Solar panel installations at home have become very popular since homeowners are searching for a clean energy source. Moreover, the rising cost of electricity is helping the matter. Homeowners are going for solar system panels, which allows them to gain independence from the grid and fight against the rising electricity costs, especially in the UK.
In the UK alone, over 32,370 installations were made between April 2018 and March 2019 in the 0 to 4 kW band, and the number has increased ever since.
In fact, many homeowners are trying to build their own solar panel system panels to save money on the extravagant initial costs. However, there are many factors involved when it comes to building DIY solar panels.
Are DIY solar panels the right option for you? What do you require to build DIY solar panels? If you are searching for answers to these questions, you have arrived at the right place. This guide provides you with all the necessary information about DIY solar panels.
- 1 Is It Possible to Build DIY Solar Panels?
- 2 How Do You Build A DIY Solar Panel System?
- 3 Is Building a DIY Solar Panel a Good Idea?
- 4 Final Thoughts
Is It Possible to Build DIY Solar Panels?
The UK government is offering financing options and incentives to motivate people to install solar panels. However, even with these financing options, the cost of installing solar panels can be considerably high for some people.
People are turning to DIY solar panels to enjoy the solar system’s benefits and avoid the financial burden. You can build your own solar system depending on how proficient you are in the craft.
Some people may be able to build the complete system, while others may only do it partially. The rest of the installation can be done by a certified installer. However, the more you can complete yourself, the less you need to pay the installer.
How Do You Build A DIY Solar Panel System?
Building a DIY solar panel system requires several components that otherwise an installer would take care of. If you are confident about making your own solar panel system, you will need all the right parts and follow the correct process.
Below is the process that you need to follow to build DIY solar panels.
Determine the number of solar panels you will need
For this, you will need to measure the proportion of your house and the roof. The number will also depend upon the number of electrical applications you use in your home.
If you have a large household with many electrical applications, you will need to increase the number of solar panels. Ideally, most families in the UK use the 4 kW systems, which is suitable for small to moderate households. However, if you feel this is not the right system for you, you can go higher.
Choose the type of solar system
You will also need to decide the type of solar panel system you will be using. There are two main types of solar panel systems– off-grid and grid-tie.
A grid-tie solar panel system is easy to install, and you can expand it based on the household’s needs. However, you can install a grid-tie solar system only if your home is connected to utility power. It is best to take the help of a licensed contractor or electrician if you want to install this system.
Another solar system type is off-grid which is for homeowners who want an independent energy source. You will require the help of a certified technician to install off-grid solar systems. Several government initiatives will help you with the installation and purchase of these solar panels.
Purchase all the necessary components
To build your system, you will need to buy all the necessary components. These include solar cells, non-conductive materials like plastic glass or wood, wiring, and plexiglass.
Solar Cells: There are three types of solar cells that you can choose from. They are polycrystalline, monocrystalline, and thin-film solar cells. The solar cells will help convert solar energy into electricity.
Non-conductive Materials: You will need non-conductive materials like plastic, wood, or glass to attach to the solar cells. Most DIY solar panels use wood since it is easier to drill holes in the material for wiring.
Wiring: The wiring of the solar panel system is the trickiest part. If you do not have any knowledge about wiring, it is recommended to use professional help. However, if you are confident about the metering and wiring system, you can DIY it.
Plexiglass: After you have wired the solar cells and attached the non-conductive materials, you will need to seal the whole system. Plexiglass is the best for this process since it can protect the solar cells from moisture, heat, and debris.
Purchase Additional Equipment
You will need a mounting rack to mount the whole solar system. This can be hard if you have a unique roof shape or a shaded roof. However, households with a standard roof shape with direct sunlight exposure can use the standard roof mount. You can also use a ground mount if you have a large lawn or backyard.
Other additional equipment includes an inverter and a solar battery. These are not mandatory but would help you store the excess solar energy during off-peak.
Connect the System
The final step to the installation process is to connect the system to the racking equipment. You will need connectors or clamps for this step. It is better to get all the necessary components from the same distributor so that they fit with each other.
If you do not want to invest in the components separately, buy a solar panel kit. These kits contain all the necessary components, including the racking system.
Is Building a DIY Solar Panel a Good Idea?
Making a DIY solar panel will take up a lot of time, and you will need a certain level of expertise. However, building an efficient solar panel is easily possible if you have all the necessary equipment and skillset.
You can also get the components at a lesser price, but you need to check the distributor thoroughly. However, sometimes the cost for DIY solar panels can be more than a professional installation if you do not know the right places.
Note that DIY solar panels will not be eligible for feed-in tariff payments immediately. The installation and components must be MCS (Microgeneration Certification Scheme) certified to avail the feed-in tariff payments.
When building DIY solar panels, it is essential to understand the process beforehand. If you make a mistake, the whole system might not function. Reach out to a professional installer if you feel overwhelmed with the installation process.
Buying good-quality solar kits is also a very feasible option for building your solar panel system. Here, you will get all the components in one place and not have to contact different distributors. You will also get solar panel components that are compatible with each other.
You might face a lot of obstacles when building a DIY solar panel system. However, with the right equipment and guidance, you can successfully build your own solar system. And, if you connect with the right distributors, the cost of your DIY solar panel will come down significantly.