Apart from the environmental benefits of solar energy, the monetary benefits make it worth the effort.
The mixture of solar water panels and PV panels can mean saving still more. Grants are obtainable to finance the initial installation outlay of solar energy systems.
Creating your own solar panels is also an alternative, and is a much less expensive option.
A lot of people think that solar panels require direct continuous sunlight in order to work whereas, in fact solar panels can convert any light form that hits them and they are effective in doing this even on cloudy days.
Overnight, there are two possibilities for power supply.You can be connected to the utility grid, in which case when the solar panels are not producing electricity (for example, at night), your supply will automatically come from the local utility.
The other option is storing surplus electricity from your solar panels in batteries which will then operate your appliances and lights during hours of darkness.
How is Solar Electricity Created?
It starts with one or more solar cells, making up a solar panel. When sunlight falls onto a solar cell, the cell takes in a number of the photons (light particles). An electron in the material of every solar cell is freed by the energy in the light particle as it is absorbed. As the light particle is absorbed, electric wiring on either side of the solar cell allow a flow of current. The electricity can then either be used at once for lighting or appliances, or it may be stored inside a battery.
Shell, the global power company, expects that fifty per cent of the planet's energy supply will be derived from renewable sources within the next three decades. A great sustainable energy project is being shared by some of the top global corporations, including Total, General Electric and BP. The recent BP oil spill disaster has turned powerful world spotlight on the increasing pressure for alternative sources of power and has increased public interest in solar energy as well as other renewable sources of power. The serious consequences of the oil spill have resulted in a substantial reshuffle of investment priorities, with American energy marketing campaigns placing a lot more focus on renewable sources of energy.
Solar power has become increasingly important to industrially developed countries as the use of fossil fuels becomes more costly and challenging. With the effects of pollution and global warming, it's plain that time-honoured energy sources will not be an alternative in the future. Unlike fossil fuels, renewable power sources are limitless. Solar power will become more affordable as the technology develops.
Sixty minutes of sunshine transmits more power to the earth's face than is used by the whole world in a year. You can utilize passive solar energy by designing or redesigning your home to maximize the energy of sunlight and heat. Adding further insulation to your roof, or putting in an extra south-facing window will improve the amount of heat you're able to soak up from the sun - and it will last longer. These 'passive' solar modifications can be installed at the time of building the house, or when it undergoes major renovation. Adding solar panels or other sunlight collectors would be referred to as active solar power.
DIY Solar Panels and Windmills Building Guides
Earth 4 Energy
Make your own solar panels or wind turbine.
More info here
Home Made Power Plant
There are some other guides for DIY wind and solar generators, but all of those that I've read don't get into the same details.
More info here