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How To Build A Solar Panel

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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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vic86m1 month 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?

Jport184 months ago
Hehe want some candy
Cali121310 months 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 !!
asargent22 years ago
how many of these would i need to run a computer all day, computer is AC 220v battery
JCG5 asargent21 year ago
I'm not sure but you would want an inverter and a deep cycle battery about AC 220v to keep it running.
JCG51 year 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?
Excellent, thanks for sharing your knowledge. Would you let me put this on my blog? With FULL credits to you? thx. http://homemadeiseasy.blogspot.com/
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.
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
Doesn't plexiglass discolor over a fairly short period of time being exposed to the elements ? Thanks.
TheCiscoKid2 years ago
hi, i really like your instructable I am almost at the end but it seems that you never explained how to wire the junction box to the charge controller. My junction box has what i believe are mc4 connectors. Will the charge controller have a connection for these? If not, how do i connect them??i have looked around online but i cant find anything on the topic. Thanks.

Francisco
If you want to reduce the chances of water geting to ur solar cells you can seal it useing eva. its made incapsle the solar cells
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUG9kLuRGXc&feature=related
and this is by far the best video i found on makeing a solar panel
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVEK_OnEA2M&feature=related
hope i helped.
Hi Robert. I just wanted to thank you for making this instructable, it's really appreciated. Your videos are really easy to follow and interesting. I've been doing research trying to learn how to make my own panels and found a few tutorials but yours is the best one I've found. I've also subscribed to your YT channel as well. So thanks again for this instructable. I'm making a few for my future home where there's no utilities and you're making it possible for me without spending tons of money.
dasgemuse2 years ago
you deserve some sort of instructables award for this. outstanding work. i too have been in you exact predicament. this information is HARD to come by. thank you so very much
pensativo2 years ago
Thank you very much for posting this, it answered a lot of my questions. :)
kschmitz22 years ago
What kinda of output is this generating? are you using it to power anything? Great Post.
Ronnieloo2 years ago
I live in a single wide aging 1971 flat roof mobile home. My roof is shot. I was thinking of making a peaked roof of solar panels. Anyone have suggestions for me? Thanks much!
jcksparr0w3 years ago
FINNALY!!! someone with solar panel nohow AND brains!
rohitbhl3 years ago
CAN U PLZ LET ME KNOW THE APPROXIMATE COST to made it at home....
plz let me know on my email id :
rohitbhl@yahoo.com
Kaya Tetsu3 years ago
Just started watching this. Couldn't help to notice that you painted it white. Would you not want to paint it black or a dark color? Would that help at all? Or is there a reason that you shouldn't that I just don't know about?
Painting it black would increase the heat inside the panel and solar cells are less efficient at higher temperatures
chardog19713 years ago
do you think this type of tech would work on the pop top of m van?I hate running out of battery when on long term camp trips.seems that you could put it directly on the surface to reduce any wind drag
If you bevel the edges of the frame, at least on the front side, the wind drag would be negligible.

If you are camping, you should make the panel attached to the roof but still removable. That way, if you would rather camp in the shade, you could set the panel up in the sun with a cord running back to the van.

It sounds like a really fun project.
It would work quite nicely.
mr_man3 years ago
Here is a similar guide, in case anyone's interested.
http://sunelec.com/Solar_Array_guide.pdf

Ducky0013 years ago
What the..... You build all that by your self!!! Nice job!! Was it hard? I'm going to study computer engineer too. Have fun building other kind of things! :)
zulfattah3 years ago
I got mine from Ebay germany..cheaper than when directly order from producer..cost me EUR170 for 100 pieces 156mmx156mm mono or poly with 3.8 W to 4.1W power rating.
djcssp4 years ago
Hello Robert,
I looked at your website and you posted a spreadsheet on the cost of producing the panel. Your list of materials includes the tools. What is the approximate cost if I already have all the tools?

The approximate cost if you have the tools is the approxmite cost listed on the spread sheet minus and cost of any tools you already have.
hastyhost (author)  djcssp4 years ago
 Hi,

For my solar panel I did not buy any tools, such as the power drill, saw, and other power tools. I also had all that on hand already, and the spreadsheet doesn't include those items.

Maybe you are referring to something else?
I AM TRYING TO WORK UP THE NERVE TO ATTEMPTA DIY SOLAR PANEL INSTALLATION YOUR PROJECT IS EXELLANT.

PAUL COX
POOLE, SOUTH COAST ENGLAND.
sugarain3 years ago
am from Ghana, and i really interested in soler energy, thank you for all your tutorials, i think getting the materials is my problem, especially the soler cells, making it here i can but the coper sheet am not sure we have some around, how can i get some cells u used
OK...can i make an improvised solar cell??
Yes, but it would be so ineficient that you would need about 10 square meters of it to come anywhere close to this panels ouput.
kktwags4 years ago
I made 4 60 watt solar panels , they work great for the most part , we installed them on our awning with 2x4's unerneath for air to get through however we are having major moisture issues.  when we built the first two we thought it was because we used to much silicone and didn't seal up the sides good enough but we just built two more with alot less silicone and we sealed the sides with aluminum tape however there is still alot of moisture in the panels.  It always starts with a fog and then turns into alot of water droplets.   Do you or anyonelse have any suggestions on how to fix this or why this is happening. We can't haven't been able to come up with any other reason.
edraq58 kktwags3 years ago
I had same problem as yours. What I did was drilled 3 holes each side ( total of 12 holes ) around inside close to the frames. Before that I vacuumed the moisture first. Since then there is no more moisture problem.
That's exactly how you do it.
samanella3 years ago
You're awesome! I'm going to make one this summer! Thanks a lot :)
hi, m krishna, how to make rc kits. plz help me.
T8tersalid3 years ago
Do you have an estimate of how much this would cost in all?
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