What you will need
Depending on if you are connected to the electrical power grid or not the requirements for home solar power are different. This article assumes you are not connected to the power grid and you will be fully dependant on you solar for powering your home.

1. Panels.
2. Frame for Panels.
3. Controller.
4. Inverter.
5. Batteries.
6. Petrol Generator (not essential but recommended)

Well obviously the most common component is solar panels. You will need a frame for the solar panels which will be made from lightweight materials, possibly aluminum if you put them on your roof and heavier materials such as 33 MM galvanized steel tubing if you plan to have your panel’s free standing on the ground.
A good quality Inverter to convert the power from your batteries from DC current to AC current if you have decided to go with 240 Volt. The best type of inverter is Sine-wave inverter as this is the purest form of electricity. You can by a square-wave inverter which is much cheaper but you may see Electronic appliances such as computers perform erratically.
You will need a controller. A controller is only small but essential in your solar system. To keep your batteries in Tip Top shape there are a cycle of charges that they should go through from a low to short period of charging and overcharging (equalization). The controller also can turn on your petrol generator just in time to stop damage to your batteries if they become too low. The controller will also put your batteries in Float mode which means they are fully charged, this stops them from being damaged from being overcharged.
Batteries – Usually batteries are two Volts, if you plan on a 12 Volt system you will need 6 x 2 Volt batteries. A 24 Volt system will need 12 x 2 Volt batteries and a 48 volt system will need 24 x 2 volt batteries. The batteries are actually 2.24 volts or thereabouts so fully charged a 48 volt system will actually go to float at about 56 Volts. Brand new batteries can either be gel deep cycle batteries or Led acid with life spans sometimes coming in to over 20 years.
Finally you should consider a petrol generator. This is an emergency backup in case of failure either electronic or no power in your batteries because of lack of sunshine. . Most people who are not on the electricity grid have a petrol generator to start off with.

The quality of your homes wiring will depend on if you are going to use 12, 24 or 48 volt power. Obviously there is much less risk of fire if you use light wiring designed for 12 Volt but for anything heavier it is important that your house is wired properly. If you are not confident don’t handle it yourself. Have it done by a qualified Electrician and get the proper certificates from him
The absolute cheapest way to set up solar in your home is by using a 12 volt DC system. By going this way you eliminate the need for an inverter as you can use all 12 volt appliances, lighting etc. The major drawback of going this way is finding appliances that run on 12 Volt DC power. They are hard to find and in some cases almost impossible. It is always possible however to convert some appliances to 12 volt. For example you could change your washing machine motor for a starter motor lifted from a car. This type of scenario bests suits a single person or a couple who are highly committed to building a very affordable D.I.Y home power solar system and who are very handy with their hands. A 24 volt system will need an inverter so you can run 240 volt appliances. Best suited to a single person or couple who are very frugal with energy. A 48 volt system is the best but most expensive way to go. This is what you are better off setting up if you have one or two kids. Consider that kids grow to be teenagers and these days it’s hard to find a teenager who hasn’t embraced computer technology. It is not uncommon to see a good 48 volt system with perhaps 12 x 120 Watt panels and a 1000 watt wind generator that can power a wide screen TV one or two computers a fridge, lights and freezer all at the same time!

Do you want to design, install or build your very own solar powered home, but don't know how or where to start? Get DIY solar power guide that includes tips for Australia solar power conditions!

Not doing DIY solar power? Don’t let your solar contractor hoodwink you! Learn the tech info so that you can negotiate your best deal and make sure what you buy suits your needs.

DIY Solar Power for Homes Online Guide

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