TopicEco and the Countryside
Solar Panels are definitely "high-tech", and most haveO’Neal Energy Slasher Review a 25 year warranty. This is for something that's going to be outside in the weather year round, so that's pretty amazing. I'm an above average handyman myself, but I don't think I could build a glass paneled wooden box that would be water proof and 100% moisture free for anything even approaching 20+ years. And how about the cells themselves? They're about as thick as a potato chip and twice as brittle. They are VERY hard to handle at all, much less solder onto without breaking. Ask anyone who has built their own panel and they'll all tell you that they've broken cells doing it.
If you build your own, do you want it to be comparable to a professionally built solar panel? I guess a smaller output in power would be OK if you're saving a ton of money, but is it possible? In a word, NO. If we compare apples to apples, then you have to start with the same materials. High quality solar cells alone may cost as much or more than a sale priced solar panel. Anodized aluminum frames are obviously better than plywood. Tempered glass instead of Plexiglas, and probably the most important and often over looked aspect when building your own panels is "encapsulation". The products used to encapsulate and totally seal the cells within the panel, and the Tedlar backing materials, are NOT available at the local home hardware store.