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  1. Greetings: I want to share some recent findings, either on my own, or with the help of my good friend Monte. He helped me out especially by getting the links to the videos I have attached, below. Anyway, if solar power interests you at all, please feel free to take a look at any / all of the information I have posted below: Solar Calculator - An excellent webpage for calculating sunrise and sunset for your location, at any point throughout the year. Amp Hours & Beer - Who ever knew there was a connection? Solar Panel Talk Forum - Very helpful forum, offering tons of information and very helpful members. Solar Power Forum - older forum, but too much SPAM Solar Panels Philippines - Smaller forum, but helpful members During my research, I have determined that I will, most likely, build my own panels. I think it will be a great thing to learn, and a good learning experience. Here are three videos making up a small series, the best ones I have viewed regarding building your own panels: Video 1 of 3 Video 2 of 3 Video 3 of 3 Considering the higher cost of buying manufactured panels, and especially the shipping rates for them once assembled, I can spend a lot less money on buying frames, or building my own frames from 1.5" x 1.5" stock aluminum angle. The image below is of a manufactured aluminum frame designed for 36 - 3" x 6" solar cells, creating a panel that would produce ~ 18vdc at 3.5 amperes: Add a piece of tempered glass, 1/4" thick, and start soldering solar cells together on top of that. It sounds simple enough, anyway. Below is a photo of a 6" x 6" cell. I will probably use 3" x 6" cells, though, if I can get them cheap enough: This is what a completed panel would look like. This one would be a bit larger than 6' long x 3' wide, if using 6" x 6" solar cells: Considering the high cost of solar trackers (the motors that will rotate your panels to keep the most amount of sun on them throughout the day), this fellow decided to build his own. Here is his excellent writeup and a link to his website, Living On Solar: solar-tracker.pdf And, just in case you don't believe me about the costs of commercial solar tracking units (hold on to your hats, boys): Wattsun_Tracker_Prices.pdf A pdf focusing on inverters and battery sizes: inverter_battery_sizing_faq.pdf Here is a voltage drop calculator, an excel file: voltage_drop_calculator.xls
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