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Resources, Guides and Plans For Getting Cheap Solar Panels

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~ Updated October 21, 2016

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About Me

My name is Neville Pettersson and I have created the this site to help regular home owner’s like me make their own

energy at home. For more info about me check out the about page here. You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ and Pinterest.

How To Build Solar Panels

Perhaps you live in some remote place, off the electrical grid, or you'd like to save a little money, or you wish to be ecologically friendly. You tried a
DIY wind turbine, except the wind doesn't blow when you want it to. You tried a biomass gasfire, but after escaping major injury during the welding and metal-working stages, your creation produced a sticky, thick, black mass which stank to high heaven. You tried an exercise bike connected to a dynamo, but got tired. At this point, it is time to contemplate how to build solar panels. The cost would deter most people from purchasing one.

Where To Get Solar Cells

A solar panel is a collection of solar cells, the things which actually transform sunlight into electricity. The greatest hurdle to overcome in order to
build your own solar panel is the cost of solar cells. Bought new, they are very expensive, and are sometimes hard to get hold of in quantity for any price. But blemished or outright damaged solar calls for sale can be found on Ebay and elsewhere at a fraction of the price of perfect, new cells. These can be employed to create a solar panel which works just fine.

What Kind Of Solar Cells Should You Buy?

Bricks of 36 monocrystalline solar panel cells arranged 3 x 6 x 2 and wired in series will produce around half a volt each, providing 18 volts in total. This is enough to charge a 12 volt battery. This kind of solar cell is as thin as paper and as fragile and brittle as glass, so it is easily damaged. The cells are coated in wax to allow for shipment, and this is something of a pain to remove. Removal can be achieved by means of a bath in hot water (“What are you cooking, darling?” “Oh, solar cells”). The water should not be boiled, or the bubbles will collide with the cells and the electrical connections of the cells may be affected. Placing the bricks in the water while it's cold will avoid a harsh, thermal shock.

So, Should You Get Unwaxed Cells?

If you can find a source which provides unwaxed solar cells, you will save yourself much bother, although this must be traded-off against the increased risk of damage during shipping. Solar cells which rattle around in their box can get chipped at the edges and on the corners, but minor chips won't affect cell output in a significant way. Hey, they were factory seconds or otherwise blemished, anyway, and this was usually because they were chipped.

Continued below....

How To Build Solar Panels

A Couple Of Other Considerations

Using solar cells without metal tabs attached doubles the amount of soldering to be done, so it's worth paying a little more for the tabs. Using different cell sizes is a bad idea because the current produced will be limited by the size of the smallest cells, and larger ones won't work to their full capacity. This will mean yours is not one of the
most efficient solar panels.

Put Them In A Box

Put your solar cells into a shallow box whose sides won't block sunlight which comes in from an angle. In this case, the box is 45.75 x 22.25 x 0.75 inches.

A few coatings of paint inside and out will protect the wood. Painting both sides is necessary, or the paint will curl, and this can damage the solar cells which are glued to it.

Vent holes will equalize air pressure and permit moisture to escape. The vents should be on the bottom to prevent water from entering. Holes of at least a quarter of an inch wide work. Some fiberglass insulation will prevent dust and critters from getting in.

A plexiglass front will provide protection from the weather. Glass will do the job, but is so very fragile and can be shattered by flying debris. In this way, you will attain the honorable goal of domestic solar power.