DIY Solar Power Generator Kits have become exceedingly popular ever since the Covid 19 Pandamic shook the globe. With absolutely no surety on the current status of coal, natural gas and petroleum reserves, solar power has become the most sought after product across the world.
Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, Asia and Africa have not been spared by the dreaded corona virus. The energy crisis is so critical that power cuts have become a global norm. Electric vehicles are being given a boost as petroleum and gas prices are sky rocketing.
So, the global scare is practical and worth considering. Taking cue from the above statement, let me begin by explaining what DIY solar generator for home really is. Read on to know more:
DIY Solar Power Generator Kits Write-Up Contents
1) What is DIY Portable Solar Power System?
2) What is a DIY Portable Solar Power Generator?
3) How to Build DIY Solar Power Generator for Home?
4) What is DIY Camping Solar System?
5) How to Determine Your Home Solar Power Requirement?
6) How to Assemble a DIY Home Solar Power System to Power Your Electrical Appliances?
7) FAQ on DIY Solar Power Generator for Home Use
8) Valuable Tips to Cut Down Your Power Bills at Home?
9) Why is Solar Power Good for You?
10) Home Solar Power Vs Conventional Electric Power
What is DIY Portable Solar Power System?
Did you know that solar power is perhaps the most inexpensive way to generate electricity. As of today, almost 80 million barrels of crude oil are saved by all men and women opting for DIY solar power systems.
When you run your home electrical appliances via solar power, you save money and also save the environment. The current scenario on environment pollution is unprecedented. If it is not checked, the coming generations shall have no place to go.
How is Solar Power Harnessed?
When you make use of sunlight in a concentrated form or via photovoltaic cells to generate electricity, it is termed as solar power. The sunlight is transformed into a usable source of energy.
Here are the two main methods:
The Concentrated Solar Power:
If you have a large area where sunlight is in abundance then, concentrated solar power is a viable option. Mirror or lens is mainly used in concentrating the sunlight into a single beam.
This beam of concentrated light moves turbines to generate electricity. The basic aim of this method is to heat a special kind of fluid via sun’s energy. The energy then generated is stored in a container to be used within 24 hours.
Most commonly used methods of concentrated solar power generation include Parabolic Trough, Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector and Solar Power Tower.
Let me walk you through each of these in brief:
@ Parabolic Trough: This is a devise wherein a parabolic lens captures light and stores it in a special container. This lens tends to follow the direction of the sun to capture maximum amount of sunlight.
@ Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector: This method transfers captured light into twin containers. The capture is made via strips of mirrors that are positioned in such a manner that they absorb sun rays to their maximum capacity. These tubes are filled with a special liquid.
@ Solar Power Tower: They make use of heliostats to attract sunlight and transfer it to a specially designed tower. This tower then transmits energy to the preferred and chosen location.
@ Dish Stirling: This is a superior form of concentrated solar power that is shaped like a dish. It has a motor within the dish that coverts sunlight into usable energy.
Photovoltaic Cell Power Generation:
Photovoltaic cells are used for converting sunlight into direct current. The generation of this direct current is dependent on the intensity of the sunlight the Photovoltaic cells receive.
As the electricity produced is direct in nature, it needs to be converted into alternate current using an inverter. Modules containing numerous Photovoltaic cells are wired to take the shape of arrays.
When arrays are connected to an inverter, the desired wattage and alternate current is produced for home or commercial usage. This method of energy generation is mainly used in household power generation.
As per the current predictions, 3.5% of the world’s current electric consumption is covered by solar power. By the year 2050, it is predicted that almost 21% of all energy consumption globally shall be met via solar power.
What is a DIY Portable Solar Power Generator?
Photovoltaic cells are used to power home based solar panels. These can then be used to provide the missing power to your home. In the United States, almost 100,000 megawatts of power is generated via the use of Photovoltaic cells stationed atop rooftops. This also includes concentrated solar power.
Basically, you locate a rooftop which gets ample sunlight. Thereafter, you make your own solar panels integrating Photovoltaic cells to get the job done.
Advantage of DIY Portable Solar Power Generator:
@ For a starter, portable solar power generators emit zero pollutants. So, you are not at all adding to the pollution that is damaging everyone’s lungs out there.
@ DIY solar generators are also allowing you to preserve a greener planet for your future generations to enjoy. As they cause no pollution, you can be rest assured that your children shall enjoy fresh air when they grow up.
@ In case your DIY solar powered generator runs into trouble, you can easily fix it at home. The repair job is far simpler that you thought.
@ There is no risk of damage when you make use of solar powered generators. They are free from gasoline and other flammable material. So, chances of an explosion or fire are negated completely.
@ It does take some time to make a solar powered generator at home. It also involves a few pieces of equipment that need to be purchased. Nonetheless, once it is done, you can easily hope to last your devise for several decades. Most parts that you purchased are covered under warranty for at least 15 years.
How to Build DIY Solar Power Generator for Home?
Ever since corona virus swept the globe in the year 2019 (and is still wreaking havoc as I write this article), solar power has left its repute as an ‘exclusive property of a few off-grid lovers’ and become a mainstream power generation source.
In the years to come, most of your power requirements shall be met via solar power. Did you also know that you can build your own solar powered generator for under $200?
Well yes, it is that cheap. Moreover, making one that powers your house is as simple as preparing a cup of tea. Let me walk you through the steps in as simple a manner as possible. I (LeanAndFit reviewer)followed these steps to set up my generator. You can do the same.
Here is how you can build your own DIY solar power generator and provide electricity to run your home appliances:
>>> In the very first step, you need to step into a supply store and get yourself a solar panel. It should not be a used one and definitely in good shape. A 16 volt panel is what I would look out for.
>>> The next steps is to get hold of a battery that helps your solar panel running. A 12 volt option is great and it shall set you back by around $55. The battery needs to be deep cycle variety. I would prefer lithium-ion to lead-acid.
>>> Thereafter, I simply spend another $15 to cage the battery in a comfortable enclosure. This not only keeps the battery safe but also saves your pets or children from touching its exposed wires.
>>> I want to run my hair dryer, water heater, light, fans, answering machine and my TV. For that I simply buy a $9 DC 3-pin socket. Simply plug it to the battery and they work just fine.
>>> I had several electrical devises in my home that run from alternate current. If you wish to save the power generated by your solar panel and use it later then, get home an inverter. I got a 150 watt inverter for under $60 for running all my AC appliances.
>>> Thereafter, I attached a DC input as well as a meter to my battery. I always handle the wires individually. The negative pole is followed by the positive.
>>> Then, I repeat the process with the solar panel. When the battery and solar panels have been connected with the meter and DC input, I simply secure the case. A simple cord being tied to the case should do the trick.
>>> I then place the solar panel underneath direct sunlight. It takes about 3 to 4 hours to recharge a low battery. In case yours is dead then, it may take 7.5 hours to fully recharge the cells.
>>> Once fully charged, I can run my fans, lights and even boil water. So, all the necessary lights and fans run throughout the night via my DIY solar power generator.
What is DIY Camping Solar System?
I have already discussed how expensive it is to power your household electrical appliances in the year 2021. With natural resources depleting at a rapid rate and sky rocketing utility bills, solar power comes as a pleasant respite.
Running electrical appliances using a solar power generator is the cheapest way to power your home in the year 2022. I often go out camping. If you do the same, here is how you can make you own diy solar power kit (like I do).
What does My DIY Solar Generator Do?
Well, like any other Do It Yourself method, these solar powered generators convert sunlight into energy. This can be stored and then re-used to provide power to my electrical household items.
So, this is a plug and play method that is simple to develop and even simpler to use.
@ My DIY solar generator traps and utilized sunlight.
@ It also stores energy to be used at a later time.
@ Finally, the generator can convert sunlight into energy (that can be used later).
How do I Determine the Solar Power Requirements for My Camping Needs?
@ I use 2 LED lights for my camp. I use these for approximately 6 hours. So, the running requirement is 10 watts. For this purpose, I would need 60 watts per hour.
@ I also use a cooler – a small one. This usually requires 50 watts of power as I use it for 6 hours. Approximately, 250 watts per hour is required for running my cooler.
@ There is a tablet and a phone that needs to be recharged as well. This uses about 1.5 hours and 15 watts of energy. The total consumption shall be 45 watts per hour for this job.
@ I also use a small fan as well as a laptop. For this very purpose, I do need 70 watts of power. This I need for about 8 hours. 230 watts per hour of power is what I need for this purpose.
@ I also use a drone. This takes up approximately 45 watts per hour. If I use the drone for about 3 hours then, 30 watts shall be spent.
The total power requirement for my camping is 175 watts. The total energy requirement shall be 630 watts per hour.
How to Determine Your Home Solar Power Requirement?
There is no particular rule book that you can use to determine the daily power requirements in your house. I can however reveal how much power I need to run my electrical appliances. You can calculate your home’s energy requirements based on this.
Let me walk you through with the steps in brief:
@ I have 8 LED lights that usually run for 8 hours at night. These consume 50 watts of power. Basically, I need 300 watts per hour of energy requirement to run these.
@ I also have an LED television to run that consumes about 120 watts. I run the TV for approximately 4 hours daily. So, I believe I need approximately 650 watts per hour to run this.
@ I also have 2 phones and 2 tablets at home. I use these for 6 hours and need 40 watts of power for the same. So, I need 120 watts per hour to power these electrical appliances.
@ There is a refrigerator in my home that runs throughout the day and night. It consumes about 120 watts of energy. This is equivalent to 1400 watts per hour.
@ I have two laptops and two fans to run as well. These consume approximately 320 watts of energy assuming I run these for 5 hours. The total power required for the same is 1000 watts per hour.
So, in order to run all these appliances, I need 730 watts. The total energy requirement for the same is about 4200 watts per hour. So, I would opt for a 5 KW per hour solar panel to meet my home electric needs.
How to Assemble a DIY Home Solar Power System to Power Your Electrical Appliances?
Well, it is easy to assemble a DIY solar panel generator kit for your home use. But first, you need to get hold of the solar power kit components. You can buy them online or also offline.
Here is what all I buy in order to get my solar power generator in working condition:
My DIY Solar Kit Component # 1:
First and foremost, I need to get my hands onto solar panels. As the solar panels are needed to capture and harness sunlight, you cannot do without these.
As I have discussed above, solar panels have the ability to convert sun’s rays into direct current. So, to meet my home power requirement, I would opt for 2 solar panels of 200 volts each. I am assuming I need 4kw per hour backup for my home.
Here is how My Solar Suitcase Looks Like?
So, I would buy a solar suitcase containing monocrystalline solar panels. This should contain solar connectors and a pair of handy and lengthy wires. All this should be in a protective casing.
My 200 watt solar suitcase should be fortified with a heavy duty aluminum stand. It should be able to move up and down with ease. Its handle should be sturdy enough to carry along without breaking. I also prefer my solar powered suitcase to have flexible latches.
This solar suitcase should set me back anywhere in between $1500 to $2000.
My DIY Solar Kit Component # 2:
To ensure that my battery bank is optimized to sync with the solar array, I need a Direct Current to Direct Current converter. This is why I always opt for a Maximum Power Point Tracking Converter.
This electronic devise costs me roughly $170. My Maximum Power Point Tracking Converter is 40 Amps. This helps keeps my battery in a fully charged condition.
My DIY Solar Kit Component # 3:
I use lithium-ion battery but you can also use lead-acid batteries. The battery is the third component of my DIY solar power kit. It is used to store power derived from the solar panel and release power as and when the need arises.
While lead-acid batteries are cheaper, they are heavy, less durable and less reliable than lithium-ion batteries. If I need 4000 watts per hour power backup per year, I would need a 48 V 200 AH battery. This shall set me back by around $2000.
My DIY Solar Kit Component # 4:
The next component is an inverter, which converts Direct Current into Alternate Current. I always opt for a 2000 watt inverter. This usually costs me $240.
My DIY Solar Kit Component # 5:
Lastly, you need to have a carry case in which to store your solar generator. For your home based uses, the solar generator shall weigh anywhere in between 25 kilograms to 30 kilograms.
You need to cover your generator to save it from humidity and dust. A good quality case costs me $250 on an average.
My DIY Solar Kit Component # 6:
Anyone who has the slightest idea about electrical equipment would know that wires and connectors are a part of this game. So, I get myself a few of these to connect the DIY solar generator devise that I just purchased.
For the solar modules, I get 24 AWG extension cables & a 24 AWG battery to power-up the controller cables. I also get inverter battery cables (4AWG seems good enough). Finally, I get myself a fuse kit (30V).
The Total Cost of My Home DIY Solar System:
Well, I guess, it would be great if you could add up the cost involved in gathering all the above components. I believe it should be in between $4200 to $4500 tops.
FAQ on DIY Solar Power Generator for Home Use
Q-1: What is Home Use Solar System?
A-1: It is a system using which, you become capable of harnessing the energy derived from sunlight to power your electrical appliances. This is a plug-and-play mechanism that helps get your job done easily.
Q-2: How would My Solar System Work?
A-2: Solar panels harness sunlight and convert it into Direct Current. An inverter attached to the solar panel converts Direct Current into Alternate Current.
So, you can use solar systems when your regular power exceeds the maximum usage. In case of power cuts, the energy stored in the battery is then used to powers your electrical devises.
Q-3: Can Solar Power be Harnessed at Night or when Sunlight is Weak?
A-3: No, you need bright sunlight to harness maximum energy. So, at night you cannot generate power as sunlight is not present. At the same time, weak sunlight shall inhibit optimal power generation. So, your solar charger shall harness sunlight but way less than its optimal capacity.
Q-4: Do I Need a Permit from Local Authorities to Install a Solar Panel?
A-4: You need a building permit from your local authorities. If you want your solar power generator to connect to the local grid then, permission is required. Even Homeowner Association may need to be contacted for approval.
Q-5: Can a DIY Solar Power Generator Heat Water in My Pool?
A-5: No, that is a task for thermal panels to execute. You can use the power harnessed by your solar panel to power your electrical appliances.
If you have a water heating solar panel then, they would be way thicker than normal solar panels stationed atop your roof. Moreover, water heating solar systems shall have tubes leading outwards and connecting to a tank.
Q-6: Can You Explain the Grid System used in Solar Panels?
A-6: On Grid solar power system is one that is connected to your regular power grid. In case you have a solar power system that is off-grid then, it is working independently.
Q-7: What all do I need to Take into Account while Installing Solar Panels?
A-7: The minimal area of your roof should be 11 square meters. In case your roof faces south then, your solar panels shall be most effective.
If you have east or west facing roof on which are attached solar panels then, the electricity production shall be compromised. In case your roof is shaded by tall trees then again, the overall production of sunlight via solar panels shall be compromised.
Q-8: How Many Solar Panels are needed to Run My Household Electrical Appliances?
A-8: There is no fixed numbers here. Simply multiply 0.25 with the daily power consumption in your home to get the accurate figure. The calculation is done in kilowatt hours.
Q-9: I do not have a Roof to spare for Solar Panels. So, is there any other place I can Install these?
A-9: While roof mounted solar panels are best recommended, you can install solar panels on the ground as well. You can even opt for a pergola mounted solar panel.
Q-10: I do not have a Mechanic’s Lien – Can I still Install Solar Panel on my Rooftop?
A-10: No, you cannot do so. As per law, you should be the rightful owner of the home. In case you have rented the property then, you cannot install solar panels on your roof.
Q-11: Should I opt for 100% Power Backup via Solar Panels to Run My Home Electrical Appliances?
A-11: It is not advisable to do so. This is because the cost of powering your home 100% using solar power may involve a lot of money. So instead, opt for 40% power supply generation from solar panels and the rest from your regular power supply source (the grid).
Q-12: Can I Avail Subsidy if I Install a Solar Panel at Home?
A-12: Yes, the government does provide a subsidy to home owners opting for greener energy. So, you would get discounts that you can enjoy while promoting green energy.
Q-13: Do I need to Purchase a new Meter for my Solar Power Generator?
A-13: It all depends on your state rules and regulations. If your state requires you to have another meter for using solar power then, you need to go in for it.
If not, I would still suggest you go in for one. This way, you can record how much power your solar panel is generating. Surplus power is usually rewarded by the government. So, it is a win-win situation for you.
Q-14: My Place is rather Windy- how Long would a Solar Powered Generator last?
A-14: Solar powered generators are rather tough and can withstand wind and rain. Winds of up to 120 miles per hour are considered ok. Even hail at 45 miles per hour and up to 3cm in size cannot damage the system. So, your solar panels should last 6 to 8 years before needing a replacement.
Q-15: How do I know if My Solar Power Home Unit is doing well Enough?
A-15: I have explained the meter system in my above question and answer session. So, installing a separate meter for gauging your solar power generation is vital.
Doing so shall help you realize whether your solar panels are able to harness sunlight as predicted or not. If your solar panel is connected to your grid, surplus power can also be dispatched back to the grid to be used later during emergency.
Q-16: I have heard that Maintaining a Solar Power System at Home is Expensive to Maintain – is that True?
A- 16: The modules in your solar system need to be cleaned twice a year. Apart from that, your batteries shall last 7 to 8 years without a hitch. Annual maintenance check by a professional is recommended but not necessary (if you have built up the solar power system on your own).
Valuable Tips to Cut Down Your Power Bills at Home?
>>> Heating as well as cooling appliances amount to almost 46% of your home energy consumption. Almost 34% is taken up via cooking and 8% by your fridge.
The reminder 12% power is consumed by heating water. So, cutting down on these factors can reduce your monthly bills dramatically.
>>> Vents that connect to central air conditioned units need to be insulated. The rooms that are not used should have their ducts sealed. This saves a lot of energy and hence, lowers your utility bills.
>>> To maintain heat and warmth in your room, open shades during the day and lower them before dark.
>>> Use the latest and energy efficient appliances such as fridge, television, driers and washers. Doing so shall save you hundreds of dollars annually.
>>> Wash your clothes with cold water and not hot water. Doing so shall save your power bills. Plant shrubs outside your home to deflect chilly winds. This reduces heating costs.
>>> Plant trees that shed their leaves in autumn in the west side of your house. Even south shall be a good idea. Doing so helps sunlight enter your home during summer months.
During the winter season, the leaves shield harsh wind from entering your home.
>>> Always turn off the lights in rooms that are vacant. Turn off fans when not in use.
>>> Always unplug chargers from the sockets when not in use. Plugged chargers tend to extract energy from your power source even when they are not in use.
>>> Power off your tablet or laptop (including the monitor) when not in use.
Why is Solar Power Good for You?
Well, there are many reasons why solar power is best suited for you. You need to understand that besides saving on power, solar energy is also favorable to your environment.
Here are a few reasons why you should use solar power generator for home use:
>>> Reduction of Carbon Footprint is undoubtedly the most important contribution of solar power.
>>> You get to enjoy deriving power from a green source of energy. These methods do not emit any greenhouse gasses. So, you are breathing fresh air every time you make use of solar power.
>>> In my opinion, all you need is a 4Kw solar system to run most power related needs in your home.
>>> You save on your hard earned money because solar power energy is inexpensive. Compared to conventional sources (coal and natural gas), this is way cheaper.
>>> You can help others sustain their home power supply by gifting your excess stored power to their home.
>>> The grid can be kept safe and made secure. Excess power that your solar panels generate is pushed back to the grid. This saves it from tripping. Outages and blackouts too are minimized.
>>> When you start making use of solar power then, you indirectly give employment to others. Thousands of men and women would get employment opportunities because of you.
>>> You are teaching your future generation the benefits of using a cleaner and greener energy fuel. This is equivalent to developing good habits.
Home Solar Power Vs Conventional Electric Power
It is good to know that the cost of solar power has pummeled since the last 20 years. In the 1950s, the cost of a single watt of solar power was a whopping $1826. This has now been reduced to a meager 0.69 per watt.
Compared to this, the conventional rate of electricity in the United States is around 12.55 cents per watt. This is with regards to the electricity derived from coal and natural gas reserves. So, the difference is inevitable.
In my opinion, it is advisable that you opt for solar power as you can minimize your running cost over a period of time. So, in the longer run, you can save thousands of precious dollars by opting for solar power.
Did you know that to cover the world’s energy consumption for an entire year, all you need is to harness one and a half hour of bright sunlight. Such is the might of sunlight – the most abundant, free and powerful source of energy on our planet.
Using photovoltaic cells, solar radiation is converted into energy. This helps power electrical appliances at your home. It is a green and non-toxic way to improve your atmosphere.
With the rise in global pollution and a deteriorating air quality index, the need for cleaner and greener fuel is inevitable. Solar power is one such method of achieving this goal.
Besides saving the environment and cutting your power bills in half, solar energy also gets you lucrative subsidies from the government. So, in my opinion, it is a win-win situation for you.