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Re: Building Solar Panels at home.

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

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







      --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, "Kevin Conlin" <kconlin@...> wrote:
      >
      > Hi Folks, Mr. Solar Curmudgeon here, I'm intrigued by the concept
      of
      > building your own solar modules (I am assuming you're talking about
      PV), but
      > having built over 125,000 custom solar modules in my career, I'm
      familiar
      > with the technical issues, longevity issues, degradation and
      performance
      > issues, and I can honestly say that it is extremely difficult for
      anyone
      > without the proper equipment to build a PV module that will last a
      minimum
      > of 30 years under all kinds of weather conditions.
      >
      >
      >
      > It's also hard for me to believe you can do it cheaper than the PV
      > companies, all things considered. I'll be happy to share what I
      know with
      > you and how to overcome the problems if you'd care to share your
      ideas.
      >
      >
      >
      > Best Regards, Kevin
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > ________________________
      >
      > Kevin Conlin
      >
      > Solarcraft, Inc.
      >
      > 4007 C Greenbriar
      >
      > Stafford, TX 77477-4536
      >
      > Local (281) 340-1224
      >
      > Toll Free (877) 340-1224
      >
      > Fax 281 340 1230
      >
      > kconlin@...
      >
      > www.solarcraft.net <http://www.solarcraft.net/>
      >
      >
      >
      > Please make a note of our new contact information above.
      >
      >
      >
      > _____
      >
      > From: Susan Modikoane [mailto:suemodikoane@...]
      > Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 8:09 PM
      > To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: Re: [hreg] Building Solar Panels at home.
      >
      >
      >
      > That would be a cool class to teach us how to build solar panels.
      You could
      > probably cover your costs.
      >
      > kayouker <keithyouker@...> wrote:
      >
      > Hello, I'm new to this group and was interested in finding if
      anyone
      > else out there is building their own solar or wind power. I started
      > about 4 months ago when our electric bill reached $300 for a month
      and
      > decided we needed to make some changes on that front. I have since
      > changed to compact fluorescent (and LED when appropriate) and other
      > efficiency changes and have begun building my own solar panels of
      which
      > I now have 4 built and online and this last month my electric bill
      was
      > under $70. So far I'm impressed as I have a family of six so there
      is
      > only so much we can cut back or conserve. I have the materials for
      > building another 12 panels and would like to talk with someone
      about
      > design changes that might increase efficiency/output and other
      > technical details. I'm sure there must be others out there with a
      > similar approach to becoming self-sufficient on a budget. To date I
      > have spent $2600 total on all my improvements and materials. Thanks
      for
      > any input. Keith
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > _____
      >
      > Everyone is raving about the
      >
      <http://us.rd.yahoo.com/evt=42297/*http:/advision.webevents.yahoo.com/
      mailbe
      > ta> all-new Yahoo! Mail beta.
      >
    • Garth & Kim Travis
      Greetings, Sorry, but it is possible to get the inverter etc for far less than $2000. People buy them and don t know what to do with them, hubbies loose them
      Message 2 of 29 , Feb 7, 2007
        Greetings,
        Sorry, but it is possible to get the inverter etc for far less than
        $2000. People buy them and don't know what to do with them, hubbies
        loose them in divorces to wifes that have no use for them etc. Search
        ebay and garage sales, you would be amazed at what is out there. I
        bought a slightly used, 2500 watt inverter/battery conditioner for $100.
        It came complete with all the books.

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

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

        Bright Blessings,
        Kim

        jmiggins wrote:
        > Solar panels are only one part of an energy system, you will need
        > batteries or grid tie electronics. charge controllers, Inverters,
        > fusing, racks etc.. these are minimum of $2000.
        > the cost of $2600 for four panels that reduces the electric bill from
        > $300 to $70 is not realistic. Solar panels are the largest cost so if
        > you can reduce this cost then that is good progress, I commend you for
        > your ingenuity.
        >
      • kayouker
        FYI, my $2600 figure includes all wiring, charge controller, inverters, racks, fusing and a few batteries (no grid-tie). Please read my other response to
        Message 3 of 29 , Feb 7, 2007
          FYI, my $2600 figure includes all wiring, charge controller,
          inverters, racks, fusing and a few batteries (no grid-tie). Please
          read my other response to understand how 4 panels could have such a
          large impact, because you are correct 400 watts is not much if other
          changes are not made also. Keith --- In
          hreg@yahoogroups.com, "jmiggins" <jmiggins@...> wrote:
          >
          > Solar panels are only one part of an energy system, you will need
          batteries or grid tie electronics. charge controllers, Inverters,
          fusing, racks etc.. these are minimum of $2000.
          > the cost of $2600 for four panels that reduces the electric bill
          from $300 to $70 is not realistic. Solar panels are the largest cost
          so if you can reduce this cost then that is good progress, I commend
          you for your ingenuity.
          >
          > As Kevin states it takes alot of pretty expensive equipment to make
          panels that will last a long time though and be able to brave the
          elements for that period.
          >
          > carry on
          >
          >
          > John Miggins
          > Harvest Solar Energy LLC
          > "renewable solutions to everyday needs"
          > 1571 East 22 place, Tulsa OK 74114
          > 918-743-2299 office
          > 918-521-6223 Cell
          > www.harvestsolar.net
          >
          > ----- Original Message -----
          > From: Kevin Conlin
          > To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
          > Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 8:30 PM
          > Subject: RE: [hreg] Building Solar Panels at home.
          >
          >
          >
          > Hi Folks, Mr. Solar Curmudgeon here, I'm intrigued by the
          concept of building your own solar modules (I am assuming you're
          talking about PV), but having built over 125,000 custom solar modules
          in my career, I'm familiar with the technical issues, longevity
          issues, degradation and performance issues, and I can honestly say
          that it is extremely difficult for anyone without the proper
          equipment to build a PV module that will last a minimum of 30 years
          under all kinds of weather conditions.
          >
          >
          >
          > It's also hard for me to believe you can do it cheaper than the
          PV companies, all things considered. I'll be happy to share what I
          know with you and how to overcome the problems if you'd care to share
          your ideas.
          >
          >
          >
          > Best Regards, Kevin
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > ________________________
          >
          > Kevin Conlin
          >
          > Solarcraft, Inc.
          >
          > 4007 C Greenbriar
          >
          > Stafford, TX 77477-4536
          >
          > Local (281) 340-1224
          >
          > Toll Free (877) 340-1224
          >
          > Fax 281 340 1230
          >
          > kconlin@...
          >
          > www.solarcraft.net
          >
          >
          >
          > Please make a note of our new contact information above.
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > --------------------------------------------------------------------
          ----------
          >
          > From: Susan Modikoane [mailto:suemodikoane@...]
          > Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 8:09 PM
          > To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
          > Subject: Re: [hreg] Building Solar Panels at home.
          >
          >
          >
          > That would be a cool class to teach us how to build solar
          panels. You could probably cover your costs.
          >
          > kayouker <keithyouker@...> wrote:
          >
          > Hello, I'm new to this group and was interested in finding if
          anyone
          > else out there is building their own solar or wind power. I
          started
          > about 4 months ago when our electric bill reached $300 for a
          month and
          > decided we needed to make some changes on that front. I have
          since
          > changed to compact fluorescent (and LED when appropriate) and
          other
          > efficiency changes and have begun building my own solar panels
          of which
          > I now have 4 built and online and this last month my electric
          bill was
          > under $70. So far I'm impressed as I have a family of six so
          there is
          > only so much we can cut back or conserve. I have the materials
          for
          > building another 12 panels and would like to talk with someone
          about
          > design changes that might increase efficiency/output and other
          > technical details. I'm sure there must be others out there with
          a
          > similar approach to becoming self-sufficient on a budget. To
          date I
          > have spent $2600 total on all my improvements and materials.
          Thanks for
          > any input. Keith
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > --------------------------------------------------------------------
          ----------
          >
          > Everyone is raving about the all-new Yahoo! Mail beta.
          >
        • Roy Holder
          ... You can also get items that are damaged or have intermittant episodes . You of course have to ba careful when buying things off ebay. ... The thing needs
          Message 4 of 29 , Feb 7, 2007
            At 08:31 AM 2/7/2007 -0600, you wrote:
            > Greetings,
            > Sorry, but it is possible to get the inverter etc for far less than
            > $2000. People buy them and don't know what to do with them, hubbies
            > loose them in divorces to wifes that have no use for them etc. Search
            > ebay and garage sales, you would be amazed at what is out there. I
            > bought a slightly used, 2500 watt inverter/battery conditioner for $100.
            > It came complete with all the books.

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

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

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

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

            >
            > I for one am very glad to see more DIY on this list, we need it. Keep
            > up the good work.
            >
            > Bright Blessings,
            > Kim
            >
            > jmiggins wrote:
            >> Solar panels are only one part of an energy system, you will need
            >> batteries or grid tie electronics. charge controllers, Inverters,
            >> fusing, racks etc.. these are minimum of $2000.
            >> the cost of $2600 for four panels that reduces the electric bill from
            >> $300 to $70 is not realistic. Solar panels are the largest cost so if
            >> you can reduce this cost then that is good progress, I commend you for
            >> your ingenuity.
            >>
            >
          • Garth & Kim Travis
            Greetings, Many of the homes that the older people live in are being torn down as soon as the elders pass over. Most younger people think they need much
            Message 5 of 29 , Feb 7, 2007
              Greetings,
              Many of the homes that the older people live in are being torn down as
              soon as the elders pass over. Most younger people think they need much
              bigger homes and have no interest in living the way their elders do. I
              don't know a single elderly person that has a $300 electric bill, if
              they did, they wouldn't eat. Most of the seniors and disabled people
              around here [NE Grimes County] live on $600/month or less.

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

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

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

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

              Bright Blessings,
              Kim

              Roy Holder wrote:
              >
              > The thing needs to last long enough to at least repay the energy and effort
              > that went into making it. Even if you are 70 you should not plan to burden
              > future generations with wasteful energy practices.
              > The embodied energy in the solar panels is nearly identical if they last 30
              > years or 5, the difference being the quality and experience of the person
              > assembling the panel.
              > The 400 watt panels would not likely generate more that $70 a year in
              > electricity.
              > Simple payback is more than 37 years.
              > It is very important to get a long life out of these things. Not to do so
              > is a waste of money and energy, even for a DIY situation.
              > Never fear, all is not lost, kayouker has the basics of a system that
              > should be expandable for fewer $ per watt. This will allow the simple
              > payback to be reduced to reasonable levels.
              >>
            • Steve Shepard
              FYI - I have a used Trace DR3624 inverter for sale. Thats 24VDC battery voltage in and 120VAC/60 Hz out, 3600 Watts, 70 Amps. This inverter sells for
              Message 6 of 29 , Feb 7, 2007
                FYI - I have a used Trace DR3624 inverter for sale.  Thats 24VDC battery voltage in and 120VAC/60 Hz out, 3600 Watts, 70 Amps.  This inverter sells for $1350.00 brand new.  My price on this used inverter is $350.00.  This inverter does have a lot of hours on it because it was in continuous use since 1999 but it still is in working order.  Please let me know if anyone is interested.
                 
                Steven Shepard
                SBT Designs
                25581 IH-10 West
                San Antonio, Texas 78257
                (210) 698-7109
                www.sbtdesigns.com
                 
                ----- Original Message -----
                Sent: Wednesday, February 07, 2007 10:15 AM
                Subject: Re: [Spam] Re: [hreg] Building Solar Panels at home.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                  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 8 of 29 , Feb 7, 2007

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

                     

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

                     

                    I’m here if you need me.

                     

                    Best Regards,  Kevin

                     

                     

                    ________________________

                    Kevin Conlin

                    Solarcraft, Inc.

                    4007 C Greenbriar

                    Stafford, TX 77477-4536

                    Local (281) 340-1224

                    Toll Free (877) 340-1224

                    Fax 281 340 1230

                    kconlin@...

                    www.solarcraft.net

                     

                    Please make a note of our new contact information above.

                     


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

                     

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

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

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

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

                  • kayouker
                    You are correct in that I was comparing Apples and Oranges with peak summer vs winter electric in my solar project. I don t have years or years or even months
                    Message 9 of 29 , Feb 7, 2007
                      You are correct in that I was comparing Apples and Oranges with peak
                      summer vs winter electric in my solar project. I don't have years or
                      years or even months of data, however I can say that last December my
                      usage was over 1200 kWh and this year it was under 600 kWh with a one
                      degree difference in average Houston temperature. I still have
                      children at home the same as last year and while they are learning
                      conservation and turning lights out more often, they still watch
                      Cable TV, play on the PlayStation 3 etc. etc. On a personal level,
                      that is a 50% reduction in one home without major remodeling or cost
                      outlay. Did my solar panels "only" account for that drop? No, but
                      the mentality of conservation and realization of energy production vs
                      usage which goes into a solar system did. My guess is that even
                      people who have a solar water heater installed not only save due to
                      decreased cost of heating water, but in the process I'll bet they
                      have turned down the temperature a few degrees and are more
                      conservtive in their usage of that same water. I disagree with the
                      37 year payback because as mentioned I already have the materials to
                      build a total of 16 panels (about a 2 Kwh system) not just the 4 I
                      have completed and installed. Averaged out the materials used in each
                      panel are around $100 as opposed to a $600-$800 commercial panel. The
                      rest of my investment was for the wiring, invertors, compact
                      fluorescent etc. It is likely that down the road I will invest in
                      commercial panels to add to my initial system, but I will be much
                      more knowledgable and effective with those panels.
                      In the whole scheme of things, my few panels have about as much
                      impact as my voting each November. If everyone realized that their
                      ONE vote does count, there would be a landslide effect.

                      --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, Roy Holder <roy@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > At 08:31 AM 2/7/2007 -0600, you wrote:
                      > > Greetings,
                      > > Sorry, but it is possible to get the inverter etc for far less
                      than
                      > > $2000. People buy them and don't know what to do with them,
                      hubbies
                      > > loose them in divorces to wifes that have no use for them etc.
                      Search
                      > > ebay and garage sales, you would be amazed at what is out there.
                      I
                      > > bought a slightly used, 2500 watt inverter/battery conditioner
                      for $100.
                      > > It came complete with all the books.
                      >
                      > You can also get items that are damaged or have
                      intermittant 'episodes'.
                      > You of course have to ba careful when buying things off ebay.
                      >
                      > >
                      > > For many people, a thirty year life span is not a consideration.
                      If you
                      > > are already 70, how long does the thing need to last? How many
                      people
                      > > at that age have the ability to pay for a 'real' system?
                      >
                      > The thing needs to last long enough to at least repay the energy
                      and effort
                      > that went into making it. Even if you are 70 you should not plan
                      to burden
                      > future generations with wasteful energy practices.
                      > The embodied energy in the solar panels is nearly identical if they
                      last 30
                      > years or 5, the difference being the quality and experience of the
                      person
                      > assembling the panel.
                      > The 400 watt panels would not likely generate more that $70 a year
                      in
                      > electricity.
                      > Simple payback is more than 37 years.
                      > It is very important to get a long life out of these things. Not to
                      do so
                      > is a waste of money and energy, even for a DIY situation.
                      > Never fear, all is not lost, kayouker has the basics of a system
                      that
                      > should be expandable for fewer $ per watt. This will allow the
                      simple
                      > payback to be reduced to reasonable levels.
                      >
                      > The $300 electric bill was for summer peak, winter low(last month)
                      would
                      > naturally be lower(not always - some structures consume more
                      electricity in
                      > winter than summer). Kayouker should check last years winter bill
                      to
                      > compare savings, not summer vs. winter, and average several months
                      to
                      > minimize weather anomalies.
                      >
                      > >
                      > > I for one am very glad to see more DIY on this list, we need it.
                      Keep
                      > > up the good work.
                      > >
                      > > Bright Blessings,
                      > > Kim
                      > >
                      > > jmiggins wrote:
                      > >> Solar panels are only one part of an energy system, you will
                      need
                      > >> batteries or grid tie electronics. charge controllers,
                      Inverters,
                      > >> fusing, racks etc.. these are minimum of $2000.
                      > >> the cost of $2600 for four panels that reduces the electric bill
                      from
                      > >> $300 to $70 is not realistic. Solar panels are the largest cost
                      so if
                      > >> you can reduce this cost then that is good progress, I commend
                      you for
                      > >> your ingenuity.
                      > >>
                      > >
                      >
                    • Rob Rowland
                      Please contact me off-line. I am interested in talking to you about the panels you built. Regards, Rob Rowland rrowland1@houston.rr.com ... From: kayouker To:
                      Message 10 of 29 , Feb 7, 2007
                        Please contact me off-line.  I am interested in talking to you about the panels you built.
                         
                        Regards,
                         
                        Rob Rowland
                         
                        ----- Original Message -----
                        From: kayouker
                        Sent: Wednesday, February 07, 2007 8:23 AM
                        Subject: [hreg] Re: Building Solar Panels at home.

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

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

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

                      • Michael Ewert
                        Keith, Yours is an awesome story. Thanks for the inspiration. I think many of us would be interested to know how you sealed your PV cells? Under glass? What
                        Message 11 of 29 , Feb 7, 2007

                          Keith,

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

                          Mike

                           


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

                           

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

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

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

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

                        • Susan Modikoane
                          I d like to have a class at one of the meetings or at least a talk by Keith. It may be we will get to the point where we cannot wait until we can afford
                          Message 12 of 29 , Feb 7, 2007
                            I'd like to have a class at one of the meetings or at least a talk by Keith.  It may be we will get to the point where we cannot wait until we can afford commercial panels.

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

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

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

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


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

                          • kayouker
                            I m not an expert and am not ready to teach how to make a solar panel as I joined this board to get ideas of how to improve my own panels. In my case I was
                            Message 13 of 29 , Feb 8, 2007
                              I'm not an expert and am not ready to teach how to make a solar panel
                              as I joined this board to get ideas of how to improve my own panels.
                              In my case I was able to purchase monocrystaline cells for about 50
                              cents per watt. I then solder bus wire between the cells (2 per cell
                              so that all connections are doubled in case of a single connection
                              failure) and lay them out on a piece of glass. Belive it or not, the
                              most expensive part of the panel is the glass. I'm using double-
                              strength glass and lay a sheet of plastic window screen between the
                              cells and the bottom glass so the cells don't actually touch the
                              glass. To space the two pieces of glass so they don't lay directly
                              on the cells I use poker chips. Yes, I said poker chips, as they
                              allowed me to change the spacing easily to obtain the desired final
                              thickness. The chips and the glass are then glued with an epoxy to
                              make a giant wafer/panel. I then seal all the way around generously
                              with caulk (20 year clear silicon). I then stop at my local Home
                              Depot and buy aluminum channel which is then notched and bent to make
                              a frame to protect the edges. This is glued in place and then sealed
                              again with caulk around all edges. It takes one afternoon to build a
                              panel. I've mounted them free-standing in my backyard on homemade
                              steel frames that are attached to a pipe which runs through eye-bolts
                              in 4x4 posts. This allows them to swivel and can be easily taken
                              down should a hurricane etc pop up or when I move. They actually
                              look pretty cool too in my opinion. I embarked on this project as
                              there really is no help out there in Houston even for simple mounting
                              and connections etc. Even if you bought commercial panels unless you
                              spent $$$$$ you can't get them mounted or connected and nobody will
                              even talk to you unless you are purchasing an entire system. This
                              design allows me flexibility, portability and I can always repair
                              them myself if need be. As I told my wife when I built the first
                              one, if it doesn't work, I'm out $100 give or take and missed a
                              couple football games on TV. The truth is, it was worth $100 the
                              first time I put an LED light on the wires and it lit up from the
                              energy emitted from my dining room lights (yes, my panel workshop is
                              the dining room table). It was worth even more when I took it
                              outside in the sun and it powered a small fan. Yes, I do get excited
                              easily. Keith

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

                              --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, Susan Modikoane <suemodikoane@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > I'd like to have a class at one of the meetings or at least a talk
                              by Keith. It may be we will get to the point where we cannot wait
                              until we can afford commercial panels.
                              >
                              > Michael Ewert <mewert@...> wrote: Keith,
                              > Yours is an awesome story. Thanks for the inspiration. I think
                              many of us would be interested to know how you sealed your PV cells?
                              Under glass? What kind of frame, caulk, etc.
                              > Mike
                              >
                              >
                              > ---------------------------------
                              >
                              > From: hreg@yahoogroups.com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups.com] On
                              Behalf Of kayouker
                              > Sent: Wednesday, February 07, 2007 8:23 AM
                              > To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                              > Subject: [hreg] Re: Building Solar Panels at home.
                              >
                              >
                              > Hello Kevin, you may recall I visited your business about 4
                              months
                              > ago and I appreciated the tour and discussion. You gave me a figure
                              > however of $60,000 for the polyvoltaic panels alone which you
                              looked
                              > up online since you don't actually "build" PV but assemble the
                              other
                              > components as I understand it. I asked you about how I could "do it
                              > yourself" and the response was not positive. I am using the more
                              > efficient monocrystaline cells which I purchased as raw wafers.
                              They
                              > work although I would put them at about 80% of theoretical output
                              and
                              > the finished panels power several rooms in my home. Will my panels
                              > last 30 years? Probably not. Will they handle all weather
                              > conditions? Probably not. But considering payback is in years and
                              > not decades they don't have to. Besides, since I built them I can
                              > repair them also. I am not putting down your company as you are
                              > making systems for specialized conditions such as stand-alone
                              > offshore oil rigs, very harsh conditions. Houston needs more PV
                              > companies such as yours as there are currently only two in this
                              huge
                              > city and the "other company" wouldn't even talk to a homeowner only
                              > business entities. It seems to me that many people would like to
                              > have some solar PV maybe to just run their garage or workshop or a
                              > few lights in their home. This may not seem like much but if 5% of
                              > the US population operated one solar panel in their home it would
                              > likely produce more than one nuclear power plant. The other part of
                              > the equation is that once people think about energy and install
                              that
                              > one panel, they will make other changes in their home and lifestyle
                              > that would make an even bigger impact than the solar panel itself.
                              > In my case this was true as my first panel powered a regular light
                              > bulb. Big deal. When I changed to compact fluorescent it now
                              > powered 6. Adding motion sensors that turned off unused lights so
                              > they were on much less, it increased this to 10. Now I even find
                              > myself looking for "phantom loads" and reading box labels
                              for "WATTS"
                              > rather than choosing a product by color or lowest price. So it is
                              > not necessarily the output of the panels themselves that have made
                              > the biggest impact and it has turned out to be economically
                              feasible
                              > for someone like myself with a modest income. Keith
                              >
                              > Thanks again for your tour and please don't take this as a negative
                              > response for your company or efforts, this is just my two cents
                              worth.
                              >
                              > --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, "Kevin Conlin" <kconlin@> wrote:
                              > >
                              > > Hi Folks, Mr. Solar Curmudgeon here, I'm intrigued by the concept
                              > of
                              > > building your own solar modules (I am assuming you're talking
                              about
                              > PV), but
                              > > having built over 125,000 custom solar modules in my career, I'm
                              > familiar
                              > > with the technical issues, longevity issues, degradation and
                              > performance
                              > > issues, and I can honestly say that it is extremely difficult for
                              > anyone
                              > > without the proper equipment to build a PV module that will last
                              a
                              > minimum
                              > > of 30 years under all kinds of weather conditions.
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              > > It's also hard for me to believe you can do it cheaper than the PV
                              > > companies, all things considered. I'll be happy to share what I
                              > know with
                              > > you and how to overcome the problems if you'd care to share your
                              > ideas.
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              > > Best Regards, Kevin
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              > > ________________________
                              > >
                              > > Kevin Conlin
                              > >
                              > > Solarcraft, Inc.
                              > >
                              > > 4007 C Greenbriar
                              > >
                              > > Stafford, TX 77477-4536
                              > >
                              > > Local (281) 340-1224
                              > >
                              > > Toll Free (877) 340-1224
                              > >
                              > > Fax 281 340 1230
                              > >
                              > > kconlin@
                              > >
                              > > www.solarcraft.net <http://www.solarcraft.net/>
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              > > Please make a note of our new contact information above.
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              > > _____
                              > >
                              > > From: Susan Modikoane [mailto:suemodikoane@]
                              > > Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 8:09 PM
                              > > To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                              > > Subject: Re: [hreg] Building Solar Panels at home.
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              > > That would be a cool class to teach us how to build solar panels.
                              > You could
                              > > probably cover your costs.
                              > >
                              > > kayouker <keithyouker@> wrote:
                              > >
                              > > Hello, I'm new to this group and was interested in finding if
                              > anyone
                              > > else out there is building their own solar or wind power. I
                              started
                              > > about 4 months ago when our electric bill reached $300 for a
                              month
                              > and
                              > > decided we needed to make some changes on that front. I have
                              since
                              > > changed to compact fluorescent (and LED when appropriate) and
                              other
                              > > efficiency changes and have begun building my own solar panels of
                              > which
                              > > I now have 4 built and online and this last month my electric
                              bill
                              > was
                              > > under $70. So far I'm impressed as I have a family of six so
                              there
                              > is
                              > > only so much we can cut back or conserve. I have the materials
                              for
                              > > building another 12 panels and would like to talk with someone
                              > about
                              > > design changes that might increase efficiency/output and other
                              > > technical details. I'm sure there must be others out there with a
                              > > similar approach to becoming self-sufficient on a budget. To date
                              I
                              > > have spent $2600 total on all my improvements and materials.
                              Thanks
                              > for
                              > > any input. Keith
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              > > _____
                              > >
                              > > Everyone is raving about the
                              > >
                              >
                              <http://us.rd.yahoo.com/evt=42297/*http:/advision.webevents.yahoo.com/
                              > mailbe
                              > > ta> all-new Yahoo! Mail beta.
                              > >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > ---------------------------------
                              > Sucker-punch spam with award-winning protection.
                              > Try the free Yahoo! Mail Beta.
                              >
                            • Andrew McCalla
                              Keith, Can you post a picture or two for us of the finished product? Andrew H. McCalla NABCEP Certified Solar PV System Installer (TM) Meridian Energy Systems
                              Message 14 of 29 , Feb 8, 2007

                                Keith,

                                 

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

                                 

                                Andrew H. McCalla

                                NABCEP Certified Solar PV System Installer (TM)

                                 

                                Meridian Energy Systems

                                2300 S. Lamar, Ste. 107

                                Austin, TX   78704

                                 

                                Voice: (512) 448-0055

                                Fax:    (512) 448-0045

                                www.meridiansolar.com

                                 


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

                                 

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

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

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

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


                                __________ NOD32 2045 (20070208) Information __________

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

                              • Bashir Syed
                                I have been reading these post with great amusement, since our company was had started making Solar PV Modules abroad (early 2005) and I know how they are
                                Message 15 of 29 , Feb 8, 2007
                                  I have been reading these post with great amusement, since our company was had started making Solar PV Modules abroad (early 2005) and I know how they are made, but didn't want to comment. Number one requirement is to have the right connection yto acquire Silicon Solar cells, because the whole process after that depends on this major step in the assembly and lamination process. We had succeeded in the acquisition of Silicon Solar Cells from Europe and started making the Modules. Our main hurdle came because I was located in US and our man incharge was in Asia. The greed overtook this man and things went haywire, resulting in the closure of our work. We have not given up and will be resuming our work as soon as possible.
                                   
                                  Bashir A. Syed
                                  Member: American Solar Energy Society, Senior Member International Solar Energy Society, APS, IEEE, UCS, and New York Academy of Sciences
                                  Retired Aerospace Physicist
                                  Vice President, R&D
                                  Alt-EnergyTech, Inc.
                                  (formerly EnerTech Enterprises, Inc.)
                                  1120 NASA Parkway, Suite 220W
                                  Houston, TX 77058.
                                   
                                  P.S. I taught the first course (bringing 1980) to Design and Fabricate CMOS-SOS Very Large Scale Integrated Circuits (VLSI) at GE Aerospace Electronic Systems Department, Utica, NY, and later was responsible for changing the Radar Technology from Microwave Vacuum Tubes to Solid State - Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuits using Gallium Arsenide Technology extending as far as Millimeter Wave Devices, Photonics using Fiber-Optics, and how to protect them from Nuclear and Space Radiation.  
                                   
                                  ----- Original Message -----
                                  Sent: Thursday, February 08, 2007 9:34 AM
                                  Subject: RE: [hreg] Re: Building Solar Panels at home.

                                  Keith,

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

                                  Andrew H. McCalla

                                  NABCEP Certified Solar PV System Installer (TM)

                                  Meridian Energy Systems

                                  2300 S. Lamar, Ste. 107

                                  Austin, TX   78704

                                  Voice: (512) 448-0055

                                  Fax:    (512) 448-0045

                                  www.meridiansolar. com


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

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

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

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


                                  __________ NOD32 2045 (20070208) Information __________

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

                                • Garth & Kim Travis
                                  Greetings, Do you mind sharing your source of materials? Was this a lucky find or does your supplier have them all the time? A side note to all our new
                                  Message 16 of 29 , Feb 8, 2007
                                    Greetings,
                                    Do you mind sharing your source of materials? Was this a lucky find or
                                    does your supplier have them all the time?

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

                                    Bright Blessings,
                                    Kim [List Owner]

                                    kayouker wrote:
                                    > I'm not an expert and am not ready to teach how to make a solar panel
                                    > as I joined this board to get ideas of how to improve my own panels.
                                    > In my case I was able to purchase monocrystaline cells for about 50
                                    > cents per watt.
                                  • Jack Wagner (HSN)
                                    What a great thread - Keith taking action we all admire and Bashir with a wealth of technical knowledge and experience. Maybe we could connect a few of the
                                    Message 17 of 29 , Feb 8, 2007

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

                                       


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

                                       

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

                                       

                                      Bashir A. Syed

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

                                      Retired Aerospace Physicist

                                      Vice President, R&D

                                      Alt-EnergyTech, Inc.

                                      (formerly EnerTech Enterprises, Inc.)

                                      1120 NASA Parkway, Suite 220W

                                      Houston, TX 77058.

                                       

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

                                       

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

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

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

                                       

                                      Keith,

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

                                      Andrew H. McCalla

                                      NABCEP Certified Solar PV System Installer (TM)

                                      Meridian Energy Systems

                                      2300 S. Lamar, Ste. 107

                                      Austin , TX   78704

                                      Voice: (512) 448-0055

                                      Fax:    (512) 448-0045

                                      www.meridiansolar. com

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

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

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

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

                                      --- In hreg@yahoogroups. com, Susan Modikoane <suemodikoane@ ...> wrote:
                                      >
                                      > I'd like to have a class at one of the meetings or at least a talk
                                      by Keith. It may be we will get to the point where we cannot wait
                                      until we can afford commercial panels.
                                      >
                                      > Michael Ewert <mewert@...> wrote: Keith,
                                      > Yours is an awesome story. Thanks for the inspiration. I think
                                      many of us would be interested to know how you sealed your PV cells?
                                      Under glass? What kind of frame, caulk, etc.
                                      > Mike
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > ------------ --------- --------- ---
                                      >
                                      > From: hreg@yahoogroups. com [mailto:hreg@yahoogroups. com] On
                                      Behalf Of kayouker
                                      > Sent: Wednesday, February 07, 2007 8:23 AM
                                      > To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
                                      > Subject: [hreg] Re: Building Solar Panels at home.
                                      >
                                      >
                                      > Hello Kevin, you may recall I visited your business about 4
                                      months
                                      > ago and I appreciated the tour and discussion. You gave me a figure
                                      > however of $60,000 for the polyvoltaic panels alone which you
                                      looked
                                      > up online since you don't actually "build" PV but assemble the
                                      other
                                      > components as I understand it. I asked you about how I could "do it
                                      > yourself" and the response was not positive. I am using the more
                                      > efficient monocrystaline cells which I purchased as raw wafers.
                                      They
                                      > work although I would put them at about 80% of theoretical output
                                      and
                                      > the finished panels power several rooms in my home. Will my panels
                                      > last 30 years? Probably not. Will they handle all weather
                                      > conditions? Probably not. But considering payback is in years and
                                      > not decades they don't have to. Besides, since I built them I can
                                      > repair them also. I am not putting down your company as you are
                                      > making systems for specialized conditions such as stand-alone
                                      > offshore oil rigs, very harsh conditions. Houston needs more PV
                                      > companies such as yours as there are currently only two in this
                                      huge
                                      > city and the "other company" wouldn't even talk to a homeowner only
                                      > business entities. It seems to me that many people would like to
                                      > have some solar PV maybe to just run their garage or workshop or a
                                      > few lights in their home. This may not seem like much but if 5% of
                                      > the US population operated one solar panel in their home it would
                                      > likely produce more than one nuclear power plant. The other part of
                                      > the equation is that once people think about energy and install
                                      that
                                      > one panel, they will make other changes in their home and lifestyle
                                      > that would make an even bigger impact than the solar panel itself.
                                      > In my case this was true as my first panel powered a regular light
                                      > bulb. Big deal. When I changed to compact fluorescent it now
                                      > powered 6. Adding motion sensors that turned off unused lights so
                                      > they were on much less, it increased this to 10. Now I even find
                                      > myself looking for "phantom loads" and reading box labels
                                      for " WATTS "
                                      > rather than choosing a product by color or lowest price. So it is
                                      > not necessarily the output of the panels themselves that have made
                                      > the biggest impact and it has turned out to be economically
                                      feasible
                                      > for someone like myself with a modest income. Keith
                                      >
                                      > Thanks again for your tour and please don't take this as a negative
                                      > response for your company or efforts, this is just my two cents
                                      worth.
                                      >
                                      > --- In hreg@yahoogroups. com, "Kevin Conlin" <kconlin@> wrote:
                                      > >
                                      > > Hi Folks, Mr. Solar Curmudgeon here, I'm intrigued by the concept
                                      > of
                                      > > building your own solar modules (I am assuming you're talking
                                      about
                                      > PV), but
                                      > > having built over 125,000 custom solar modules in my career, I'm
                                      > familiar
                                      > > with the technical issues, longevity issues, degradation and
                                      > performance
                                      > > issues, and I can honestly say that it is extremely difficult for
                                      > anyone
                                      > > without the proper equipment to build a PV module that will last
                                      a
                                      > minimum
                                      > > of 30 years under all kinds of weather conditions.
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > > It's also hard for me to believe you can do it cheaper than the PV
                                      > > companies, all things considered. I'll be happy to share what I
                                      > know with
                                      > > you and how to overcome the problems if you'd care to share your
                                      > ideas.
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > > Best Regards, Kevin
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > > ____________ _________ ___
                                      > >
                                      > > Kevin Conlin
                                      > >
                                      > > Solarcraft, Inc.
                                      > >
                                      > > 4007 C Greenbriar
                                      > >
                                      > > Stafford , TX 77477-4536
                                      > >
                                      > > Local (281) 340-1224
                                      > >
                                      > > Toll Free (877) 340-1224
                                      > >
                                      > > Fax 281 340 1230
                                      > >
                                      > > kconlin@
                                      > >
                                      > > www.solarcraft. net <http://www.solarcra ft.net/>
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > > Please make a note of our new contact information above.
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > > _____
                                      > >
                                      > > From: Susan Modikoane [mailto:suemodikoan e@]
                                      > > Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 8:09 PM
                                      > > To: hreg@yahoogroups. com
                                      > > Subject: Re: [hreg] Building Solar Panels at home.
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > > That would be a cool class to teach us how to build solar panels.
                                      > You could
                                      > > probably cover your costs.
                                      > >
                                      > > kayouker <keithyouker@ > wrote:
                                      > >
                                      > > Hello, I'm new to this group and was interested in finding if
                                      > anyone
                                      > > else out there is building their own solar or wind power. I
                                      started
                                      > > about 4 months ago when our electric bill reached $300 for a
                                      month
                                      > and
                                      > > decided we needed to make some changes on that front. I have
                                      since
                                      > > changed to compact fluorescent (and LED when appropriate) and
                                      other
                                      > > efficiency changes and have begun building my own solar panels of
                                      > which
                                      > > I now have 4 built and online and this last month my electric
                                      bill
                                      > was
                                      > > under $70. So far I'm impressed as I have a family of six so
                                      there
                                      > is
                                      > > only so much we can cut back or conserve. I have the materials
                                      for
                                      > > building another 12 panels and would like to talk with someone
                                      > about
                                      > > design changes that might increase efficiency/output and other
                                      > > technical details. I'm sure there must be others out there with a
                                      > > similar approach to becoming self-sufficient on a budget. To date
                                      I
                                      > > have spent $2600 total on all my improvements and materials.
                                      Thanks
                                      > for
                                      > > any input. Keith
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > >
                                      > > _____
                                      > >
                                      > > Everyone is raving about the
                                      > >
                                      >
                                      <http://us.rd. yahoo.com/ evt=42297/ *http:/advision. webevents. yahoo.com/
                                      > mailbe
                                      > > ta> all-new Yahoo! Mail beta.
                                      > >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
                                      >
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                                    • 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 18 of 29 , Feb 8, 2007
                                        Keith,
                                        It sounds like you have a really neat DIY system.  I think lots of people in the group would be interested in it.  Could you come to our next HREG meeting (April 29th) and tell us more about it - maybe bring some pictures. 
                                         
                                        It would be great to have a presentation of DIY systems at the next meeting.
                                         
                                        I have also heard of people attaching blades to automobile alternators (with a gear reduction) to make an inexpensive DIY wind turbine.  Is there anyone out there with such a system?
                                        -Chris
                                         
                                         
                                         
                                      • kayouker
                                        You would be better off finding a permanent magnet motor as you would not need gears and it would last much longer. The main problem in Houston is we don t
                                        Message 19 of 29 , Feb 9, 2007
                                          You would be better off finding a permanent magnet motor as you would
                                          not need gears and it would last much longer. The main problem in
                                          Houston is we don't have enough wind for a traditional design as they
                                          need about 10 mph winds to actually make any electricity and out put
                                          goes up exponentially with increasing speed. It is do-able here but
                                          would be very disappointing for most. Keith
                                          --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, Chris Boyer <boyer.chris@...> wrote:
                                          >
                                          > Keith,
                                          > It sounds like you have a really neat DIY system. I think lots of
                                          people in the group would be interested in it. Could you come to our
                                          next HREG meeting (April 29th) and tell us more about it - maybe bring
                                          some pictures.
                                          >
                                          > It would be great to have a presentation of DIY systems at the next
                                          meeting.
                                          >
                                          > I have also heard of people attaching blades to automobile
                                          alternators (with a gear reduction) to make an inexpensive DIY wind
                                          turbine. Is there anyone out there with such a system?
                                          > -Chris
                                          >
                                        • H.C. Clark
                                          We used an old attic fan [big one] as the wind driver. But, this was on the bay and, as you pointed out, wind consistency is a major factor. ... From:
                                          Message 20 of 29 , Feb 9, 2007
                                            We used an old attic fan [big one] as the wind driver.  But, this was on the bay and, as you pointed out, wind consistency is a major factor.
                                            ----- Original Message -----
                                            From: kayouker
                                            Sent: Friday, February 09, 2007 7:30 AM
                                            Subject: [hreg] Re: Building Solar Panels at home.

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

                                            !DSPAM:45cc7921272272457613276!
                                          • Ariel Thomann
                                            I seem to recall from some of the vendors at the Fredericksburg Roundup that wind turbines are now effective at as low as 7-8 mph. Ariel - We are all Human
                                            Message 21 of 29 , Feb 9, 2007
                                              I seem to recall from some of the vendors at the Fredericksburg 'Roundup' that
                                              wind turbines are now effective at as low as 7-8 mph.

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

                                              > You would be better off finding a permanent magnet motor as you would not
                                              > need gears and it would last much longer. The main problem in Houston is we
                                              > don't have enough wind for a traditional design as they need about 10 mph
                                              > winds to actually make any electricity and out put goes up exponentially with
                                              > increasing speed. It is do-able here but would be very disappointing for
                                              > most. Keith
                                              > --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, Chris Boyer <boyer.chris@...> wrote:
                                              >>
                                              >> Keith,
                                              >> It sounds like you have a really neat DIY system. I think lots of
                                              > people in the group would be interested in it. Could you come to our next
                                              > HREG meeting (April 29th) and tell us more about it - maybe bring some
                                              > pictures.
                                              >>
                                              >> It would be great to have a presentation of DIY systems at the next
                                              > meeting.
                                              >>
                                              >> I have also heard of people attaching blades to automobile
                                              > alternators (with a gear reduction) to make an inexpensive DIY wind turbine.
                                              > Is there anyone out there with such a system?
                                              >> -Chris
                                            • kayouker
                                              Yes, in Houston a wind turbine is the way to go since they have lower start speeds. Not many are made though commercially and they look kind of funny. The
                                              Message 22 of 29 , Feb 9, 2007
                                                Yes, in Houston a wind turbine is the way to go since they have lower
                                                start speeds. Not many are made though commercially and they look
                                                kind of funny. The same principal still applies though that double
                                                the speed gives 4 times the power and Houston has an avg wind speed
                                                of 9-10 mph. Keith
                                                --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, "Ariel Thomann" <ajthomann@...> wrote:
                                                >
                                                > I seem to recall from some of the vendors at the
                                                Fredericksburg 'Roundup' that
                                                > wind turbines are now effective at as low as 7-8 mph.
                                                >
                                                > Ariel
                                                > - We are all Human beings here together. We have to help one
                                                another, since
                                                > otherwise there is NO ONE who will help.
                                                > - All countries need a NO REGRETS strategic energy policy. Think
                                                ahead 7
                                                > generations.
                                                > ------------------------------------
                                                >
                                                > > You would be better off finding a permanent magnet motor as you
                                                would not
                                                > > need gears and it would last much longer. The main problem in
                                                Houston is we
                                                > > don't have enough wind for a traditional design as they need
                                                about 10 mph
                                                > > winds to actually make any electricity and out put goes up
                                                exponentially with
                                                > > increasing speed. It is do-able here but would be very
                                                disappointing for
                                                > > most. Keith
                                                > > --- In hreg@yahoogroups.com, Chris Boyer <boyer.chris@> wrote:
                                                > >>
                                                > >> Keith,
                                                > >> It sounds like you have a really neat DIY system. I think
                                                lots of
                                                > > people in the group would be interested in it. Could you come to
                                                our next
                                                > > HREG meeting (April 29th) and tell us more about it - maybe
                                                bring some
                                                > > pictures.
                                                > >>
                                                > >> It would be great to have a presentation of DIY systems at the
                                                next
                                                > > meeting.
                                                > >>
                                                > >> I have also heard of people attaching blades to automobile
                                                > > alternators (with a gear reduction) to make an inexpensive DIY
                                                wind turbine.
                                                > > Is there anyone out there with such a system?
                                                > >> -Chris
                                                >
                                              • Michael Ewert
                                                Keith, Again I say your efforts are impressive. I can tell you re trying to think of everything. Here are a couple of thoughts. Early PV attempts looked for
                                                Message 23 of 29 , Feb 9, 2007

                                                  Keith,

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

                                                   

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

                                                   

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

                                                  Mike

                                                   

                                                   


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

                                                   

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

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

                                                • Susan Modikoane
                                                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ArPZA1uRZ8&mode=related&search= Here s an idea. Keep building the solar panels and build a solar farm. In 10 years you ll be
                                                  Message 24 of 29 , Feb 9, 2007
                                                     
                                                    Here's an idea.  Keep building the solar panels and build a solar farm.  In 10 years you'll be a millionaire.

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



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                                                  • 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 25 of 29 , Feb 12, 2007

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

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

                                                       

                                                       

                                                      ________________________

                                                      Kevin Conlin

                                                      Solarcraft, Inc.

                                                      4007 C Greenbriar

                                                      Stafford, TX 77477-4536

                                                      Local (281) 340-1224

                                                      Toll Free (877) 340-1224

                                                      Fax 281 340 1230

                                                      kconlin@...

                                                      www.solarcraft.net

                                                       

                                                      Please make a note of our new contact information above.

                                                       


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

                                                       

                                                      Keith,

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

                                                       

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

                                                       

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

                                                      Mike

                                                       

                                                       


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

                                                       

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

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


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