Step 17: Counting the cost
already. Your mileage may vary.
Part Origin Cost Solar Cells Ebay $74.00* Misc. Lumber Homecenter Store $20.62 Plexiglass Scrap Pile $0.00 Screws & Misc. Hardware Already on hand $0.00 Silicone Caulk Homecenter Store $3.95 Wire Already on hand $0.00 Diode Ebay $0.20+ Jones Plug Newark Electronics $6.08 Paint Already on hand $0.00 Total $104.85Not too bad. That's a fraction of what a commercially made solar panel with a comparable power output would cost, and it was easy. I already have plans to build more panels to add to the capacity of my system.
* I actually bought 4 lots of 18 solar cells on Ebay. This price represents only the two lots that went into building this panel. Also, the price of factory second solar cells on Ebay has gone up quite a lot recently as oil prices have skyrocketed.
+ This price represents 1 out of a lot of 25 diodes I bought on Ebay for $5.00.
You can learn more about this project and my other alternative energy projects, including my home-built 15 Watt solar panel, my home-made wind turbine, and my biomass gasifier on my web site.