Solar Cells at home?

Anyone know a way to make your own solar cells? Saw 50 cells for about $250 US on Ebay and wondered if thats as cheap as they get. Not that this didn't seem pretty cheap, but always looking for cool new processes.

sort by: active | newest | oldest
zachninme11 years ago
How big were they?
bowakowa (author)  zachninme11 years ago
4-6" as I recall. factory seconds, etc. but should still work to about 97% efficiency.
HamO bowakowa10 years ago
Please point us towards some solar cells which are "97%" efficient!
Kiteman HamO10 years ago
As seconds, I think he means "97% of what they would produce as perfect specimens".
bowakowa (author)  Kiteman10 years ago
quite right, thanks for the protection from the smarty pants crew
bmlbytes11 years ago
There is a way to do this but it wouldn't give you much power. Anyway here it it is.
bowakowa (author)  bmlbytes10 years ago
just wanted to say thanks for this link, still trying to find my answers but this helped.
Myself11 years ago
They're really just specialized diodes. An LED pointed at a bright light will produce a tiny amount of power, a fact that's used in some sun-tracker projects by taking advantage of the focused field of view that an LED's domed lens gives. (Feed them into a high-Z op-amp to decide which way the panel needs to turn.) Manufacturing your own isn't easy or advisable, due to the chemicals involved. You really want to let someone else make the cells. Building them into your own modules is fine, there's no really exotic technology involved. It's just tedious, and you're unlikely to have the R&D budget to come up with module sealing techniques that'll last even two or three years, much less the 20 or 30 that you'll get from commercially available modules. But isn't that the way with most homebrew projects? The fun and experience outweigh the disadvantages in so many ways. So yeah, pick up that pile of rejected cells and build your own modules! It's a great way to spend winter evenings when there's no garden to tend. Honestly I think there's a lot of room for progress in module cooling, since efficiency drops off so much with temperature. If you find a good way to bond cells to a radiator backplate, quantify the efficiency gains and tell us about it!
bowakowa (author) 11 years ago
I kind of understand the old process of growing silica crystals and sawing them into discs but wondered if there is a new technology I don't know.