >
                          > From: Susan Modikoane [mailto:suemodikoan e@...]
                          > Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 8:09 PM
                          > To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
                          > Subject: Re: [hreg] Building Solar Panels at home.
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > That would be a cool class to teach us how to build solar panels.
                          You could
                          > probably cover your costs.
                          >
                          > kayouker <keithyouker@ ...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Hello, I'm new to this group and was interested in finding if
                          anyone
                          > else out there is building their own solar or wind power. I started
                          > about 4 months ago when our electric bill reached $300 for a month
                          and
                          > decided we needed to make some changes on that front. I have since
                          > changed to compact fluorescent (and LED when appropriate) and other
                          > efficiency changes and have begun building my own solar panels of
                          which
                          > I now have 4 built and online and this last month my electric bill
                          was
                          > under $70. So far I'm impressed as I have a family of six so there
                          is
                          > only so much we can cut back or conserve. I have the materials for
                          > building another 12 panels and would like to talk with someone
                          about
                          > design changes that might increase efficiency/output and other
                          > technical details. I'm sure there must be others out there with a
                          > similar approach to becoming self-sufficient on a budget. To date I
                          > have spent $2600 total on all my improvements and materials. Thanks
                          for
                          > any input. Keith
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > _____
                          >
                          > Everyone is raving about the
                          >
                          <http://us.rd. yahoo.com/ evt=42297/ *http:/advision. webevents. yahoo.com/
                          mailbe
                          > ta> all-new Yahoo! Mail beta.
                          >

                        • kayouker
                          You are correct in that I was comparing Apples and Oranges with peak summer vs winter electric in my solar project. I don t have years or years or even months
                          Message 12 of 29 , Feb 7, 2007
                            You are correct in that I was comparing Apples and Oranges with peak
                            summer vs winter electric in my solar project. I don't have years or
                            years or even months of data, however I can say that last December my
                            usage was over 1200 kWh and this year it was under 600 kWh with a one
                            degree difference in average Houston temperature. I still have
                            children at home the same as last year and while they are learning
                            conservation and turning lights out more often, they still watch
                            Cable TV, play on the PlayStation 3 etc. etc. On a personal level,
                            that is a 50% reduction in one home without major remodeling or cost
                            outlay. Did my solar panels "only" account for that drop? No, but
                            the mentality of conservation and realization of energy production vs
                            usage which goes into a solar system did. My guess is that even
                            people who have a solar water heater installed not only save due to
                            decreased cost of heating water, but in the process I'll bet they
                            have turned down the temperature a few degrees and are more
                            conservtive in their usage of that same water. I disagree with the
                            37 year payback because as mentioned I already have the materials to
                            build a total of 16 panels (about a 2 Kwh system) not just the 4 I
                            have completed and installed. Averaged out the materials used in each
                            panel are around $100 as opposed to a $600-$800 commercial panel. The
                            rest of my investment was for the wiring, invertors, compact
                            fluorescent etc. It is likely that down the road I will invest in
                            commercial panels to add to my initial system, but I will be much
                            more knowledgable and effective with those panels.
                            In the whole scheme of things, my few panels have about as much
                            impact as my voting each November. If everyone realized that their
                            ONE vote does count, there would be a landslide effect.

                            --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, Roy Holder <roy@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > At 08:31 AM 2/7/2007 -0600, you wrote:
                            > > Greetings,
                            > > Sorry, but it is possible to get the inverter etc for far less
                            than
                            > > $2000. People buy them and don't know what to do with them,
                            hubbies
                            > > loose them in divorces to wifes that have no use for them etc.
                            Search
                            > > ebay and garage sales, you would be amazed at what is out there.
                            I
                            > > bought a slightly used, 2500 watt inverter/battery conditioner
                            for $100.
                            > > It came complete with all the books.
                            >
                            > You can also get items that are damaged or have
                            intermittant 'episodes'.
                            > You of course have to ba careful when buying things off ebay.
                            >
                            > >
                            > > For many people, a thirty year life span is not a consideration.
                            If you
                            > > are already 70, how long does the thing need to last? How many
                            people
                            > > at that age have the ability to pay for a 'real' system?
                            >
                            > The thing needs to last long enough to at least repay the energy
                            and effort
                            > that went into making it. Even if you are 70 you should not plan
                            to burden
                            > future generations with wasteful energy practices.
                            > The embodied energy in the solar panels is nearly identical if they
                            last 30
                            > years or 5, the difference being the quality and experience of the
                            person
                            > assembling the panel.
                            > The 400 watt panels would not likely generate more that $70 a year
                            in
                            > electricity.
                            > Simple payback is more than 37 years.
                            > It is very important to get a long life out of these things. Not to
                            do so
                            > is a waste of money and energy, even for a DIY situation.
                            > Never fear, all is not lost, kayouker has the basics of a system
                            that
                            > should be expandable for fewer $ per watt. This will allow the
                            simple
                            > payback to be reduced to reasonable levels.
                            >
                            > The $300 electric bill was for summer peak, winter low(last month)
                            would
                            > naturally be lower(not always - some structures consume more
                            electricity in
                            > winter than summer). Kayouker should check last years winter bill
                            to
                            > compare savings, not summer vs. winter, and average several months
                            to
                            > minimize weather anomalies.
                            >
                            > >
                            > > I for one am very glad to see more DIY on this list, we need it.
                            Keep
                            > > up the good work.
                            > >
                            > > Bright Blessings,
                            > > Kim
                            > >
                            > > jmiggins wrote:
                            > >> Solar panels are only one part of an energy system, you will
                            need
                            > >> batteries or grid tie electronics. charge controllers,
                            Inverters,
                            > >> fusing, racks etc.. these are minimum of $2000.
                            > >> the cost of $2600 for four panels that reduces the electric bill
                            from
                            > >> $300 to $70 is not realistic. Solar panels are the largest cost
                            so if
                            > >> you can reduce this cost then that is good progress, I commend
                            you for
                            > >> your ingenuity.
                            > >>
                            > >
                            >
                          • Rob Rowland
                            Please contact me off-line. I am interested in talking to you about the panels you built. Regards, Rob Rowland rrowland1@houston.rr.com ... From: kayouker To:
                            Message 13 of 29 , Feb 7, 2007
                              Please contact me off-line.  I am interested in talking to you about the panels you built.
                               
                              Regards,
                               
                              Rob Rowland
                               
                              ----- Original Message -----
                              From: kayouker
                              Sent: Wednesday, February 07, 2007 8:23 AM
                              Subject: [hreg] Re: Building Solar Panels at home.

                              Hello Kevin, you may recall I visited your business about 4 months
                              ago and I appreciated the tour and discussion. You gave me a figure
                              however of $60,000 for the polyvoltaic panels alone which you looked
                              up online since you don't actually "build" PV but assemble the other
                              components as I understand it. I asked you about how I could "do it
                              yourself" and the response was not positive. I am using the more
                              efficient monocrystaline cells which I purchased as raw wafers. They
                              work although I would put them at about 80% of theoretical output and
                              the finished panels power several rooms in my home. Will my panels
                              last 30 years? Probably not. Will they handle all weather
                              conditions? Probably not. But considering payback is in years and
                              not decades they don't have to. Besides, since I built them I can
                              repair them also. I am not putting down your company as you are
                              making systems for specialized conditions such as stand-alone
                              offshore oil rigs, very harsh conditions. Houston needs more PV
                              companies such as yours as there are currently only two in this huge
                              city and the "other company" wouldn't even talk to a homeowner only
                              business entities. It seems to me that many people would like to
                              have some solar PV maybe to just run their garage or workshop or a
                              few lights in their home. This may not seem like much but if 5% of
                              the US population operated one solar panel in their home it would
                              likely produce more than one nuclear power plant. The other part of
                              the equation is that once people think about energy and install that
                              one panel, they will make other changes in their home and lifestyle
                              that would make an even bigger impact than the solar panel itself.
                              In my case this was true as my first panel powered a regular light
                              bulb. Big deal. When I changed to compact fluorescent it now
                              powered 6. Adding motion sensors that turned off unused lights so
                              they were on much less, it increased this to 10. Now I even find
                              myself looking for "phantom loads" and reading box labels for "WATTS"
                              rather than choosing a product by color or lowest price. So it is
                              not necessarily the output of the panels themselves that have made
                              the biggest impact and it has turned out to be economically feasible
                              for someone like myself with a modest income. Keith

                              Thanks again for your tour and please don't take this as a negative
                              response for your company or efforts, this is just my two cents worth.

                              --- In hreg@yahoogroups. com, "Kevin Conlin" <kconlin@... > wrote:
                              >
                              > Hi Folks, Mr. Solar Curmudgeon here, I'm intrigued by the concept
                              of
                              > building your own solar modules (I am assuming you're talking about
                              PV), but
                              > having built over 125,000 custom solar modules in my career, I'm
                              familiar
                              > with the technical issues, longevity issues, degradation and
                              performance
                              > issues, and I can honestly say that it is extremely difficult for
                              anyone
                              > without the proper equipment to build a PV module that will last a
                              minimum
                              > of 30 years under all kinds of weather conditions.
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > It's also hard for me to believe you can do it cheaper than the PV
                              > companies, all things considered. I'll be happy to share what I
                              know with
                              > you and how to overcome the problems if you'd care to share your
                              ideas.
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > Best Regards, Kevin
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > ____________ _________ ___
                              >
                              > Kevin Conlin
                              >
                              > Solarcraft, Inc.
                              >
                              > 4007 C Greenbriar
                              >
                              > Stafford, TX 77477-4536
                              >
                              > Local (281) 340-1224
                              >
                              > Toll Free (877) 340-1224
                              >
                              > Fax 281 340 1230
                              >
                              > kconlin@...
                              >
                              > www.solarcraft. net <http://www.solarcra ft.net/>
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > Please make a note of our new contact information above.
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > _____
                              >
                              > From: Susan Modikoane [mailto:suemodikoan e@...]
                              > Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 8:09 PM
                              > To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
                              > Subject: Re: [hreg] Building Solar Panels at home.
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > That would be a cool class to teach us how to build solar panels.
                              You could
                              > probably cover your costs.
                              >
                              > kayouker <keithyouker@ ...> wrote:
                              >
                              > Hello, I'm new to this group and was interested in finding if
                              anyone
                              > else out there is building their own solar or wind power. I started
                              > about 4 months ago when our electric bill reached $300 for a month
                              and
                              > decided we needed to make some changes on that front. I have since
                              > changed to compact fluorescent (and LED when appropriate) and other
                              > efficiency changes and have begun building my own solar panels of
                              which
                              > I now have 4 built and online and this last month my electric bill
                              was
                              > under $70. So far I'm impressed as I have a family of six so there
                              is
                              > only so much we can cut back or conserve. I have the materials for
                              > building another 12 panels and would like to talk with someone
                              about
                              > design changes that might increase efficiency/output and other
                              > technical details. I'm sure there must be others out there with a
                              > similar approach to becoming self-sufficient on a budget. To date I
                              > have spent $2600 total on all my improvements and materials. Thanks
                              for
                              > any input. Keith
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > _____
                              >
                              > Everyone is raving about the
                              >
                              <http://us.rd. yahoo.com/ evt=42297/ *http:/advision. webevents. yahoo.com/
                              mailbe
                              > ta> all-new Yahoo! Mail beta.
                              >

                            • Michael Ewert
                              Keith, Yours is an awesome story. Thanks for the inspiration. I think many of us would be interested to know how you sealed your PV cells? Under glass? What
                              Message 14 of 29 , Feb 7, 2007

                                Keith,

                                Yours is an awesome story. Thanks for the inspiration.  I think many of us would be interested to know how you sealed your PV cells?  Under glass?  What kind of frame, caulk, etc.

                                Mike

                                 


                                From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto: hreg@yahoogroups.com ] On Behalf Of kayouker
                                Sent: Wednesday, February 07, 2007 8:23 AM
                                To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                                Subject: [hreg] Re: Building Solar Panels at home.

                                 

                                Hello Kevin, you may recall I visited your business about 4 months
                                ago and I appreciated the tour and discussion. You gave me a figure
                                however of $60,000 for the polyvoltaic panels alone which you looked
                                up online since you don't actually "build" PV but assemble the other
                                components as I understand it. I asked you about how I could "do it
                                yourself" and the response was not positive. I am using the more
                                efficient monocrystaline cells which I purchased as raw wafers. They
                                work although I would put them at about 80% of theoretical output and
                                the finished panels power several rooms in my home. Will my panels
                                last 30 years? Probably not. Will they handle all weather
                                conditions? Probably not. But considering payback is in years and
                                not decades they don't have to. Besides, since I built them I can
                                repair them also. I am not putting down your company as you are
                                making systems for specialized conditions such as stand-alone
                                offshore oil rigs, very harsh conditions. Houston needs more PV
                                companies such as yours as there are currently only two in this huge
                                city and the "other company" wouldn't even talk to a homeowner only
                                business entities. It seems to me that many people would like to
                                have some solar PV maybe to just run their garage or workshop or a
                                few lights in their home. This may not seem like much but if 5% of
                                the US population operated one solar panel in their home it would
                                likely produce more than one nuclear power plant. The other part of
                                the equation is that once people think about energy and install that
                                one panel, they will make other changes in their home and lifestyle
                                that would make an even bigger impact than the solar panel itself.
                                In my case this was true as my first panel powered a regular light
                                bulb. Big deal. When I changed to compact fluorescent it now
                                powered 6. Adding motion sensors that turned off unused lights so
                                they were on much less, it increased this to 10. Now I even find
                                myself looking for "phantom loads" and reading box labels for " WATTS "
                                rather than choosing a product by color or lowest price. So it is
                                not necessarily the output of the panels themselves that have made
                                the biggest impact and it has turned out to be economically feasible
                                for someone like myself with a modest income. Keith

                                Thanks again for your tour and please don't take this as a negative
                                response for your company or efforts, this is just my two cents worth.

                                --- In hreg@yahoogroups. com, "Kevin Conlin" <kconlin@... > wrote:

                                >
                                > Hi Folks, Mr. Solar Curmudgeon here, I'm intrigued by the concept
                                of
                                > building your own solar modules (I am assuming you're talking about
                                PV), but
                                > having built over 125,000 custom solar modules in my career, I'm
                                familiar
                                > with the technical issues, longevity issues, degradation and
                                performance
                                > issues, and I can honestly say that it is extremely difficult for
                                anyone
                                > without the proper equipment to build a PV module that will last a
                                minimum
                                > of 30 years under all kinds of weather conditions.
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > It's also hard for me to believe you can do it cheaper than the PV
                                > companies, all things considered. I'll be happy to share what I
                                know with
                                > you and how to overcome the problems if you'd care to share your
                                ideas.
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > Best Regards, Kevin
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > ____________ _________ ___
                                >
                                > Kevin Conlin
                                >
                                > Solarcraft, Inc.
                                >
                                > 4007 C Greenbriar
                                >
                                > Stafford ,
                                w:st="on">TX 77477-4536
                                >
                                > Local (281) 340-1224
                                >
                                > Toll Free (877) 340-1224
                                >
                                > Fax 281 340 1230
                                >
                                > kconlin@...
                                >
                                > www.solarcraft. net <http://www.solarcra ft.net/>
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > Please make a note of our new contact information above.
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > _____
                                >
                                > From: Susan Modikoane [mailto:suemodikoan e@...]
                                > Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 8:09 PM
                                > To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
                                > Subject: Re: [hreg] Building Solar Panels at home.
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > That would be a cool class to teach us how to build solar panels.
                                You could
                                > probably cover your costs.
                                >
                                > kayouker <keithyouker@ ...> wrote:
                                >
                                > Hello, I'm new to this group and was interested in finding if
                                anyone
                                > else out there is building their own solar or wind power. I started
                                > about 4 months ago when our electric bill reached $300 for a month
                                and
                                > decided we needed to make some changes on that front. I have since
                                > changed to compact fluorescent (and LED when appropriate) and other
                                > efficiency changes and have begun building my own solar panels of
                                which
                                > I now have 4 built and online and this last month my electric bill
                                was
                                > under $70. So far I'm impressed as I have a family of six so there
                                is
                                > only so much we can cut back or conserve. I have the materials for
                                > building another 12 panels and would like to talk with someone
                                about
                                > design changes that might increase efficiency/output and other
                                > technical details. I'm sure there must be others out there with a
                                > similar approach to becoming self-sufficient on a budget. To date I
                                > have spent $2600 total on all my improvements and materials. Thanks
                                for
                                > any input. Keith
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                > _____
                                >
                                > Everyone is raving about the
                                >
                                <http://us.rd. yahoo.com/ evt=42297/ *http:/advision. webevents. yahoo.com/
                                mailbe
                                > ta> all-new Yahoo! Mail beta.
                                >

                              • Susan Modikoane
                                I d like to have a class at one of the meetings or at least a talk by Keith. It may be we will get to the point where we cannot wait until we can afford
                                Message 15 of 29 , Feb 7, 2007
                                  I'd like to have a class at one of the meetings or at least a talk by Keith.  It may be we will get to the point where we cannot wait until we can afford commercial panels.

                                  Michael Ewert <mewert@...> wrote:
                                  Keith,
                                  Yours is an awesome story. Thanks for the inspiration.  I think many of us would be interested to know how you sealed your PV cells?  Under glass?  What kind of frame, caulk, etc.
                                  Mike

                                  From: hreg@yahoogroups. com [mailto: hreg@yahoogroups. com ] On Behalf Of kayouker
                                  Sent: Wednesday, February 07, 2007 8:23 AM
                                  To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
                                  Subject: [hreg] Re: Building Solar Panels at home.
                                  Hello Kevin, you may recall I visited your business about 4 months
                                  ago and I appreciated the tour and discussion. You gave me a figure
                                  however of $60,000 for the polyvoltaic panels alone which you looked
                                  up online since you don't actually "build" PV but assemble the other
                                  components as I understand it. I asked you about how I could "do it
                                  yourself" and the response was not positive. I am using the more
                                  efficient monocrystaline cells which I purchased as raw wafers. They
                                  work although I would put them at about 80% of theoretical output and
                                  the finished panels power several rooms in my home. Will my panels
                                  last 30 years? Probably not. Will they handle all weather
                                  conditions? Probably not. But considering payback is in years and
                                  not decades they don't have to. Besides, since I built them I can
                                  repair them also. I am not putting down your company as you are
                                  making systems for specialized conditions such as stand-alone
                                  offshore oil rigs, very harsh conditions. Houston needs more PV
                                  companies such as yours as there are currently only two in this huge
                                  city and the "other company" wouldn't even talk to a homeowner only
                                  business entities. It seems to me that many people would like to
                                  have some solar PV maybe to just run their garage or workshop or a
                                  few lights in their home. This may not seem like much but if 5% of
                                  the US population operated one solar panel in their home it would
                                  likely produce more than one nuclear power plant. The other part of
                                  the equation is that once people think about energy and install that
                                  one panel, they will make other changes in their home and lifestyle
                                  that would make an even bigger impact than the solar panel itself.
                                  In my case this was true as my first panel powered a regular light
                                  bulb. Big deal. When I changed to compact fluorescent it now
                                  powered 6. Adding motion sensors that turned off unused lights so
                                  they were on much less, it increased this to 10. Now I even find
                                  myself looking for "phantom loads" and reading box labels for " WATTS "
                                  rather than choosing a product by color or lowest price. So it is
                                  not necessarily the output of the panels themselves that have made
                                  the biggest impact and it has turned out to be economically feasible
                                  for someone like myself with a modest income. Keith

                                  Thanks again for your tour and please don't take this as a negative
                                  response for your company or efforts, this is just my two cents worth.

                                  --- In hreg@yahoogroups. com, "Kevin Conlin" <kconlin@... > wrote:
                                  >
                                  > Hi Folks, Mr. Solar Curmudgeon here, I'm intrigued by the concept
                                  of
                                  > building your own solar modules (I am assuming you're talking about
                                  PV), but
                                  > having built over 125,000 custom solar modules in my career, I'm
                                  familiar
                                  > with the technical issues, longevity issues, degradation and
                                  performance
                                  > issues, and I can honestly say that it is extremely difficult for
                                  anyone
                                  > without the proper equipment to build a PV module that will last a
                                  minimum
                                  > of 30 years under all kinds of weather conditions.
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > It's also hard for me to believe you can do it cheaper than the PV
                                  > companies, all things considered. I'll be happy to share what I
                                  know with
                                  > you and how to overcome the problems if you'd care to share your
                                  ideas.
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > Best Regards, Kevin
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > ____________ _________ ___
                                  >
                                  > Kevin Conlin
                                  >
                                  > Solarcraft, Inc.
                                  >
                                  > 4007 C Greenbriar
                                  >
                                  > Stafford , TX 77477-4536
                                  >
                                  > Local (281) 340-1224
                                  >
                                  > Toll Free (877) 340-1224
                                  >
                                  > Fax 281 340 1230
                                  >
                                  > kconlin@...
                                  >
                                  > www.solarcraft. net <http://www.solarcra ft.net/>
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > Please make a note of our new contact information above.
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > _____
                                  >
                                  > From: Susan Modikoane [mailto:suemodikoan e@...]
                                  > Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 8:09 PM
                                  > To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
                                  > Subject: Re: [hreg] Building Solar Panels at home.
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > That would be a cool class to teach us how to build solar panels.
                                  You could
                                  > probably cover your costs.
                                  >
                                  > kayouker <keithyouker@ ...> wrote:
                                  >
                                  > Hello, I'm new to this group and was interested in finding if
                                  anyone
                                  > else out there is building their own solar or wind power. I started
                                  > about 4 months ago when our electric bill reached $300 for a month
                                  and
                                  > decided we needed to make some changes on that front. I have since
                                  > changed to compact fluorescent (and LED when appropriate) and other
                                  > efficiency changes and have begun building my own solar panels of
                                  which
                                  > I now have 4 built and online and this last month my electric bill
                                  was
                                  > under $70. So far I'm impressed as I have a family of six so there
                                  is
                                  > only so much we can cut back or conserve. I have the materials for
                                  > building another 12 panels and would like to talk with someone
                                  about
                                  > design changes that might increase efficiency/output and other
                                  > technical details. I'm sure there must be others out there with a
                                  > similar approach to becoming self-sufficient on a budget. To date I
                                  > have spent $2600 total on all my improvements and materials. Thanks
                                  for
                                  > any input. Keith
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > _____
                                  >
                                  > Everyone is raving about the
                                  >
                                  <http://us.rd. yahoo.com/ evt=42297/ *http:/advision. webevents. yahoo.com/
                                  mailbe
                                  > ta> all-new Yahoo! Mail beta.
                                  >


                                  Sucker-punch spam with award-winning protection.
                                  Try the free Yahoo! Mail Beta.

                                • kayouker
                                  I m not an expert and am not ready to teach how to make a solar panel as I joined this board to get ideas of how to improve my own panels. In my case I was
                                  Message 16 of 29 , Feb 8, 2007
                                    I'm not an expert and am not ready to teach how to make a solar panel
                                    as I joined this board to get ideas of how to improve my own panels.
                                    In my case I was able to purchase monocrystaline cells for about 50
                                    cents per watt. I then solder bus wire between the cells (2 per cell
                                    so that all connections are doubled in case of a single connection
                                    failure) and lay them out on a piece of glass. Belive it or not, the
                                    most expensive part of the panel is the glass. I'm using double-
                                    strength glass and lay a sheet of plastic window screen between the
                                    cells and the bottom glass so the cells don't actually touch the
                                    glass. To space the two pieces of glass so they don't lay directly
                                    on the cells I use poker chips. Yes, I said poker chips, as they
                                    allowed me to change the spacing easily to obtain the desired final
                                    thickness. The chips and the glass are then glued with an epoxy to
                                    make a giant wafer/panel. I then seal all the way around generously
                                    with caulk (20 year clear silicon). I then stop at my local Home
                                    Depot and buy aluminum channel which is then notched and bent to make
                                    a frame to protect the edges. This is glued in place and then sealed
                                    again with caulk around all edges. It takes one afternoon to build a
                                    panel. I've mounted them free-standing in my backyard on homemade
                                    steel frames that are attached to a pipe which runs through eye-bolts
                                    in 4x4 posts. This allows them to swivel and can be easily taken
                                    down should a hurricane etc pop up or when I move. They actually
                                    look pretty cool too in my opinion. I embarked on this project as
                                    there really is no help out there in Houston even for simple mounting
                                    and connections etc. Even if you bought commercial panels unless you
                                    spent $$$$$ you can't get them mounted or connected and nobody will
                                    even talk to you unless you are purchasing an entire system. This
                                    design allows me flexibility, portability and I can always repair
                                    them myself if need be. As I told my wife when I built the first
                                    one, if it doesn't work, I'm out $100 give or take and missed a
                                    couple football games on TV. The truth is, it was worth $100 the
                                    first time I put an LED light on the wires and it lit up from the
                                    energy emitted from my dining room lights (yes, my panel workshop is
                                    the dining room table). It was worth even more when I took it
                                    outside in the sun and it powered a small fan. Yes, I do get excited
                                    easily. Keith

                                    Now for the problems encountered and where advice from others would
                                    be helpful. I don't like using glass, as long as I'm careful it
                                    doesn't matter but glass may eventually break. I could use an
                                    aluminum back plate but that doesn't help the front and the aluminum
                                    cost much more. Plate glass or safety glass is too expensive and
                                    very heavy, and plexiglass is also very expensive although I may have
                                    to change to this anyway. I also had a problem with moisture sealed
                                    into one panel (it was a humid day). I drilled a hole in the side
                                    and filled it completely with mineral oil which drove out all the air
                                    and moisture and did not seem to effect the optical properties. What
                                    I am currently exploring is to find a clear plastic polymer or resin
                                    which hardens that could be poured inside between the glass to
                                    completely seal everything and thereby embed the cells and
                                    connections inside. If done properly I may even be able to remove
                                    the glass (or maybe re-useable aluminum form) and have a solid panel
                                    that would last 30 years, no glass and therfore also reduced cost. If
                                    it flowed well, it could even be poured on top without the top glass
                                    and allowed to set and harden. Now to find this resin at an
                                    affordable price. My oldest panel at the moment is 4 months and it
                                    is as good as the day I made it but I still need to refine my
                                    process/materials. The point is that it can be done and
                                    inexpensively and in my case in one Saturday afternoon per panel.
                                    Ok, I'm ready for the emails from manufacturers on how much better
                                    their panels are and at only 6-8 times the cost, excluding postage
                                    and handling of course. Keith

                                    --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, Susan Modikoane <suemodikoane@...> wrote:
                                    >
                                    > I'd like to have a class at one of the meetings or at least a talk
                                    by Keith. It may be we will get to the point where we cannot wait
                                    until we can afford commercial panels.
                                    >
                                    > Michael Ewert <mewert@...> wrote: Keith,
                                    > Yours is an awesome story. Thanks for the inspiration. I think
                                    many of us would be interested to know how you sealed your PV cells?
                                    Under glass? What kind of frame, caulk, etc.
                                    > Mike
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > ---------------------------------
                                    >
                                    > From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com] On
                                    Behalf Of kayouker
                                    > Sent: Wednesday, February 07, 2007 8:23 AM
                                    > To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                                    > Subject: [hreg] Re: Building Solar Panels at home.
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > Hello Kevin, you may recall I visited your business about 4
                                    months
                                    > ago and I appreciated the tour and discussion. You gave me a figure
                                    > however of $60,000 for the polyvoltaic panels alone which you
                                    looked
                                    > up online since you don't actually "build" PV but assemble the
                                    other
                                    > components as I understand it. I asked you about how I could "do it
                                    > yourself" and the response was not positive. I am using the more
                                    > efficient monocrystaline cells which I purchased as raw wafers.
                                    They
                                    > work although I would put them at about 80% of theoretical output
                                    and
                                    > the finished panels power several rooms in my home. Will my panels
                                    > last 30 years? Probably not. Will they handle all weather
                                    > conditions? Probably not. But considering payback is in years and
                                    > not decades they don't have to. Besides, since I built them I can
                                    > repair them also. I am not putting down your company as you are
                                    > making systems for specialized conditions such as stand-alone
                                    > offshore oil rigs, very harsh conditions. Houston needs more PV
                                    > companies such as yours as there are currently only two in this
                                    huge
                                    > city and the "other company" wouldn't even talk to a homeowner only
                                    > business entities. It seems to me that many people would like to
                                    > have some solar PV maybe to just run their garage or workshop or a
                                    > few lights in their home. This may not seem like much but if 5% of
                                    > the US population operated one solar panel in their home it would
                                    > likely produce more than one nuclear power plant. The other part of
                                    > the equation is that once people think about energy and install
                                    that
                                    > one panel, they will make other changes in their home and lifestyle
                                    > that would make an even bigger impact than the solar panel itself.
                                    > In my case this was true as my first panel powered a regular light
                                    > bulb. Big deal. When I changed to compact fluorescent it now
                                    > powered 6. Adding motion sensors that turned off unused lights so
                                    > they were on much less, it increased this to 10. Now I even find
                                    > myself looking for "phantom loads" and reading box labels
                                    for "WATTS"
                                    > rather than choosing a product by color or lowest price. So it is
                                    > not necessarily the output of the panels themselves that have made
                                    > the biggest impact and it has turned out to be economically
                                    feasible
                                    > for someone like myself with a modest income. Keith
                                    >
                                    > Thanks again for your tour and please don't take this as a negative
                                    > response for your company or efforts, this is just my two cents
                                    worth.
                                    >
                                    > --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, "Kevin Conlin" <kconlin@> wrote:
                                    > >
                                    > > Hi Folks, Mr. Solar Curmudgeon here, I'm intrigued by the concept
                                    > of
                                    > > building your own solar modules (I am assuming you're talking
                                    about
                                    > PV), but
                                    > > having built over 125,000 custom solar modules in my career, I'm
                                    > familiar
                                    > > with the technical issues, longevity issues, degradation and
                                    > performance
                                    > > issues, and I can honestly say that it is extremely difficult for
                                    > anyone
                                    > > without the proper equipment to build a PV module that will last
                                    a
                                    > minimum
                                    > > of 30 years under all kinds of weather conditions.
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > > It's also hard for me to believe you can do it cheaper than the PV
                                    > > companies, all things considered. I'll be happy to share what I
                                    > know with
                                    > > you and how to overcome the problems if you'd care to share your
                                    > ideas.
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > > Best Regards, Kevin
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > > ________________________
                                    > >
                                    > > Kevin Conlin
                                    > >
                                    > > Solarcraft, Inc.
                                    > >
                                    > > 4007 C Greenbriar
                                    > >
                                    > > Stafford, TX 77477-4536
                                    > >
                                    > > Local (281) 340-1224
                                    > >
                                    > > Toll Free (877) 340-1224
                                    > >
                                    > > Fax 281 340 1230
                                    > >
                                    > > kconlin@
                                    > >
                                    > > www.solarcraft.net <http://www.solarcraft.net/>
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > > Please make a note of our new contact information above.
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > > _____
                                    > >
                                    > > From: Susan Modikoane [mailto:suemodikoane@]
                                    > > Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 8:09 PM
                                    > > To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                                    > > Subject: Re: [hreg] Building Solar Panels at home.
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > > That would be a cool class to teach us how to build solar panels.
                                    > You could
                                    > > probably cover your costs.
                                    > >
                                    > > kayouker <keithyouker@> wrote:
                                    > >
                                    > > Hello, I'm new to this group and was interested in finding if
                                    > anyone
                                    > > else out there is building their own solar or wind power. I
                                    started
                                    > > about 4 months ago when our electric bill reached $300 for a
                                    month
                                    > and
                                    > > decided we needed to make some changes on that front. I have
                                    since
                                    > > changed to compact fluorescent (and LED when appropriate) and
                                    other
                                    > > efficiency changes and have begun building my own solar panels of
                                    > which
                                    > > I now have 4 built and online and this last month my electric
                                    bill
                                    > was
                                    > > under $70. So far I'm impressed as I have a family of six so
                                    there
                                    > is
                                    > > only so much we can cut back or conserve. I have the materials
                                    for
                                    > > building another 12 panels and would like to talk with someone
                                    > about
                                    > > design changes that might increase efficiency/output and other
                                    > > technical details. I'm sure there must be others out there with a
                                    > > similar approach to becoming self-sufficient on a budget. To date
                                    I
                                    > > have spent $2600 total on all my improvements and materials.
                                    Thanks
                                    > for
                                    > > any input. Keith
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > > _____
                                    > >
                                    > > Everyone is raving about the
                                    > >
                                    >
                                    <http://us.rd.yahoo.com/evt=42297/*http:/advision.webevents.yahoo.com/
                                    > mailbe
                                    > > ta> all-new Yahoo! Mail beta.
                                    > >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > ---------------------------------
                                    > Sucker-punch spam with award-winning protection.
                                    > Try the free Yahoo! Mail Beta.
                                    >
                                  • Andrew McCalla
                                    Keith, Can you post a picture or two for us of the finished product? Andrew H. McCalla NABCEP Certified Solar PV System Installer (TM) Meridian Energy Systems
                                    Message 17 of 29 , Feb 8, 2007

                                      Keith,

                                       

                                      Can you post a picture or two for us of the finished product?

                                       

                                      Andrew H. McCalla

                                      NABCEP Certified Solar PV System Installer (TM)

                                       

                                      Meridian Energy Systems

                                      2300 S. Lamar, Ste. 107

                                      Austin, TX   78704

                                       

                                      Voice: (512) 448-0055

                                      Fax:    (512) 448-0045

                                      www.meridiansolar.com

                                       


                                      From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto: hreg@yahoogroups.com ] On Behalf Of kayouker
                                      Sent: Thursday, February 08, 2007 9:04 AM
                                      To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                                      Subject: [hreg] Re: Building Solar Panels at home.

                                       

                                      I'm not an expert and am not ready to teach how to make a solar panel
                                      as I joined this board to get ideas of how to improve my own panels.
                                      In my case I was able to purchase monocrystaline cells for about 50
                                      cents per watt. I then solder bus wire between the cells (2 per cell
                                      so that all connections are doubled in case of a single connection
                                      failure) and lay them out on a piece of glass. Belive it or not, the
                                      most expensive part of the panel is the glass. I'm using double-
                                      strength glass and lay a sheet of plastic window screen between the
                                      cells and the bottom glass so the cells don't actually touch the
                                      glass. To space the two pieces of glass so they don't lay directly
                                      on the cells I use poker chips. Yes, I said poker chips, as they
                                      allowed me to change the spacing easily to obtain the desired final
                                      thickness. The chips and the glass are then glued with an epoxy to
                                      make a giant wafer/panel. I then seal all the way around generously
                                      with caulk (20 year clear silicon). I then stop at my local Home
                                      Depot and buy aluminum channel which is then notched and bent to make
                                      a frame to protect the edges. This is glued in place and then sealed
                                      again with caulk around all edges. It takes one afternoon to build a
                                      panel. I've mounted them free-standing in my backyard on homemade
                                      steel frames that are attached to a pipe which runs through eye-bolts
                                      in 4x4 posts. This allows them to swivel and can be easily taken
                                      down should a hurricane etc pop up or when I move. They actually
                                      look pretty cool too in my opinion. I embarked on this project as
                                      there really is no help out there in Houston even for simple mounting
                                      and connections etc. Even if you bought commercial panels unless you
                                      spent $$$$$ you can't get them mounted or connected and nobody will
                                      even talk to you unless you are purchasing an entire system. This
                                      design allows me flexibility, portability and I can always repair
                                      them myself if need be. As I told my wife when I built the first
                                      one, if it doesn't work, I'm out $100 give or take and missed a
                                      couple football games on TV. The truth is, it was worth $100 the
                                      first time I put an LED light on the wires and it lit up from the
                                      energy emitted from my dining room lights (yes, my panel workshop is
                                      the dining room table). It was worth even more when I took it
                                      outside in the sun and it powered a small fan. Yes, I do get excited
                                      easily. Keith

                                      Now for the problems encountered and where advice from others would
                                      be helpful. I don't like using glass, as long as I'm careful it
                                      doesn't matter but glass may eventually break. I could use an
                                      aluminum back plate but that doesn't help the front and the aluminum
                                      cost much more. Plate glass or safety glass is too expensive and
                                      very heavy, and plexiglass is also very expensive although I may have
                                      to change to this anyway. I also had a problem with moisture sealed
                                      into one panel (it was a humid day). I drilled a hole in the side
                                      and filled it completely with mineral oil which drove out all the air
                                      and moisture and did not seem to effect the optical properties. What
                                      I am currently exploring is to find a clear plastic polymer or resin
                                      which hardens that could be poured inside between the glass to
                                      completely seal everything and thereby embed the cells and
                                      connections inside. If done properly I may even be able to remove
                                      the glass (or maybe re-useable aluminum form) and have a solid panel
                                      that would last 30 years, no glass and therfore also reduced cost. If
                                      it flowed well, it could even be poured on top without the top glass
                                      and allowed to set and harden. Now to find this resin at an
                                      affordable price. My oldest panel at the moment is 4 months and it
                                      is as good as the day I made it but I still need to refine my
                                      process/materials. The point is that it can be done and
                                      inexpensively and in my case in one Saturday afternoon per panel.
                                      Ok, I'm ready for the emails from manufacturers on how much better
                                      their panels are and at only 6-8 times the cost, excluding postage
                                      and handling of course. Keith

                                      --- In hreg@yahoogroups. com, Susan Modikoane <suemodikoane@ ...> wrote:

                                      >
                                      > I'd like to have a class at one of the meetings or at least a talk
                                      by Keith. It may be we will get to the point where we cannot wait
                                      until we can afford commercial panels.
                                      >
                                      > Michael Ewert <mewert@...> wrote: Keith,
                                      > Yours is an awesome story. Thanks for the inspiration. I think
                                      many of us would be interested to know how you sealed your PV cells?
                                      Under glass? What kind of frame, caulk, etc.
                                      > Mike
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > ------------ --------- --------- ---
                                      >
                                      > From: hreg@yahoogroups. com
                                      [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups. com] On
                                      Behalf Of kayouker
                                      > Sent: Wednesday, February 07, 2007 8:23 AM
                                      > To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
                                      > Subject: [hreg] Re: Building Solar Panels at home.
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > Hello Kevin, you may recall I visited your business about 4
                                      months
                                      > ago and I appreciated the tour and discussion. You gave me a figure
                                      > however of $60,000 for the polyvoltaic panels alone which you
                                      looked
                                      > up online since you don't actually "build" PV but assemble the
                                      other
                                      > components as I understand it. I asked you about how I could "do it
                                      > yourself" and the response was not positive. I am using the more
                                      > efficient monocrystaline cells which I purchased as raw wafers.
                                      They
                                      > work although I would put them at about 80% of theoretical output
                                      and
                                      > the finished panels power several rooms in my home. Will my panels
                                      > last 30 years? Probably not. Will they handle all weather
                                      > conditions? Probably not. But considering payback is in years and
                                      > not decades they don't have to. Besides, since I built them I can
                                      > repair them also. I am not putting down your company as you are
                                      > making systems for specialized conditions such as stand-alone
                                      > offshore oil rigs, very harsh conditions.
                                      w:st="on">Houston needs more PV
                                      > companies such as yours as there are currently only two in this
                                      huge
                                      > city and the "other company" wouldn't even talk to a homeowner
                                      only
                                      > business entities. It seems to me that many people would like to
                                      > have some solar PV maybe to just run their garage or workshop or a
                                      > few lights in their home. This may not seem like much but if 5% of
                                      > the US
                                      population operated one solar panel in their home it would
                                      > likely produce more than one nuclear power plant. The other part of
                                      > the equation is that once people think about energy and install
                                      that
                                      > one panel, they will make other changes in their home and lifestyle
                                      > that would make an even bigger impact than the solar panel itself.
                                      > In my case this was true as my first panel powered a regular light
                                      > bulb. Big deal. When I changed to compact fluorescent it now
                                      > powered 6. Adding motion sensors that turned off unused lights so
                                      > they were on much less, it increased this to 10. Now I even find
                                      > myself looking for "phantom loads" and reading box labels
                                      for " WATTS "
                                      > rather than choosing a product by color or lowest price. So it is
                                      > not necessarily the output of the panels themselves that have made
                                      > the biggest impact and it has turned out to be economically
                                      feasible
                                      > for someone like myself with a modest income. Keith
                                      >
                                      > Thanks again for your tour and please don't take this as a negative
                                      > response for your company or efforts, this is just my two cents
                                      worth.
                                      >
                                      > --- In hreg@yahoogroups. com,
                                      "Kevin Conlin" <kconlin@> wrote:
                                      > >
                                      > > Hi Folks, Mr. Solar Curmudgeon here, I'm intrigued by the concept
                                      > of
                                      > > building your own solar modules (I am assuming you're talking
                                      about
                                      > PV), but
                                      > > having built over 125,000 custom solar modules in my career, I'm
                                      > familiar
                                      > > with the technical issues, longevity issues, degradation and
                                      > performance
                                      > > issues, and I can honestly say that it is extremely difficult for
                                      > anyone
                                      > > without the proper equipment to build a PV module that will last
                                      a
                                      > minimum
                                      > > of 30 years under all kinds of weather conditions.
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > > It's also hard for me to believe you can do it cheaper than the PV
                                      > > companies, all things considered. I'll be happy to share what I
                                      > know with
                                      > > you and how to overcome the problems if you'd care to share your
                                      > ideas.
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > > Best Regards, Kevin
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > > ____________ _________ ___
                                      > >
                                      > > Kevin Conlin
                                      > >
                                      > > Solarcraft, Inc.
                                      > >
                                      > > 4007 C Greenbriar
                                      > >
                                      > > Stafford ,
                                      w:st="on">TX 77477-4536
                                      > >
                                      > > Local (281) 340-1224
                                      > >
                                      > > Toll Free (877) 340-1224
                                      > >
                                      > > Fax 281 340 1230
                                      > >
                                      > > kconlin@
                                      > >
                                      > > www.solarcraft. net <http://www.solarcra ft.net/>
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > > Please make a note of our new contact information above.
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > > _____
                                      > >
                                      > > From: Susan Modikoane [mailto:suemodikoan e@]
                                      > > Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 8:09 PM
                                      > > To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
                                      > > Subject: Re: [hreg] Building Solar Panels at home.
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > > That would be a cool class to teach us how to build solar panels.
                                      > You could
                                      > > probably cover your costs.
                                      > >
                                      > > kayouker <keithyouker@ > wrote:
                                      > >
                                      > > Hello, I'm new to this group and was interested in finding if
                                      > anyone
                                      > > else out there is building their own solar or wind power. I
                                      started
                                      > > about 4 months ago when our electric bill reached $300 for a
                                      month
                                      > and
                                      > > decided we needed to make some changes on that front. I have
                                      since
                                      > > changed to compact fluorescent (and LED when appropriate) and
                                      other
                                      > > efficiency changes and have begun building my own solar panels of
                                      > which
                                      > > I now have 4 built and online and this last month my electric
                                      bill
                                      > was
                                      > > under $70. So far I'm impressed as I have a family of six so
                                      there
                                      > is
                                      > > only so much we can cut back or conserve. I have the materials
                                      for
                                      > > building another 12 panels and would like to talk with someone
                                      > about
                                      > > design changes that might increase efficiency/output and other
                                      > > technical details. I'm sure there must be others out there with a
                                      > > similar approach to becoming self-sufficient on a budget. To date
                                      I
                                      > > have spent $2600 total on all my improvements and materials.
                                      Thanks
                                      > for
                                      > > any input. Keith
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > > _____
                                      > >
                                      > > Everyone is raving about the
                                      > >
                                      >
                                      <http://us.rd. yahoo.com/ evt=42297/ *http:/advision. webevents. yahoo.com/
                                      > mailbe
                                      > > ta> all-new Yahoo! Mail beta.
                                      > >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > ------------ --------- --------- ---
                                      > Sucker-punch spam with award-winning protection.
                                      > Try the free Yahoo! Mail Beta.
                                      >


                                      __________ NOD32 2045 (20070208) Information __________

                                      This message was checked by NOD32 antivirus system.
                                      http://www.eset.com

                                    • Bashir Syed
                                      I have been reading these post with great amusement, since our company was had started making Solar PV Modules abroad (early 2005) and I know how they are
                                      Message 18 of 29 , Feb 8, 2007
                                        I have been reading these post with great amusement, since our company was had started making Solar PV Modules abroad (early 2005) and I know how they are made, but didn't want to comment. Number one requirement is to have the right connection yto acquire Silicon Solar cells, because the whole process after that depends on this major step in the assembly and lamination process. We had succeeded in the acquisition of Silicon Solar Cells from Europe and started making the Modules. Our main hurdle came because I was located in US and our man incharge was in Asia. The greed overtook this man and things went haywire, resulting in the closure of our work. We have not given up and will be resuming our work as soon as possible.
                                         
                                        Bashir A. Syed
                                        Member: American Solar Energy Society, Senior Member International Solar Energy Society, APS, IEEE, UCS, and New York Academy of Sciences
                                        Retired Aerospace Physicist
                                        Vice President, R&D
                                        Alt-EnergyTech, Inc.
                                        (formerly EnerTech Enterprises, Inc.)
                                        1120 NASA Parkway, Suite 220W
                                        Houston, TX 77058.
                                         
                                        P.S. I taught the first course (bringing 1980) to Design and Fabricate CMOS-SOS Very Large Scale Integrated Circuits (VLSI) at GE Aerospace Electronic Systems Department, Utica, NY, and later was responsible for changing the Radar Technology from Microwave Vacuum Tubes to Solid State - Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuits using Gallium Arsenide Technology extending as far as Millimeter Wave Devices, Photonics using Fiber-Optics, and how to protect them from Nuclear and Space Radiation.  
                                         
                                        ----- Original Message -----
                                        Sent: Thursday, February 08, 2007 9:34 AM
                                        Subject: RE: [hreg] Re: Building Solar Panels at home.

                                        Keith,

                                        Can you post a picture or two for us of the finished product?

                                        Andrew H. McCalla

                                        NABCEP Certified Solar PV System Installer (TM)

                                        Meridian Energy Systems

                                        2300 S. Lamar, Ste. 107

                                        Austin, TX   78704

                                        Voice: (512) 448-0055

                                        Fax:    (512) 448-0045

                                        www.meridiansolar. com


                                        From: hreg@yahoogroups. com [mailto: hreg@yahoogroups. com ] On Behalf Of kayouker
                                        Sent: Thursday, February 08, 2007 9:04 AM
                                        To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
                                        Subject: [hreg] Re: Building Solar Panels at home.

                                        I'm not an expert and am not ready to teach how to make a solar panel
                                        as I joined this board to get ideas of how to improve my own panels.
                                        In my case I was able to purchase monocrystaline cells for about 50
                                        cents per watt. I then solder bus wire between the cells (2 per cell
                                        so that all connections are doubled in case of a single connection
                                        failure) and lay them out on a piece of glass. Belive it or not, the
                                        most expensive part of the panel is the glass. I'm using double-
                                        strength glass and lay a sheet of plastic window screen between the
                                        cells and the bottom glass so the cells don't actually touch the
                                        glass. To space the two pieces of glass so they don't lay directly
                                        on the cells I use poker chips. Yes, I said poker chips, as they
                                        allowed me to change the spacing easily to obtain the desired final
                                        thickness. The chips and the glass are then glued with an epoxy to
                                        make a giant wafer/panel. I then seal all the way around generously
                                        with caulk (20 year clear silicon). I then stop at my local Home
                                        Depot and buy aluminum channel which is then notched and bent to make
                                        a frame to protect the edges. This is glued in place and then sealed
                                        again with caulk around all edges. It takes one afternoon to build a
                                        panel. I've mounted them free-standing in my backyard on homemade
                                        steel frames that are attached to a pipe which runs through eye-bolts
                                        in 4x4 posts. This allows them to swivel and can be easily taken
                                        down should a hurricane etc pop up or when I move. They actually
                                        look pretty cool too in my opinion. I embarked on this project as
                                        there really is no help out there in Houston even for simple mounting
                                        and connections etc. Even if you bought commercial panels unless you
                                        spent $$$$$ you can't get them mounted or connected and nobody will
                                        even talk to you unless you are purchasing an entire system. This
                                        design allows me flexibility, portability and I can always repair
                                        them myself if need be. As I told my wife when I built the first
                                        one, if it doesn't work, I'm out $100 give or take and missed a
                                        couple football games on TV. The truth is, it was worth $100 the
                                        first time I put an LED light on the wires and it lit up from the
                                        energy emitted from my dining room lights (yes, my panel workshop is
                                        the dining room table). It was worth even more when I took it
                                        outside in the sun and it powered a small fan. Yes, I do get excited
                                        easily. Keith

                                        Now for the problems encountered and where advice from others would
                                        be helpful. I don't like using glass, as long as I'm careful it
                                        doesn't matter but glass may eventually break. I could use an
                                        aluminum back plate but that doesn't help the front and the aluminum
                                        cost much more. Plate glass or safety glass is too expensive and
                                        very heavy, and plexiglass is also very expensive although I may have
                                        to change to this anyway. I also had a problem with moisture sealed
                                        into one panel (it was a humid day). I drilled a hole in the side
                                        and filled it completely with mineral oil which drove out all the air
                                        and moisture and did not seem to effect the optical properties. What
                                        I am currently exploring is to find a clear plastic polymer or resin
                                        which hardens that could be poured inside between the glass to
                                        completely seal everything and thereby embed the cells and
                                        connections inside. If done properly I may even be able to remove
                                        the glass (or maybe re-useable aluminum form) and have a solid panel
                                        that would last 30 years, no glass and therfore also reduced cost. If
                                        it flowed well, it could even be poured on top without the top glass
                                        and allowed to set and harden. Now to find this resin at an
                                        affordable price. My oldest panel at the moment is 4 months and it
                                        is as good as the day I made it but I still need to refine my
                                        process/materials. The point is that it can be done and
                                        inexpensively and in my case in one Saturday afternoon per panel.
                                        Ok, I'm ready for the emails from manufacturers on how much better
                                        their panels are and at only 6-8 times the cost, excluding postage
                                        and handling of course. Keith

                                        --- In hreg@yahoogroups. com, Susan Modikoane <suemodikoane@ ...> wrote:
                                        >
                                        > I'd like to have a class at one of the meetings or at least a talk
                                        by Keith. It may be we will get to the point where we cannot wait
                                        until we can afford commercial panels.
                                        >
                                        > Michael Ewert <mewert@...> wrote: Keith,
                                        > Yours is an awesome story. Thanks for the inspiration. I think
                                        many of us would be interested to know how you sealed your PV cells?
                                        Under glass? What kind of frame, caulk, etc.
                                        > Mike
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > ------------ --------- --------- ---
                                        >
                                        > From: hreg@yahoogroups. com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups. com] On
                                        Behalf Of kayouker
                                        > Sent: Wednesday, February 07, 2007 8:23 AM
                                        > To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
                                        > Subject: [hreg] Re: Building Solar Panels at home.
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > Hello Kevin, you may recall I visited your business about 4
                                        months
                                        > ago and I appreciated the tour and discussion. You gave me a figure
                                        > however of $60,000 for the polyvoltaic panels alone which you
                                        looked
                                        > up online since you don't actually "build" PV but assemble the
                                        other
                                        > components as I understand it. I asked you about how I could "do it
                                        > yourself" and the response was not positive. I am using the more
                                        > efficient monocrystaline cells which I purchased as raw wafers.
                                        They
                                        > work although I would put them at about 80% of theoretical output
                                        and
                                        > the finished panels power several rooms in my home. Will my panels
                                        > last 30 years? Probably not. Will they handle all weather
                                        > conditions? Probably not. But considering payback is in years and
                                        > not decades they don't have to. Besides, since I built them I can
                                        > repair them also. I am not putting down your company as you are
                                        > making systems for specialized conditions such as stand-alone
                                        > offshore oil rigs, very harsh conditions. Houston needs more PV
                                        > companies such as yours as there are currently only two in this
                                        huge
                                        > city and the "other company" wouldn't even talk to a homeowner only
                                        > business entities. It seems to me that many people would like to
                                        > have some solar PV maybe to just run their garage or workshop or a
                                        > few lights in their home. This may not seem like much but if 5% of
                                        > the US population operated one solar panel in their home it would
                                        > likely produce more than one nuclear power plant. The other part of
                                        > the equation is that once people think about energy and install
                                        that
                                        > one panel, they will make other changes in their home and lifestyle
                                        > that would make an even bigger impact than the solar panel itself.
                                        > In my case this was true as my first panel powered a regular light
                                        > bulb. Big deal. When I changed to compact fluorescent it now
                                        > powered 6. Adding motion sensors that turned off unused lights so
                                        > they were on much less, it increased this to 10. Now I even find
                                        > myself looking for "phantom loads" and reading box labels
                                        for " WATTS "
                                        > rather than choosing a product by color or lowest price. So it is
                                        > not necessarily the output of the panels themselves that have made
                                        > the biggest impact and it has turned out to be economically
                                        feasible
                                        > for someone like myself with a modest income. Keith
                                        >
                                        > Thanks again for your tour and please don't take this as a negative
                                        > response for your company or efforts, this is just my two cents
                                        worth.
                                        >
                                        > --- In hreg@yahoogroups. com, "Kevin Conlin" <kconlin@> wrote:
                                        > >
                                        > > Hi Folks, Mr. Solar Curmudgeon here, I'm intrigued by the concept
                                        > of
                                        > > building your own solar modules (I am assuming you're talking
                                        about
                                        > PV), but
                                        > > having built over 125,000 custom solar modules in my career, I'm
                                        > familiar
                                        > > with the technical issues, longevity issues, degradation and
                                        > performance
                                        > > issues, and I can honestly say that it is extremely difficult for
                                        > anyone
                                        > > without the proper equipment to build a PV module that will last
                                        a
                                        > minimum
                                        > > of 30 years under all kinds of weather conditions.
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > > It's also hard for me to believe you can do it cheaper than the PV
                                        > > companies, all things considered. I'll be happy to share what I
                                        > know with
                                        > > you and how to overcome the problems if you'd care to share your
                                        > ideas.
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > > Best Regards, Kevin
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > > ____________ _________ ___
                                        > >
                                        > > Kevin Conlin
                                        > >
                                        > > Solarcraft, Inc.
                                        > >
                                        > > 4007 C Greenbriar
                                        > >
                                        > > Stafford , TX 77477-4536
                                        > >
                                        > > Local (281) 340-1224
                                        > >
                                        > > Toll Free (877) 340-1224
                                        > >
                                        > > Fax 281 340 1230
                                        > >
                                        > > kconlin@
                                        > >
                                        > > www.solarcraft. net <http://www.solarcra ft.net/>
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > > Please make a note of our new contact information above.
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > > _____
                                        > >
                                        > > From: Susan Modikoane [mailto:suemodikoan e@]
                                        > > Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 8:09 PM
                                        > > To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
                                        > > Subject: Re: [hreg] Building Solar Panels at home.
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > > That would be a cool class to teach us how to build solar panels.
                                        > You could
                                        > > probably cover your costs.
                                        > >
                                        > > kayouker <keithyouker@ > wrote:
                                        > >
                                        > > Hello, I'm new to this group and was interested in finding if
                                        > anyone
                                        > > else out there is building their own solar or wind power. I
                                        started
                                        > > about 4 months ago when our electric bill reached $300 for a
                                        month
                                        > and
                                        > > decided we needed to make some changes on that front. I have
                                        since
                                        > > changed to compact fluorescent (and LED when appropriate) and
                                        other
                                        > > efficiency changes and have begun building my own solar panels of
                                        > which
                                        > > I now have 4 built and online and this last month my electric
                                        bill
                                        > was
                                        > > under $70. So far I'm impressed as I have a family of six so
                                        there
                                        > is
                                        > > only so much we can cut back or conserve. I have the materials
                                        for
                                        > > building another 12 panels and would like to talk with someone
                                        > about
                                        > > design changes that might increase efficiency/output and other
                                        > > technical details. I'm sure there must be others out there with a
                                        > > similar approach to becoming self-sufficient on a budget. To date
                                        I
                                        > > have spent $2600 total on all my improvements and materials.
                                        Thanks
                                        > for
                                        > > any input. Keith
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > >
                                        > > _____
                                        > >
                                        > > Everyone is raving about the
                                        > >
                                        >
                                        <http://us.rd. yahoo.com/ evt=42297/ *http:/advision. webevents. yahoo.com/
                                        > mailbe
                                        > > ta> all-new Yahoo! Mail beta.
                                        > >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > ------------ --------- --------- ---
                                        > Sucker-punch spam with award-winning protection.
                                        > Try the free Yahoo! Mail Beta.
                                        >


                                        __________ NOD32 2045 (20070208) Information __________

                                        This message was checked by NOD32 antivirus system.
                                        http://www.eset. com

                                      • Garth & Kim Travis
                                        Greetings, Do you mind sharing your source of materials? Was this a lucky find or does your supplier have them all the time? A side note to all our new
                                        Message 19 of 29 , Feb 8, 2007
                                          Greetings,
                                          Do you mind sharing your source of materials? Was this a lucky find or
                                          does your supplier have them all the time?

                                          A side note to all our new members: Please trim your posts. About half
                                          of the people on this list get their messages in digest form and really
                                          appreciate trimed messages.

                                          Bright Blessings,
                                          Kim [List Owner]

                                          kayouker wrote:
                                          > I'm not an expert and am not ready to teach how to make a solar panel
                                          > as I joined this board to get ideas of how to improve my own panels.
                                          > In my case I was able to purchase monocrystaline cells for about 50
                                          > cents per watt.
                                        • Jack Wagner (HSN)
                                          What a great thread - Keith taking action we all admire and Bashir with a wealth of technical knowledge and experience. Maybe we could connect a few of the
                                          Message 20 of 29 , Feb 8, 2007

                                            What a great thread – Keith taking action we all admire and Bashir with a wealth of technical knowledge and experience. Maybe we could connect a few of the people dots and have that class after all. It’s amazing how many great companies (Apple, etc) were created in people’s garages.

                                             


                                            From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto: hreg@yahoogroups.com ] On Behalf Of Bashir Syed
                                            Sent: Thursday, February 08, 2007 10:06 AM
                                            To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                                            Subject: Re: [hreg] Re: Building Solar Panels at home.

                                             

                                            I have been reading these post with great amusement, since our company was had started making Solar PV Modules abroad (early 2005) and I know how they are made, but didn't want to comment. Number one requirement is to have the right connection yto acquire Silicon Solar cells, because the whole process after that depends on this major step in the assembly and lamination process. We had succeeded in the acquisition of Silicon Solar Cells from Europe and started making the Modules. Our main hurdle came because I was located in US and our man incharge was in Asia . The greed overtook this man and things went haywire, resulting in the closure of our work. We have not given up and will be resuming our work as soon as possible.

                                             

                                            Bashir A. Syed

                                            Member: American Solar Energy Society, Senior Member International Solar Energy Society, APS, IEEE, UCS, and New York Academy of Sciences

                                            Retired Aerospace Physicist

                                            Vice President, R&D

                                            Alt-EnergyTech, Inc.

                                            (formerly EnerTech Enterprises, Inc.)

                                            1120 NASA Parkway, Suite 220W

                                            Houston, TX 77058.

                                             

                                            P.S. I taught the first course (bringing 1980) to Design and Fabricate CMOS-SOS Very Large Scale Integrated Circuits (VLSI) at GE Aerospace Electronic Systems Department, Utica, NY, and later was responsible for changing the Radar Technology from Microwave Vacuum Tubes to Solid State - Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuits using Gallium Arsenide Technology extending as far as Millimeter Wave Devices, Photonics using Fiber-Optics, and how to protect them from Nuclear and Space Radiation.  

                                             

                                            ----- Original Message -----

                                            Sent: Thursday, February 08, 2007 9:34 AM

                                            Subject: RE: [hreg] Re: Building Solar Panels at home.

                                             

                                            Keith,

                                            Can you post a picture or two for us of the finished product?

                                            Andrew H. McCalla

                                            NABCEP Certified Solar PV System Installer (TM)

                                            Meridian Energy Systems

                                            2300 S. Lamar, Ste. 107

                                            Austin , TX   78704

                                            Voice: (512) 448-0055

                                            Fax:    (512) 448-0045

                                            www.meridiansolar. com

                                            size=2 width="100%" align=center tabIndex=-1>

                                            From: hreg@yahoogroups. com [mailto: hreg@yahoogroups. com ] On Behalf Of kayouker
                                            Sent: Thursday, February 08, 2007 9:04 AM
                                            To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
                                            Subject: [hreg] Re: Building Solar Panels at home.

                                            I'm not an expert and am not ready to teach how to make a solar panel
                                            as I joined this board to get ideas of how to improve my own panels.
                                            In my case I was able to purchase monocrystaline cells for about 50
                                            cents per watt. I then solder bus wire between the cells (2 per cell
                                            so that all connections are doubled in case of a single connection
                                            failure) and lay them out on a piece of glass. Belive it or not, the
                                            most expensive part of the panel is the glass. I'm using double-
                                            strength glass and lay a sheet of plastic window screen between the
                                            cells and the bottom glass so the cells don't actually touch the
                                            glass. To space the two pieces of glass so they don't lay directly
                                            on the cells I use poker chips. Yes, I said poker chips, as they
                                            allowed me to change the spacing easily to obtain the desired final
                                            thickness. The chips and the glass are then glued with an epoxy to
                                            make a giant wafer/panel. I then seal all the way around generously
                                            with caulk (20 year clear silicon). I then stop at my local Home
                                            Depot and buy aluminum channel which is then notched and bent to make
                                            a frame to protect the edges. This is glued in place and then sealed
                                            again with caulk around all edges. It takes one afternoon to build a
                                            panel. I've mounted them free-standing in my backyard on homemade
                                            steel frames that are attached to a pipe which runs through eye-bolts
                                            in 4x4 posts. This allows them to swivel and can be easily taken
                                            down should a hurricane etc pop up or when I move. They actually
                                            look pretty cool too in my opinion. I embarked on this project as
                                            there really is no help out there in Houston even for simple mounting
                                            and connections etc. Even if you bought commercial panels unless you
                                            spent $$$$$ you can't get them mounted or connected and nobody will
                                            even talk to you unless you are purchasing an entire system. This
                                            design allows me flexibility, portability and I can always repair
                                            them myself if need be. As I told my wife when I built the first
                                            one, if it doesn't work, I'm out $100 give or take and missed a
                                            couple football games on TV. The truth is, it was worth $100 the
                                            first time I put an LED light on the wires and it lit up from the
                                            energy emitted from my dining room lights (yes, my panel workshop is
                                            the dining room table). It was worth even more when I took it
                                            outside in the sun and it powered a small fan. Yes, I do get excited
                                            easily. Keith

                                            Now for the problems encountered and where advice from others would
                                            be helpful. I don't like using glass, as long as I'm careful it
                                            doesn't matter but glass may eventually break. I could use an
                                            aluminum back plate but that doesn't help the front and the aluminum
                                            cost much more. Plate glass or safety glass is too expensive and
                                            very heavy, and plexiglass is also very expensive although I may have
                                            to change to this anyway. I also had a problem with moisture sealed
                                            into one panel (it was a humid day). I drilled a hole in the side
                                            and filled it completely with mineral oil which drove out all the air
                                            and moisture and did not seem to effect the optical properties. What
                                            I am currently exploring is to find a clear plastic polymer or resin
                                            which hardens that could be poured inside between the glass to
                                            completely seal everything and thereby embed the cells and
                                            connections inside. If done properly I may even be able to remove
                                            the glass (or maybe re-useable aluminum form) and have a solid panel
                                            that would last 30 years, no glass and therfore also reduced cost. If
                                            it flowed well, it could even be poured on top without the top glass
                                            and allowed to set and harden. Now to find this resin at an
                                            affordable price. My oldest panel at the moment is 4 months and it
                                            is as good as the day I made it but I still need to refine my
                                            process/materials. The point is that it can be done and
                                            inexpensively and in my case in one Saturday afternoon per panel.
                                            Ok, I'm ready for the emails from manufacturers on how much better
                                            their panels are and at only 6-8 times the cost, excluding postage
                                            and handling of course. Keith

                                            --- In hreg@yahoogroups. com, Susan Modikoane <suemodikoane@ ...> wrote:
                                            >
                                            > I'd like to have a class at one of the meetings or at least a talk
                                            by Keith. It may be we will get to the point where we cannot wait
                                            until we can afford commercial panels.
                                            >
                                            > Michael Ewert <mewert@...> wrote: Keith,
                                            > Yours is an awesome story. Thanks for the inspiration. I think
                                            many of us would be interested to know how you sealed your PV cells?
                                            Under glass? What kind of frame, caulk, etc.
                                            > Mike
                                            >
                                            >
                                            > ------------ --------- --------- ---
                                            >
                                            > From: hreg@yahoogroups. com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups. com] On
                                            Behalf Of kayouker
                                            > Sent: Wednesday, February 07, 2007 8:23 AM
                                            > To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
                                            > Subject: [hreg] Re: Building Solar Panels at home.
                                            >
                                            >
                                            > Hello Kevin, you may recall I visited your business about 4
                                            months
                                            > ago and I appreciated the tour and discussion. You gave me a figure
                                            > however of $60,000 for the polyvoltaic panels alone which you
                                            looked
                                            > up online since you don't actually "build" PV but assemble the
                                            other
                                            > components as I understand it. I asked you about how I could "do it
                                            > yourself" and the response was not positive. I am using the more
                                            > efficient monocrystaline cells which I purchased as raw wafers.
                                            They
                                            > work although I would put them at about 80% of theoretical output
                                            and
                                            > the finished panels power several rooms in my home. Will my panels
                                            > last 30 years? Probably not. Will they handle all weather
                                            > conditions? Probably not. But considering payback is in years and
                                            > not decades they don't have to. Besides, since I built them I can
                                            > repair them also. I am not putting down your company as you are
                                            > making systems for specialized conditions such as stand-alone
                                            > offshore oil rigs, very harsh conditions. Houston needs more PV
                                            > companies such as yours as there are currently only two in this
                                            huge
                                            > city and the "other company" wouldn't even talk to a homeowner only
                                            > business entities. It seems to me that many people would like to
                                            > have some solar PV maybe to just run their garage or workshop or a
                                            > few lights in their home. This may not seem like much but if 5% of
                                            > the US population operated one solar panel in their home it would
                                            > likely produce more than one nuclear power plant. The other part of
                                            > the equation is that once people think about energy and install
                                            that
                                            > one panel, they will make other changes in their home and lifestyle
                                            > that would make an even bigger impact than the solar panel itself.
                                            > In my case this was true as my first panel powered a regular light
                                            > bulb. Big deal. When I changed to compact fluorescent it now
                                            > powered 6. Adding motion sensors that turned off unused lights so
                                            > they were on much less, it increased this to 10. Now I even find
                                            > myself looking for "phantom loads" and reading box labels
                                            for " WATTS "
                                            > rather than choosing a product by color or lowest price. So it is
                                            > not necessarily the output of the panels themselves that have made
                                            > the biggest impact and it has turned out to be economically
                                            feasible
                                            > for someone like myself with a modest income. Keith
                                            >
                                            > Thanks again for your tour and please don't take this as a negative
                                            > response for your company or efforts, this is just my two cents
                                            worth.
                                            >
                                            > --- In hreg@yahoogroups. com, "Kevin Conlin" <kconlin@> wrote:
                                            > >
                                            > > Hi Folks, Mr. Solar Curmudgeon here, I'm intrigued by the concept
                                            > of
                                            > > building your own solar modules (I am assuming you're talking
                                            about
                                            > PV), but
                                            > > having built over 125,000 custom solar modules in my career, I'm
                                            > familiar
                                            > > with the technical issues, longevity issues, degradation and
                                            > performance
                                            > > issues, and I can honestly say that it is extremely difficult for
                                            > anyone
                                            > > without the proper equipment to build a PV module that will last
                                            a
                                            > minimum
                                            > > of 30 years under all kinds of weather conditions.
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > > It's also hard for me to believe you can do it cheaper than the PV
                                            > > companies, all things considered. I'll be happy to share what I
                                            > know with
                                            > > you and how to overcome the problems if you'd care to share your
                                            > ideas.
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > > Best Regards, Kevin
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > > ____________ _________ ___
                                            > >
                                            > > Kevin Conlin
                                            > >
                                            > > Solarcraft, Inc.
                                            > >
                                            > > 4007 C Greenbriar
                                            > >
                                            > > Stafford , TX 77477-4536
                                            > >
                                            > > Local (281) 340-1224
                                            > >
                                            > > Toll Free (877) 340-1224
                                            > >
                                            > > Fax 281 340 1230
                                            > >
                                            > > kconlin@
                                            > >
                                            > > www.solarcraft. net <http://www.solarcra ft.net/>
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > > Please make a note of our new contact information above.
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > > _____
                                            > >
                                            > > From: Susan Modikoane [mailto:suemodikoan e@]
                                            > > Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 8:09 PM
                                            > > To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
                                            > > Subject: Re: [hreg] Building Solar Panels at home.
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > > That would be a cool class to teach us how to build solar panels.
                                            > You could
                                            > > probably cover your costs.
                                            > >
                                            > > kayouker <keithyouker@ > wrote:
                                            > >
                                            > > Hello, I'm new to this group and was interested in finding if
                                            > anyone
                                            > > else out there is building their own solar or wind power. I
                                            started
                                            > > about 4 months ago when our electric bill reached $300 for a
                                            month
                                            > and
                                            > > decided we needed to make some changes on that front. I have
                                            since
                                            > > changed to compact fluorescent (and LED when appropriate) and
                                            other
                                            > > efficiency changes and have begun building my own solar panels of
                                            > which
                                            > > I now have 4 built and online and this last month my electric
                                            bill
                                            > was
                                            > > under $70. So far I'm impressed as I have a family of six so
                                            there
                                            > is
                                            > > only so much we can cut back or conserve. I have the materials
                                            for
                                            > > building another 12 panels and would like to talk with someone
                                            > about
                                            > > design changes that might increase efficiency/output and other
                                            > > technical details. I'm sure there must be others out there with a
                                            > > similar approach to becoming self-sufficient on a budget. To date
                                            I
                                            > > have spent $2600 total on all my improvements and materials.
                                            Thanks
                                            > for
                                            > > any input. Keith
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > > _____
                                            > >
                                            > > Everyone is raving about the
                                            > >
                                            >
                                            <http://us.rd. yahoo.com/ evt=42297/ *http:/advision. webevents. yahoo.com/
                                            > mailbe
                                            > > ta> all-new Yahoo! Mail beta.
                                            > >
                                            >
                                            >
                                            >
                                            >
                                            >
                                            >
                                            >
                                            >
                                            >
                                            >
                                            > ------------ --------- --------- ---
                                            > Sucker-punch spam with award-winning protection.
                                            > Try the free Yahoo! Mail Beta.
                                            >


                                            __________ NOD32 2045 (20070208) Information __________

                                            This message was checked by NOD32 antivirus system.
                                            http://www.eset. com

                                          • Chris Boyer
                                            Keith, It sounds like you have a really neat DIY system. I think lots of people in the group would be interested in it. Could you come to our next HREG
                                            Message 21 of 29 , Feb 8, 2007
                                              Keith,
                                              It sounds like you have a really neat DIY system.  I think lots of people in the group would be interested in it.  Could you come to our next HREG meeting (April 29th) and tell us more about it - maybe bring some pictures. 
                                               
                                              It would be great to have a presentation of DIY systems at the next meeting.
                                               
                                              I have also heard of people attaching blades to automobile alternators (with a gear reduction) to make an inexpensive DIY wind turbine.  Is there anyone out there with such a system?
                                              -Chris
                                               
                                               
                                               
                                            • kayouker
                                              You would be better off finding a permanent magnet motor as you would not need gears and it would last much longer. The main problem in Houston is we don t
                                              Message 22 of 29 , Feb 9, 2007
                                                You would be better off finding a permanent magnet motor as you would
                                                not need gears and it would last much longer. The main problem in
                                                Houston is we don't have enough wind for a traditional design as they
                                                need about 10 mph winds to actually make any electricity and out put
                                                goes up exponentially with increasing speed. It is do-able here but
                                                would be very disappointing for most. Keith
                                                --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, Chris Boyer <boyer.chris@...> wrote:
                                                >
                                                > Keith,
                                                > It sounds like you have a really neat DIY system. I think lots of
                                                people in the group would be interested in it. Could you come to our
                                                next HREG meeting (April 29th) and tell us more about it - maybe bring
                                                some pictures.
                                                >
                                                > It would be great to have a presentation of DIY systems at the next
                                                meeting.
                                                >
                                                > I have also heard of people attaching blades to automobile
                                                alternators (with a gear reduction) to make an inexpensive DIY wind
                                                turbine. Is there anyone out there with such a system?
                                                > -Chris
                                                >
                                              • H.C. Clark
                                                We used an old attic fan [big one] as the wind driver. But, this was on the bay and, as you pointed out, wind consistency is a major factor. ... From:
                                                Message 23 of 29 , Feb 9, 2007
                                                  We used an old attic fan [big one] as the wind driver.  But, this was on the bay and, as you pointed out, wind consistency is a major factor.
                                                  ----- Original Message -----
                                                  From: kayouker
                                                  Sent: Friday, February 09, 2007 7:30 AM
                                                  Subject: [hreg] Re: Building Solar Panels at home.

                                                  You would be better off finding a permanent magnet motor as you would
                                                  not need gears and it would last much longer. The main problem in
                                                  Houston is we don't have enough wind for a traditional design as they
                                                  need about 10 mph winds to actually make any electricity and out put
                                                  goes up exponentially with increasing speed. It is do-able here but
                                                  would be very disappointing for most. Keith
                                                  --- In hreg@yahoogroups. com, Chris Boyer <boyer.chris@ ...> wrote:
                                                  >
                                                  > Keith,
                                                  > It sounds like you have a really neat DIY system. I think lots of
                                                  people in the group would be interested in it. Could you come to our
                                                  next HREG meeting (April 29th) and tell us more about it - maybe bring
                                                  some pictures.
                                                  >
                                                  > It would be great to have a presentation of DIY systems at the next
                                                  meeting.
                                                  >
                                                  > I have also heard of people attaching blades to automobile
                                                  alternators (with a gear reduction) to make an inexpensive DIY wind
                                                  turbine. Is there anyone out there with such a system?
                                                  > -Chris
                                                  >

                                                  !DSPAM:45cc7921272272457613276!
                                                • Ariel Thomann
                                                  I seem to recall from some of the vendors at the Fredericksburg Roundup that wind turbines are now effective at as low as 7-8 mph. Ariel - We are all Human
                                                  Message 24 of 29 , Feb 9, 2007
                                                    I seem to recall from some of the vendors at the Fredericksburg 'Roundup' that
                                                    wind turbines are now effective at as low as 7-8 mph.

                                                    Ariel
                                                    - We are all Human beings here together. We have to help one another, since
                                                    otherwise there is NO ONE who will help.
                                                    - All countries need a NO REGRETS strategic energy policy. Think ahead 7
                                                    generations.
                                                    ------------------------------------

                                                    > You would be better off finding a permanent magnet motor as you would not
                                                    > need gears and it would last much longer. The main problem in Houston is we
                                                    > don't have enough wind for a traditional design as they need about 10 mph
                                                    > winds to actually make any electricity and out put goes up exponentially with
                                                    > increasing speed. It is do-able here but would be very disappointing for
                                                    > most. Keith
                                                    > --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, Chris Boyer <boyer.chris@...> wrote:
                                                    >>
                                                    >> Keith,
                                                    >> It sounds like you have a really neat DIY system. I think lots of
                                                    > people in the group would be interested in it. Could you come to our next
                                                    > HREG meeting (April 29th) and tell us more about it - maybe bring some
                                                    > pictures.
                                                    >>
                                                    >> It would be great to have a presentation of DIY systems at the next
                                                    > meeting.
                                                    >>
                                                    >> I have also heard of people attaching blades to automobile
                                                    > alternators (with a gear reduction) to make an inexpensive DIY wind turbine.
                                                    > Is there anyone out there with such a system?
                                                    >> -Chris
                                                  • kayouker
                                                    Yes, in Houston a wind turbine is the way to go since they have lower start speeds. Not many are made though commercially and they look kind of funny. The
                                                    Message 25 of 29 , Feb 9, 2007
                                                      Yes, in Houston a wind turbine is the way to go since they have lower
                                                      start speeds. Not many are made though commercially and they look
                                                      kind of funny. The same principal still applies though that double
                                                      the speed gives 4 times the power and Houston has an avg wind speed
                                                      of 9-10 mph. Keith
                                                      --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, "Ariel Thomann" <ajthomann@...> wrote:
                                                      >
                                                      > I seem to recall from some of the vendors at the
                                                      Fredericksburg 'Roundup' that
                                                      > wind turbines are now effective at as low as 7-8 mph.
                                                      >
                                                      > Ariel
                                                      > - We are all Human beings here together. We have to help one
                                                      another, since
                                                      > otherwise there is NO ONE who will help.
                                                      > - All countries need a NO REGRETS strategic energy policy. Think
                                                      ahead 7
                                                      > generations.
                                                      > ------------------------------------
                                                      >
                                                      > > You would be better off finding a permanent magnet motor as you
                                                      would not
                                                      > > need gears and it would last much longer. The main problem in
                                                      Houston is we
                                                      > > don't have enough wind for a traditional design as they need
                                                      about 10 mph
                                                      > > winds to actually make any electricity and out put goes up
                                                      exponentially with
                                                      > > increasing speed. It is do-able here but would be very
                                                      disappointing for
                                                      > > most. Keith
                                                      > > --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, Chris Boyer <boyer.chris@> wrote:
                                                      > >>
                                                      > >> Keith,
                                                      > >> It sounds like you have a really neat DIY system. I think
                                                      lots of
                                                      > > people in the group would be interested in it. Could you come to
                                                      our next
                                                      > > HREG meeting (April 29th) and tell us more about it - maybe
                                                      bring some
                                                      > > pictures.
                                                      > >>
                                                      > >> It would be great to have a presentation of DIY systems at the
                                                      next
                                                      > > meeting.
                                                      > >>
                                                      > >> I have also heard of people attaching blades to automobile
                                                      > > alternators (with a gear reduction) to make an inexpensive DIY
                                                      wind turbine.
                                                      > > Is there anyone out there with such a system?
                                                      > >> -Chris
                                                      >
                                                    • Michael Ewert
                                                      Keith, Again I say your efforts are impressive. I can tell you re trying to think of everything. Here are a couple of thoughts. Early PV attempts looked for
                                                      Message 26 of 29 , Feb 9, 2007

                                                        Keith,

                                                        Again I say your efforts are impressive.  I can tell you’re trying to think of everything.  Here are a couple of thoughts.

                                                         

                                                        Early PV attempts looked for non-glass covers, but glass is the winner for crystalline silicon.  There must be a reason, but don’t give up the search.  Recent thin film panels do use various laminates.  You might pursue those if you have another way to keep your fragile cells from breaking.  But I’d bet on the glass.  Did you get low iron glass?  That is supposed to add a few percent to transmissivity. 

                                                         

                                                        You’re current design sounds pretty darn good.  I’m interested in pictures, like the others.

                                                        Mike

                                                         

                                                         


                                                        From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto: hreg@yahoogroups.com ] On Behalf Of kayouker
                                                        Sent: Thursday, February 08, 2007 9:04 AM
                                                        To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                                                        Subject: [hreg] Re: Building Solar Panels at home.

                                                         

                                                        I'm not an expert and am not ready to teach how to make a solar panel
                                                        as I joined this board to get ideas of how to improve my own panels.
                                                        In my case I was able to purchase monocrystaline cells for about 50
                                                        cents per watt. I then solder bus wire between the cells (2 per cell
                                                        so that all connections are doubled in case of a single connection
                                                        failure) and lay them out on a piece of glass. Belive it or not, the
                                                        most expensive part of the panel is the glass. I'm using double-
                                                        strength glass and lay a sheet of plastic window screen between the
                                                        cells and the bottom glass so the cells don't actually touch the
                                                        glass. To space the two pieces of glass so they don't lay directly
                                                        on the cells I use poker chips. Yes, I said poker chips, as they
                                                        allowed me to change the spacing easily to obtain the desired final
                                                        thickness. The chips and the glass are then glued with an epoxy to
                                                        make a giant wafer/panel. I then seal all the way around generously
                                                        with caulk (20 year clear silicon). I then stop at my local Home
                                                        Depot and buy aluminum channel which is then notched and bent to make
                                                        a frame to protect the edges. This is glued in place and then sealed
                                                        again with caulk around all edges. It takes one afternoon to build a
                                                        panel. I've mounted them free-standing in my backyard on homemade
                                                        steel frames that are attached to a pipe which runs through eye-bolts
                                                        in 4x4 posts. This allows them to swivel and can be easily taken
                                                        down should a hurricane etc pop up or when I move. They actually
                                                        look pretty cool too in my opinion. I embarked on this project as
                                                        there really is no help out there in Houston even for simple mounting
                                                        and connections etc. Even if you bought commercial panels unless you
                                                        spent $$$$$ you can't get them mounted or connected and nobody will
                                                        even talk to you unless you are purchasing an entire system. This
                                                        design allows me flexibility, portability and I can always repair
                                                        them myself if need be. As I told my wife when I built the first
                                                        one, if it doesn't work, I'm out $100 give or take and missed a
                                                        couple football games on TV. The truth is, it was worth $100 the
                                                        first time I put an LED light on the wires and it lit up from the
                                                        energy emitted from my dining room lights (yes, my panel workshop is
                                                        the dining room table). It was worth even more when I took it
                                                        outside in the sun and it powered a small fan. Yes, I do get excited
                                                        easily. Keith

                                                        Now for the problems encountered and where advice from others would
                                                        be helpful. I don't like using glass, as long as I'm careful it
                                                        doesn't matter but glass may eventually break. I could use an
                                                        aluminum back plate but that doesn't help the front and the aluminum
                                                        cost much more. Plate glass or safety glass is too expensive and
                                                        very heavy, and plexiglass is also very expensive although I may have
                                                        to change to this anyway. I also had a problem with moisture sealed
                                                        into one panel (it was a humid day). I drilled a hole in the side
                                                        and filled it completely with mineral oil which drove out all the air
                                                        and moisture and did not seem to effect the optical properties. What
                                                        I am currently exploring is to find a clear plastic polymer or resin
                                                        which hardens that could be poured inside between the glass to
                                                        completely seal everything and thereby embed the cells and
                                                        connections inside. If done properly I may even be able to remove
                                                        the glass (or maybe re-useable aluminum form) and have a solid panel
                                                        that would last 30 years, no glass and therfore also reduced cost. If
                                                        it flowed well, it could even be poured on top without the top glass
                                                        and allowed to set and harden. Now to find this resin at an
                                                        affordable price. My oldest panel at the moment is 4 months and it
                                                        is as good as the day I made it but I still need to refine my
                                                        process/materials. The point is that it can be done and
                                                        inexpensively and in my case in one Saturday afternoon per panel.
                                                        Ok, I'm ready for the emails from manufacturers on how much better
                                                        their panels are and at only 6-8 times the cost, excluding postage
                                                        and handling of course. Keith

                                                      • Susan Modikoane
                                                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ArPZA1uRZ8&mode=related&search= Here s an idea. Keep building the solar panels and build a solar farm. In 10 years you ll be
                                                        Message 27 of 29 , Feb 9, 2007
                                                           
                                                          Here's an idea.  Keep building the solar panels and build a solar farm.  In 10 years you'll be a millionaire.

                                                          kayouker <keithyouker@...> wrote:
                                                          Yes, in Houston a wind turbine is the way to go since they have lower
                                                          start speeds. Not many are made though commercially and they look
                                                          kind of funny. The same principal still applies though that double
                                                          the speed gives 4 times the power and Houston has an avg wind speed
                                                          of 9-10 mph. Keith
                                                          --- In hreg@yahoogroups. com, "Ariel Thomann" <ajthomann@. ..> wrote:
                                                          >
                                                          > I seem to recall from some of the vendors at the
                                                          Fredericksburg 'Roundup' that
                                                          > wind turbines are now effective at as low as 7-8 mph.
                                                          >
                                                          > Ariel
                                                          > - We are all Human beings here together. We have to help one
                                                          another, since
                                                          > otherwise there is NO ONE who will help.
                                                          > - All countries need a NO REGRETS strategic energy policy. Think
                                                          ahead 7
                                                          > generations.
                                                          > ------------ --------- --------- ------
                                                          >
                                                          > > You would be better off finding a permanent magnet motor as you
                                                          would not
                                                          > > need gears and it would last much longer. The main problem in
                                                          Houston is we
                                                          > > don't have enough wind for a traditional design as they need
                                                          about 10 mph
                                                          > > winds to actually make any electricity and out put goes up
                                                          exponentially with
                                                          > > increasing speed. It is do-able here but would be very
                                                          disappointing for
                                                          > > most. Keith
                                                          > > --- In hreg@yahoogroups. com, Chris Boyer <boyer.chris@ > wrote:
                                                          > >>
                                                          > >> Keith,
                                                          > >> It sounds like you have a really neat DIY system. I think
                                                          lots of
                                                          > > people in the group would be interested in it. Could you come to
                                                          our next
                                                          > > HREG meeting (April 29th) and tell us more about it - maybe
                                                          bring some
                                                          > > pictures.
                                                          > >>
                                                          > >> It would be great to have a presentation of DIY systems at the
                                                          next
                                                          > > meeting.
                                                          > >>
                                                          > >> I have also heard of people attaching blades to automobile
                                                          > > alternators (with a gear reduction) to make an inexpensive DIY
                                                          wind turbine.
                                                          > > Is there anyone out there with such a system?
                                                          > >> -Chris
                                                          >



                                                          Cheap Talk? Check out Yahoo! Messenger's low PC-to-Phone call rates.

                                                        • Kevin Conlin
                                                          Glass is used because it has almost the same coefficient of expansion as the silicon. This keeps the superstrate (cover) from trying to tear the cells and
                                                          Message 28 of 29 , Feb 12, 2007

                                                            Glass is used because it has almost the same coefficient of expansion as the silicon.  This keeps the superstrate (cover) from trying to tear the cells and their interconnects apart as the module undergoes daily thermal cycling.

                                                            In the past aliphatic urethane has been used very successfully in glass/silicon, non laminated, modules acting as an encapsulant and pliable bond between the glass and silicon, however, it is almost impossible to use it at home, and the module has to be specifically designed to use it.  It does have a transmissivity that is the lowest of any material used for making modules, even lower than the water white, low iron glass typically used for module covers, and if mixed properly, and will not yellow in twenty years.  The window glass you are using probably absorbs up to 5% of the incoming radiation.

                                                             

                                                             

                                                            ________________________

                                                            Kevin Conlin

                                                            Solarcraft, Inc.

                                                            4007 C Greenbriar

                                                            Stafford, TX 77477-4536

                                                            Local (281) 340-1224

                                                            Toll Free (877) 340-1224

                                                            Fax 281 340 1230

                                                            kconlin@...

                                                            www.solarcraft.net

                                                             

                                                            Please make a note of our new contact information above.

                                                             


                                                            From: Michael Ewert [mailto:mewert@...]
                                                            Sent: Friday, February 09, 2007 5:49 PM
                                                            To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                                                            Subject: RE: [hreg] Re: Building Solar Panels at home.

                                                             

                                                            Keith,

                                                            Again I say your efforts are impressive.  I can tell you’re trying to think of everything.  Here are a couple of thoughts.

                                                             

                                                            Early PV attempts looked for non-glass covers, but glass is the winner for crystalline silicon.  There must be a reason, but don’t give up the search.  Recent thin film panels do use various laminates.  You might pursue those if you have another way to keep your fragile cells from breaking.  But I’d bet on the glass.  Did you get low iron glass?  That is supposed to add a few percent to transmissivity. 

                                                             

                                                            You’re current design sounds pretty darn good.  I’m interested in pictures, like the others.

                                                            Mike

                                                             

                                                             


                                                            From: hreg@yahoogroups. com [mailto: hreg@yahoogroups. com ] On Behalf Of kayouker
                                                            Sent: Thursday, February 08, 2007 9:04 AM
                                                            To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
                                                            Subject: [hreg] Re: Building Solar Panels at home.

                                                             

                                                            I'm not an expert and am not ready to teach how to make a solar panel
                                                            as I joined this board to get ideas of how to improve my own panels.
                                                            In my case I was able to purchase monocrystaline cells for about 50
                                                            cents per watt. I then solder bus wire between the cells (2 per cell
                                                            so that all connections are doubled in case of a single connection
                                                            failure) and lay them out on a piece of glass. Belive it or not, the
                                                            most expensive part of the panel is the glass. I'm using double-
                                                            strength glass and lay a sheet of plastic window screen between the
                                                            cells and the bottom glass so the cells don't actually touch the
                                                            glass. To space the two pieces of glass so they don't lay directly
                                                            on the cells I use poker chips. Yes, I said poker chips, as they
                                                            allowed me to change the spacing easily to obtain the desired final
                                                            thickness. The chips and the glass are then glued with an epoxy to
                                                            make a giant wafer/panel. I then seal all the way around generously
                                                            with caulk (20 year clear silicon). I then stop at my local Home
                                                            Depot and buy aluminum channel which is then notched and bent to make
                                                            a frame to protect the edges. This is glued in place and then sealed
                                                            again with caulk around all edges. It takes one afternoon to build a
                                                            panel. I've mounted them free-standing in my backyard on homemade
                                                            steel frames that are attached to a pipe which runs through eye-bolts
                                                            in 4x4 posts. This allows them to swivel and can be easily taken
                                                            down should a hurricane etc pop up or when I move. They actually
                                                            look pretty cool too in my opinion. I embarked on this project as
                                                            there really is no help out there in Houston even for simple mounting
                                                            and connections etc. Even if you bought commercial panels unless you
                                                            spent $$$$$ you can't get them mounted or connected and nobody will
                                                            even talk to you unless you are purchasing an entire system. This
                                                            design allows me flexibility, portability and I can always repair
                                                            them myself if need be. As I told my wife when I built the first
                                                            one, if it doesn't work, I'm out $100 give or take and missed a
                                                            couple football games on TV. The truth is, it was worth $100 the
                                                            first time I put an LED light on the wires and it lit up from the
                                                            energy emitted from my dining room lights (yes, my panel workshop is
                                                            the dining room table). It was worth even more when I took it
                                                            outside in the sun and it powered a small fan. Yes, I do get excited
                                                            easily. Keith

                                                            Now for the problems encountered and where advice from others would
                                                            be helpful. I don't like using glass, as long as I'm careful it
                                                            doesn't matter but glass may eventually break. I could use an
                                                            aluminum back plate but that doesn't help the front and the aluminum
                                                            cost much more. Plate glass or safety glass is too expensive and
                                                            very heavy, and plexiglass is also very expensive although I may have
                                                            to change to this anyway. I also had a problem with moisture sealed
                                                            into one panel (it was a humid day). I drilled a hole in the side
                                                            and filled it completely with mineral oil which drove out all the air
                                                            and moisture and did not seem to effect the optical properties. What
                                                            I am currently exploring is to find a clear plastic polymer or resin
                                                            which hardens that could be poured inside between the glass to
                                                            completely seal everything and thereby embed the cells and
                                                            connections inside. If done properly I may even be able to remove
                                                            the glass (or maybe re-useable aluminum form) and have a solid panel
                                                            that would last 30 years, no glass and therfore also reduced cost. If
                                                            it flowed well, it could even be poured on top without the top glass
                                                            and allowed to set and harden. Now to find this resin at an
                                                            affordable price. My oldest panel at the moment is 4 months and it
                                                            is as good as the day I made it but I still need to refine my
                                                            process/materials. The point is that it can be done and
                                                            inexpensively and in my case in one Saturday afternoon per panel.
                                                            Ok, I'm ready for the emails from manufacturers on how much better
                                                            their panels are and at only 6-8 times the cost, excluding postage
                                                            and handling of course. Keith


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