The technology for turning the sun’s energy in to electrical energy has developed rapidly in the last two decades, and as a result, lots of us have decided to give it a go.
The real benefit of constructing homemade solar panels is that the homeowner will learn how to repair and maintain them when damage occurs. This is a big advantage when it is considered that solar power lends itself quite naturally to isolated locations. They are quite lightweight to transport, apart from the batteries used for storage, and the mounting of the panels before operation doesn’t require special equipment or electrical knowledge.
There is no doubt that the easiest way is to just go out and choose a specialist to do the whole installation. In the spirit of using green technology, making homemade solar panels
seems to be worth a try – but there are some pitfalls to avoid.
Most of the materials are simple to access, but the range of cells may confuse the novice. To begin with, photo-voltaic cells are the easiest to work with and cheap. Don’t use those that are wax dipped or ‘b’ grade, as the end result will not meet the output expected.
In addition, some supplies from countries such as China have been substandard and unreliable in delivery. The actual construction process for homemade solar panels is to assemble all the equipment and materials in a dry and dust free space.
The tools needed to build your own solar panels exist in the workshop of the average DIY enthusiast and include hammer, saw, soldering iron, screw drivers and a paintbrush.
The materials list includes some timber to make the frame for mounting the panels on the roof. Screws and wood panels to make the housing for the cells, and black paint are required also in the construction of homemade solar panels.
Obtain photo-voltaic cells and the tab wiring to connect them, selecting pre-tabbed cells to make the project less boring and faster.
Find some eva glue, solder and flux, plastic sheeting to cover the lid of the housing as well as blocking diodes to stop current reversal and the project can be started.
Make an outer housing and seal it with some silicone filler. Lay the cells out on a backing board and glue them in a 6×6 arrangement with the tabs facing up. Join the tabs in series with solder and tab wiring adding the diodes to stop current reversal when the unit isn’t getting enough sunshine.
Put the panel in the housing, cover and seal with the plastic cover material, and it is ready to add to the roof frame once painted to help heat energy absorption. Homemade solar panels will look just as good as the professional ones and the output will only vary slightly. As an afterthought, don’t expect to get as much energy from the panels as first imagined because lots of factors, including sunshine hours and strength, will determine how good any system will be.
If an energy audit hasn’t been done before the project starts, it is certainly a good idea as the household may get real benefit from adopting energy saving practices even before installing homemade solar panels.