Step 5: Adding the Blocking Diodes
Next I installed the wires that leave the panel. I ran them out through a hole drilled in the hinge side of the panel. I soldered the red wire to the cathode of the diode and the black wire to the negative rail. I tied a knot in the wires for strain relief, and used blobs of silicone caulk to secure everything in place.
The other half of the panel is a mirror image of the first. I joined the wires for the two halves together outside the panel.
Once you have all the solar cells glued down and wired together, the solar panel is essentially finished. I experimented with adding plexiglass covers to both halves of the panel to protect the solar cells. However, I found that heat built up inside the panel, and the heat reduced the performance of the solar cells. Since these solar cells are much more robust than the ones I used to make my 60 Watt solar panel, I decided to omit the plexiglass. You can see the mistakes I made, and the omitted steps, and lots more about constructing this solar panel on my web site.