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First time installations on a property also can be eligible for multiplied STC's under the Solar Credits scheme. This means that for grid-connected small-scale systems, the first 1.5kW's of capacity is awarded with a 2x bonus STC rate.
 

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One thing I've learned over the years in putting together the first solar panel system for our motor home and then designing one for our home is that it pays to do business close to where you live and in state if possible. Shipping can be expensive due to size and weight. By getting our panels from a business just over a 100 miles away we were able to pick them up ourselves and even with the cost of fuel we saved about $250 for the home panels, that put the price at just a hair over $1.51 per watt. The other thing is that Oregon has no sales tax which could be an issue in buying out of state.
 

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Has anyone here tried or considerd build your own solar panels? I'm just now looking into it and would like to know all the in's & out's up's down's and if it is just feasible.
 

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Has anyone here tried or considerd build your own solar panels? I'm just now looking into it and would like to know all the in's & out's up's down's and if it is just feasible.
Getting condensation under the glass (with the cells) can be a big problem with homemade panels.

Also, you don't know the meaning of the word "FRAGILE" until you handle solar cells!
 

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Getting condensation under the glass (with the cells) can be a big problem with homemade panels.
I looked at some of the DIY sites on building my own panels but in consideration of rounding up everything needed, getting a hold of tempered glass of the proper size, time spent on getting the cells bonded with the glass, soldiering the cell wires and getting them mounted in frames it just isn't worth the time and effort considering all the other projects I have going on. On top of this the panels I got have warranties.
 

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It just isn't worth the time and effort
Back when a 60-watt monocrystalline panel was $400, it was worth it. Now the things are almost down to a measly $1 per watt!!! I can't build one as cheap as they can be bought.
 

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Yeah, now that they are treated like a commodity and they are working with economies of scale I can't see it paying. Full size panels are built very well and are reasonably priced when you factor in all the parts and labour.
 

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I did some checking on components this morning on EBAY havent done the math yet on price's, all the above points are good, I'll check out the price's and let ya know I suspect it may not be worth messing with.
 

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Guys it looks like your all right, after doing some priceing it looks like it just wont be worth messing with building my own collectors, I can get 240W pannels from Solar Systems USA for around two hundred bucks, oh well would have been an interesting and educational project.
 

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oh well would have been an interesting and educational project.
Well... Parts are pretty cheap as well. I say go for it, just for fun.

I still built some some small ones for "here and there"...

The lights in the outhouse are solar powered. (Small 12V, 4Ah SLA battery with a ~3 watt panel) because it is so far away. My mailbox "art/sculpture" is illuminated at night with an early solar power project. Another project powers the gate opener.
 

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Well... Parts are pretty cheap as well. I say go for it, just for fun.

I still built some some small ones for "here and there"...

The lights in the outhouse are solar powered. (Small 12V, 4Ah SLA battery with a ~3 watt panel) because it is so far away. My mailbox "art/sculpture" is illuminated at night with an early solar power project. Another project powers the gate opener.
Yeah I still like the idea, I think I will try it for a small project, the bigger pannels with some more checking I can get 250W panels under two hundred bucks, where do you get the glazeing for your panels anyway, I see solar panel glass isn't just regular temperd glass.
 

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Yeah I still like the idea, I think I will try it for a small project, the bigger pannels with some more checking I can get 250W panels under two hundred bucks, where do you get the glazeing for your panels anyway, I see solar panel glass isn't just regular temperd glass.
I haven't really looked into the type of glass used other than to read the info on panels I had been checking on and they state that the glass that is used is "low iron". Glass for solar panels is the direct opposite of window and door glass which are called "low E" type glass, this type of glass greatly reduces the amount of ultra-violet rays passing through them whereas the solar glass allows as much solar energy as possible to pass through.
 

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Glass for solar panels is the direct opposite of window and door glass which are called "low E" type glass, this type of glass greatly reduces the amount....
Just the new "energy efficient" glass.
Get old glass from a few decades ago, it shouldn't be "Low E".
I have an old sliding patio door that is going to become a solar panel!
 
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Here's my take on solar: I used to have an RV, my mobile homestead. I had six of the 65 watt panels, a top-of-the-line regulator, and three of the 8D batteries (the big big ones). The total cost was about $3500 for it all. I ran an inverter for my desktop computer, the fridge, and lights. It provided about 70-75% of my energy needs in Summer, and about 50-60% in Winter. So, I still had to have a generator. That means another few hundred dollars for the gen-set. While the solar is perfectly silent, and starts paying for itsself on day one, I don't think it's worth it. Spend $1000 on a Honda 2000i which is portable, will provide 100% of your needs, last 20 years, provide 12v DC and is super quiet, and you'll still have $2500 to buy gas for it. Obviously the 200i won't run a home, but you get the idea. Watt for watt, a generator is far superior.
Solar has a nice 'green' feel to it, but is not efficient enough unless you have a huge number of panels, and lots of storgage. It would be easy to spend 10-15k on doing a home, only to not have all your energy needs met. I see no satisfaction in that.

I'm not trying to piss off the solar fans, I've used it for years, and found it lacking. You might have better luck. People need to be presented both sides of the argument.
Wallrat, you need to get in front of your solar, not behind it. I run a 2kv solar array along with a 600 watt wind turbine for four battery banks. One of my battery banks has pulse/desulfurization chargers connected to it that goes to the other battery banks to maintain a float charge. You can make use of blocking diodes to divide up the power going to your battery banks.
That Honda generator is still very useful in that you can run it 20-30 minutes a day to charge up your battery banks whenever they need it via the pulse/desulfurization chargers. Bottom line is that generator cost you money for whatever type of fuel you are using, I prefer propane over gasoline but that still cost money also. One more thing, start looking at not bigger batteries but more efficient ones. Two of my battery banks are 14 volt systems because I run a lot of ham radios on them for my radio relay station that require 13.8 VDC.
A 14 VDC system has many advantages, it will run your inverter for more than 12-22 hours vs a 12 VDC system that alarms out your inverter and shuts it off 4-6 hours after the sun sets. For 14 VDC, I use 6 and 8 volt golf cart batteries in a series/parallel circuit. Golf cart batteries are usually 230 Ah each, they are cheap and very forgiving and can be used indoors because they require larger amperage for charging overnight but over the period of several days will come to a full charge and can't be overcharged with a right amount of solar panels. The goal is to run the least amount of solar panels and 14Vdc system doesn't require a charge controller either because the voltages are very close to each other with the solar panels.
When it comes to battery banks, don't put all your eggs in one basket, run multiple battery banks, incorporate pulse/desulfurization chargers like those made by BatteryMINDer 2012 and they will equalize your battery banks every 30 days for you or you can do it manually with UPS yourself. Yes, I use UPS's throughout the whole house because of where I live, we get brown outs and power surges because I live on an island that uses big generators to power the whole island.
I've been running these same four battery banks for 10 years and have never had to replace a single battery. I take each battery bank apart once a year to add acid if needed, not water, which you can buy over the counter at any auto parts store really cheap, I use electrical grease after any cleaning of connectors and during that time while the batteries are sitting outside the bank, I test each one with a volt meter and mark the voltages on the labels I have on the sides along with the date/time.
Anyway, I wish you luck on your current solar array set up but if it were me, I would make some major changes until you get the desired performance from your off grid system until it's not costing you a penny to run it. The great thing about off grid systems or Microgrids, is that you don't need to spend a whole lot of money upfront, you can buy a few solar panels here and a few batteries there. I also don't like to run a system higher than 14 VDC so that in times of need, I can jump my battery banks with jumper cables to my Jeep if ever needed but never had to do that yet, not even after one of our many hurricanes. If you run say a 48 or 96 VDC system and one battery goes bad on you, then you're up a creek without a paddle and that is never good. It's higher amperages with 12 and 14 VDC systems but easy to use and understand.
Again, good luck and do a little more research but I will tell you right now, there is no research that I can find on 14 VDC systems but yet you can now buy 14 volt deep cycle batteries on the Internet although I've never bought one yet.
 

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Anyone running solar panels?

If so please tell us what brand, how much, where you bought them from and how much energy they produce.
3 - 100 watts Just Solar panels running 12vdc lighting and a water pump.
2 - 135 watts Just Solar panels running exterior lighting.
4 - 100 watts Just Solar panels to be connected to a grid-tie inverter to off set power from the mains coming onto the property.
2 - 100 watts Just Solar panels running a 24 vdc submersible pump for aeration of a small pond, 10 meters x 12 meters.

All panels purchased from one company, here in Cambodia. Current pricing, $1.00 / watt. All but a single controller purchased in the USA. One Morningstar 30 amp controller, purchased locally. Local pricing on controllers is outrageously high.
 

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Maybe someone like Recon marine or ILFE could write a comprehensive article on Solar for preppers.. from different types Solar generators (with links to competitive vendors, pics etc) to bigger systems :)
 

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Maybe someone like Recon marine or ILFE could write a comprehensive article on Solar for preppers.. from different types Solar generators (with links to competitive vendors, pics etc) to bigger systems :)
My apologies. I just noticed this reply, BlueZ.

I, by no means, claim to be an authority on solar installations. Everything I have learned, I did so through joining alternative energy forums, such as Solar Panel Talk & Northern Arizona Wind & Sun Solar Forum. Other information I picked up from other websites and videos that offered specific information that I was seeking.

The long and short of it is, if people follow a few basic guidelines, pretty much anyone can calculate what is necessary to power their respective loads.

Generally speaking:-
  • Determine how many total watts each necessary appliance uses.
  • Multiply that by the number of hours the appliance must run during any 24 hours period.
  • Calculate the number of total Amp Hours necessary to power said appliances. Multiply this by 2 (if using flooded lead acid, gel, or AGM batteries). You do not want to drain given types of batteries below 50%. Although, newer technology batteries can be drawn down considerably farther, when powering appliances. This will give you the battery bank size you need, to power your appliances for off-grid, or during mains power disruptions.
  • Calculate the panel wattage necessary, to charge your battery bank each day. Personally, I never calculate a charge rate below 10%, so my batteries will recharge every day, as needed.
 

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Okay, so it's been awhile since I've been to this site, went through congestive heart failure in 2018, I have a great cardiologist and have ended up with the best blood pressure readings I've had for years. Anyway, in 2019 I completed our solar backup system, as it was, for a number of years I had 5 banks of 4 GC2 6 volt batteries hooked up to a 4000 watt 120/240 VAC Magnum Energy pure sinewave inverter/charger, the system worked great but the batteries were grid charged and that's what I took care of in 2019 by making a solar array frame and mounting our eight 195 watt monocrystalline solar panels, these are connected to the battery bank through a MorningStar 60 amp solar controller.
 
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