Nearly everyone can agree that power is expensive! Regardless of the way that your electricity is produced, chances are- you’re still getting charged an arm and a leg for a completely necessary service. This has led many people to consider looking into alternative power sources. Windmills have been popping up almost everywhere. They can now be found even throughout the inner city where there’s room, and wind farms have been sprouting up all over the countryside.

Hydroelectricity is another method, but it’s been difficult to generate enough power to cover places a long distance from the water source. So, what about solar power? This seems like an easily accessible power source. The sun is everywhere, and its rays are reaching the Earth’s surface just fine (that’s what the plants say, anyway). Solar power has become increasingly popular as the methods have become more cost effective for the middle class. There are still some products that are hugely expensive, but small solar panels are definitely doable for a savvy do-it-yourself enthusiast.

We’ll check out some interesting do-it-yourself solar solutions. If you’re looking for something a bit larger and more affordable, you may need to look into some of the best solar companies in Australia.

Buy Supplies

The first step to any good solar project is understanding exactly what you need to do it. Depending on the size of the project, you’ll need to buy solar cells, a non-conductive thin surface to attach them to, wiring, a soldering device, glue, plywood, paint (optional), a charge controller, and batteries capable of holding the charge generated. This is a generic list, and should be altered on a project by project basis.

Prep your Panels

The actual solar cells can be extremely fragile, and must be attached to a sturdier surface in order to be used. Before this can happen, the wires must be attached to the backs. You’ll want to look at the back of the cells and measure the distance from the two larger connective lines to the edge of the panel, and then double this. This is the length that you will need to cut your tabbing wire to. Cut the tabbing wire to accommodate all of the solar panels intended. You will now need to solder the wire to the backs of the solar cells, and use these wires to interconnect all of the cells.

Once this is done, the cells can now be glued down to the non-conductive thin boards. They should not be interconnected at this point, and you will start to see the project coming together. Look at manufacturer instructions, and at online videos for additional instruction on this part.

Connect your Cells

You will need to solder the two wires coming from each cell to the spaces in the back of the adjacent cell. This should connect all of the solar cells, and allow them to pass and to collect the sun’s energy. Again, finding a demonstration of this using the cells that you ordered can help to make this process a bit more painless. It’s definitely not as complicated as it sounds.

Build Panel Boxes

You will use the plywood to build panel boxes to contain your solar cells after all of the wiring is complete. These boxes should leave enough room for the main wiring to carry the collected electricity back to your charge controller, and finally to your batteries for storage.

Placing your Solar Panels

After everything is connected and shows signs of working correctly, you will need to find a place to put your solar cells where they will be exposed to sunlight. You will want more than one setup in an effort to maximize collection of sunlight throughout the day. This process definitely requires some research, but it’s completely possible to do this at home.