Basically, it usually is as simple as 123 with the help of step by step instructions. It is possible to build your very first thoroughly functional solar panel within one day and a quarter. Needless to say, there’s a chance you’re swifter compared to us!
What will you need to Make Solar Panels at Home?
Solar Cells – Solar cells is what you need to convert solar power to electricity. Sound costly? Well, not quite. For this DIY project, you can obtain solar cells for a pretty low investment. Think eBay, you can get solar cells at a bargain from them.
Plywood – Plywood or any wooden surface to put the solar cells into.
Plexiglass – Plexiglass or glass to protect solar cells from bad weather conditions. If you have to make a choice between plexiglass and glass, go for plexiglass as it tougher than glass and will not crack easily.
Tin Tabbing Wire – It will be used to connect solar cells together.
Solder – If you don’t already have one you can buy it cheaply from your local hardware store.
Easy Steps to Build Solar Panels at Home
Building the solar panel box
1 Cut a sheet of plywood to match the length and width required for solar cell arrays. An array of 36 mono-crystalline solar cells of size 3 X 6 inches will require a plywood sheet that is 0.37 inches (9.5 millimeters) thick, 45 inches long and 24.25 inches wide (this measurement takes into account the space between the solar cells). It is to be noted here that same size solar cells are to be used in a panel.
2 Get four ¾ inch X ¾ inch wooden strips and by using a wood adhesive and screws affix these along the outer edges of the plywood sheet made in step 1. It will make the box shallow for containing solar cells in it.
3 In the bottom rail of the ¾ inch X ¾ inch wooden strip that you affixed in the step 2 drill holes (approximately 1/4 inches in diameter) to keep air pressure inside the panel equal with the outside and make it possible for moisture to escape. The holes should only be made on the bottom of the panel or else rain and dew will get inside the panel. To keep dirt, dust, and bugs away from entering the panel stick a strip of vent tape across the holes.
4 Get perforated hardboard (pegboard) or for that matter any kind of thin, firm and non-conducting component. Cut the pegboard to loosely fit in the panel box.
5 To safeguard the solar cells from the climatic conditions, the panel should have a plexiglass front. Cut the plexiglass to same dimensions as the sheet of plywood (45 inches long and 24.25 inches wide). The plexiglass will rest on top of the ¾ inch X ¾ inch wooden strips (installed in 2nd step). For the time being, keep the plexiglass aside for later use. We will fit it after the solar cells have been placed in the panel box.
6 Paint the panel box and pegboard with latex paint to protect them from moisture and weather. Make sure to paint both the box and pegboard on both sides to avert curling when in contact with moisture. Let the paint dry for a day.
By following these 6 steps you will be able to complete the process of building the solar panel box. Now that we’ve got the panel ready we are going to move on to the next process which is installing solar cells into the panel.
Assembling the solar cells
1 Get started by sketching an outline of each and every solar cell on the pegboard using a pencil, so that you would be aware of where anyone of the 36 photovoltaic cells on it would be positioned.
2 It may be possible that the solar cells you purchased have not been pre-soldered so we need to connect them together to conduct the current between each cell. Start off with only a couple of cells placed upside down on the pegboard. While you place the cells on pegboard ensure the spacing in between the cells is in sync the sketching made on the pegboard in the previous step. Lay the solder tabs of one cell across the solder points on the back of the other cell.
3 Solar cells are delicate while soldering them together have a very gentle touch and low wattage. If you exert too hard, you may crack cells. Utilize flux pen along with the tabbing wire so that the wire adheres to the cells. The flux pen is utilized to help avoid beading of the solder.
4 Following careful removal of cells from the pegboard after soldering them, the next step is to glue them on the pegboard. For that, we will put some silicone caulk on the center of each outline we drew on the pegboard in step 1. Avoid using a lot of silicone caulk, just sufficient enough to hold a solar cell in its place. This would make room for pegboards expansion and warp in different weather conditions.
5 Directly after applying silicone caulk put the cells face-up on the pegboard and wait for the caulk to dry properly.
6 After the cells are affixed in place you can take the pegboard into the sunlight and test it using a voltmeter. If it is working as desired and producing current, position the pegboard in the panel box utilizing 3 wood screws across the top, middle and bottom.
7 Connect the electrical wire to the solar tabbing at the end of the circuit and add a blocking diode in series with it to prevent reverse flow of current to the panel.
8 At the base of the panel drill a hole for the wires to exit.
9 Towards the end of the panel, wire attaches a female plug.
10 Again take the panel out into the sunlight and test its output with a voltmeter. If everything works fine you can screw the plexiglass and close off any gaps with silicone caulk.
11 Around the outer edges of the panel, box applies silicone caulk or aluminum duct tape to seal it.
Awesome! You’ve just built your first solar power panel for a tiny fraction of what a readymade solar panel with identical energy output will cost.