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Home made solar panels?
Has anyone seen any of this information floating around the internet about home made solar equipment that supposedly can be made for 1/10th the cost of store bought? Of course everyone that advertising these how to DVDs and books charges for the information and that makes me suspicious to say the least.

I've always wanted to do solar but there's no way I can justify 20-30k for it right now so I was curious when I saw this stuff. I've also seen information around about building your own windmills.
The survival podcast has a guy on a few times named Steven Harris. Harris has a background in chemistry I believe and does a lot with alternative energy and fuels and I know he has a book about it as well called Sunshine to Dollars and it is only $15 so it might be worth a shot.

Anyway, look around both of his websites, maybe listen to some of the podcasts where he talks about solar power, and see what you think.

Here is one of his websites

ETA: Here is the link to the podcast where he talks about home solar heating it was a pretty good interview.
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Pround member of since September 2012
I think home-built solar-electric is not even close to practical (to build panels/inverters/charge controllers) for even a semi-conductor engineer. I'm not saying that it is impossible, just that it is a science experiment.

Home hydro-electric on the other hand is quite practical - if you have an appropriate water feature.

Home built solar-thermal can certainly be practical.

One guy is building/selling a thru-the-wall solar to air heater (CanSolAir). The prototypes (at least) were built with black-painted aluminum soda cans in a wood frame with a plexiglass "window."

Check out Home Power Magazine (

Unfortunately, the PA Energy Fest out in Kempton is dead. It was a great place to check some of this stuff out.
-JD-, proud to be a member of since Sep 2012.

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