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Picture of How To Build A Solar Panel
Currently I'm a college student studying computer engineering, and this summer while I was on break I decided I wanted to learn more about solar energy and how to build a solar panel from scratch. My main reason for looking to build it myself was to learn how it all worked, and the next reason was due to the price of a commercially built 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


 
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Doesn't plexiglass discolor over a fairly short period of time being exposed to the elements ? Thanks.

You should go to http://inplix.com if you want save your money and beeing eco

For the record check around here are a few

Acrylic sheet/pmma panel
So, I'm building a panel, what should I use as a front glass please? Thanks a lot. Robert
EveC21 month ago

Why pay a huge amount like $1000's for utilization of solar or wind power when you can have the opportunity to build your own home made solar system for less than $200. You can Learn more on http://inplix.com

~boots~5 years ago
i'm not quite sure how you're getting your tabbing wire to stick; i've been using solder on mind - front and back of the cells - and its not only coming off but it's tearing off the contact on the negative side and not sicking when i try to reapply it. did you get pre-tinned tabbing wire? am i just stupid? i cant get it it work (or at least stay on). bty - you're videos are amazing. i really appreciate the hard work :)

no your not stupid i made this mistake and you need a rosin flux pen, it cleans the surface of the area were you are trying to solder. look up #186 flux pen on ebay

Flux pens are used to aid the situation not a permanent fix, solder, rods, iron still need to be cleaned with alcohol. Want to be #1......want to be successful, i'll tell you a secret that nobody will figure out till i open my mouth. What the heck i'm an educator.

ER209 stainless steel solder wire. It uses chromium

Not bad, not bad mate. I made my solar panel too. check for http://inplix.com if you want to know more

If you are interested in learning exactly how to generate power and reduce your bill then this is the perfect resource for you! With the ever increasing costs of living, there is no better time than right now to stop throwing money out the window and start generating our own electricity. Check http://inplix.com and learn more about it. My boss was talking to me about inplix (http://inplix.com) , after seeing it on the news. He said he has saved almost 70% on her utility bill and I'm thinking about giving this new program a shot. Has anybody else used it? It seems to be super popular.

hastyhost (author)  ~boots~5 years ago
Well sometimes it can be a result of the type of tabbing wire you have and the type of soldering iron you have. I noticed one time when I bought some tabbing wire off eBay from a seller, the tabbing wire was a lot thicker than the tabbing wire that came with my solar cells (bundle purchase). And I too noticed it was harder to solder that thicker tabbing wire onto the solar cells and I was forced to put some solder onto the tabbing wire and then solder the tabbing wire down. But I had a basic soldering iron too, so the heat required to solder that thicker tabbing wire down could have played a factor, I'm not sure, but I'd recommend to you just to ask the person or company you buy it from next time what type of soldering iron do they recommend and is the tabbing wire made for the type of solar cells you wish to solder it too.
RJW22 months ago

I heard that there is Mercury in solar panels and that is a fact.

NoahL5 RJW21 month ago

Depends on what panel you are making; many are Hg free

ShawaizB2 months ago

cool work

rickgee2 months ago

hi u soldered the bus but u did not tell us why the bus is different on both ends, and I did not see were the negative wire is soldered to !

jhunmar1004 years ago
where can i get solar cells ????? pls reply i need the answer please:(

ebay is the best place probly ms solar

You can get them from ebay. Just type in solar cells and you will be on your way.
thanx a lot dude...:)
They are easy to find and buy, I have had great success building my own solar panels for my house, there is so much great info on this site for you to apply.
SyllasA6 months ago

Hello Robert thank you for this article,I'm really interested and God bless you for sharing to us,i will try and build my own.Thank you

solar world6 months ago
Thanks for making this site
I was wondering do you have to paint it white and do you have to use the pegboard bored
Liam.great987 months ago

how much di you pay for just the Solar cells? I already have a couple of SLA batteries, an inverter, and a controller. I want to make a ~50 watt panel, what is the estimated cost?

ZDIY10 months ago

The link to your site seems to be a dead link, where can I find the video series you mentioned?

damonboy70110 months ago

hi, it's very interesting project. Just wondering where you bought your solar cells from?

hastyhost (author)  damonboy70110 months ago
I bought them off of eBay. This was 4 or so years ago, but you should be able to still find them. Just type in Solar Cells in the search field, and you should get quick a few results.

thank you very much, sir. This definitely is going to help me on building one of these solar panels. I am in Canada. Do you remember you paid any import duties on this?

A tip for drilling plexiglass: Buy a cheap steel drill bit of the size you need. Before using it on the plexi, run it into a piece of concrete for a few moments. This dulls the edge just right so you can slowly chew through the plexi without cracking it, and without the bit trying to pull itself through faster than it's cutting. You can get specialized plexiglass/acrylic drill bits, but they cost alot. An aquarium friend of mine shared this tip with me for small numbers of holes, and it really works.

Another method that works 95% of the time is to step up in size. Always drill a pilot hole :) about 1/8, or 3/16 max. the thicker the plexi the smaller you want. and step up in incriments of 1/4 to 3/8 at most. Works 95% of the time.

if you have any experience with sharpening drills, you can also use shallower lip angle so the edges don't cut as aggressively. also, a reduced rake angle will prevent the drill from grabbing which would decrease the chance of breaking the material around the hole.

taken from http://www.smithy.com/machining-handbook/chapter-6/page/4
Henry32112 months ago

Opps, power my house, a three bedroom .

Henry32112 months ago

Hi! How many DIY panels in your instructions would you need to be totally off the grid and would power your house.

frenteria1 year ago
Hi Robert. I'm in the process of in the process of creating a solar panel-have not started building only calculations. I'm looking for a grid- interactive inverter. A grid-interactive inverter allows me to sell the excess energy from my solar panels to my electric company, but I can find one that is for 100 watt solar panel: keep in mind I want to "expanded" my solar panels. If anyone can send me a link to one for sale for under $50 that would be great. Thank you.

you're not going to be able to tie a DIY panel into the grid. Most utliities have interconnection requirements that all equipment be UL listed. It's simply a safety issue. To that end, by all means, DIY up whatever you want for your hobby projects, but if you want to lower your electric bills with solar, call a local installer and see what they're willing to do for you.

vic86m1 year ago

Hi!
I am from India, and i am a solar enthusiast.

Recently, i bought Solar panel (75 watts, 36 cells) in a govt of India subsidy scheme for 5000 INR (that's 95 $ roughly which includes a 15 foot rod, battery and a street light). If i make one, would it cost less than what i've purchased under this scheme?

Jport181 year ago
Hehe want some candy
Cali12132 years ago
You'll have to figure out the right voltage for sure. I got really detailed info about making my own panels online at www.homemadesolarcelldiy.com and it was pretty helpful good luck !!
asargent23 years ago
how many of these would i need to run a computer all day, computer is AC 220v battery
JCG5 asargent22 years ago
I'm not sure but you would want an inverter and a deep cycle battery about AC 220v to keep it running.
JCG52 years ago
On the solar cells I ordered, it has three "lines" to put tabbing wire. Do I put tabbing wire on all 3 lines or just 2?
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