I've been wanting to play with solar or wind power for years. After building my workshop I finally had a place to actually put some panels and use the energy. I could have said FREE energy but I am not disillusioned enough to think that it would actually be possible to save money with solar energy. I know it is a net loss game but it will still be a fun project.
I found an ad on Craigslist for a 32 watt panel for $100. I told the guy that I would give him $32 for the panel ($1 a watt seemed like a fair price to me for a used panel made with amorphous cells). Amorphous cells are the least effient and least expensive solar cells and probably a good start to my system. When I went to buy the panel it was actually two 32W panels and a 5W panel. So I guess I ended up paying $0.46 per watt. Not bad for my first solar purchase:
All three panels were hooked together with a basic frame:
The were also wired together and had a 20' cable. I'll describe the setup as Box#1 and Box#2. Box#1 hooked into Box#2 and both were hooked to a three pin cable. I picked them up at night but my meter showed 4.73 volts between pin1 and pin2, 8.00 volts between pin1 and pin3, and 3.28 volts between pin2 and pin3:
Note - You are probably seeing missing links to some pictures above. I still use Notepad to create the html code and have a template with plenty of extra references to pictures to save on typing. As I continue the page I will add pictures and descriptions and these missing links will disappear.