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DIY solar panels- real or not? Dh? Options
#1 Posted : Wednesday, December 10, 2008 12:46:16 AM
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Posts: 134,494

Yup,it's possible jd but the problem is the teenie tiny amount of power each solar cell converts.Basically what a solar cell does is convert a high frequency electromagnetic wave(visible,ultraviolet and infared light ) into essentially a flat electromagnetic wave( direct current electromagnetism..not a wave because its flat,no alternation from + to - or.All light is electromagnetic energy,on earth delivered @ 1000 watts/square metre. approximately.Right now we can only convert about 10%-12% of that light  into power,ironically about the same efficiency as a gas engine.Thats about 120 watts/ sqare meter..So pare it down a 4 x 6 centimeter solar cell delivers today can deliver 500 milliwatts(around 1/2 a watt) @ 4.5 volts or so.Not much.But better than it used to be.Thing is the earlier version cells were much less efficient than the ones today,and still they sell them at the same price as the newer cells.I saw some on Ebay the other night and by looking at them I could tell that most of them were broken..once the seals cracked the cells are no good and most of these semeed to be ruined.So there are scam artists out these but if you do come across a broken highway light solar panel or something of that nature,sure I'd pick it up if the price was right.Radio Shack used to sell the tiny ones but I don't know if they do anymore,they seem to sell cellphones only these days.

#2 Posted : Sunday, December 21, 2008 6:39:41 PM
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 Big shift in energy use and applications .  Gas will be cheaper than PV soon .

But extreme un-emplloyment will drive EFFECTIVE prices of BOTH  thru the roof ...

  Im rich , so gas engines from HF ,,   at $300 (, 13hp )   are my best deal .

  Im also buying $700 plasma and $220  E-welder , for future value ..

  kc7cc    a2a3a4a5




#3 Posted : Tuesday, December 23, 2008 1:41:07 AM
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Nope,it wont be for long..wait a year,the second OPEC and other coutries see consumption rise the price'll skyrocket just   like last summer.If they know you'll pay $4.15/gal then they know what their ceiling is;they want to stay rich too, that's their plan.This is why we're doing what we're doing and now,not later.Don't worry they'll get to you..
#4 Posted : Thursday, January 01, 2009 9:41:45 PM
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You can build PV panels yourself using individual cells bough on ebay or the like.  Its a fairly exacting job to put them together, and then to provide descent weather protection so the panel lasts.  What the total life of these panels is before the weather gets to them is an open issue.

You don't have to pay for info on how to build them -- there are several free sets of instructions --  a couple here:

You can make good solar thermal (heating) panels that put out a lot more energy per dollar spent and will last a good long time. 
Lots of info on this in the Mother archives and places like BuildItSolar.

#5 Posted : Thursday, January 08, 2009 12:36:31 PM
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I'm working on a solar trough project. The plan is to heat hot water to 180F.

We are also looking at these new 35% efficient solar cells.

There are also 45% efficient cells in the labs, however they are like 35% cells in that they need at least 100 "suns" to operate.

#6 Posted : Thursday, January 08, 2009 12:36:31 PM
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Posts: 134,494
Earth for Energy (advertising on MEN - see list of ads on right hand side of this page) sells a video/book kit that explains how to make solar panels for only a few bucks.  It is SOOooooo typical of a scam but, of course, I don't KNOW that.  Could be a treasure trove of great info.  I am, however, doubtful.  How can anyone get those crystalline silicon do-das at a local hardware store?  Doesn't make sense.  Dh...........?
Solar hot water heaters?  OK, those can be made easily enough.  But PV? 
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