DIY Green Energy For Homes
 

How to Build a Solar Panel

The increasing demand for energy and its consequential soaring costs continues to be a growing issue.

This usage is at the heart of efforts to “go green,” and to find and use alternative energy sources. Understanding how to build a solar panel may be the key to putting a stop to escalating energy usage and costs.

DETERMINE SIZE OF SOLAR PANELS NEEDED AND PURCHASE

The first step in learning how to build a solar panel is to determine how much you need. Once you decide what you want to power, take advantage of several online calculators to determine the total wattage you will need to achieve to power your items. You can then determine the number and size of solar panels needed and the individual wattage required.

OBTAIN THE RIGHT PARTS AND TOOLS

Be sure to have the following on hand:

TOOLS:  Saw, soldering iron gun, wire cutters, paint brush, screw driver, drill, Plexiglas cutter, Rosin flux pen, calking gun

PARTS:  Solar cells, Plexiglas, tin wire, plywood, silicone caulk, solder, UV-ray protective varnish, wood screws

OPTIMIZE INSTALLATION ORIENTATION

The placement of your panels will be determined by where you live. In the northern hemisphere, you should configure and install your solar panels to face south to allow for capture of the most amount of sunlight per day. Face them true north if you are in the southern hemisphere. Also, this would be a good time to plan for the angle tilt from the horizontal which will also be based on your location. Be sure to research your optimal angle according to where you live.

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ASSEMBLE YOUR SOLAR CELLS

Cut your plywood to a size that will accommodate the number of solar cells needed for each panel. The most common shape for solar panel assembly is a rectangle; however, choose the shape that will accommodate your needs.

Once assembled, the UV-ray varnish should be applied to the plywood to allow for protection against damage and deterioration from UV rays.

To ensure the good adhesion of your tab ribbons to the solar cells, use the Rosin flux pen to apply flux to the bus strips. This step will ensure that your wiring will be appropriately connected.

Once this is done, you can connect the solar panels together using silicon caulking to attach them to the plywood. Drill two holes in your plywood and pull through them the two wires that hang from the solar cells. Check the holes for any gaps and, if present, seal with silicon.

CREATE A PLEXIGLAS FRAME

Construct a frame that will be used to hold a Plexiglas cover over your solar cells. Use wood screws to attach the frame to the plywood. To ensure that your structure is water resistant, use silicon to seal the attachment.

You will also need to use screws to attach the Plexiglas to the frame. To prevent cracking of the Plexiglas, drill the screw holes before assembling. Next, firmly affix the Plexiglas to the frame with silicon. Follow up with the screws for secure attachment.

INSPECT

Your solar panel assembly is complete. However, before you finish, be sure to inspect your work for any large or small gaps that can allow moisture buildup inside your structure. To prevent this, seal any holes with silicon.

You will also need to allow for air in the panel to prevent moisture buildup. To do this, drill a small hole near the bottom of the panel, being sure to steer away from the wiring. Once you have completed this step, you have successfully built a solar panel. You might also want to check out this article on home solar panels installation for more details.


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