Low price DIY solar panels?


New member
May 4, 2008
I just find this. Did anyone try this with good results?

Power 4 Home

It would be great if someone could back this up with experience.

The Hun


Jan 12, 2006
As I was reading the article to myself, I started sounding like TV pitchman Billy Mays.


ben jammin

Well-known member
Aug 3, 2007
i have heard it is a rip off. i'd do some research first. i read some not so nice articles about them and i think there are other knock offs that are similar or in cahoots.

J D Sauser

Nov 20, 2004
The cost they advertise is PER panel!

Well, you can't build commercial grade solar cells yourself. Maybe the cost has gone down by now, so that it would indeed make sense buying cells and building an aluminum frame with a glass cover yourself and do all the wiring. Such a regular sized panel ought to give you around 150W PEAK power at full direct solar light. Ready made panels with that rating can sell around $800.oo in the US.
IF you could build 10 of those for under USD 200.oo, lets assume that would be $199.99 ;) you'd spend around $2000.oo (OK, 1999.oo) to optain 1.5kW PEAK power during direct sunlight.
The problem I get so far, is that a quick search has not returned me any solar cells offered on the net for less than $3.oo/Watt. So, our cost of cells for our little 150W panels would be around $450.oo. But well, that was the result of a quick search only. So, lets continue to theorize...

Lets say we'd get an average of 3Hrs. peak power plus 2 Hrs of half... that would be around 6kW a day or 180kW a month?
We (3) people living and working mostly at home use about 500kW/month in our 3/3 home in Puerto Plata... no A/C running.
So, we'd have to about triplicate our panels (30) which brings our investment for the panel only to $6000.oo to about cover the 500kW/month. Let's add the inverter and batteries, what $2000.oo? And other switch over technology (I'm just thinking out loud)... $1000.oo for materials... running a total of about 9... lets say 10 grand.
At 500kW/month our bill runs about $90.oo/month so that's $1080.oo a year. It would take 10 years for the system to pay for itself.

As bad as it looks, if we are in for the long run... it would still be quite an OK deal.

The problem, if the supply of parts per panel for under $200.oo holds true is, we are not in the US. The cells will certainly have to imported, maybe we get lucky and find some aluminum material at a half way reasonable cost to build our frames. Glass is available. Tools is an other culprit, either you don't get the right stuff here, or it's expensive.

Still, I like the idea. Too good to be true... well, the key is to find the solar cell supplier to sell enough cells for 150W per panel way under $200.oo (as I would calculate $30.oo for the frame and glass).

I don't know if what they are selling as know how is the even more experimental route of building your own, yet less effective solar cells, as suggested on this web site: How to Build a Solar Panel | eHow.com

I however doubt that an installation of solar panels feeding a home over a long time period could be built using that system.

  1. Cut two rectangular pieces of copper sheeting, each approximately the size of the stove burner.

  2. Wash one piece of the copper thoroughly, and then use the sandpaper to clean off any corrosion.

  3. Lay the copper sheet down on the burner.

  4. Turn the burner to maximum heat.

  5. Monitor the copper carefully. It will change colors as it begins to oxidize, slowly transforming to black.

  6. Leave the copper on the burner for at least 40 minutes, or until it has a thick coat of oxidized black material.

  7. Turn off the heat on the burner and allow the copper to cool in the air. This should take another 20 to 30 minutes.

  8. Gently scrub the copper with your hands under running water to take off the most easily removed pieces of the oxidized coating. Do not try to remove all of the coating or scrub too hard. Your goal is to take off what can easily be removed, but not to damage the remaining copper below the oxidized layer, which is required to build the solar panel.

  9. Cut off the top of the plastic bottle so that it forms a makeshift bucket.

  10. Take the second piece of copper (the one you didn't heat up), and bend it slightly to fit the contours of the bottle.

  11. Slide the second piece of copper into place along the inside of the bottle.

  12. Repeat the process with the first piece of copper (the one you heated up). The two pieces of copper should not be touching each other.

  13. Connect an alligator-clip lead to each piece of copper.

  14. Connect the alligator-clip lead from the second (uncooked) piece of copper to the positive terminal of the micro-ammeter.

  15. Connect the alligator clip lead from the first (cooked) piece of copper to the negative terminal of the micro-ammeter.

  16. Stir the salt into several cups of hot water until the salt is completely dissolved.

  17. Slowly pour the salt water into the bottle, taking care to keep the two alligator-clip leads dry. Make sure you leave at least an inch of the copper pieces above the water line.

  18. Check the needle on the micro-ammeter. The apparatus you've constructed is essentially a battery, so there will be some charge whether it is in light or darkness.

  19. Place the apparatus in sunlight and observe how the charge increases as the cell converts the sun's energy to electricity.
yawn :D

Here are some other suggestion on how to experiment at least or dabble in making your own solar cells:

Sol Ideas - How to Build Your Own Solar Cell
A Homemade Solar Cell

Anyways, while I don't consider myself as knowledgeable on building solar panels or cells, I guess most can tell by the length of this, that it is a subject which interest me.
If anybody wants to get together and tinker a little, heck, I got time...

... J-D.

Tom F.

Jan 1, 2002
JD pretty much hit it on the head. When I was introduced to Photovoltaics, while in the Peace Corps in the DR, Enersol training included a part on connecting individual solar cells to understand how you get to over 12v (usually 14 or 15v on a closed system) to charge the battery. My major difficulty in putting your own panes together has to do more with sealing the panal. Otherwise mosture seeps in and fogs the class or plastice covering and your connections start to rust. Meteoro was working on assembling panels for Isofotan 10 years ago but never heard how that worked out.


Who empowered China's crime against humanity?
Jun 28, 2004
Younger Dr. Emmett Brown: [running out of the room] 1.21 gigawatts? 1.21 gigawatts? Great Scott!

Marty McFly: [following] What-what the hell is a gigawatt?


New member
May 26, 2009
Best price on solar panels I have seen is about $2.40 per watt.

if your going completely off the grid you will need at least 2-3 KW system. this will give you about 10-20kw a day avg.

3000 watts in panels, lets say you get them dirt cheap, at $2 a watt., thats $6,000 bucks right there.

then you need those deep cycle batteries, these really vary in price, you have the relatively cheap Trojan types lead acid, and then there are the forklift type batteries these cost more but have a lot longer life.

you'll need to have enough battery storage, for a 3Kw system, that would be around 24 of the 6V 200Amp, this is for a 50% cycle, and 24V system assuming you use 2/3 what your panels generate. this gives a bit of security for cloudy days.

and then you need a good inverter ( pure sine wave is best ) they cost almost twice what a Trace modified square wave inverter would.

so no, your not going to power much with $200 bucks.

you can just do a search for "3KW Solar Kit" or 2KW etc. you'll get the idea of whats needed.

If you have air conditioning running and a big hefty fridge and/ or freezers etc. you power requirements will make the cost of going solar very expensive.

but for under $15,000 bucks one could become energy independent, no more apagones, no more electric bills, or lines. I think it would be good to have a small generator as backup also, in case you get like 3 cloudy days in a row, you could charge batteries with that in emergencies.
PV systems have come down on prices drastically on the last few years. They're also kits available that come ready with the required accessories, easy to use and install. my family sells them in the DR, you can review them at Bienvenido al Grupo Buena Vista Su Centro de Informacion en Energia Alternativa feel free to call the phone on the page if you need reference, ask for Mike. There is a lot of stuff involved with solar systems.


Aug 11, 2002
i was looking for a couple of panels, just enough to charge two batteries, by-passing the inversor and stumbled upon this guy in SD. solaroverlatinamerica.com, i found their office in SD walking around, but it's a little more than i need. the owner, thomas, spoke english, told me that he'd get me panels, cheap, but i don't know what his idea of "cheap" is, and that it would take a month. said the units were made in Canada so, took longer to get here.


New member
Sep 20, 2009
This is the website and contact details for the company:

SolaRover Mobile Solar Power Systems: Sustainable Energy for Remote Commercial Operations

General Questions: Lee Voskericyan

Technical Questions: Thomas Martinez

Solar energy is something we are very interested in so if anyone can call Lee or Thomas and answer the questions posed by the following:

Originally Posted by Tropicdude
Best price on solar panels I have seen is about $2.40 per watt.

Originally posted by windeguy
Good info, but please tell us where you found these panels in the DR for $2.40 a watt. That would be $360 for a 150 Watt panel.
that would be appreciated!