Solar panels are a popular source of alternative energy today and help to generate electricity which is free from pollution. It helps to save energy and uses the energy got from the sun to produce electricity. Plus, once you can make these solar panels you can save your electricity charges and save a whole lot of money. So, lets see how to build your own solar panels in a few easy steps:
1. Get solar cells –
get a couple of bricks of 3 by 6 mono-crystalline solar cells. It takes a 36 solar cells to make a solar panel. Each cell produces about 1/2 volt, so, 36 in series would give about 18 volts which is ideal for charging 12 volt batteries. This type of solar cells are very fragile and have to be handled carefully. Thus, you have to be careful while buying it from the hardware store or from online and try to get tabbed cells.
2. Get your shallow box for it –
make a box of 3/8 inch thick plywood with 3/4 X 3/4 pieces of wood around the edges. The pieces have to glued and screwed in place. This panel will hold 36 such solar cells. You can also divide it and make 2 sub-panels of 18 cells so that it is easier to assemble later. So there is a center divider across the middle of the box. Each sub-panel will fit into one well in the main panel. You can even drill holes on the edges to keep the air pressure inside the panel equalized once it is complete. Paint the wooden panels to protect them weather and place painted Peg boards inside both the panels.
3. Place the cells on the pegboard –
draw a grid pattern on the pegboard, lightly in pencil, for each 18 cells. Then lay the cells on that grid pattern upside-down to solder them together. All the cells in the two panels need to be soldered together in series, then both need to be connected in series again to get the desired result. Start with just two cells upside-down. Make sure the spacing between the cells match the grid pattern. The soldering iron should be of low wattage and use fine rosen-core solder. While using the soldering iron be careful as pushing it too hard may break the cells. Each cells negative top is soldered to the positive bottom of the next cell which helps to connect the cells in series, and adds their voltages. You do this until you have a string of 6 cells. Now glue the cells to the pegboard. Then mount the whole thing in the main shallow box and screw them up nicely and wire them.
4. Use a diode –
Each solar panel in a solar power system needs a diode to prevent the panel from losing charge at night or during cloudy weather. You can add a polarized two-pin joins plug to the end of the panel wires. Another plug will be wired into the inverter so that the solar panel can get its power production and battery charging capacity. After this is done cover your panels with a flexiglass and your own built solar panels are ready.