A solar panel is a frame that contains cells that harness the sun’s power to generate energy. This energy is converted to electricity, which can power up lights, electronic items and the like. You can buy ready-made solar panels but they come at an expensive price, which is why some people build their own panels.
Making solar panels yourself can be challenging, so you need to have patience and determination for this. In order to make a solar panel, you will need the following materials:
• Solar cells
• Plywood, 1 sheet
• Plexiglas, 1 sheet
• All-weather paint
• 1×1 inch lumber, 4 pieces
• Silicone sealant
• Solder and soldering iron
• Drill and screws
• Insulated copper wire, 2 strips
• Flat-tabbed wire
• Pencil and ruler
You can make your own solar cells but this will entail more time and effort. Just buy cells to make things easier for you and start working on the panel construction right away.
Now that you have solar cells, decide how many rows of cells you will need. This will help you determine the size of the plywood you need to cut. After cutting, apply all-weather paint and let it dry. Then you can apply a second coating.
After the second coating dries, use the pencil and ruler to draw lines to guide the cells’ arrangement. Make sure to leave a 3-inch border along the edges of the plywood.
Next, solder two flat-tabbed wires at the back of every cell. Make sure the length of the wire is double the length of a cell.
Arrange the cells on the plywood. Solder the wires at the back of one cell to the next so that they all become connected.
Put a drop of silicone sealant at the back of each sell to glue it onto the plywood. A small drop will do. Let the sealant dry.
Connect the positive lead of one cell to the negative lead of the next cell. Repeat this process until you have one positive lead and one negative lead left. Parallel connections generate power while more series connections build up more voltage.
As for the last two leads, solder each of them to separate the insulated copper wire. The length of this wire depends on how far the solar panel position is from the power system.
Remember the four pieces of 1×1-inch lumber; these will be the boards that you will place on the borders of the plywood. Glue them onto the front of the plywood (where the solar cells are placed) using the silicone sealant and let it dry.
Turn to the back of the plywood. Drill pilot holes through the wood into the 1×1-inch lumber, but make sure the drill does not puncture through the lumber. Screw the four pieces of lumber into place.
As for the positive and negative leads, drill a hole for each of them at the bottom borders for the wires to pass through. Fill the two holes with silicone sealant so that the wires are kept in place. Drill another hole at the bottom but do not put sealant in it. It will serve as a drain hole in case of condensation.
Place a sheet of Plexiglas over the solar panel. Glue it onto the borders using the silicone sealant and let it dry. Once dry, screw the Plexiglas into place on the borders.
Lastly, place the panel in your desired position and connect the insulated copper wires to the home power system.
At this point, your homemade solar panel is done. Make sure to practice safety measures when doing this project. Remember: one solar cell generates a minimal amount of electricity. If you want to generate more electricity, you will have to create more panels.