Making Solar Cells With No Soldering Points Usable




I love solar energy and building homemade diy solar panels, that is why i put together a solar ...

How to make solar cells, By taking junk Solar Cells, that have no soldering,tabs / points, and make them usable for DIY solar panels or science projects.
 What is nice about this is you can get solar cells like this at a much cheaper price, so this would bring the project cost down.
  In the next steps I will show step by step how I did this and how they work.   I have made a video of this and I am really happy with the results of the experiment . I will be making a cheap DIY solar panel with this and I will post it when i am finished. 

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Check out my Video on this at

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Step 1: Adding Wire to a Solar Cell With No Soldering Points Pos Side

I am showing the top of the solar cell this is the neg side and it has no spot to solder to, Normaly this would be junk.  I got some clear transparent tape from wallmart it looks off brand its just called TRANSPARENT Tape get the clear stuff!!  Use thin wire, the best is flat tabbing wire and tape it down as flat as you can and try to hit all the collector grids.  If you can run two strips across the top or negative - side, and two strips across the bottom or positive + side.  This will work much nicer just incase you miss a collector or it was not down flat the other will hit it.  You need to get as many amps as you can to make this worth it.  In this step this is how the negative - side is done.  In the next step I will show how I did the positive + side of the solar cell.

Step 2: Adding Tabbing Wire to the Junk Solar Cells

On this page I show the back side or positive + side of the solar cell.  I scrap a path with a screw driver until I see a silver shiney look and then tape your tabbing wire as flat as you can all the way across the path you scraped off.  if you can add two strips it will work much better.
This is pretty simple an very easy to do.  I will show video and some heat test too.  This tape with a heat light was able to withstand temps of 190 degrees F and the tape did not melt.  I did this for 1 hour and the solar cell tested great !!

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Step 3: Testing the Solar Cell for Amps and Volts

On this page I show a running amp test and volt test on the junk solar cell I just brought back to life.
This process with tape you can do fast and just as fast as soldering, without the cost. 
So far I have tried five solar cells like this and they all  performed very well.  I am very excited about this because solar cells like this are very cheap, and therefore, you could make your own DIY solar panel very affordable. This also would make countries with limited resources able to make solar panels with alot less money. This process works great and I have ran many tests with heat and the tape is holding up as well. 

My website, Free diy solar panel info

Step 4: Heat Test With the Tape on the Junk Solar Cell

On this page I ran a heat test for one hour at a temp of 185 degrees F to 191 degrees F and the solar cell and tape held up great.
After the test I checked the volts and amps they were at specs I am very happy with this so far.  Another good thing about using the tape is that it makes the solar cell stronger with the tape going across, and  if it does crack the tape holds it together and still puts out the same power. 

David Eberly


Make solar cell ,On this page if you would like to see the video please click the link below 

I hope some of this helps


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    13 Discussions


    2 years ago


    actually there is a very good solder containing mostly pure tin and other elements with a special flux which overcomes the problems of surface oxidation.

    This solder with special flux in it will wet the surface of solar cell back and will enable easy soldering anywhere on the back side of solar cell.No tapes, no adhesive, forms strong joints ,no contact resistance and no voltage drop.see the video in which we have shown large area on reverse of solar cell being easily made solderable


    2 years ago

    I would think you would have a problem connecting these in series to get any usable voltage (i.e. making a panel). The weakest one would fry making the panel useless....z


    3 years ago

    You can use inplix instructions to build it yourself guys.


    4 years ago

    I just got 50 packs of broken solar cells from Jameco for super cheap but was wondering how to get them to work. Thanks! Do you think it's possible to solder these leads to the panel or will they not stick? Maybe use heat less soldering glue?


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I have a panel that used to be a solar battery charger. I broke the cable off while experimenting and now i'm left with a solar panel with a dark side and a light side. I would like to still use it for the project I was doing before. The dark side has a layer of glass over it and the light side is gray with lines going across the whole length. will your instructable still work?

    they didn't...

    they tested voltage with no load attached. Current output is very very very small on small panels.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    How will it work if it is cut in half? - It will work half as well.

    Solar cells produce current in proportion to the amount of light they receive. The amount they can capture is proportional to the area of the cell surface. So, by cutting a cell in half, the amount of electrical current it will produce is reduced by half.

    The amount of voltage a cell produces is fairly constant while illuminated at about a half a volt. Therefore by wiring cells in series, you can produce electric current at a voltage level determined by the number of cells. 10 cells makes 5 volts, 36 cells makes 18 volts, etc.

    Although the voltages add up, the current is constant in the series circuit. If you understand your physics or electronics, you'll see that the amount of current a solar panel produces is determined by the whole series of cells. It is therefore important that the cells be of about the same size. Your current will be limited by the lowest current produced by any cell, so the smallest cell is the weakest link. Chose broken cells and match them by size for best results.

    My concern with using tape to make the connection to the cells would be the longevity of the contact. Will it degrade over time through corrosion, either through oxidation or by chemicals in the adhesive on the tape? I guess the only way to find out is time. I'd be curious to hear how these hold up.

    I would - personally - never buy broken cells to do this with, but would certainly try it to play around with the cast-offs from a DIY solar panel project. As anyone who has worked with these cells knows, there is always some breakage and you always order extra because of that.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    This is the way to go if your project calls for odd-sized/shaped solar cells. Just cut to fit, since you'll need to add the tabs anyway. Even in projects in which whole cells are used, partial cells can be used to fill edges and corners, especially when building odd-shaped solar panels. How easy is it to cut a solar cell? A tile saw with a glass-cutting blade would seem to be answer.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    There are many cheap broken cells on eBay. I just bought a lot of 130+ broken pieces (supposedly if they were not broken would be 90 Watts worth) for about 20 dollars US including shipping. If you want to pay a little more you can get unbroken ones but that defeats the purpose of this instructable I suppose :)