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Domestic Solar Panel Resources, Guides and Plans

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~ Updated September 24, 2013

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About Me

My name is Neville Pettersson and I have created the this site to help regular home owner’s like me make their own

energy at home. For more info about me check out the about page here. You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and Pinterest.

A lot of homeowners these days -- more than ever, in fact -- are interested in having a solar system in their home to generate electricity. That's understandable. The cost of solar technology is dropping, while the cost of fossil fuels is rising, and that means a homeowner can save money on electric bills for a lower and lower up-front investment.

But at this point, the price of installing a solar system is still high. You can cut out a lot of the cost by installing your own solar system rather than having it done by a contractor. But you can cut even more out by making your own solar panels, and so dramatically reducing the cost of the most expensive component.


If you look online, you can easily find solar power kits. However, most of these are not kits that let you make your own solar panels. Rather, they consist of all of the components you need to install a solar system, including solar panels already assembled.

Using a kit can save a lot of money on installing a solar system, but making your own solar panels can save even more. As far as I know, there are no kits on the market for making your own solar panels, but that doesn't mean there won't be in the future, or even for certain that there aren't now. Just be sure to read the fine print before placing your order.


A number of quite informative and useful guides to making solar panels can be found online for about fifty dollars. (That seems to be the going rate for information on producing your own energy, whether it's from solar power, wind power, or anything else.) If you decide you want to make your own panels, one of these guides can be a very good investment.

Before making that investment, though, you should consider what you will need in the way of tools, materials, and time to make your own solar panels, as described here.

What's Involved?

In terms of tools and equipment, you will need the following. First, basic tools for woodworking (to shape the frame into which you will insert the
solar cells to make a panel) -- saw, screws, screwdriver, sandpaper, power drill. Second, you need a soldering iron and fine-grade solder. This is to make the connections between the solar cells and to connect your finished solar panel into a complete solar system. Many of these tools are already in most houses, as they have multiple uses, but some may need to be purchased. Continued below....

Homemade Solar Panels

In terms of equipment, you will need lots of solar cells. Each solar cell produces a little under a watt of power, and to match the output of commercial solar panels you will want to use some 225 cells per panel.

For a complete home system, you're looking probably (depending on your own household's energy use) at around 2,000 solar cells. Of course, it's not mandatory to build and install a complete system. A solar system providing only part of your electricity will still save you money, and you can always add to it later.

If you price solar cells new and in mint condition, you won't really be saving a lot of money compared to complete solar panels, but it's quite possible to find factory seconds with blemishes that a manufacturer will be willing to sell at a steep discount. These work just the same as first-line solar cells, even if they aren't as pretty to look at.

You will also need frames, or wood to make frames, clear plastic or glass covers, adhesive to glue the solar cells into the frames, and all of the auxiliary equipment (mounting rack, wiring, connectors, and either a battery system or a grid-tie system) needed to turn your solar panels into a working solar system.

A lot of work? Yes: but it can save a lot of money compared to a kit, and thousands of dollars compared to having a solar system professionally installed.