Make your own solar panels

 

As solar technology continues to improve, so it becomes easier to make yourself solar panels for your own solar system solution.

The wiring may be a little time-consuming and may require some outside assistance, building the solar framework and the structures for the solar panels are far easier.

It’s time to harness the sun in your part of the country.

Here is a simple writeup from Hunker:

Step 1

We have already wired our solar cells (article in the resources section) now we are ready to turn them into an energy producing solar panel. This process involves building your box and drilling guide holes for wiring everything up correctly.

Your box should be sturdy, and waterproof, with a way to keep your panels from getting damaged. This will be a rough guide as your dimensions will be determined by the size of your solar panels.

Step 2

The solar panel box above was built using one sheet of 3/4 inch plywood for the base. It was framed out using 3/4 inch pieces of wood around the edges. You can see that the box is sectioned off by another 3/4 inch piece of wood. This solar panel box is designed to hold 2 solar panels within it.

Your wood should be heavily coated with 3 coats of UV Guard or some similar form of UV protection. Deck or fence sealers will work as well as paint however you will need to use many coats. The goal is to keep the damaging UV rays of the sun from damaging your wood.

Step 3

You can see in this picture that holes were drilled through the frame of the box to provide ventilation. As your solar panel is exposed to extreme temperatures this will keep your box from warping in the heat of the sun. This is an optional step that can save you money in the long run.

Knowing the conditions in and around your home will help you decide what steps you need to take.

Step 4

A layer of Masonite pegboard is cut to fit loosely in the wells and after being coated with UV guard placed inside the solar panel box. This is what the solar cells will be attached to for easy maintenance if a problem should occur.

In the place of pegboard, you can use cardboard or any other nonconductive material. This is a great way to recycle things you don’t need anymore, old paint, Sheetrock, even old floorboard mats would be great for this use.

Step 5

When attaching the solar panel to the substrate you want to be careful not to damage it. Add a glob of caulk to the center of each cell,is more than enough to hold it in place. You do not want to apply so much caulk that you glue them down completely as this will keep them from moving with the wind and break your cells.

Using caulk in the middle of your solar cells is the easiest way to combat this problem and prolong the life of your solar array. You can use all purpose silicone caulking even the cheapest will work.

Video: How to make solar panels

From desertsun02:

A complete (from A to Z) tutorial on how to make a solar panel.

All aspects of the build are covered. video breakdown: first minute: intro (w/pics and music). then, part one: “tabbing” solar cells. followed by part two (from 2:07 to 9:14) covering “cell layout and wiring”. followed by part 3 (from 9:14 to 18:00) covering “how to build the case”. and finally ending with “the wrap-up” (at 18:00). panel i designed is 6v/3.6A/21.6w (max) and can be used an a single “stand alone” panel or as part of a “3 panel set”. three of these homemade panels hooked in SERIES gives you a very similar voltage and power output to the 3 panel set that harbor freight sells and works great for charging 12 volt deep cycle batteries. a single one of these panels will power up (or charge up) tons of things. couple of notable things: works great to power up computer case fans (like the type in all of my solar thermal air heaters). note that even though many are 12 volt, they actually run well on any voltage from 6 to 12v. it’s also great for charging up most modern electronic devices. the panels’ six volt output and 3.6A (3600ma) should give a solid charge to most all of them. couple of notes: i bought the cells as a “kit” on ebay. it comes with 36 to 40 cells (which is enough for three of my panels), the tabbing/buswire, the blocking diode, rosin marker etc… all for about $25.00. then adding in the lumber ($13 to $20) and glass (at $5 a sheet), the cost to build is relatively low (esp. if you make 3 panels). works out to about 25/30 bucks a panel. *a single panel would be roughly 45 to 48 bucks ~ $25 (for kit) $13 (lumber) $5 (glass), plus misc. items. couple other things: for the metal “look” you could use aluminum tape around the edges and paint the wood maybe white (before adding the cells) and the diode is rated 6A. individual solar cell specs: each is: 3″x6″ .5v/3.6A/1.8w. lumber: 1/2″ plywood (cut to 22/ 1/4″ x 18 1/4″), Four one-inch square wooden dowels (2 cut to 22 1/4″ and 2 cut to 16 1/4″) and Four 3/8″ square wooden dowels. the glass is 16″ x 20″ standard window glass. notable hardware: Four 1.5″ screws (for the frame) and Fourteen one-inch screws (for the back). 100% clear silicone caulk.

Source: www.homesteadnotes.com

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