If you look at the cost of readymade solar panels you are likely to get a strong dose of sticker shock, so is it possible to make solar panel systems at home? The clear answer is an unqualified YES. You will find a huge amount of advice online to show you how to make a solar panel. The main problem is trying to sort out the expert advice from the dangerous stuff.
We have searched through all this information using our own expertise in solar panel construction, to give you all the basic advice and guidance needed.
The first thing is that you will not need any particular skills or technical knowledge, which is really good news. You can get all the necessary materials quite easily, or perhaps even find them from scrap. It is quite possible to make your own solar panel for under 200 dollars and in a weekend.
And more good news – making solar panels is a simple and straightforward process. Here are the basic steps.
As always, it pays to plan things properly before starting to make anything. These are the main things to consider:
Location: Solar panels are dependent on sunlight so should be sited to get as much sun as possible. Avoid costly mobile units that constantly face the sun as it moves across the sky. It is better and cheaper to build several fixed solar panels even if it is slightly less efficient. Ensure that your solar panels will not be shaded by trees or tall buildings at any time of the day.
Fitting: You can mount your solar panels on your roof, on the ground, on a wall, on a garden shed – anywhere convenient and suitable. Since they are a little delicate, it might be a good idea to keep any solar panel out of reach of children and animals!
Tools and Materials: There are no special tools needed, simply some hand tools like screwdrivers, a drill, a saw and a soldering iron. Powered tools would make things a little easier and speedier, and a workbench would be helpful too. Materials are limited to plywood, plexiglass, solder and flux, caulking and copper wire. You don’t make the solar cells – just get them very cheaply online.
Directions: To build your own solar panel, you will need good quality step-by-step directions or instructions. You will get advice on how to estimate the size and quantity of the panels, how to select and site the inverter, how to mount the panels and how to join the system to your domestic electric circuit.
None of this is complicated, but investing in a good step-by-step assembly manual is, we believe, vital to ensure a safe and professional result.
We have reviewed several popular online manuals and have a favorite that will show you how to make a solar panel from scratch, with lots of diagrams, photos and even some very helpful videos. It has full details about electrical wiring techniques and regulations, as well as how to feed any surplus electricity into your local utility company grid.
The final piece of good news is that it is possible to make a small solar panel, with a power output of about 100 watts, for under 200 dolars, including the cost of a good instruction manual and plans. Building up several such panels to provide a very useful 1000 watts should cost less than 800 dollars. Compare that with a readymade system, which will set you back several thousand dollars.
Makes sense to do it yourself, doesn’t it?
Top-quality yet low-cost solar panel kits for homes are incredibly hard to find these daysâ?¦so are you going to throw in the towel, or keep on searching?
Solar panels are very expensive to purchase and if youâ??re on a tight budget, then go for the DIY approach!
Now, various solar panel kits for homes are being peddled online, but they are mostly rubbish! Just a few weeks back, I purchased a copy of DIY guide and let me tell you somethingâ?¦
It was 90 percent filler information! There was no panel construction plans, the assembling instructions were vague, materials sourcing information was inadequate â?? it was practically useless for a beginner like me!
So what did I do next?
First I requested for a refund and then, I proceeded to scour a few home improvement message boards to acquire more info about solar panel kits for homes.
Hereâ??s what I found outâ?¦
Okay it turns out that most tight budget beginners constructed their own solar panels thru the aid of step-by-step videos!
Of course in the beginning, the assembling process can be a bit tricky for us amateurs hence the need for step-by-step videos.
So I downloaded several how to videos onto my PC and followed each step â?? putting the materials together, assembling, wiring, soldering etc, one at a time.
Lo and beholdâ?¦
I successful build my first panel! Indeed it was quite tricky at first but we need not worry too much. Just view each process shown in the videos and perform one step at a time!
The experience was truly satisfying as Iâ??ve now discovered how to build those solar panel kits for homes using low-cost materials such as UV coating, plywood panel, primer, blocking diodes, flux paste, Plexiglass and of courseâ?¦solar cells!
After researching for God knows how many hoursâ?¦I came upon a solid instruction that actually walks me through all the necessary steps. Before long, I have my own solar panel system built from scratch!
While paying those monthly power bills, many households get a feeling as if they are throwing away money? If you have been thinking about a greener alternative to your coal-fired electricity line, then, why not switch to a better, affordable, and more efficient source of green energy? Solar panels are the only thing we can think of right now, if that is what is in your mind. Your next door guy is not the right choice for installer. What we are recommending is really building your own solar panels. Do you think you cannot, think again, solar energy can be harnessed to power up your home without much hassles.
Can i make my do it yourself solar panels?
The biggest hurdle you have overcome is the way you thought about building your solar panels. You dont have to be tech savvy to build your solar panel, you will be surprised to know the number of households powered by solar power and not all belong to tech savvy guys. How many among these sun powered-homes are owned by geeky and techie head of the households? Much lesser than 5% in my community. Any literate person can build a solar panel of his own by folllowing these easy and simple instructions one by one.
Buying your stuff. If you have been doing some major repairs or home improvements, chances are you have the most basic tools and skills to power your project. In your to do list of shopping the next thing to come up should be the solar panel kit.
It might be a strong possibility that you will find the solar panel kit at your local DIY store since those are in high demand in these days. Never mind if they don’t, a large inventory of solar panel kits are available on ebay. For the parts, you need to shop for the following: plywood sheating, tin wire, plexiglass, silicon caulk, solar cells, UV-ray protective varnish. The items that eats your maximum dollar away is the solar cell. I have a good list of solar cell retailers and the lowest for each piece of solar cell is 2$.
You can forget it if you are planning to compare the cost of hiring a team to build a solar panel for you and build one on your own. Do you know that the average cost of basic solar installation will cost you at least $20,000? By spreading the total for 20 yes you can calculate the exact monthly payment of yours. Let me tell you, there are plenty of reasons why you should just go out there, shop for the things you need, and just build your own solar panels. When you see other guys building up their solar panels with fun, it is more fulfilling to do it yourself.
Solar energy produces electricity by converting sunlight into energy using photovoltaic cells. Since 2002, solar energy has been increasingly used at a rate of 48% each year making it one of the fastest growing energy sources to date. With the ever-increasing knowledge and study of this source of energy the materials used to produce solar cell arrays has also become easier to come by for home energy use. Solar heating, solar electric, and solar hot water are the most common ways this power source is being utilized today. Many home owners are interested in having a green home since an energy efficient home is not only environmentally friendly but the potential savings are substantial.
Building home solar panels is actually not as difficult as one would think, provided you have the materials needed. One such material that is probably the biggest stumbling block when it comes to building your own solar panels is the solar cells themselves. Its not the sources of the panels you need to worry about, it’s the pricing and the quality that you must be sure of before deciding to buy. The best source for finding solar cells is eBay but you must be aware of who you are buying from. New cells are available but you will pay dearly to get them.
Therefore, the best option for getting your hands on suitable solar cells is to buy a set of broken or chipped cells that come bundled together. Buying broken cells may not sound like much fun but as long as you thoroughly research the seller as best you can you should be able to get a good idea of the quality you can expect when buying solar cells. The most commonly used cells are 3×6 mono-crystalline; make sure the panels you buy are tabbed cells. The cells will more then likely come to you covered in wax, they are dipped in wax in an effort to better secure them for shipment since the cells themselves are very fragile and thin.
Once you have the solar cells the next step is to create a shallow box to house them. Typically, a solar cell is comprised of 36 cells, which come out to needing roughly a 46” x 24” box structure to be built. Using simple materials like plywood and 1” slats will more then suffice for this. Your overall design for the structure of the box is entirely up to you, basically the function of this piece is to just hold the cells in place and allow them to soak up the sun’s energy so don’t get to worried over the minor details.
Once you have your shallow box built its time to begin soldering the cells together. This is done with a string of ribbon wire usually. Simply attach two 10” sections of ribbon wire to each cell with the excess wire hanging off the bottom of the cell. Once you have all the cells soldered with at least an extra 5 inches of ribbon wire hanging off them, you simply turn the cells over and connect the ribbon wire to the tabs on the back of each cell accordingly down the line until you have a string of 6. Make six of these cell strings to complete the basic structure of your panel.
Now that you have 6 cell strings, next step is to attach them to a panel that will fit into the shallow box you made earlier, best is to use a white panel to attach three of them to and make two half panels. Run a copper braided wire across the bottom of each panel and attach each string. Include an at least 3.3 amp blocking diode in series to prevent the panel from discharging your batteries overnight. Using a good silicone to secure the wires and cells is a good tip, make sure you allow it to thoroughly set in before you complete the project by covering and sealing the enclosure with plexiglass. Place your panel in direct sunlight and let it begin charging a few 12-volt batteries. Building your own solar panels is not only much cheaper but a rewarding and enjoyable experience.
By referring to a reliable solar panel guide, you can easily build solar panels for less than $200. However, you have to be very careful while building solar panels and should complete each step with complete perfection to avoid any complications later.
While building solar panels, you first need to determine the amount of power you need from each solar panel. Remember, if you wish to build solar panels in an area which does not receive sufficient amount of sunlight, you will need more solar cells.
Cut your plywood into pieces of appropriate dimension. The plywood should be large enough to accommodate the number of solar cells that will be present on each panel.
After cutting your plywood, use a paintbrush to apply UV- protective varnish to the wood.
It is recommended that you use your Rosin flux pen for applying flux on the bus strips on solar cells. This will ensure that when the tab ribbons are soldered to the solar cells, they adhere completely. This will help in proper wiring.
After this, you need to carefully connect the solar cells to each other. Once you connect all the solar cells, affix them on the plywood panel by using minimum amount of silicon. If you find any wire hanging from the solar cells, feed them through the plywood and then seal the gaps, if any, around the holes using silicon.
You will then need to construct a frame for the panel to cover the solar cells with Plexiglass. For this, you can stick the frame to the plywood using water-proof wood screws and silicon. Remember to drill the screw holes into the Plexiglass or else it may crack. After this, fasten the Plexiglas to the frame with the help of silicon and screws..
The last thing you need to do is drill a tiny hole at the bottom side of the panel to facilitate the passage of air into the panel. This will prevent the moisture from building up.
Do you know how easy it is to build cheap solar panels?
I thought it couldnâ??t be done. I figured the process must be too complex for an average Joe so I went to several retails stores to find out what is the present market price of a solar panelâ?¦
You know what?
The price tags are outrageous!
Luckily, the cashier at one of the stores told me that as long as I wasnâ??t planning on powering an entire apartment building, then building cheap solar panels on my own is a viable option.
Thatâ??s good news!
Okay, so I went online to get the necessary instructions but…guess what? 90% of the info I found online are not detailed enough and also not beginner-friendly.
After hours of persistent search, I came upon a really good guide â?? complete with simple to follow videos. Ding, ding, ding! I build my own solar panel at last!
Iâ??m so happy that I now feel like sharing this 6-step process to building cheap solar panels with you. Here it is!
Tools of the trade:
Plywood panel, solar cells, clear silicon sealant, solders, UV paint, screws, Wire, wood for framing the panel and Plexiglass.
The plywood should be cut according to the amount of cells in your disposal. Coat the plywood with UV paint. At this point, you can begin setting up the solar cells!
Thereâ??s a small tab at the back of the cells and you need to put a little solder on each one. Now take out the wire and press it on top of the soldered tab.
Connect all the cells together suing the wire. With very simple wiring combo, you can get to link and work properly. Very basic stuff, you just connect the negative with the negative and the positive with the positive.
Take out the silicon sealant and install the cells to the plywood. You donâ??t have to cover the wire!
The front part of the panel should be framed with some wood.Â Just apply the sealant to make it stick.
Finally, you need to cover the cells. This is where the Plexiglass comes in â?? you just stick it to the border using that handy silicon!
There you have it! Very simple stuff! Once you get the hang of things, youâ??ll begin to build cheap solar panels that work in double quick time!
More and more, everyday individuals like you and me want to use more efficient ways to make renewable energy. When you consider the expanding costs of fossil fuels, going green is quickly becoming a realistic option. The Do-It-Yourself energy movement has quickly become one of the fastest and best ways to save money and aid the environment. Making solar panels has never been easier. Not to mention that it’s cost effective and fun.
There are numerous ways to make a solar panel, none of which is all that hard. Depending on the type of materials you use, your solar panel should cost about 200 dollars.
You have a choice of multiple types of materials when you make homemade solar panels. Your first major expense will be to buy the solar cells. Recently on Ebay a search showed tabbed solar cells for about $1.80 each and untabbed solar cells for about $1.10 each.
Plywood might be your least expensive material to purchase, and you may even have some lying around the side yard already. However, rather than plywood, I would suggest using a sheet of white or black plexiglass. It’s lighter, much nicer looking, and will last longer. You can most likely find the size you need at your local hardware store or it can be bought online.
Once you have the back of your solar frame, you’ll have to put a frame around the edge. You can use either aluminum C frame material or wood. Aluminum is more expensive, but it will last a good deal longer and weather the elements better.
Your final piece of the puzzle is the cover. Some people use a sheet of glass. I would not suggest using glass, simply because it’s so fragile. Clear, UV-protected plexiglass is the best option. Make sure, however, that it is UV-protected or it will turn yellow and reduce your panel’s effectiveness.
As you begin your project, plan out each phase and put your plan into writing. You can easily make solar panels with the right guide book. The right manual will help steer you in the proper direction to make good decisions. Start small and work big. Be realistic in your expectations. Your initial panel, may not be the fastest car on the track, but you’ll improve with practice.
Take the time to plan out your solar panel project. Budget your project and balance cost with longevity. Just because you have an old scrap of plywood lying against the back fence does not mean that you have to use it just to save a few dollars. You may opt for untabbed solar cells to offset the cost of a plexiglass frame over a wood frame. Finally, keep in mind that you will be working with electricity, so have fun, but always be safe.
Do you want to discover the proper ways on how to build homemade solar panels?
Alright now, without further ado, here are the steps involved as well as the materials required to build your own solar panel.
Additional wood for panel border
Cut the plywood based on the amount of solar cells you have at your disposal. For 100 watts of power, you need about 80 cells. Next paint the plywood with 3 coats of UV protector
Place all solar cells face down on the floor. Note that there’s a small tab at the back of each cell. Using a flux pen, apply a little of bit solder onto the tab of each solar cell.
Take the copper wire and put it on the soldered tab. Once it cools down, the wire will get stuck to it. Now there are two lines of wire at the back of each cell. Join all the cells together – positive goes with positive and the negative goes with the negative end.
Now, take out plywood panel and place all the joined cells on it. The silicone sealant will keep all the cells glued to the panel. It’s unnecessary to cover the wires at this point. Just ensure the cells are firmly stuck to the plywood. Otherwise, you might end up with a defective homemade solar panel!
Notice the 2 wire ends? Drill 2 holes so you can put the wire ends out through the back of the panel. Right in front of the panel, place the additional wood. This is done in order create a border around the cells. Use your screws and apply the sealant to make them stick.
Finally get the glass sheet and fix it to the border to fully cover those solar cells.
And you’re done, bravo!
Believe me it’s not difficult to learn how to build homemade solar panels especially if you have detailed instructional materials like DIY videos!