Top 3 Myths About Solar Panels For the Home

Want to build solar panels for your own home? So did I – before I went 100% green, 2 years ago.
Before I share the story of how I built my own solar panels for my house, I want to address a few of the common myths that you might believe about using solar power for your electricity at home.
Myth #1: Solar panels are extremely expensive – to buy, or to build.
This is 100% false. Let me explain…
If you hire a large company like Evergreen Solar or a professional solar installation company to install your panels, then yes – they will be quite expensive. In fact, they can often cost you over $20,000 to install your own solar power system if you go that route! But you don’t have to do that.
There are 2 approaches I’d recommend if you want to install your own solar panels and go green today:
1) Buy “broken” or “chipped” solar panels from the manufacturer, or from other sources that want to sell them.
Even large companies don’t always manufacture solar cells “the right way” – it takes a lot of finesse to get it right, and no one’s perfect. You can take advantage of their imperfections, contact them about getting entire solar panels on the cheap, and then install them directly in your house.
Another tip: call highway patrol! You might have seen solar panels along highways, especially if you’re in California or another state that uses them. Their panels break all the time, and they’re always looking to sell or otherwise get rid of them. Even if the panel doesn’t operate 100%, it could still supply a lot of power to your house for almost no money.
2) Build your own panels by buying individual solar cells – either on eBay or from your local hardware store.
There are a ton of people selling broken or “chipped” solar cells on eBay – just do a search for either of them on eBay. These solar cells are very cheap, and you can assemble them into a working solar panel for no more than the cost of some wood and supplies from your local hardware store.
If you want to use this method, it will take some time (at least a day or two) to assemble your entire panel – but it can work very well and be quite cost-effective if you do it properly.
Myth #2: Solar power can completely eliminate my electric bill, all the time.
There are a couple problems with this one. First off, you may not be in an area that gets a lot of sunlight – solar power doesn’t work so well if you’re in Minnesota, for example!
Also, even if you are in an area with plenty of sunlight, your house itself may not receive a lot of light – especially if, for example, it’s covered with trees or the roofs and yard are otherwise obstructed.
The good news is that you don’t need sunlight for 12 hours each day to save a ton of money and slash your electric bill with solar power – just 5 or 6 hours is usually enough.
However, don’t go into this expecting to instantly reduce your utility bill to $0 with only one solar panel – because it usually takes a lot more than that!
What should you expect?
Well, the first thing you need to do is figure out how much power your house actually needs… one way to do that is to look at your power bills from the past few months and see how many kilowatt hours you use each month.
I’ll go into more detail on this calculation in future articles, but for now a general rule of thumb is that most homes will require solar panels with the capacity for several thousand Watts of power (at least 2,000) to significantly cut your electric bill.
This means that you’ll need at least a couple hundred to 1,000 individual solar cells and several solar panels to do this – which may sound like a lot, but if you go through eBay this can be quite cheap.
Myth #3: DIY solar panels won’t last a long time, or fall apart easily.
This is another myth that people like to spread about solar panels. The fact is, nothing lasts forever – whether it’s your car, your home itself, or even “professionally-made” solar panels.
However, you can greatly extend the life of your solar panels with proper care and maintenance. What do I mean by “proper care and maintenance?” Good question.
First off, you need to prevent water from getting inside your panels – especially if you live in a moist region. The best way to do this: after you’ve assembled your solar cells onto one piece of plywood, apply silicone to the wood to seal up holes.
Also, make sure you attach flexi-glass to the border and cover your cells properly – that will ensure that everything stays out.
Finally, once you’ve assembled your solar panel, make sure that you clean it at least once per year, check all the wiring to make sure everything is operating properly, and clean out any moisture that has built up inside.
If you do all this, you’ll greatly extend the lifespan of your solar panels. They won’t last forever, but you can get at least 5-10 years worth of use out of them with proper care.