How to Build Solar Panels

how to build solar panelsIn this How to Build Solar Panels article, I’ll discuss what can be one of the most fun projects you could ever take on.

These DIY Solar projects are often appealing to people that have a need for electricity in remote areas, such as campers, astronomers, scientists, etc. However, more and more people are turning to do it yourself projects to actually power their residence.

So, what do you need to build solar panels? The answer may surprise you. Not too much!

First, you’ll need to get your hands on some solar cells. There are a variety of places to get these, and if you can find them used you’ll save money.

Be careful when buying used, and make sure that the cells are not cracked or chipped. Solar cells are very brittle and almost glass like, so you should take care when handling them.

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Here are the basic materials you will need to build solar panels:

Plexiglass
Solar Cells
Misc. Lumber
Wire
Diode
Jones Plug
Paint
Screws & Misc. Hardware
Silicone Caulk
  • Plexiglass
  • Solar Cells
  • Lumber
  • Wire
  • Diode
  • Jones Plug
  • Paint
  • Screws & other Hardware
  • Silicone Caulk

You will need to wire as many of the solar cells as you can in series to create a panel. Each little cell adds up to the total output of the panel, which can be about 18 volts. To do this, lay each solar cell face down and solder each one from the back. When you have everything wired in series you can place the whole panel into a box frame.

Next, you will want to create a box for the solar cells to sit in. Any solar panel is really just a shallow box, and you can easier create this with plywood and plexiglass. Figure out your dimensions, and then create a box that you can lay the newly wired solar panel into. Again, please be careful when soldering and handling, the cells are very fragile!

You will want to install a blocking diode so that your solar panels don’t drain your battery at night or when it’s cloudy. Each panel in your system will need one of these. Once you have that in place, you can drill a hole in the back of your panel to run the wires out.

Once you have this all put together you have your very own solar panel! Depending on how you get all the materials, and how crafty you are, you can get this all done for between $100 and $200. You can then just rinse and repeat this process and create as many panels as you want.

You will need to put a little work in, but this is a great weekend project! Also, once you build your solar panels, they really won’t require much maintenance and will provide free, clean, electricity to your house, campsite, or anywhere else you want.

Save Money by Building Your Own Solar Panels