Arizona Man Cuts Electric Bill With Parts Found On eBay

Arizona Man Cuts Electric Bill With Parts Found On eBay
by John Horning

Michael Davis of Arizona has always had an interest in renewable energy. Last year he needed a way to provide electricity in a remote location and learned that used parts found on eBay can be used to build a solar-powered electric generator.

Solar power has many benefits, including the use of free energy from the sun, less harm to the environment, and less dependence on other energy sources. Up until now, a major problem with solar energy has been the cost of solar panels constructed from photovoltaic (PV) cells.

In searching for a source of PV cells, Michael found some on eBay that were damaged or blemished. Here is what he learned when he used them to construct his own solar-powered electric generator:

* They can perform almost as efficiently as new cells.

* They are just a fraction of the cost of new cells.

* eBay is a good source for these cells, but they can be found elsewhere as well.

Steps in Building Your Own Solar Panels

If you are handy with tools, you can construct your own solar-powered generator following these basic steps:

1. Calculate The Number Of Cells You’ll Need

First, decide whether you want enough electricity for your entire home or just a few appliance. I would suggest starting with a small system and expanding it over time.

2. Locate And Purchase Photovoltaic Cells

Do It Yourself Project

eBay is a good source for used or blemished cells, but you might also ask the cell manufacturers or contractors that install panels if they have used or damaged units. Be aware that all PV cells are not alike and have different performance ratings

3. Wire The Cells Together

If the cells are not already connected together, you will need to connect them yourself. This is done by laying them out in the desired pattern to fit into the panel described in the next step. You then use solder and metal strips or wire to join them together.

4. Construct Panels To Hold The Cells.

The solar panel is nothing more than a shallow box typically made out of wood. It needs to be large enough to hold your cells, but don’t make it too large or you’ll have trouble carrying up to your roof for mounting. You can have many panels, all connected together with wiring.

5. Assemble, Test, And Mount The Panels

Assemble your solar panel by placing the PV cells inside the panel box. Run wires out through holes in the box. It’s best to cover the unit with Plexiglas. Then test the electrical output in sunlight.

6. Mount The Panels

Select a location for your panels that is never in the shade. If you live north of the equator, face the panels southward. If installed on the roof, make sure they are flashed properly to avoid roof leaks.

7.Tie your panels into your home’s electrical system.

This is a step you may want to leave to a professional electrician. Wiring will have to be run from the panels and here are some items you will need to complete the project:

* Inverter – this device converts power from DC to AC

* Electric shut-offs for safety

* Optional energy monitor and battery back-up.

With a little guidance, you can complete this project on your own, and be on your way to to freedom from dependence on the power company.

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