The prospect of building a solar panel is daunting for many people, but it shouldn’t be. Although the technology is new, learning how to make solar panels does not require an intensive study of theory and design.
When the list of materials needed is examined, apart from pre-tabbed cells and diodes, the rest reads like things anyone might find in the workshop right now: silicone caulking, glue, solder, fibreboard, plastic panels, wiring and some paint and screws are about it.
The equipment list is even easier to find and includes soldering irons, saws, wire cutters and strippers, and screw drivers. Any average DIY enthusiast will probably have these in the workshop also, and be ready to go immediately.
To begin with, you need to source some solar cells. You will find the internet useful in directing you to possible suppliers, as no local hardware or electrical stockist has a supply.
Once you have sourced these cells, learning how to make solar panels is then easy. It simply involves making a box to hold these cells and join them together in a series. Painting the box black will help the cells absorb any reflected heat energy. You will also need to ensure the back of the box is protected from the weather with the silicone caulking, and the front sealed from the elements with a plastic lid.
The cells should be fixed to a backing board using a dot of caulking on the reverse of the cell, and then connected together to ensure the flow is in one direction. Small diodes can be added to make sure this happens, and to avoid electrical energy ebbing out during the hours of darkness.
Even easier solutions to this example of how to make a solar panel are to put a charge control device on the storage battery to restrict the flow to one way. Insulation of all parts is important to avoid rain damage. However, as with any electrical installation, nut damage can be easily repaired. The panels are very low maintenance and also have a visual appeal that can be quite striking as a feature for the home’s exterior.
This is a much simpler project than many people think, and once attempted, the fact that it can be up and going in a matter of hours makes it a very attractive renewable energy option.
As in all online purchases, be warned that there are scammers out there who will offer very cheap ‘B’ grade cells which are not worth the effort of buying. Some suppliers will sell you the solder and extra tabs as part of the deal, and their references are easily checked.
Remember that essentially these panels are designed to convert heat energy into electrical energy, and are a step up from simpler heat absorption panels that just warm water as it passes through the system. Understanding that learning how to make your own solar panels is simple and requires very little outlay, should inspire everyone to give this green energy power source a go.