How to Make Solar Panel at Home

How to Make Solar Panel at Home

I am Abdul and I have always been interested inDIY (Do-it-yourself) projects. Recently I tried making a solar panel at home and found that it is relatively easy than most of us think. Although commercial solar panel installation is expensive, but I used some common tools and inexpensive materials to make a solar panel, which is equivalent to commercial panels in performance but it cost me less than $200.

You can also make a solar panel at home and besides slashing your electricity bills, you can also help saving our lovely planet by using solar energy for your household requirements.

I have seen many people asking if it is possible to build a solar panel at home without any specific technical skill. Here I will show you a simple step to step method of making a solar panel. If you really want to learn how to make a solar panel at home, read this page carefully.

You will get to know about Basics of Solar Panel, Advantages of using Solar panels, Types of Solar Panels, Myths about Solar Energy Panels and many more.

Why This Page?

Recently I wrote an article about How to make a solar panel from scratch and it got hundreds of views in short span. I got many emails from readers who wanted to know about more information about making solar panel at home. This prompt me to write about this topic in detail here.

 

Why Solar Panels?

Benefits of Using Solar Panels

Why Use Solar Panels?Well, I made my first solar panel because I like to build things and I have always been interested in such projects. But today Solar Panels are popular due to their low maintenance cost, high efficiency and because they save our huge electricity bills. Building a solar panel is economical and total cost of making and installing a solar panel at home is nominal. I have listed some major advantages of solar panels in detail here which help you to understand why you must switch to solar energy?

 

What are Solar Panels?

A Solar panel is a basically a box that holds a group of solar cells. These Solar cells (photovoltaic cells) convert solar energy in to electricity. To generate a considerable amount of power you need many solar cells, so these cells are combined and assembled on a panel. These solar panels holds many solar cells thus preventing them from beign damaged. Together these solar cells generate enough electricity as per your need.

It is simple. Isn’t it?

 

Types of Home Made Solar Panels

A Solar Water Heater

 

Basically Solar Panels are of two types:

Solar Thermal Panels:

These panels use solar energy to generate heat which can be used for some basic purposes such as to boil water etc. These are simplest type of solar panels.

Solar Photovoltaic Panels:

These panels are made up of a series of Photovoltaic cells that can convert solar power in to electricity. There is an electricity storage device installed that store the electricity and supply this electricity for our household requirements. You can use as many solar cells (photovoltaic cells) as you need according to your electricity requirement.

 

Making Your Own Solar Panel at Home

Do-It-Yourself

Now you know basics of Solar panels, it’s time to make one yourself. Let’s start with learning about basic tools and parts you will need to make a basic solar panel.

 

Tools needed for making a solar panel at home

 

Here is the list of some of the important tools and things you will need while making a solar panel.

Plywood:

Plywood is the main part by which we will make the actual box to install the solar cells. Choose plywood of a good quality as it will be a onetime investment. Thickness of plywood must be around 15mm. A solar panel installation works well for many years without any costly maintenance.

Saw for Cutting:

You will need a saw for cutting. Electric saw is better than hand saw.

Plexiglass Sheet:

Plexiglass sheet protects solar panel from weather. Normal glass is not used for this purpose as these are fragile and may get shattered by debris or stones.

Soldering Gun and Wire:

Soldering gun and wire are needed for connecting solar cells. Soldering wires are made up of tin wire and have high melting point.

Rosin Flux Pen:

Flux pen is used to support the tabbing wire to stick to solar cells.

Silicone Sealant: 

It is used to make the solar panel water tight by filling the gap between the flexi glass and the wooden frame.

UV Plywood Protector Varnish:

Plywood must be given coating of UV protector to protect it from moisture and weather. This will give your solar panel a long life.

Volt Meter:

By using Volt Meter you can test the output of each solar cell. Higher the numbers of solar cells, more volt power will it generate.

Solar Cells:

These are the most important part of this project. Solar cells will cost you around $2 per cell. Number of solar cells you need can be determined according to your need.

In addition to this you will also need Paint brush, wire cutters, screw driver etc.

 

How many Solar Cells you will need to make a solar panel at home:

 

Knowing how many solar cells you will need to make your solar panel depends on the power you need from it. Here is a simple method to calculate this all.

1. You must understand that all solar cells of same type produces same amount of voltage. A typical solar cell of 3 X 6 inches in dimensions will give around .5 volts of power. It’s the amount of current that increase or decrease with size. A 3 X 6 inches solar cell gives you 3 Amp of current. Divide that in two parts and current will decrease with 1.5 Amp in each half, but voltage will always remain same.

2. A simple physical formula to measure Watt is: WATT = Voltage X Current. So the total power your solar panel will produce would be more if you use bigger cells (more current), but your panel will become heavy and large. Size of 3 X 6 inches is best in my opinion.

3. Now you can calculate the number of solar cells. If you need say 60 Watt power and one solar cell gives you around .5V x 3Amp = 1.5 Watt, then for 60 watt you will need, 60/1.5 = 40 solar cells.

 

Actual Steps of Making a Solar Panel:

 

Step 1. As you may have calculated the number of solar cells by now, you must know how large frame you will need to fit them. You can make more than one panel if your power requirements are higher and you need large number of solar cells. Cut the plywood sheet in rectangular shape. Any other shape is also fine but rectangular are more common.

Step 2. Apply UV plywood protector varnish on plywood. It saves the installation from adverse weather conditions and other harm.

Step 3. Apply flux to the bus strips of solar cells by using Rosin flux pen. This ensures that while soldering tab ribbons to solar cells, they will stick completely and tightly.

Step 4. Connect all solar cells to one another and after that place them on panel of plywood carefully. Drill two holes to feed the wires that will left unattached. Now carefully seal the gaps of holes with silicon caulk.

Step 5. Now make a frame for solar panel as it must be covered by Plexiglas to secure solar cells from water and weather. Make two holes in Plexiglas for screws. Plexiglas must be fitted tightly to the frame. Use silicon caulk and screws for this.

Step 6. Now double check the whole panel for any kind of gap left. If you find any gap then fill it with Silicon caulk. Drill a small hole at the bottom of panel to keep moisture from building.

Your solar panel is complete now. You can then check the Voltage output and current capacity of your homemade solar panel in sunlight.

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