Guest Post: How To Build Your Own Solar Panels

Thanks to Agnes Jimenez, for providing this post on how to build your own solar panels.

There is no second opinion about the enormous benefits of solar electricity. With the ever rising prices of fuel and hence the on-grid electricity, the only viable option we are left with is to switch to the off-grid solar photovoltaic electricity for our household needs.

As much attractive as it seems, the price of solar panels is one of the major reasons why people still hesitate to buy them. If this is the case with you, here is a simple tutorial on how you can build your own the solar panels with minimum cost!

solar panel for powering streetlamp 2 shutterstock_168504854

Preparing The Components

The first things you need is the solar cells. Remember that as a general rule, 1 unit cell produces approximately ½ volts. Keeping this as basic, you can calculate how many cells you would need to fulfill your requirements. Also, you will find various types of solar cells in the market, however, the experts recommend using polycrystalline solar cells as they are more efficient.

In addition to solar cells, you would need a wooden board for laying out the arrangement of cells, a glue tube for pasting the cells on the wooden board, a bundle of good quality wire for interconnection, a roll of solder with flux pen to group the cells into a bunch of say 10 cells and material to build the panel box. The wooden board should be thin and able to lay out all the cells and wiring on its surface. The wires should be cut carefully for properly connecting the cells.

Preparing The Panel Body

Once you have all the components ready, the next step is to prepare the solar panel. Connect the wire segments to the joining points of each cell. Then one by one, glue the cells at the center of the back side and then press them onto the wooden board to fix them properly. Make sure that you do not glue the wires and they are free to move. For best results, try to keep the number of rows to the minimum by making them long. Also, it is always a good idea to leave an inch or half on all four sides of the board.

After pasting all the cells, it is time to solder the cells into bunches. Remember that you have to solder a bunch of cells in series, with the solder tabs of the first cell joining to the solder tabs present on the back of the next one. This will essentially establish a +ve to –ve connection of each two adjacent cells. When you complete one bunch, start with the second and so on. Once you have successfully soldered all bunches, connect them together, again in series to make one solar panel with output voltage equal to the sum of voltages of all cells.

Preparing The Panel Box

Preparing the panel is not enough! Since you need to place it outdoors and that too, without any shade, it needs to be protected from the harsh weather conditions and wear and tear. So, the third step is to build a panel box for your solar panel. Measure the solar panel to get a rough idea of the required dimensions of the box. Cut the wooden pieces and build a box, with Plexiglas front to ensure the passage of solar rays. Now place the solar panel inside the box and fix it with glue.

Getting It To Work

You will then need to connect the solar panel with a charge controller which in turn will be connected to the battery. The charge controller maintains a constant supply of charge to the batteries and hence is a very essential component. Allow these batteries to charge and then you can enjoy the uninterrupted supply of electricity for free for your incandescent, halogen, LED lights and other appliances in your home.

Author: Agnes Jimenez






Photo: Solar panel for powering  a streetlight from Shutterstock