From The Sun, To The Outlet.

WARNING: Messing with electricity is dangerous, and should be done with extreme caution. Never leave high voltage leads open to be touched by anyone as you see here. This setup has a protective front which is not shown but should almost always be on.

You can have as many panels as you want, but until you have the right electronics, the power created could be useless. The power you are creating has to be stored, or at night time you will have no power. For this we use batteries. Not just your everyday AA batteries though, we need what is called a deep cycle battery. Deep cycle batteries are made to be discharged, and charged back up, many many times. If you did that with a normal car battery, it would not live very long. Deep cycles are use in boats for trolling, in golf carts, and even in some forklifts. If you like to scrounge, ask around your forklift dealers, and certain manufactures(they all use forklifts) for the ones they thow out. Golf courses can be good as well.

Now, just hooking your panels up the the batteries can over charge them(kill them), or drain them at night(kill them). In order to do this you have to use a Charge Controller(CC). A CC measures the voltage of the battery, and of the panels. When the battery is full, the charge controller breaks the connection, stopping the charging. Or if the panels are less than the battery(IE:night) it will break the connection again.

Now, to turn this DC power into an every day outlet pug in, you have to get an Inverter. Inverters switch the voltage to AC and boost it to 120+- volts.

Solar panel=$150 built from scratch
Charge Controller=$65
Battery=$65 wally world
Inverter=$180 from a friend
Wire & Misc=$50