I am sure that by now many of you who are truly interested in making the move to photovoltaic solar panel systems in generating a portion of your electrical energy have seen the overwhelming number of advertisements for Do-It-Yourself Solar or Wind Systems. They have certainly recruited a great number of people in such a short period of time who seem to have been working overtime in placing these ads in nearly every conceivable web location. So much so that it has become a great nuisance when you try seeking out anything but their idea of reliable solar or wind solutions in the search engines so I guess paid advertising does work. However, there is much they do not inform you of with regards to these systems to include state energy regulations, what the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners has to say about them or anything relating to the materials their plans suggest you use with regard for energy power curves or energy generation efficiencies.
All of this has been centered around the concept that anyone who has paid for their “plans” can very easily build their own photovoltaic solar panel systems that will generate all the power you need for your home. Well here we are going to take an educated look from a renewable energy professionals perspective to provide you with the facts that apply to the use and abilities of these proposed systems and let you decide for yourself. After reading through some of these advertisements we find one that most people probably wouldn’t understand unless of course they actually knew first hand how government incentives for renewable energy systems are granted. The advertisement makes reference to all the government rebates, grants and other incentives that are available for photovoltaic solar panel systems and while this is very true there is one thing they fail to mention. These incentives are granted by your states department of energy who has a regularly updated listing of approved systems that they will payout these incentives on and guess what systems are not on that list. Hint, there is no category for Home Made Solar or Wind Systems.
Solar panel manufacturers who have spent tens of thousands of dollars in obtaining an Underwriters Laboratories class listing (UL Listing) or a California Energy Commission Listing (CEC Listing) did so only after their products were subjected to a very intensive and thorough set of laboratory testing criteria which determined that their particular solar panels were suitable for use by the general public. Why is this an important consideration? Because unless you are planning to install enough solar panels or wind turbines to completely supply all the electrical power you are ever going to need you are going to be installing a grid-tie system which means that your local electric utility company is going to have a say in whether or not it is suitable to be connected in a configuration that allows power from your solar array to be placed back on their grid. Systems that do not carry the required listing classes are not going to be allowed to be connected to an active electrical grid if for no other reason than safety for those who work on utility grids.
Now lets take a look at the actual panels their plans call for you to go purchase which they state are very affordable. Polycrystalline panels is what these plans call for and while it is true that these solar panels are affordably priced it is also true that their energy generation capacities are far lower than those of a Mono-Crystalline solar panel and generally offer only a 9% energy generation efficiency, warranties on a polycrystalline solar structures are also significantly shorter as most tend to be written for a time period ranging from 10 years to as much as 20 years versus the warranties offered on Mono-Crystalline structures which is currently 25 years across the board. So the old saying still holds true, “If you buy a diamond ring for 10 cents chances are it’s only worth 10 cents.” The bottom line here is that those selling you a plan to build your own solar or wind systems are only interested in selling you their plans and whether or not you are actually able to use it is for you to find out long after they have received the $200 they charged you for that plan. Your best bet is to contact a NABCEP certified solar or wind energy contractor and get the right materials for the job and let them make sure the job was done right and safe!