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RE: [hreg] Building Solar Panels at home.

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  • 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 1 of 29 , Feb 6, 2007
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      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 2 of 29 , Feb 7, 2007
      • 0 Attachment
        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 3 of 29 , Feb 7, 2007
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          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 4 of 29 , Feb 7, 2007
          • 0 Attachment
            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 5 of 29 , Feb 7, 2007
            • 0 Attachment
              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 6 of 29 , Feb 7, 2007
              • 0 Attachment
                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 7 of 29 , Feb 7, 2007
                • 0 Attachment
                  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 8 of 29 , Feb 7, 2007
                  • 0 Attachment
                    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 9 of 29 , Feb 7, 2007
                    • 0 Attachment
                      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


                      Check out the new AOL. Most comprehensive set of free safety and security tools, free access to millions of high-quality videos from across the web, free AOL Mail and more.
                    • 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 10 of 29 , Feb 7, 2007
                      • 0 Attachment

                        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 11 of 29 , Feb 7, 2007
                        • 0 Attachment
                          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 12 of 29 , Feb 7, 2007
                          • 0 Attachment
                            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 13 of 29 , Feb 7, 2007
                            • 0 Attachment

                              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 14 of 29 , Feb 7, 2007
                              • 0 Attachment
                                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 15 of 29 , Feb 8, 2007
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  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 16 of 29 , Feb 8, 2007
                                  • 0 Attachment

                                    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 17 of 29 , Feb 8, 2007
                                    • 0 Attachment
                                      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 18 of 29 , Feb 8, 2007
                                      • 0 Attachment
                                        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 19 of 29 , Feb 8, 2007
                                        • 0 Attachment

                                          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 20 of 29 , Feb 8, 2007
                                          • 0 Attachment
                                            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 21 of 29 , Feb 9, 2007
                                            • 0 Attachment
                                              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 22 of 29 , Feb 9, 2007
                                              • 0 Attachment
                                                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 23 of 29 , Feb 9, 2007
                                                • 0 Attachment
                                                  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 24 of 29 , Feb 9, 2007
                                                  • 0 Attachment
                                                    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 25 of 29 , Feb 9, 2007
                                                    • 0 Attachment

                                                      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 26 of 29 , Feb 9, 2007
                                                      • 0 Attachment
                                                         
                                                        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 27 of 29 , Feb 12, 2007
                                                        • 0 Attachment

                                                          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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