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Make Your Own Solar Panels?

I happen to have a blog on green living, and one of my readers recently wrote me about a book/cd program on the market called Earth 4 Energy.  Supposedly, you can use this program to make solar panels.  It's a novel idea, but I wasn't quite falling for it.

Since I like to consider myself an expert, or at least semi-knowledgeable, in the areas of solar power, I got my husband involved.  I figured since he's an architect that specializes in sustainable design and keeps up on what's going on in the world of solar energy, he might have some insight on whether or not it was possible to make solar panels that would actually produce energy.  

Without reading the book or viewing the movie, he was not able to tell me.  So, in the name of research for my blog readers, I paid $50 to buy the book so that I could have him review it for me.  

Here's his thoughts...

It is true that you can follow the directions offered in the book and video to make your own solar panels.  They are easy to understand and about anyone can follow them.  You can, indeed, buy the materials that you need for under $200. The solar panels that you make will collect energy and they can actually be used at your home for energy purposes.  

That said, you would have to hook them up to your meter, which requires commuications with your local electric company.  In Hawaii, we have net metering, so the electric company assists with hooking up solar panels.

They are also not as effective as commercial solar panels.  Of course, since it will cost you $200 to build as opposed to thousands to buy and install, you probably wouldn't expect them to be as efficient as a commercial system.  

Overall, it's a product that's worth the $50 they charge for it.  The principles outlined in the book are real and you can make solar panels and wind generators by following the directions. You can even use them and see a return in your investment on your electric bill.  

One last note, if you have a child that is working on a school science project, this is a great project for them to do.  My daughter is already starting her project for next year.  She's going to build a solar panel array using the book and is then going to test it against the array that we already have on our home.  

For more information on Earth 4 Energy, or to learn to make solar panels, visit their website.  

Jennifer, yes, you can run them to batteries. You'll then need some way to get the power from battery to run your a generator. I've seen panels that are supposed to be able to be connected directly to an appliance, but I don't know how those work. Where I live, in Hawaii, they have something called net metering, and all of our PV is attached directly to the meter. It's pretty cool. But, now that I think of it, my solar panels for hot water don't run to the meter - so I think you are right - you can somehow hook it up to an appliance! My husband is the smart one in our family. :)
Jennifer K.
Why would they have to be hooked up to the meter? Couldn't I just run them straight to whatever appliances I was using them for, or to a battery?
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