DIY Solar Power Home Systems DIY Solar Power Home Systems

DIY solar power is becoming more commonplace. There are more solar power kits on the market and the prices keep coming down. Although it’s still a significant investment, it’s less than it was and long time savings are significant. It’s important to know what to expect in DIY solar power kits and what’s involved in installing them.

Benefits

Solar power can cut your electric bill. With a 30 per cent tax credit currently available for those installing solar power, the costs can be quite reasonable. The electricity generated is generally used for heating water, as this is about the limit of the power generated.

It will work in most climates, although it will be most effective where there’s more sun. The nature of DIY solar power is that there’s very little maintenance involved. You do need enough roof area that face south or southwest in order to maximize the amount of sun on the solar panel (also known as the photovoltaic cell).

Kit

A DIY solar power kit essentially consists of three items. It begins with the photovoltaic cell, which is the solar cell that sits on the roof. There will also be the battery, which is usually 85 Ah and will include a charge controller to prevent any spikes. Usually the battery will be in a waterproof box. This is especially helpful as the battery than can-and often is-stored outside.

The final part of the DIY solar power kit is the power inverter. This converts the power that’s stored in the battery into something useful for your home. It can be connected to the hot water heater or it can also be connected (there will be an outlet on the power inverter) to a power strip, where it can power small appliances. Be aware that the power from a single solar cell will only power very small appliances for limited periods. The kit will also include all the necessary wiring and an installation guide.

Installation

What sets DIY solar power apart is the fact that it’s DIY. By installing it yourself you save a great deal of money over professional installation. The instructions with the kit should guide you through step by step. All the kits need the three elements above in order to create working solar power.

The panel itself should come with a stand so you can have it at the optimum angle for the sun (generally this is 70 degrees). Often the battery is stored outside in the waterproof box and the cable from that enters the building to reach the power inverter.

You don’t need a great deal of DIY knowledge to put in your own solar power. You should, however, be sure of certain things when comparing kits. The battery needs to be deep cycle, and the charge controller should be 12 Ah and the power inverter should be 300 watts. Less than these won’t offer optimum performance. To generate adequate power, the solar cell should be at least 80 watts.

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