Steps to Building a Home-made Solar Panel
Solar energy is not only a cheaper energy alternative but also a reliable source of green, environmentally-friendly and uninterrupted power. Nonetheless, the cost of industrial solar panels has skyrocketed in the recent past decades making the dream of going off-the-grid quite elusive for most of the general population. There’s a way out; building your own solar panels at home by assembling cheap and easily available parts. Here’s how to go about it:
Collect the Pieces
This includes sourcing the cells, buying a non-conductive PCB for attaching the solar cells, the tabbing wire and the flux pen. As far as the individual solar cells go, the best and most cost-effective option would be settling for poly-crystalline solar cells. You may want to buy as many as your projected wattage needs. That said, there are a few things you have to remember. For starters, ensure you buy extra cells than you need to build a reliable solar power plant. This should cover for any unforeseen losses or mishaps. Nowadays solar power cells can be bought as easily online as they can source from a local hardware shop. The only difference is that the first option is cheaper and more versatile.
Connect the Cells and Wire your Panel
Remember that a commercially-assembled solar panel is nothing but an array of interconnected solar cells. You can replicate the same by gluing your solar cells on the non-conductive board and running the tabbing wire through each single row. Ensure that the ends of every tabbing wire terminate between the interconnected cells and are flexible enough to move. After this, the next step would be to solder and fix the solar cells together with the flux between each of the lines. Repeat this throughout the rows for each column. Consequently, connect the last bus wire to a one-way diode. Remember that the diode’s rating ought to bigger than the current amperage limit for your panel. Secure the set-up using silicone.
Seal the Box and Paint It
The best and most affordable way of accomplishing this is using a slab of Plexiglas made to fit the size of your solar panel. Plexiglas can be gotten from a local hardware store or ordered through one of the many online specialty shops available today. The reason for the preference for Plexiglas – and not the traditional glass – is that regular glass breaks and chips easily unlike Plexiglas. Also, remember to attach a few block stops under the glass. This can be achieved by cutting 1 x 1-inch wood blocks to be fitted in-between the corners of the lips of your panel box. Don’t forget to secure them using wood glue for an assured grip.
There are several ways to mount a complete panel in readiness for installation and power generation. One of them is mounting it on a detachable cart in an angle that allows you to change its orientation effortlessly depending on the path via which that the sun is rising or setting. Alternatively, you could also place it on the roof. The angle has to be consistent with the sun’s peak load time and path.