Solar power has a lot of benefits over other forms of electricity generation. It’s renewable and inexhaustible. It’s environmentally friendly compared to electricity from fossil fuels, nuclear reactions, or even hydroelectric power. It’s amenable to a decentralized application with homes sporting solar panels on their rooftops to generate their own electricity.
If you’ve looked into getting your own solar system at home, you probably know that, aside from the labor to install the system, the
biggest cost component is the solar panels themselves. One solution to this is to make your own solar panels, but then the question takes a step back: how do you find the cheapest solar cells? If you buy solar cells at usual market prices from manufacturers or wholesalers, you won’t really shave all that much from the cost of buying the solar panels pre-
A single solar panel built in this way would likely cost about $200 in materials, and you can find a pre-
Making your own solar panels is something that can be done. How about making your own solar cells? Is that feasible? In a word, no. Solar cell manufacture is done in clean rooms to very exacting standards, and requires specialized knowledge and some high-
will function as a solar cell without too much difficulty, even from household items (a very amusing Wired.uk article discussed how to do this from powdered sugar and herbal tea), this is not going to be a good item to make a household solar system from.
It is possible to buy solar cells on eBay, Amazon and from other sources that are factory seconds and sold a good deal cheaper than top-
when building your solar panels.
Are there arguments against making your own solar panels? Yes, potentially pretty good ones. Let’s assume that you have the necessary skills and equipment to solder your connections properly, and that you are making your frames out of fireproof materials rather than wood, and covering your panels with glass rather than plexiglass. (Doing otherwise presents a serious fire hazard.) The remaining problems are more legal than technical.
To begin with, installing home-
In addition, you would not be able to use net metering to have an on-
Also, installing non-
Some of these legal problems would arise with home-
Despite all these arguments, you may decide you want to make your own solar panels anyway. Perhaps you don’t want them for your home but for some other use that is less heavily regulated by law. Perhaps you plan on making an off-
welding and are certain you can produce panels that are as good and safe as those coming from manufacturers.
If you want to make your own solar panels anyway, here are some thoughts about where you can get the cheapest solar cells.