Step 3: Finishing the box

Here is a close-up showing one half of the main panel. This well will hold one 18 cell sub-panel. Notice the little holes drilled in the edges of the well. This will be the bottom of the panel (it is upside down in the photo, sorry). These are vent holes to keep the air pressure inside the panel equalized with the outside, and to let moisture escape. These holes must be on the bottom of the panel or rain and dew will run inside. There must also be vent holes in the center divider between the two sub panels.

UPDATE: After using the panel for a while, I now recommend that the vent holes be increased to at least 1/4 inch in diameter. Also, to keep dust and critters out of the panel, stuff a little fiberglass insulation in the holes in the bottom rail of the panel. The insulation is not needed in the holes in the center divider.

Next I cut two pieces of masonite peg-board to fit inside the wells. These pieces of peg-board will be the substrates that each sub-panel will be built on. They were cut to be a loose fit in the wells. You don't have to use peg-board for this. I just happened to have some on hand. Just about any thin, rigid and non-conducting material should work.

To protect the solar cells from the weather, the panel will have a plexiglass front. In the third picture, two pieces of scrap plexiglass have been cut to fit the front of the panel. I didn't have one piece big enough to do the whole thing. Glass could also be used for this, but glass is fragile. Hail stones and flying debris that would shatter glass will just bounce off the plexi. Now you can start to see what the finished panel will look like.
<p>Learn how to make your own solar panels and save tons of money </p><p><a href="http://cheap-solarenergy.blogspot.com" rel="nofollow">http://cheap-solarenergy.blogspot.com</a></p>
<p>I know a solar panels seller website in my are www.electrical.bazaronweb.com but they are not selling solar cells , where to buy solar cells in lucknow, India any idea ? </p>
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<p>I made it but the cells easily crack and also it makes it a bit difficult. The heat inside the cabinet bends the cells and to prevent further damage I removed it from solar. How to prevent it. I am using acrylic sheet to make window.</p>
<p>Please help me. <br>1. where can i get this solar cells ?<br>2. What is the difference between mono crystalline, poly crystal and multi-crystalline?<br>3. How many pieces of solar cells are there in 1 kg f it?</p>
could i harvest solar panels from garden stakes and solar toys
<p>You *could*, but they won't be very powerful and you will need a very large quantity. Also, if they aren't all the same type, putting them in series will only give you as much current as the smallest one.</p>
<p><a href="http://www.wherestaysa.com/solar-power-financial-incentives-for-businesses-to-utilize-solar-power" rel="nofollow">http://www.wherestaysa.com/solar-power-financial-i...</a> &lt;&lt;&lt; do you have more discussions like these..?</p>
<p>thank you for this very nice project...</p><p>I want to ask you if i want to buy the solar cell what must be its power?</p>
<p>I was looking for a higher capacity Solar System (400W or more). I found a really nice instructable. Heres a link<a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Apartment-Solar-System/" rel="nofollow">http://www.instructables.com/id/Apartment-Solar-System/</a></p>
Excellent project. HOWEVER, if you try to build this keep in mind that you will NOT get 60 watts out of it (as claimed by the author) using the cells that this author used.<br><br>The author claims it produces 18.88 volts OPEN CIRCUIT with NO LOAD. No problem there. This is pretty much typical for 36 cells in series.<br><br>The author claims it produces 3.05 amp SHORT CIRCUIT CURRENT. Again, no problem as this is typical of this size solar cell.<br><br>And it's true that volts x amps = watts.<br><br>However, you can not multiply 3.05 amps short circuit current by 18.88 open circuit volts and come up with ~60 watts (57.584 watts to be exact).<br><br>Why?<br><br>When the solar panel is short circuited you get 3.05 amps at ZERO volts. 3.05 x 0 = ZERO WATTS.<br><br>When the solar panel is open circuit you get 18.88 volts at ZERO amps. 18.88 volts x 0 amps = ZERO WATTS.<br><br>What you need to look at is the IV curve (I=current in amps and V=voltage in volts) for the solar cell being used. When the solar panel is producing the maximum amount of power that it can produce the voltage will ALWAYS be LESS than the open circuit voltage and the current will ALWAYS be LESS than the short circuit current. Do NOT expect to see anywhere near the 60 watts claimed for this solar panel if you decide to build it. Depending on the exact solar cells that you get, expect to see more like 30 to 40 watts under load and you will not be disappointed.<br><br>This author makes the same error in his &quot;How I built a folding 15 Watt Solar Panel&quot; instructable where he also multiplies SHORT CIRCUIT CURRENT by OPEN CIRCUIT voltage and comes up with 15 watts for 40 cells (or 2.67 watts per cell) which is impossible considering that those cells are only capable of producing ~0.25 watt per cell under IDEAL conditions and more like 0.15 watts per cell under typical conditions.<br><br>Again, NICE PROJECT but the author REALLY needs to correct the mis-information he is posting in these instructables and on his website.
<p>you are absolutely incorrect. by ohms law itself. it takes one volt of pressure to push one current of power through one ohm of resistance. therefore 3.05 amps requires at least 3.05 volts. but the ultimate truth you are probably looking for is that direct current CANNOT, WILL NOT, and NEVER WILL BE measurable in watts. to this very day, and i fear, for quite some time the difference between AC and DC will be misunderstood by even PHD holding electrical engineers. i am currently part of a project to rectify the problem. but fighting academia is harder than one might think, unless you consider how many theses for doctorates that would be nullified are taken into account. good job on the instructable. and never trust a PHD. ;)</p>
Good comments. There are way too many Pie-In-the-sky claims made by people who make panels. And, way too many claims you can save 75% off factory panels by making them yourself. I blame all this on the second hand, B solar cell peddlers out there. They try to convince people they can make a solar panel for pennies on the dollar by purchasing their junk cells. Only after purchasing, the buyer finds out that the panel cost is going to be much higher unless big corners are cut.
<p>This came up again in Instructables, I guess this video was made almost 4 years ago. Today you can find solar panels at less than $1 a watt, some as cheap as 60 cents a watt. cheaper than they can be made and they can live outside...</p>
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So my question is how much power would a 12 volt battery give out? Can it power a refrigerator? what about a TV? Or if there is a need to scale it up, it is possible to scale so it can give out more power? I found this site enticing http://dess.me/GrnEn
Really a nice article visit here for more <a href="http://www.geniusdevils.com/search/label/Solar%20Power" rel="nofollow">Solar Power projects</a>
I really appreciate this post! My husband and I have been looking into getting a <a href="http://www.solarsystems-usa.net/solar-panels/" rel="nofollow">200 watt solar panel</a>. We think this could be very beneficial to our family and the environment. Hopefully we will be able to find something that will work perfectly for us.
Very good but how much do we really have to spend to get a decent operation solar panel up? I mean it would costs as more than $2000+ to get the pros do it for us and set it all up. It's just too expensive. I found this site <a href="http://solar-energy.yolasite.com/" rel="nofollow">here</a> gives instructions on how to build a solar panel for less than $1k by ourselves. You might wanna check it out if you really need a solar panel and you haven't got much money to waste.
So how many total diodes were used on this?
The enthusiasm behind building your own solar PV modules is good. You will learn about the depths of solar energy where most solar installers don&rsquo;t venture. You will also be very familiar with your solar system since you built every part of it. <br> <br>Making your own solar panels is an interesting project; however, if saving money is your motivation behind this DIY endeavor, you are in the wrong track. <br> <br>When you build your own solar panels at home or in your workshop, you do not have access to all the necessary equipment to build a long lasting solar panels. This is especially true when it comes to the encapsulation of the solar cells which will protect the fragile cells from moisture and dirt. <br> <br>The main argument is that solar PV modules are cheaper than ever before. With solar panels, with a 25-year warranty, ranging at $1-$2 per watt what is the sense in making your own panels at a cost (just materials) of over $4/watt. You can see solar modules prices here: <a href="http://webosolar.com/store/en/89-off-grid-panels" rel="nofollow">off grid solar panels <br></a> <br>
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Hi there, <br> <br>I just wanted to say, I built 20 solar panels because of this instructable, so thank you. It helped me a great deal understand about solar power and saving real cash from buying from the electrical company. <br> <br>Currently on top of my house, there are over 20 panels I made by hand using local materials here in asia using your specs. I bought solar cells from ebay marked as B grade or A grade, almost exact replicas of the images on this instructable. It took over 2 years to complete them (at least for me). <br> <br>There are a few caveats I ran into while building the first panel, which I shortly learned then fixed on the 2nd panel. Then more problems happened on the 2nd panel until what I have is my 20th panel. <br> <br>1) Rain. It rains about 6 months of the year. I used silicon caulk bought from Home Depot., to seal the panels as per your instructions. However, water eventually made it through the wood, regardless how many layers of external paint I applied to each panel and upped the amount of silicon to seal. <br>To solve the problem now, and in the future, I read somewhere else that people bury there solar cells inside clear epoxy. That did the trick. I no longer had problems with water seeping in. However, it did dramatically increase the cost of making the panels. Resin or Epoxy is not cheap even in big quantities. <br> <br>2) Plexi-glass didnt cut it. It immediately warped the the shape and size and domed. I replaced the plexi-glass with standard window glass cut to size. <br>Due to the other 6 months, where it doesnt rain, nothing but pure hot sunlight. <br> <br>3) Amperage is dropping over time. My panels are giving me an open voltage between 18V and 21V. Under load, the voltage drops to around 13.7. (when everything is all connected) The amperage is dropping on some of the panels <br>The amperage varied when first built gave around 1.8 amps to 2.4 amps. <br>Now each panel 2 years later, dropped to 1.1 amps to 1.6 amps. <br>That's a pretty big drop in total amount of wattage. Its also a huge red flag to anyone building their own panels. <br> <br>4) Repair. If you ever need to repair the cells, you're going to need to open up the panel. For areas that doesnt have extreme weather, resin/epoxy is probably not necessary. But at first, one of the instructions was to glue <br>the solar cell to the wooden backing, so that it stays put. I'm sure this instructable, never thought about having to repair the panel itself. But gluing the cell to the wooden backing is an absolute no-no. Not only is it frustrating hard to remove, it is almost impossible ( at least in my own experience ) <br> <br>Anyways, thanks for the instructable. Im not sure if DIY is a good way to go now, now that I learned more about the process and building them. The factory stuff bought from the store is already pre-made for outdoor environments. The savings between a panel and building your own these <br>days is negigible. <br>
I have found that using a heat gun (very similar to a hair blower) in the low heat setting can do the trick of cleaning off the residual wax from the cells while athe same time using cotton cloth or paper towels to wick out the molten wax. <br>
Hello, could you possibly expand a little bit more on how you joined the strings of cells. Thanks
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Zy3ELxwdtE <br> <br>this video goes into great detail
http://youtu.be/5Zy3ELxwdtE <br> <br>this video goes in depth with the whole process <br>
I'm having problems with this as well.
Exacty, still no lasting, affordable way to get electricity from the sun! When will this happen ? Not in our lifetime! So solly, cholly!
Could you show where you hooked up the tester to the wires? Did you just touch the electrode to each of the prongs on the plug?
And this is just the same copper wire from earlier?
Hi, Do you ever wished to have your own <a href="http://diy-solar-panels.net/" rel="nofollow">diy solar panels</a> ? <br>It would take a long time to pay back to it around 8-10 years <br>But i know a website which tell the method to build your own solar panel <br>Just in 1 - 2 years. <br>Open Google and Search For &quot;top diy solar panels&quot; <br>See the first result. <br>Note: ignore the adds.
Commercial Solar Panels are too much Expensive!<br>Fact: It will take you more than 10 years to pay back<br>Solution: Using Surplus Solar Cells You can get pay back in 1-2 years<br>There is an Engineer from Chicago his name is John Sommer<br>He explain it All in his <br><a href="http://topdiysolarpanels.com/" rel="nofollow">DIY Solar Panels</a> Blog<br>Search for him using Google - look for &quot;Top DIY Solar Panels Review&quot;<br>or just use this link <br><a href="http://topdiysolarpanels.com/" rel="nofollow">http://topdiysolarpanels.com</a>
You need to use a low iron glass.<br>Plastic of any kind will fade in time.<br>You will also need to pot the solar cells in a special silicone that<br>is way more translucent then regular silicone.<br>Otherwise the light is really not getting in.<br>If your solar panel gets way hot, you will need to spray the underside<br>to get the wattage back up...heat kills the efficiency of the cells.
This is a great project but how much money you need to build such a solar panel? <a href="http://buildgreenthings.blogspot.com/2012/02/how-to-tab-solar-cells.html" rel="nofollow">Here</a> is a short video where you can see how to tab solar cells for building such a panel.

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