Updated December 2015
Building your own solar electric system is readily feasible. Many that have been equal to or exceeded the standard of professionally built systems. My books on this topic provide all required for building your own solar electric system for homes, properties and also caravans and motor homes.
In Australia and New Zealand (for those home and property stand-alone systems for which rebates may no longer apply) it is legal to build the dc side of the system yourself as long as no part has voltage that exceeds 120 volts ripple-free dc. This limits the solar array to a nominal 72 volts (as it will approach 120 volts off-load). If the system is to include an inverter that feeds 230 volts into fixed home and property wiring, that part of the work must be done by a licensed electrician. Where a stand-alone system is subject to rebates, there may be requirements that preclude self-building. Much of the cost however is in erecting solar mounting frames, digging cable trenches and laying cable etc and it often possible to negotiate this with the contractor.
Building your own solar electric system is generally not possible (nor sensible) to do for any part of the work with grid-connect systems. Many have solar arrays running at 300 volts dc or more (and are seriously lethal). The initial cost of such a system, however, can be slashed (often to half) by making every effort to reduce the solar capacity needed by first reducing the energy required. A major part of Solar Success shows just how. It includes five detailed examples. One is of a house originally drew 52.46 kW/day – following advice in Solar Success the daily draw was reduced to 10.2 kWh/day.
We also walk the walk. We not only designed and built the solar power system. That system provided the power to self-build that house- and ran a major irrigation system too. See All Solar House. Pic: successfulsolarbooks.com
My book Solar Success is written primarily for people seeking to design and build their own home and property stand-alone systems. It also show, in detail, how to design the overall system such that energy is minimised. This can and typically does save thousands of dollar on most systems. This information is helpful for those having grid-connect installed.
Solar That Really Works! is for those designing and building solar systems in boats, small cabins, camper trailers, caravans and motor homes. It covers every aspect of the topic. The associated Caravan & Motorhome Electrics explains every part of such vehicle’s electrical systems. Whilst written in plain English for a general readership, it has also become the standard text in the auto electrical teaching area – and is owned and used by most Australian auto electricians.
We also drive and camp the walk. We designed and built the solar system for this Australian-made OKA ex mining truck (in 1994). Now 21 years later it is still working. Pic – in camp in a remote part of Northern Australia in 1995: by our associated company: caravanandmotorhomebooks.com.
Our associated website: caravanandmotorhomebooks.com has a large number of constantly updated articles about solar etc in thern the RV area.
If you found this article of value you are sure to do likewise with my books. (Bio)