DIY solar panels

What could possibly be better than making your own DIY solar panels? Contrary to the perception of many people, the whole process is simple and does not require any complex tools or equipment. Here is how you can make your own solar panels and save a significant amount of money on electricity and utility bills!

Tools you will require

You will require a set of basic tools in order to construct the Do It Yourself solar power panels. These tools include drill, screwdriver, saw, silicone caulk, hardware glue, wire cutters, wire strippers, solder and soldering iron. All these tools are available at any good hardware store in your area; and you can even find quite a few of these things around your home.

Acquiring solar cells

Many people tend to think that the whole concept of creating solar panels is rather complicated, but it really is nothing other than several solar cells (also known as photovoltaic cells) placed together in a container to form a panel. This means that in order to create a solar panel, you first need to acquire some solar cells. It is important to know that the basic 3×6 cells produce 0.5 volts of electricity. This means that for example, if you wish to create solar panels that have the power to generate 18 volts, you will require 36 cells for one panel. These cells should be wired in a series connection in order for them to successfully produce 18 volts of electricity. Depending upon how much energy you need, you can make any number of 18 volt generating solar panels.

 Building a container

Solar cells need to be placed inside a container in order to create a solar panel. There are many ways and materials that can allow you to construct a box or a container that can hold the solar cells in place. Most people find it easier to work with wood when it comes to making a container. Once you have decided on the measurements and layout, according to the number of solar cells you have, all you have to do is construct the box and place the cells within. It is important to understand that excess wood will be required to connect the cells to the substrate, so make sure that you have the wood ready. Once you have made the box and placed the cells in series alignment, you must create a clear cover for the box and the cells. You may use plexiglass or even lexan for this purpose. You should cut your desired material out according to the size of the box. After all the components of the container are ready, all you need to do is place them together with the help of screws, drill some holes for the connecting wires, and then finally, paint the box.

Wiring the cells

All the solar cells need to be wired in place in a series connection. Homemade or DIY solar panel consists of 36 photovoltaic cells which have the potential to produce 18 volts of current electricity and in order for this to happen, the accuracy of the wiring and the connection is critical. For beginners, it will be much easier if pre-tabbed cells are purchased for the panels. Unless your cells are pre-tabbed, you can spend a significant amount of time simply tabbing them, which is a waste of time and effort, especially when pre-tabbed solar cells are readily available.

Attaching the cells in place

After the wiring, the next step is to attach the solar cells in place. Silicone caulk works best for this purpose. To attach the cells, all you have to do is to apply ample amount of silicone caulk at the back and centre of each cell. The heat will cause the wood to contract and expand and the presence of a small amount of caulk behind the cells will prevent any problems during the expansion of the wood due to exposure to heat.

Final Construction

The DIY solar panel is nearing completion; all that is left for you to do is to drill a hole at the bottom of the box for the exit of the connecting wires. In order to prevent moisture from entering the box, you should place a piece of caulk in the holes after the wires have gone through. Moisture can adversely affect the solar cells and the wiring. Now you need to glue the solar cells to the substrate and place them inside the box. Last but not least, place the plexiglass cover on the box to finish your solar panel.

Testing

You will require a voltmeter to test the power generation and success of your DIY solar panel. Connect the voltmeter to the panel and bring it under direct sunlight. If the voltmeter reads 18 volts or above this value, you have succeed in creating a perfectly functional DIY solar panel! You can make any number of solar panels and get electricity absolutely for free. These panels can power home appliances and also recharge batteries.