Can I use DIY Solar Panels?

Solar panels are, without doubt, the best way to reduce your carbon footprint, add some value to your home and make some money – all at the same time. However, despite the long-term advantages they offer, some people are still put off by the short-term outlay. Installing solar panels isn’t inexpensive, but when you offset the advantages against the disadvantages, it’s easy to see that they’ll pay for themselves over time and can even make you profit. Despite this, there are those who attempt to build their own solar panels, assuming that it will save them money. The short answer is that it won’t – and here’s why.

Firstly, there’s the cost of your materials. You’ll need:

  • 2ft x 4ft x 1/4inch Plexiglas, costing £25 or more
  • A solar cell kit, costing upwards of £80.

On top of that, you’ll need the expertise to use the items in the solar cell kit, which should comprise of:

  • 50 solar cells
  • 10ft bus wire
  • 10ft tabbing wire
  • A flux pen and solder

You’ll also need:

  • A junction box – around £5
  • Stainless steel screws and wood for frames – around £10
  • Silicone sealant – around £5
  • Board and panelling – around £5
  • Diodes – around £5

Assuming you can build the thing, you’ll have created a 60watt solar panel. The problem is, that to be able to use the Feed in Tariff, you need to be using panels approved by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme. You’ll also have to pay out around £200 to ensure that you meet building regulations. If your system 16 amps per phase, you’ll also need permission from your local District Network Operator, which can incur further costs.

On top of that, there’s the lifetime of your panels to consider. Manufactured solar panels are guaranteed to last at least 25 years – and that’s taking into account exposure to the elements. DIY panels come with no such promise and once they’re past their sell-by, you’ll have to go through the same procedure again.

If you’re thinking of getting solar panels installed, give us a ring. We adhere to all the necessary regulations and offer extremely competitive prices.