Autodesk: Make Anything

how do you make a solar panel? can they be made smaller than those great big panels?

i want to build my own solar panels for heat and electricity. can I make/build solar panels myself? Thank you.

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At my site ( you can find exact how to make your own solar panel.
With this information you can make any kind of panel in any size you want.
And the most important thing is, it’s all for free not like all those other sites where eventually you have to pay for the information.
Have a look at my instructable at and you'll find a heap of info and links to my blog on panel building.
Below are 2 links to ebay sellers who offer excellent cells at amazingly cheap prices. I know I sound like a salesman but I'm not.
I bought most of my cells from fred480v.
Don't build your panel on plywood!
Plywood has a very limited lifespan but your Cells will be very productive for decades (and the cells are really hard to get off plywood without breaking them).
Use the very best backing you can afford ie: insulated aluminium or "Tedlar" (googleTedlar products).
You can buy Tutorials on panel building on CD but the information you need is all on "Instructables"........and it's free!
The size of the panel is up to you.
Generally speaking the panel size depends on the output you want.
For example a 1" X 6" cell would have an output of 1 watt.
36 cells are needed to build an effective panel for a 12 volt system.
36 X 1 watt = a 36 watt panel which would measure at least 6 square inches per cell ie: 6" wide X 36" long or 12" X 18".
If you were to use 36 cells = 6" X 6" you would have a panel putting out nearly 220 watts.Obviously it would need to be 6 times bigger.
There's lots of wasted heat inside a panel so my next project is to build a panel that heats water while producing electricity. This will effectively "water cool" the panel and increase it's output as panels produce the most when cool and less as they get hotter.
All the best.

cdubnbird8 years ago
there's a bunch of different effective designs for solar panels for the purpose of heating stuff. you can use a parabola to concentrate solar rays onto oil or water and heat it or just lay some circulating water tubes out in your yard or develop a several sq. mile compound that focuses solar rays onto salt high up in a tower till it melts it and heats water which turns to steam and powers turbines. now on the other hand the electric panels you can only wire broken ones together or make an inefficient solar panel out of copper and titanium dioxide. the silicon solar panels have to be produced in clean rooms with tolerances of 1 ppm (particle per million). and then you need to be able to melt the silicon and grow a gigantic crystal out of it.
JimJong8 years ago
I have found that sells alot of cheap electronic parts and slightly chipped solar cells so If you buy the cells there and wire them together on some sort of board you can make a solar panel any size you want.
JimJong JimJong8 years ago
Oh and somewhere on my computer I have plans for building your own solar cells.
go to sci
Kiteman8 years ago
Solar panels for heat are relatively easy - at the very simplest, expose water-filled pipes to sunlight - but solar cells (for making electricity) are effectively impossible to make yourself. The best bet is to buy or salvage the cells you need.
It's difficult to make one from scratch, but you can buy broken pieces from ebay and assemble them into whatever size you want