loading

Building a solar panel, EVA film style. This is a continuation of my other instructable “How to solder solar cells together”. http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Solder-Solar-Cells-Together/
The picture above is of the completed panel. This panel was put up July of 2013, if produces an average peak of 40 watts. It is set at an angle of approximately 35 degrees and facing south.

Now for the materials:
- Wood for the frame
- Wood screws for the frame
- Wood glue for the frame, I like this kind.
- Finishing coating for the frame, I used a product called Flexcoat. It is foundation coating that I had left over, but it worked to seal the wood. Find it here.
- Silicone, I used 100% Silicone sealant. Something like this.
- Tempered glass, I got this free from someone that was replacing windows in their home.
- EVA film, This is the film that is used to seal the cells to the glass. Find it here.
- Heat gun, I recommend a gun with a high and low heat. This is a recommended gun because it comes with deflectors, find it here.
- Sheet of FRP, this is a wall covering found at home improvement stores. See it here.
- Soldered solar cells, from other instructable.
- Brad nailer and nails, find it here, and brads here.
- Table saw, I just have a small portable saw similar to the one here.
- Miter saw, I use one similar to the one here.
- Vacuum, You can use your home vacuum, or a small shop vacuum like the one here.
- Other tools and materials.

This is what I used to put this together; you may come up with different materials and methods.
Disclaimer. When working on this project use your head, don’t do anything to hurt yourself. I used nail guns, heat guns, power saws, soldering irons, and other tools that can hurt you. If you don’t know how to use any of the tools I talk about then get someone to help you that does.
Now on to the fun!

Step 1:

Before you begin any assembly you need to have your materials around and ready. I had all my solar cells soldered together and tested before for the piece of glass that I was using before I went any further. Before I can put those cells on the glass I built the frame.
To build the frame I used one 2x4 10 foot long. I ripped the 2x4 down the center so that I had two 10 foot pieces of almost square material on my table saw. Then I cut a rectangle piece out of that, and kept it for later.
Then cut the 4 pieces to fit the glass that you are using, remember the ledge that you made from your cuts will go to the inside to support the glass.
Also cut a piece of FRP the same size as your glass. This will cover the back of your panel.

Nice EVA encapsulation, it seems to be the cheapest way for DIY. <br> <br>My problem is that in europe I cant seem to find cheap EVA, the cheapest I have found is 10m for 80euros from china (shipped) (which beats the idea of DIY) <br> <br>In youtube I have seen guys laminating only the back side of the cells onto the glass. Probably this technick is not as good as making a sandwich of EVA film but that gives me the idea... <br> <br>are there any other types of EVA or other encapsulant which I can find cheaper here? <br>By laminating only the backside to the glass you dont even need to have crystal clear EVA... <br> <br>
To reply to myself, apparently one can also use PVB which is more easy to find as its used to make security glass and probably cheaper than EVA
<p>i read that you dont want to laminate them to the glass because there is no shock absorption. with a layer of EVA, or other soft plastic, it gives the cells the ability to move with thermal changes and shock absorption from something like hail. but i have seen a lot of videos when only the back side was laminated to save cost, never seen what happened later on.</p>
<p>thanks I tried the other method, and the seal wasnt so waterproof in the end. The EVA doesnt laminated so good in glass and at the same time gravity works against you in the process of lamination through sunlight</p>

About This Instructable

8,415views

40favorites

License:

Bio: I have been an industrial electrician for almost 10 years. This is why many of my projects are electrical related. I am working on a ... More »
More by kalefranklin:Screens for Sifting or Drying Garden Sink Compost Barrel, 3 stage 
Add instructable to: