Repairing Solar Cells

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Introduction: Repairing Solar Cells

Electronics Tips and Tricks

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Electronics Tips and Tricks

This is a trick I use to attach wires to glass solar cells.

I fallow the three R rules of living green; Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, as well as I try to find sources of renewable resources.

To achieve this goal I salvage many things from the garbage and one of the things I salvage from the garbage is solar garden lights.

Solar garden lights can be so inexpensive to buy people don’t repair them when they stop working; they just throw them in the garbage when they stop working and this is where I step in.
By salvaging the solar lights from the garbage I reduce the waste going to the landfill, R1.
By repairing the lights I reuse them R2.
And by stripping for the good parts and recycling the other materials, R3.
With solar lights and the solar cells you get a renewable resource, solar energy.
In this Instructable I will be covering repairing the solar cell.

The most common repair to a solar light is replacing the battery with a rechargeable battery (Not a disposable battery,) please. Replacing the battery with a disposable battery is a mistake I see in many of the solar lights I salvage.

The next most common defect is oxidized wires and the hardest to replace is the leads on the solar cell. Whether by oxidization or breaking while striping the solar light you may need to replace the lead wires to the solar cell and you cannot just solder new leads onto the cell in many cases.

Liquid solder that does not need heat to bond the materials together don’t always conduct electricity however I have found something that does conduct electricity and connects the leads to the solar cell.
It is called “Quick Grid Repair Resin” and it is to repair the rear window defogger in your car, I buy it at the local automotive supply.

First gather the tools and materials you will need and organize them:
Tape
Wire
Glue
A small paint brush
A multimeter
Quick Grid Repair Resin
Scissors
Scrub Pad
Cells to be repaired

Clean the cells of all debris, (Do not use metal scrub pads or sandpaper to scrape clean the solar cells.)

Test the cells with a multimeter and mark the polarity.

Cut the new lead wires and strip the ends.

Tape the wires in place and dab on plenty of Quick Grid Repair Resin.

Let the resin set and test the solar cell even under low room light you should get a reading on the multimeter.

After testing and confirming the connections remove the tape and glue or use silicone calking to secure the lead wires and let the glue set.

When the glue or calking is set retest all the connections and your solar cells are ready for your next renewable energy project. The trick in this Instructable the Quick Grid Repair Resin, it is like soldering without heat.

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  • I've used siver load...-soemtron220

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24 Comments

Interesting failure mode I just documented on "open frame" panels with the green back, the encapsulant around the edge degrades and goes low resistance. I did find a fix though, confirmed that removing it or otherwise bypassing around it (cough laser etcher /cough) will work and the panel can then be re-sealed and used. YMMV! The front contact is a PITA though and about all you can do is etch it with mechanical means or sometimes household 3% H2O2 or blue glow stick juice will work. Thanks Jeri for the tip!

Exactly what I'm trying to do, fix decorative solar lights in the yard which are not the $2.98 lights. Thanks.

Ive got over 500 of these little guys all cut out. Im happy you showed me this becuase many of them have lost wires.

Cool that is about 30 to 40 watts.

Watch out for a plastic backing on some of them.

Great reuse of otherwise refused products....I always wondered how the wires were attached as I operated on a defective panel and tried to hot solder the wire...the voltage was correct but the current was paltry. Now that I am retired, my job in life is to find ways to reuse what most people are busily throwing in the trash. Hopefully you did not find any panels in the compost pile or mixed in with decaying food (garbage). Trashed items like solar lights, microwaves, household appliances, electronics etc have many usable parts. There aren't too many people - there are too many people trashing the planet.

I salvage and repair everything, fishing, hunting, appliances, and home entertainment. the only thing I don't do is refrigeration because of the specialized equipment. if man makes it man breaks it and I fix it.

can u use a copper wire higher gage?