Introduction: Using Solar Cells, to Make Glass Frame DIY Solar Panel

Picture of Using Solar Cells, to Make Glass Frame DIY Solar Panel

I have made wood frame solar panels and all glass solar panels, but so far out of all the solar panels
this type of DIY solar panel is the most sealed from water.  I have made wood frame and all seem to get moisture in them. I still make them but they are good under a roof or eve .
This diy solar panel was made with all cracked 3"x6" solar cells to see if I could get the same power out of them, on the next steps I will show what all I did. http://sites.google.com/site/earthforsolar/glass-frame-diy-panel

looking for solar cells www.solarcells101.com

Step 1: Soldering Tabbing Wire on Solar Cells

Picture of Soldering Tabbing Wire on Solar Cells

When I solder the tabbing wire on solar cells I cut all the tab wire first. If i am using 3"x6" solar cells,
I will cut two pieces of tabbing wire 6" long.  Then I soldered all the backs first. http://sites.google.com/site/earthforsolar/glass-frame-diy-panel
On this set of solar cells I used cells that were cracked all the way across, I soldered the tab wire on the back first then I used packaging clear tape and taped the bottoms. This made the cell stronger and helped to keep them from braking more in the soldering and diy solar panel making process .

www.solarcells101.com


Step 2: Soldering the Rows of Solar Cells in Series

Picture of Soldering  the Rows of Solar Cells in Series

Materials you will need when building your panel.
* Multiple solar cells
* Ribbon or Bus wire 5mm
* Wire cutter/stripper
* Soldering iron 15-25 watts
* Rosin core solder with non-corrosive flux (best for the value)
* Tab wire or solar cell tin wire 1.5mm or 2mm

If your having problems soldering your solar cells your soldering iron could be too hot
I only use around 20 watt to 40 watt iron  and the only thing I use is rosin core solder
60/40 with flux in it  it works great and melts at low heat http://sites.google.com/site/earthforsolar/home


Need solar cells this is my website  http://www.solarcells101.com

Step 3: Laying the Solar Cells in the GLASS, FOR YOU DIY SOLAR PANEL

Picture of Laying the Solar Cells in the GLASS, FOR YOU DIY SOLAR PANEL

In this step we have the rows of soldered solar cells in series. I take the rows lay them down with opposite ends, the rows will still be all in series.  So lets say one row, the top, may be pos+ and the next row the top may be neg - and so on.  Then they are siliconed down so they stay put when the silcone is set up.  You can connect all your rows in series with bus wire 5 mm wire 
What is tab and bus wire used for ?
http://sites.google.com/site/earthforsolar/what-is-tab-and-bus-wire-used-for


More websites on making solar panels check out my link page
Here are some helpful links I've found that may be helpful to you.

Step 4: Making an All Glass Solar Panel

Picture of Making an All Glass Solar Panel


In my opinion, this type of Solar panel seals the best. It was made with two sheets of 1/8" thick glass. The one sheet of glass was the backing and the solar cells were siliconed to it. Then the other glass sheet was placed on top to form a seal. Before I siliconed the top, I put blobs of silicone around the 1" lip for the seal, about 1/4" high, and let dry over night. The next day I then placed silicone all around the 1" lip on the bottom glass piece. The blobs were used to stop the glass from sinking all the way down and braking the solar cells. After it dried, I added more around to make sure I had a good seal. Then what I used for the white frame, in the very last pictures shown here below, is white j-molding or j-Chanel, what is typically used when siding a house like what is used around windows or doors. This was siliconed on too, then when it dried I added more, this made a double seal. This Solar panel is sealed real good for keeping out the rain and moisture. The wood frame is also good, but sometimes hard to make a water tight seal, or to keep condensation out because of the wood.

Step 5: FREE ENERGY the Finished DIY Solar Panel

Picture of FREE ENERGY the Finished DIY Solar Panel

In this step I am showing my finished panel out in the sun. Putting out power 
it has a open volt reading of 19.5 volts and amps over 3.10 amps
so this panel came out nice and is sealed good from rain and snow.

I have more Free help on my diy solar panel E-Book all free



If your looking for solar cells i have them on my website and more help web sites i have found

I am going to try to have some video this summer with running some nice size motors.

I am working on making another wood frame solar panel to see if i can get it sealed as good as the glass. I may make  an instructable on it.
I hope some of this helps
David at  www.solarcells101.com

Comments

cocco.gianni (author)2016-04-04

What about plexiglass instead of glass? Should not be more impact resistant and maybe lighter?

JamesD139 (author)2015-12-07

I have a 76 -46 glass and want to make a solar panel my system is a 24 volt off grid system I want to use this glass but I can fit 84 6x6 cells on it and I want to keep it at 30 volts .Question is can I hook them in series up till 30V then parallel for the remainder of cells

mcarrell (author)2014-03-07

From experience... Don't bother with wood. No-matter how well you try to seal it, weather will find a way in. The sun will crack it and the rain will absorb in, swell the wood, warp the frame enlargen the cracks and then the water will get in and rust the wiring. The best things to use are aluminum frames (make or purchase), 1/4" hardened (tempered) glass, and proper solar encapsulant flooding material (buy on eBay). My two wood panels I have had to seal the cracks with epoxy and repaint every year to keep them from being destroyed. It's just too much work!

mcarrell (author)2014-03-07

Now if you could do this and somehow leave a hole on top and bottom and then pump the whole thing full of a proper solar encapsulant mix so the air is sealed out and the cells are protected from oxidation and water intrusion, it would be an even more reliable panel over the long haul.

john1968 (author)2012-04-08

DIY Solar Panels are the only way to think about...
Because Commercial Panels as so expensive
It will take you 10 years to break even on commercial solar panels
Look at this diy solar panels website that calculate it
 

mcarrell (author)john19682014-03-07

This is no-longer true. Commercial panels can be had for about $1 per watt on eBay (and that can go lower if purchased in bulk on a good auction!)

agritzmacher (author)john19682012-09-06

That website is a scam selling books and videos. Don't trust his characterization of prices, just shop around and decide for yourself.

Some things to consider about DIY panels:

Have you ever built one? Is it as easy as they make it look? (Most solar cells are extremely fragile and you will break a large percentage of them to build your first panel. They are about as durable as a potato chip. Imagine trying to solder to that.)

Exactly how much/many solar panels would it take to take your household "off the grid?" (Think square footage. It's a lot. It will take a lot of KW to get to the point where you are independent of the electric company or can actually sell back to them.)

How durable will your DIY panels be? Will they work in a year? Five years? Ten - twenty? Or will you be climbing on your roof to take them down to work on in the middle of the winter?

Even if you can do it, will your DIY panels work in a grid-tie system? Will they pass electrical inspection? Are they safe? Can you get the tax rebates without documentation provided with the commercial systems? Will your homeowners insurance cover the panels, or you home, if there is an electrical fire?

DIY panels are a great project for the cabin or motorhome, but if you are looking at them for your home, there is a lot of hidden costs to consider before deciding commercial panels are too expensive. The electric company isn't keeping secrets about solar power from you. It's not a conspiracy. It's just economics.

The price of commercial panels has been coming down and the conclusions the fellow has drawn in the video website are out of date. Today, in many areas, you can have a company come in, install a commercial solar-electric grid-tie system in your home and the savings and power sold back to the grid will pay for it. They can do it with nothing out of pocket.

earthwindwater (author)2012-01-27

Curious... With two sheets of glass like that, do you have any issues with heat? Is your output still good in the middle of the day?

SolarPoweredGardener (author)2011-04-02

Condensation is going to be a big problem. Unless you can make a vacuum there is no way you will stop it, and we all know water and electricity do not mix.
I have made the same panels as you but put them in an aluminum frame on top of 4mm toughened glass. I've then encapsulated them in clear epoxy resin. Have had them on the roof for over a year with no problems so far.

Nitrogen gas filled will stop the condensation

I heard you couldn't use epoxy because it doesn't have enough give which will cause the cells to crack when they contract or expand with seasons or day/night changes...... But after a year, you see no damage to the cells??

Don,t try this at home (author)2011-06-26

On your site what would be the best deal of solar cells so i can make a panel

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Bio: I love solar energy and building homemade diy solar panels, that is why i put together a solar diy free E-Book at sites.google.com ... More »
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