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It Takes More Than Panels To Build A PV Solar System For Your Home

By Jacky Kominski

Are you thinking about a DIY PV system for your home? Good for you!. It is critical though, that you do the 5 essential steps to success a for DIY PV system for your home. You might already have done some of them. Be as detailed in your investigations and in your data collection as possible and keep track of all the answers. You will need to use that information when the time comes for the details of the design and installation of the solar PV system.

1. What is your goal? Do you want to be totally off the grid and self-sufficient? That will require a fairly large system and a big battery bank. I don’t want to discourage you, just be aware of it. Do you want to install just enough solar PV capacity to reduce your electric bill by 40%, 50%, or more? To achieve the optimal combination between reducing your electric bill and having an affordable system is going to take a few iterations between size, cost, tax credits. Are you interested in a DIY solar kit to quickly and easily install at your remote cabin? Then you might not need to read this entire article, unless you are new to solar PV systems. Instead, do some research online, specifically searching for kits for cabins, maybe even RVs . Call the manufacturers and distributors and ask them lots of questions. Come back here if you get stuck.

2. Have you minimized the electric requirement of your home? PV panels and batteries are not cheap. It doesn’t make sense to spend money on extra PV panels. Let’s look at some numbers: Photovoltaic panels produce between 6W to 19W per square foot. Price estimates today for just the panels range from $3.0 to $5.0 per sqft.. (Don’t hold me to it! This is a guesstimate) . Taking these numbers and looking at replacing one 60W incandescent light with a 12W LED light, can reduce the panel cost for your DIY PV project by$7.50 to $40.0. By replacing five 60 W incandescent bulbs, you could potentially save up to $240, just for the panels. Replacing incandescent lights with LED lights isone of many ways to reduce your electric demand. Other things you can do are: shut of lights and unused stereos and TVs, install motion detectors and/or replace inefficient appliances with highly efficient appliances.

3. Does the roof or yard where you intend to install the PV panels receive sufficient sunlight? PV panels can produce electricity even with diffuse sunlight. However, the system is more efficient and will give you a higher output if you have maximum direct incident sunlight. You can use one of the many free tool available online to calculate the solar radiation at your site. They all will require you to make allowance for any trees or neighboring houses that throw shade on your photovoltaic panels. PV panel manufacturers will also help you with these calculations.

4. Check what the local requirements are for connecting to the grid. You might need to install a special piece of equipment between your system and the utility meter. Check with your local utility about incentives for photovoltaic systems and, very important, if they will buy back your electricity when you are producing more than you are using. Unless of course your goal is to be totally off the grid. At which point the utility will probably not give you any incentive. Also check the following federal tax credits for PV solar systems and state tax credits for solar systems.

5. In addition to the steps listed above, educate yourself. Watch videos, read books, talk to installers, attend classes. The more you know about how PV solar systems work, the easier it will be to design and build the DIY photovoltaic system for your home. Investing time and money to get educated will save you lots of money and some headaches during the installation and afterwards. An excellent source is the government’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy site (, where you can find really educational information for free. If you need to see how it it put together, a set of videos on how to design and build a DIY solar PV system can be very useful.

Roll up your sleeves and get designing and building! You have a lot of data and many resources at your fingertips. With what you now know, you can have an intelligent conversation with a DIY PV solar kit provider and together you can determine what the best PV solar system for your home is. You can avoid the common pitfalls when building a PV solar system for your home.

Before you start a DIY solar PV system for your home, do the 5 steps and learn the secrets of how to successfully build your own solar PV system.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Kominski, Jacky "It Takes More Than Panels To Build A PV Solar System For Your Home." It Takes More Than Panels To Build A PV Solar System For Your Home. 12 Jul. 2010. 9 Mar 2016 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Kominski, J (2010, July 12). It Takes More Than Panels To Build A PV Solar System For Your Home. Retrieved March 9, 2016, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Kominski, Jacky "It Takes More Than Panels To Build A PV Solar System For Your Home"

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