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DIY Home Solar Panels

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DIY Home Solar PV Panels

How to Make Photovoltaic Solar Panels

Building a solar panel is a fairly simple project, requiring some carpentry, soldering skills and patience. We will list several links to video's, pictures and step-by-step instructions.

Solar Panel Project Materials

  • solar cells - generally speaking, 36 cells will produce around 63 watts (maximum) of power via 18 volts DC at 3.5 amps. Several sites recommend purchasing cells which come with the tab wires soldered on already as this is a very tedious, time consuming job. These can be purchased off eBay for around $2 each. Note the cell size and therefore output, varies. Try to purchase cells that are all the same size
  • plywood or metal for the panel housing
  • glass or plexiglas for the panel top
  • pegboard to glue cells onto
  • silicone
  • solder, flux, wire
  • misc screws

DIY Solar Panel Assembly - Videos

We'll start with some how-to videos: this first video shows solar panels being assembled in a factory.

 

Next we have a series of 4 DIY videos (silent movies): part 1 - solder tabs to front of cells

Part 2 - solder tabs to back of cells

Part 3 - solder the cells into strings & solder strings together

Part 4 - shows the cells mounted, but does NOT show you how to mount them

 

 

 

DIY Home Solar Panels - Step-by-step Instructions

Mike Davis

Mike has built homemade solar panels and wind turbines for this off-grid get-away. His Home Solar Panelsinstructions and tips are very good. Personally, I think I would mount the cells a bit more securely. You also need to take his cost estimates with a grain of salt, as he gives everything he has on hand, a value of $0! A sheet of plexiglas is likely to cost you some money. So would the screws, wire and paint. I think it's fairly easy to see how a homemade solar panel could cost you over $3 per watt. If purchased in bulk, you can buy new solar panels for under $3 per watt on eBay and they come with a 25 year guarantee.

Mike's Website

 

Otherpower

Home Solar Panels - DIYTom from Otherpower provides lots of pictures with his instructions, plus there's the option to ask questions if you aren't clear on one of the steps. As mentioned at the start, this is a DIY project. You will learn lots about solar photovoltaic's by building these panels. There is a certain satisfaction from completing a project like this, and watching the lights come on from your own power source. However, these DIY project materials, will not last as long as production quality products. Enjoy, just the same.

Otherpower Website

 

Homemade Solar Panel

DIY Solar PanelThe assembly instructions for this panel are a bit different - pull tabs through holes drilled in backing. However, something that is shared with all these sites, is the misleading cost. The author later confessed that the price he quoted for the cells, was several years old and no longer available. As well, the cost for all the wood and glass is set at $0, because he had it laying around. Just the same, the aluminum finish and glass cover, give this panel a more permanent feeling that the first to examples.

Website

 

 

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