The short answer is "yes!" It is important to note however that you should be aware of the possible pitfalls of some of these methods of creating your own energy efficient system using affordable solar panels.
For many homeowners, solar energy is simply too expensive at the outset. Although prices have been dropping in recent years, we have a way to go before it is easily accessible to everyone.
As a result, there are many people who decide that solar energy just isn't available to them and they continue to pay their local power company hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of dollars every year. What is the alternative?
Cheap Solar Panels Aren't Just About the Price Tag
First, it is important to understand that the cost of solar panels is not only the actual amount that you pay for the panel, but how well it works and how long it lasts.
Some solar panels have a higher efficiency than others, which means that they can generate more electricity from the same amount of sunlight.
Solar Panel Efficiency
When you look at solar panels, you will see numbers like 15% efficiency or 30% efficiency panels. Some types of solar panels are considered high efficiency panels, such as panels made from multi-junction solar cells.
Multi-junction solar cells are able to absorb a wider range of the spectrum of solar light. Each cell is layered with different materials, and each layer of the cell is able to absorbe a specific frequency of light.
Some solar experts say that a solar panel with 30% efficiency will be able to pay for itself within six years. These types of high efficiency panels can help make solar energy more affordable, because the average life expectancy of a solar panel in ten years.
That means if you use a high efficiency solar panel, you'll be enjoying free electricity after your sixth year!
How Long Will Your Solar Panel Last?
Another factor to consider is the longevity of the solar panel. How long is it expected to last? Some important things to find out are:
Cheap Solar Panels - Cost Per Kilowatt Hour
Another number to look for is the cost per kilowatt hour, which is the amount of energy that can be produced in one hour's time. Obviously, a lower number means that the cost of the solar panel will be less, but even this is not as simple as it sounds.
For example, two different solar cells can have exactly the same cost per kilowatt hour, but they perform differently in real world situations. The surrounding temperature The main thing you want to know is the amount of power that your panel can produce in the "real world" under average or typical conditions for your area.
Cheap Solar Panels - New and Emerging Technologies
Most solar panels only store energy during the daylight hours, but some are now capable of functioning at night because they can convert infrared light into electricity. This would increase the efficiency of the solar panel as well.
There are new technologies such as nanoantennas that are capable of dramatically increasing the amount of sunlight that a solar cell can absorb and use. For example, most solar panels today are around 20% efficiency, and nanotechnology can increase this efficiency up to 60 or 80%.
Another new possibility for affordable solar energy comes from High Gain Solar arrays, which are capable of generating up to ten times more energy that the usual flat panel solar systems. These systems use silicon cells and long lasting reflective components, and are capable of tracking the sun's movement to get maximum sunlight.
They have many advantages, as they are highly efficient, and they don't need elaborate manufacturing facilities. They can be made from low cost materials, AND they can work well even on cloudy days!
One of their drawbacks is that dye sensitized solar cells may not work well in extreme temperatures, so they may not be a solution if you live in a very cold or very hot location.
Finding Affordable Solar Panels
Where can you find cheap solar panels that actually work? There are manufacturers who produce cheap solar panel kits for homeowners and these can be very affordable when compared to a system that is installed by a professional.
Perhaps you can make the kit work for your home and your energy requirements. However, the kits are not typically customizable to your home, so you may end up paying for parts and pieces you don't need. It's also likely you'll need to spend more money for necessary items that are not included in the original kit.
So, where can you get affordable solar panels for your home? Surprisingly, eBay is one source people are using to get solar panels inexpensively.
Another way to build your own solar energy system is to purchase a do-it-yourself manual and purchase the materials from your local hardware store. You may need a few additional parts that you can locate online and have shipped to your home.
By following the instructions in a DIY solar panels manual, it's relatively simple to build your own solar panels to produce energy for your home.
Benefits and Drawbacks of DIY Solar Panels
Can you locate or build solar panels for less? Absolutely. But, you should be aware that there are both benefits and drawbacks associated with any DIY project and solar panels are no exception.
Benefits of DIY Solar
Drawbacks of Build Your Own Solar Power
You can minimize the drawbacks of building or purchasing affordable solar panels. Be sure to do research on solar energy and solar panels!
It's vital to have knowledge of how much power you require to run the household, how many solar panels you'll need to generate that much power, and what the most cost-effective way to build your system would be for you and your home.
Also, if you have decided to purchase used solar panels, be sure there is a solid return policy so that you're not stuck with damaged goods without a refund.
My Favorite Cheap Solar Panels Do It Yourself Guide
So far my favorite instruction manual for DIY solar panels is Green DIY Solar. There are several reasons I like it.
These kinds of instruction manuals are useful if you like doing it yourself, and don't mind taking some time for the inevitable learning curve involved in building your own solar panel.
There are other DIY Solar manuals out there and Green DIY is the only one I've found that provides both high quality instructions, video demonstrations and personalized support.
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