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Re: Building Solar Panels at home.

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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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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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