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  1. #1

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    Question homemade solar panels

    Hi guys !
    I have been looking for a solar panel and I found this one www.myeasysolarplans.com ,but I am not sure about the quality or the origin of their offering. Has anyone have looked into this before? If you have any other options you know are worth the time to check out, please post them here.
    Thanks!
    Last edited by fadelmedia; 12-09-2015 at 05:37 AM.

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  3. #2
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    Hi fadelmedia ,I don't think making them yourself is cost effective as the time required to make them and the amount of tools, and the materials to make them can get expensive. I hope you know how to solder really good as one mistake and all that work is down the drain once you have poured the resin over the panel material. I think the cost has come down enough to buy them out right if you shop around.
    But maybe some people have really good sources for materials who knows? One question I have is when you buy the little pieces of solar how many are really good? That's just my option I have not fully researched the idea. good luck...:O)

  4. #3
    Jon
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    Is there any advantage to building non-photovoltaic solar panels, for water heating?

    I ask because a while back I had a rental house in the mountains, with glass solar panels for heating an old wooden hot tub. They were long since replaced by an electric heater, but they had not been removed. I believe it worked like this:

    1. The panels sat in the sun on the hillside.
    2. Water was pumped into the panels; it was heated in the sun.
    3. Sun-heated water gravity-dropped from the panels into an insulated holding tank.

    It's possible the system used some sort of electric assist (to move the water up, and possibly to push the temp up 10 degrees or so), but the crux was that the sun did the lion's share of the work.

    Gimmicky? Does this sort of thing exist today? I'd love to fix a free broken Craigslist hot tub, but the main cost is the long-term electric, not the unit.

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  6. #4
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    Those sort of radiant heat solar panels are commonly used here in central Florida for pool heating. The panels are generally mounted on the roof facing the prevailing sun, water is circulated through them by means of a pump, and returned directly to the pool.

    I've never had that sort of setup on any of my pools, but they're fairly common so they must work, at least to some noticeable degree.

    Ken

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  8. #5
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    Solar water heating was the first big wave here in California in the 80's. My parents put in a unit in the early 80's and last I heard(last year) it was still functioning perfectly. This was tied into the hot water heater using it as the storage. It seems to have extended the life of the water heater too as it's still good. Which is unheard of here. Anymore we don't get more than 10yrs on a water heater. Usually a lot less.

    I posted this in the thread about the gentleman who's doing the pad for his hot tub. But we have a small portable hot tub that is all foam so it's very insulated. And the pump motor is the heater. It has a jacket around the motor that runs the pump water through it as a heat exchange. It works really well with the benefit that it's always ready to go and during the winter cost about $35 a month in electricity and during the summer more like $20. We keep it a 104F and it auto cycles keeping the pump and water ok. And because it's always ready to go we are more tempted to use it. It's not fancy, but we got it cheap off CL 6yrs ago for $600 and it's still going as I speak. Meanwhile I see tons of free big expensive tubs on CL, all with dead heaters and pumps. YMMV.

    I too saw the DIY solar panels sites, but like so many things on this site I admire folks spirit. But there's a PIA differential with me. I'd rather reuse, repurpose or adapt than do close to scratch. And with the new outfits like Solar City offering to do leases it doesn't make sense to put so much effort into it when I'm not sure it would be cheaper. I value my time as it seems I have less and less of it. Also a major factor is with the amount of change that's happening it makes more sense to lease. I would bet long before the lease is over the tech is going to make leaps we can't even imagine right now.

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  10. #6
    Jon
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    That's my hunch on the solar leases too. They sound good, but I imagine they're fine-printing you into a long-term deal that's not ultimately economically advantageous. Someone has to eat the cost of the technology rendering non-brand-new stuff obsolete.

    Easy-fix hot tubs can be had on CL left and right, from people who insist the whole tub is "broken", and would be grateful if you just got it off their property so they didn't have to deal with it. I've seen people do this as a viable businesses. Buy free or very cheap tubs from CL, fix them, warranty them for a year, and sell them for $1,000-$2,000. Consumers really like this option, as it saves them $5-10K.

    I'm trying to wrap my head around the fact that a motor with a heat exchanger can produce enough heat to make a small tub cost around $1/day. That might be my in.

    I know a good trick with a water heater for cold climates where the water comes in cold, but I haven't yet used it. Use a second water heater to store incoming water. So when you deplete your hot water, the functioning water heater draws its next tank load from a non-functioning tank that has been storing cold water as it approaches room temperature. You essentially use the heat of the mechanical room (which is often hot anyway), to preheat the next 40 gallons of water.

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  12. #7
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    I was REALLY skeptical(if it sounds to good to be true, it is) but after reading the biography of Elon Musk, it makes sense. We have so low of a bill here(less than $75 a mo. and you see half of that is the hot tub) it makes no sense to do PV, yet.

    Where I lived before it totally made sense but I was renting. Also the brutal summer heat and crazy winter cold the power bill never got below $175 a mo. and was close to $500 during the summer. So our year round mild weather here is a major factor in our tub bill being so low. Also you gotta take into consideration a 1/2hp pump doesn't draw that much, where a heater does. In my experience especially with pumps that run in caustics like chlorine letting them sit is death. The one person I know who tried to rescue one of those freebie CL hot tubs ended up dumping it. But he was and still is not the sharpest tool in the shed.

    I'm still waiting to see how the whole PV market shakes out. Musk's cousins are the ones who own Solar City and are making a plant here in the US because it's ultimately cheaper. Just like Musk found out with SpaceX and Tesla, which flys in the face of all the corp's outsourcing. So SC is supplying Tesla with PV for their free charging stations, and Tesla is supplying SC with batteries for their PV installs.

    The water heater trick sounds like a good one. But in my case my mechanical room is too small.

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  14. #8
    Jon
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    Very interesting. I still need to investigate chlorine vs. salt vs. whatever other options I have.

    I also wonder if using a heat exchanger on the woodstove, for heating the tub, would be gimmicky or worthwhile. I can get the copper cheap on CL, and I have a straight hidden run between the tub position and the stove. I have wood heat in abundance, that has to be cut for mitigation anyway, so I wonder if I can use that angle as much as possible to play the heat economics efficiently.

    I didn't realize Musk's family was in the solar business. Musk's worldview is admirable, and his work has great potential, but it's still frustrating to have to explain to people that, right now, our source for electricity is mostly coal and methane.

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  16. #9
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    There are several designs on the web for wood fired hot tubs. I would opt for one that was real close to the tub. I think all this stuff takes some tweaking to make work. If by gimickey does it work, it sure seems plausible. I would think you'd run into a lot of maintenance problems if the heater was part of your wood stove that you use all the time and it's not heating the tub.

    I don't want to get into some kind of debate that this site is not about, but for me the frustration is more with the present system than the tech. I'm sure I'll get dog piled on this but THE major factor for me not jumping on PV is the fact the PG&E here like so many other utilities/monopolies are actively blocking our form of privatization. Right now PG&E has it so if your PV is hooked to the grid and you generate more than you use, you only get credit. Not $$$, and at the end of the year they zero your "credit" out. So as long as that stands I don't think I'll make the jump to PV, and I think this is criminal monopoly.

    Ultimately my goal has always been to be off the grid. Maybe one day soon. BTW I live 7mi from Diablo Nuclear Power plant which is now past it's design parameter life and located right next to the ocean and 2 major faults.


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