If you’re planning on making your home more green, installing solar panels is not only a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, it’s also a great way to reduce your monthly energy bills. The cost of solar panels can vary substantially, depending on the quality of your panels, the amount of energy you consume, and where you live. If you live by yourself, live in a small home, and don’t much electricity, you may be able to be satisfied with only two or three panels. Likewise, if you live in a southern latitude with plenty of sun, you will need fewer panels to generate a given amount of electricity than you can in a place with less direct sunlight.
Professionally installed solar panels can be pricey. If you own an average sized house with three bedrooms, installing enough solar panels to have a noticeable cost reduction on your electricity bill can cost upwards of 30,000 to 50,000 dollars. In other words, if you install panels when you purchase your new home, you should expect the panels to pay for themselves when you pay off your mortgage, or longer. The good news is, because of an increasingly competitive green market, solar panels are quickly becoming more affordable. If you can’t afford solar panels now, it’s reasonable to expect you might be able to afford them five years from now. Furthermore, advances in solar cell technology is producing more and more efficient cells. Solar panels in the very near future will be able to generate more electricity per square foot than they do today.
However, if you’re a do-it-yourselfer with basic construction skills, and experience with wiring and electronic assembly, you can assemble and install your own array of solar panels for a fraction of the cost. Numerous websites have step-by-step instructions on how build your own solar panels, and a few books have also been written on the subject. You can buy the solar cells in bulk directly from the manufacturers, or you can even buy factory second photo cells for even less money. These cells may have minor flaws such as small chips on the glass which do not effect the performance of the cell and are invisible once they are installed. If you have the know-how to wire together each of the tiny solar cells, all you have to do is construct a simple housing for the array out of wood, and cover them with clear, waterproof glass or plastic. You can either put them on your roof, or if you have the large enough property, you may also set your panels up on the ground. The costs of making your own panels can vary, depending on the materials you choose to use, but generally you can install enough panels for a noticeable decrease in your electric bill for only a few thousand dollars.
The downside to installing do-it-yourself solar panels is the amount of skill and labor for the project, but the number of dollars you save with this project is substantial. Each solar cell is very small, so the wiring each cell can turn out to be complicated and time consuming. If you try to assemble your own solar panels, be sure to check with local codes, and be sure that all wiring in the superstructure of the house is done by a professional.