Introduction: How to Build a Solar Panel
So to get started, I searched around and found a few videos here and there, and a few articles on how to go about building a solar panel, but it was hard for me to find a full free video or article that showed you the full process to making a solar panel from scratch. I ended up having to watch about 4 different videos, and then having to sign up for a forum to ask other questions I had in order to get a basic idea of how to go about building my own solar panel.
It was basically an adventure for me, and mid-way into the project, I decided that while I'm learning about how to build a solar panel, and putting it together, why not create a free video to help others that want to learn about solar energy and how to build a solar panel. Of course it takes time to edit the video, and time to create a website, but I see it as a small great way of giving back.
So, you'll learn how to build a 63 watt solar system in this instructable with free videos to help you get started. I know I'm a visual learner, so hopefully most find this very helpful.
For the full video series, simple visit my website at: http://www.greentechtown.com/how-to-build-a-solar-panel-diy
Step 1: Creating a Template & Putting Frame Together
Using a ruler helped to keep everything aligned, and it's easier to cut the plywood using a jigsaw, but a regular hand saw will do fine as well.
Next, once I finished my template, I started to put the frame together. What I used was a 1x2x8 piece of plywood, and cut that to fit my outer frame of the plywood. I wanted to make sure the outer frame was not too high to prevent from loosing any sunlight I could be using. So I then placed the pieces of plywood on top of the 2x4 pressure treated plywood, and screwed those down and sanded the entire frame afterward as seen in Part 2 of the video. After sanding and cleaning up any extra dust left over, I applied the Deck and Siding paint onto the frame. I wanted to give it 2 coats for a nice seal from UV rays, and making it water resistant. I also needed to place 2 coats of the Deck and Stain paint on the 2x4 piece of pegboard.
Step 2: Assembling the Solar Cells
Step 3: Creating Holes for My Connections
Step 4: Gluing the Solar Cells Down
Afterward, since I had two strings completed, I was able to go ahead and solder my bus wire on one end to bond the two strings of solar cells together. Watch Part 5 and Part 6of the video to see how I went about doing this. Note* after you solder any string together, or make new connections, it is a good practice to check the voltage/current that moment, rather than waiting until you connect all the solar cells/strings together. This is also mentioned in the video as well.
Step 5: Soldering Bus Wire
To help give the inside of the solar panel a nicer look, I used 2 strips of wiremold and ran the wires inside those. This is also seen in Part 7 and Part 8 of the video. Afterward, I took the panel outside in the sun to test the voltage/current of the whole panel to make sure I was getting 18 volts and 3.5 amps in an open circuit and short circuit.
Step 6: Visiting the Electric Side
Step 7: Adding Even Pressure on the Plexiglass
Step 8: Installing the Junction Box
Lastly, I took my silicon and went around all my edges of the solar panel, as well as the junction box on the back. Next I made a final voltage/current check and was ready to mount the panel to my roof.
Step 9: My Thoughts of the Whole Project
Overall, the project was a fun experience, and the total amount of money that I spent was around $400-$500, which includes the battery, charge controller, and deep cycle battery. So I saved a large portion by building my own solar system, since a commercial solar panel would have cost $400 on up for just the solar panel itself.
If you have any questions or concerns, just visit GreenTechTown.com's Forum and I or other members will try to answer them as quickly as we can. This is a free resource including the videos, so be sure to share this with others.
Boywonderg made it!
We have a be nice policy.
Please be positive and constructive.
Always connect battery to the charge controller BEFORE connecting the Solar panels.
How can I get the materials
Your website is down, when will it be back up?
how long does it take to produce 63 watts?
The power is created instantly. Power must be used at the instant it is created.
This goes back to the laws of physics, energy cannot be made or destroyed. It can only be changed to a different state.
Watts is simply a mathematical equation using volts and current.