Cheap solar panels could get cheaper and more efficient

Solar energy is great. As long as the sun is out, and your panels are aimed in the right direction, then you are making power. One of the limiting factors for solar panels for sale on the market today has been the efficiency at which they gather light. Up until this point the best solar panels gather about 30% of the light that hits them. According to IDTecEX, a new type of flexible solar panel is being designed at the University of Missouri that can collect up to 90% of f sunlight. That is impressive.

The cells will use a different type of cell made of of circuits and antenna to collect both sunlight and heat.  They are also currently designing a manufacturing process will will allow the solar panels to be produced cheap and in large quantities. The goal for the project is to have the cells available within 5 years.

So what does this mean for us? Cheap solar panels are already starting to show up on the market. With more types available the prices will go even lower. Also, as the efficiency of the panels gets better, each house will require fewer and fewer panels. At 90% that is triple the current panels ability to make electricity which means you will only need one-third of the panels that are currently needed.

Solar Panels For Sale

When it comes to going green, there are a lot of options. Not only are there now a lot of solar panels for sale, but you also have to decide where you want to install them, the best setup for your house, to have them installed professionally or to do it yourself, etc. It can be a bit overwhelming.

The good news is that as solar panels are getting cheaper and cheaper. Th options for solar panels are also increasing giving you more options to suit your needs. Doing even just a quick search for solar panels on Amazon brings up over 6,800 options in different price ranges.

solar panels page

Think about your needs

Are you looking to just save a little money on your electric bill each month or are you looking to get rid of it all together and be more dependent. You also need to consider your house, your landscape, and the climate. How many hours of sunlight do you get each day? What kind of house do you have and on what kind of terrain.


If your house is located on flat land, where the sun hits everywhere, then it will probably be easier (and cheaper) to mount the solar panels on the ground rather than on the house.  However, if you live in the hills or mountains where the sunlight doesn’t hit for as long, then you may need to mount them on your home, or wherever they will get the most sunlight.

Climate is obviously another important aspect to consider. The amount of power that your solar panels generate is directly related to how much direct sunlight they get. If you live in a predominantly cloudy area, you will either need more solar panels, more efficient solar panels, or you may need to think about alternatives such as wind, water, etc.

What can you change

In addition to just getting energy from solar panels, you may also want to consider what energy you can stop using. Is there a better way to run your AC or heater. I was able to produce a solar heater using nothing but soda cans and some wood. You could use lower wattage lights and appliances. Not only will this save how much energy you use, but it lowers the number of solar panels you will need.

Research

Find out how many watts of power you use, when you use the most power, and also how many solar panels you will need. This is the time to start researching individual solar panels and finding out their benefits. Cheap solar panels don’t cost as much, but they may also not provide as much electricity. Also find out what kind of refunds or discounts you can get from the government. There are a lot of green programs now days, and with the right paperwork you might be able to get your house running off solar panels without much money out of pocket.

You’ll also want to find out what companies sell panels and offer installation in your area. There are a lot companies selling solar panels online, but if you are planning to have them installed for you, it might be better to buy the panels from that company. Find out what your options are.

Professional installation or DIY

This all depends on what kind of person you are and what your budget is. If you can get the government to pay for your solar panels, then I say have it installed professionally (unless you want some kind of special setup. You are are looking to go the least expensive route, then you will want to think about doing the installation yourself. There are even guides that show you how to purchase slightly damaged panels at the fraction of the cost and work basically just the same.

I tend to be a DIY when I have the option. I guess I just don’t like to spend money when I can help it and I actually enjoy doing the work.

How much are you paying for electricity?

The higher it goes the easier choosing solar panels gets. And remember, it will keep going up. The longer you wait the more money you will loose. Summer is almost here. Don’t loose all of that valuable light.

 

Solar Panels for Sale…err Rent?

I remember reading a while back about a company who rather than selling solar panels, was installing them for mostly free and then selling the electricity. This morning I came across this article talking about a company SunRun who is doing just that.

Its quite a unique concept, and one that will certainly help push solar power forward. If you can’t afford solar panels, then at least you can buy power made by them. Now I still think the best route for those who don’t mind a little DIY is to build your own solar panels. This can be done for a fraction of the cost of current solar panels for sale. However, if this isn’t an option is renting a good idea?

While this will help more solar panels getting sold, and allow more people access to solar, there is one thing I don’t like. You will still be paying an energy bill. One of the benefits of solar is to free yourself a bit from the system and the bills that go a long with it.

So what do you think? Do you think this is better for most people or are they better off buying their own systems?

Powering the World with Solar Panels

Solar panels are getting more popular. Even the hardware stores have solar panels for sale now. But there are those who still say solar panels aren’t enough. We need additional forms of energy. The below link shows how much land would need to be covered with solar panels to supply the world with power. Let’s just say “not much”. And if you spread it out over a lot of houses and buildings, it could be easily accomplished.

powering the world

Solar Panel Heater

A few posts ago I mentioned that I was building a solar panel heater ( also known as a soda can heater or solar space heater). Well, I finished the project, but have run into a small problem.

The solar heater actually works very well. Air gets pulled in through the bottom and circulated through the black aluminum cans and exits as hot air. It works just like it’s supposed to.

The problem I have is that attaching it to the house has proved more difficult than I thought. The area I originally planned to put it doesn’t get quite as much sunlight as I thought. Unfortunately, the house is made of concrete, so attaching it to the house and adding holes is very difficult. I am currently looking at mounting it in a different location and using long pipes to run it into the house.

Until then, here are some of the pictures from the building process.

New Solar Panels for Sale: Nanosolar

One of the biggest set backs for solar panels has been the high costs that it takes to manufacture them. This in turn makes their retail cost very high. Well, not there is are some new solar panels for sale in the market by a company called Nanosolar.

Nanosolar’s focus has been to try and lower the cost of manufacturing the panels so they can easily be produced. They have done this by using a special ink to literally print the panels onto a sheet. According to Nanosolar they can make their panels for about a tenth of what it costs to make panels currently on the market today.

Check out the video below and let me know what you think.

Solar Panels, Solar Energy, Green Projects, and Evil Geniuses

Okay, the title is a little bit long. A few weeks ago on solar panels for sale I wrote about ordering some new books. In particular: Solar Energy projects for the Evil Genius, 50 Green Projects for the Evil Genius, and The Home Energy Diet: How to Save Money by Making Your House Energy-Smart. Well, they arrived and I have had a chance to take a look at them. And to be honest I am a little surprised at the results.

My primary purpose for these books was to see what types of helpful projects they contained for installing or making your own solar panels, solar heater, solar cookers, and other types of green energy. I was also hoping for tips and help on making a home more energy efficient. So what did I find out?

Well it depends on what you want. The one I was looking forward to the most Solar Energy projects for the Evil Genius turned out to be the one that was the least helpful. It had a few unique projects on making solar cookers or water heaters, but most of the projects seem to be more about learning a concept rather than something that is actually useful.

50 Green Projects for the Evil Genius actually turned out to be pretty cool. It has info on how to install solar panels on your house, make compost bins, build water purifiers, and a whole bunch more. The thing I liked about this one was that most of the projects were useful.

The Home Energy Diet: How to Save Money by Making Your House Energy-Smart also turned out to be a decent book, but only for someone who owns or is building their own home. It was very comprehensive on how to get the most energy efficiency with your house. However, it was also not a simple book. I felt like I needed to be a contractor to understand half the things I read through. Unless you are building or own your own house this probably isn’t a great choice.

Solar Panels For Sale- Solar Panel and Energy Books

solar energy evil genius 50 green projects evil genius home energy diet

A few days ago I ordered a three of books about solar panels and green energy: Solar Energy projects for the Evil Genius, 50 Green Projects for the Evil Genius, and The Home Energy Diet: Ho to Save Money by Making Your House Energy-Smart. Two are for myself and one is a gift for a friend.

Once they get here I will post review on the books and of course any of the projects that I complete. I live in Japan, and the books will be coming from the US, so it might be a week or two before they arrive.

My hope is that these books contain some serious green energy and solar panel  projects and not just science experiments. I have mentioned before that there are a lot of pre-made solar panels for sale, but that you can make your own much cheaper (you can find more information on this by clicking the ad in the sidebar) and I am hoping these books will also include various methods to create other cheap green projects.

**Update: Since I posted this post this morning, I found out that the books have arrived in the US and will be shipped to me tomorrow. If all goes well I should have them within a week

Installing Solar Panels and 49 Other Things to Go Green

green grass, water drops and blue sky / background

Recently I have been spending a lot of time researching going green and especially solar panels. Today I stumbled across a little “green” gem called “A little Green E-book”. The book is put out by Morgan Stanly and contains 50 tips to help you save money and reduce your carbon footprint.

Solar panels will certainly help you save money and use less energy, but there are also a lot of other things you can do. Take a look and start making some changes today.

A Little Green E-book

Solar Space Heater: Using Solar Power To Heat Your House in the Winter

A full sun eclipse - 3d render

The focus of Solar Panels for Sale is to discuss how to purchase, find, or make solar panels for your house. However, since we are now coming into the coldest months of the year, I wanted to talk a little bit about heating your house. If you already have solar panels or are in the process of building them, then they will be able to run an electric heater to keep your house warm. Lately, I have come across another way to use the suns energy to heat your house, a solar space heater (also known as a beer can heater or soda can heater.

The basic idea of s solar space heater is to use the sun to heat up a air as it which can then be fed into your house. In this case, soda cans are spray painted back to catch more of the suns rays and as the air passes through them it is heated. Since hot air rises, cool air is automatically pulled in from the bottom and hot air is pushed out from the top. A lot of people also use fans to pump additional air.

I have started making mine, and overall the projet has cost about $15 in supplies. This is buying everything new here in Japan. I think it could be built for much less in the US and especially if you have scrap materials laying around. Here is my frame so far. Now I am just waiting to collect more cans. ( I have been encouraging my friends to drink more…it’s for the environment right?).

Fram and backing for solar space heater
Frame and backing for solar space heater

The pine frame cost about $5 and the backing is piece of corrugated plastic. I choose it because it was cheaper than wood and I am hoping will provide a bit of installation. I will continue to keep taking pictures and give more details once it is built. I will also give the results once I have it hooked up to the house (just have to get those cans).

In the meantime, check out the videos below for details and ideas. If you have built your own or are going to give it a try please post comments and let me know how it goes.

I think this one is particularly well made and designed.