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Solar Cells at home? Answered

Anyone know a way to make your own solar cells? Saw 50 cells for about $250 US on Ebay and wondered if thats as cheap as they get. Not that this didn't seem pretty cheap, but always looking for cool new processes.

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There is a way to do this but it wouldn't give you much power. Anyway here it is.here it is.

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Myself

11 years ago

They're really just specialized diodes. An LED pointed at a bright light will produce a tiny amount of power, a fact that's used in some sun-tracker projects by taking advantage of the focused field of view that an LED's domed lens gives. (Feed them into a high-Z op-amp to decide which way the panel needs to turn.) Manufacturing your own isn't easy or advisable, due to the chemicals involved. You really want to let someone else make the cells. Building them into your own modules is fine, there's no really exotic technology involved. It's just tedious, and you're unlikely to have the R&D; budget to come up with module sealing techniques that'll last even two or three years, much less the 20 or 30 that you'll get from commercially available modules. But isn't that the way with most homebrew projects? The fun and experience outweigh the disadvantages in so many ways. So yeah, pick up that pile of rejected cells and build your own modules! It's a great way to spend winter evenings when there's no garden to tend. Honestly I think there's a lot of room for progress in module cooling, since efficiency drops off so much with temperature. If you find a good way to bond cells to a radiator backplate, quantify the efficiency gains and tell us about it!

How big were they?

4-6" as I recall. factory seconds, etc. but should still work to about 97% efficiency.

I kind of understand the old process of growing silica crystals and sawing them into discs but wondered if there is a new technology I don't know.