Today I am going to give you easy-to-follow directions on how to make a solar panel at home without any professional help.
It doesn’t matter if you want to get off the grid, or just want to experiment, this Practical Guide contains all the information that you need to build your own photovoltaic panel and generate electricity from the sun.
This guide contains step-by-step guidelines, blueprints, high-quality pictures and diagrams, tools, and almost everything that one need to complete solar panel project.
So, are you excited to generate ‘FREE’ electricity from the sun by learning how to make a solar panel? This is where you can take the help of this guide.
About The Author:
Being a DIY enthusiast from childhood, I always wanted to make something that can provide benefit to my family. Soon I realize there’s nothing better than creating something that can reduce my family’s monthly expense.
And Solar Energy was that ‘something’ from which I can reduce our monthly electricity bills.
After going through lots of videos, research papers, books, and courses, I finally able to construct solar panel for my room that can power 10 x 6-volt lights, fan, TV and enough power to charge my laptops and smartphones.
Since all the information was available at different resources, that’s why I decided why not I should create a complete practical guide where I can provide each and every information about how to make a solar panel so that people don’t have to waste their time in researching.
So, here it is, this guide is in front of you now. Take help from it as much as you want. It is free and will always remain free. (That’s my promise)
Here’s the list of chapters you will find in this guide:
Without further ado, let’s start this how to make a solar panel guide with a very crucial component
Chapter 1: Solar Cells:
A Solar Cells is the semiconductor device that generates DC (Direct Current) when stimulated by the protons. The efficiency of a solar cell is measured as the ratio between input energy (radiant energy) and output energy (electrical energy).
There were many studies conducted in the past, and some still going on to develop techniques and materials to increase the efficiency of solar cells.
One of the most significant breakthroughs came when one research proved the best operating temperature of the cells. The research says, the hotter the cells get, the less current it produces. That’s why it is important to mount cells in such a way that they get cool as soon as possible.
Silicon is the most widely used material in these solar cells, but gradually the trend is changing as thin-film amorphous technologies are showing greater efficiency using the material such as copper indium diselenide, gallium arsenide, and cadmium telluride.
Flexible Solar Cells:
Flexible Solar Cells have gained great popularity in the past due to their flexible nature that can easily be fit on a backpack or on other articles such as hats, etc.
People are using these flexible cells in their real estate projects, trains, planes, and many more.
You can easily mount them on curved surfaces.
These are available in low-efficiency silicone or high-efficiency non-silicone thin film.
Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline Cells:
Monocrystalline and polycrystalline cells have an efficiency of 15% and 8% respectively. Out of these two silicone cells, Monocrystalline produces more electricity in the given area as compared to polycrystalline cells.
However, Monocrystalline cells are more expensive as well.
Both of these cells are fine for the construction of the solar panels, but if you want to generate more electricity in a given space then go for Monocrystalline cells.
Both of these cells come in many different sizes. Some of the common shapes are round, square, pseudo-square, and rectangle.
Solar Cell Output:
A solar cell produces 0.5 volts, more or less, doesn’t matter how large they are. However, the size of the cell does affect the output. The large surface area gives more current.
For instance, a 2” square cell produces less current as compare to 4” square cell, if other parameters are same.
This needs to be considered when constructing a solar panel.
If you need a lot of battery charging power (amp) then your cells should be high current output cells. However, if you live in a fairly sunny area, then you can also do well with lower current cells.
Cells with the high current output are usually more desirable, but they are expensive. High current cells charge batteries quickly in cloudy weather, and suitable for those areas where sunlight remain low on most of the day.
This is a very important point that one needs to consider when selecting solar cells for constructing his solar panel.
Another important consideration is how much energy you will take from the battery on a daily basis, how much time will it take to charge them, and how much battery is drained.
Watt Rating Of Solar Cells:
Before purchasing solar cells you will notice a voltage rating and current rating (amp). These are also called open-circuit voltage and short circuit current rating.
If you multiply the current by the voltage, you will get power rating of the cell.
In the above picture, the rated voltage is 0.5V, and the rated current is 1.32A, and if we multiply them (0.5*1.32) then we will get rated power that is 0.66W. (This is the calculation of one single cell, the above set comes in 50 pcs/lot that gives 0.66*50 = 33W)
Normally, cells range from milliamps to 5 amps output. For most projects, cells range from 1 to 4 are sufficient. Two or three amp cells are more commonly available at a reasonable price in Aliexpress.
(For information the cost of the above lot is little above $10)
Testing Solar Cells Output:
Before constructing the panel, you need to test each and every cell that you are going to use in your project. If you are working with off-spec, then cells need to be categorized in low, medium, and high output. One low current cells can bring the output level of other high current cells to the low rating.
Although, you don’t need to get the exact output from each cell, but they should be a level of what the panel is capable of producing.
For the best results, cells need to be tested in the bright sunlight when the sun reaches above your head. But, you can test the output level of cells at any time of the year. Keep in mind, the output level will vary according to environment and weather.
Tools For Testing The Solar Cells:
For testing the output of the solar cell, you need a multimeter that will give you current output (amp) and voltage reading. All multimeters have these two readings.
It is good to have a stand that can hold the solar cell in the direction of the sun. Although, you can hold the cell in your hand, but that will be clumsy.
The Testing board you can see in the picture above contains a piece of copper-clad circuit board to put my cell on. With this arrangement, I can connect the back of the cell by touching the probe of my multimeter to the copper on the circuit board.
To take the reading, touch the negative probe (black) to one of the cell fingers on the face of the cell and the positive probe (red) on the back of the cell. Note down the current reading and the voltage reading.
Make sure you test all your cells on the same day because you may get different readings even if it seems the environment looks the same. Pollution, moisture, particulates, all affect the out of the cell.
Chapter 2 – Solar Panel:
Most simple series connected solar panels divided into three categories:
- 15 to 16 volts – usually 30 to 32 solar cells
- 5 to 17 volts – usually 33 to 34 solar cells
- 5 to 21 volts – usually 35 to 36 solar cells
15 to 16 volts panels are referred to as self-regulating panels because they don’t overcharge batteries, as a results charge regulator is not required for these panels. These panels used where there is limited use of energy like an electric fence and other low power applications.
16.5 to 17 volt panels required for full-fledged power systems in locations that get a lot of sun throughout the day.
The most preferred panels for most solar power systems are 35 to 36 solar cells panel that delivers 17.5 to 21 volts open-circuit voltage. This is also best for very hot climates to offset the power loss due to high temperature.
I usually construct panels of 36 cells for a basic 12-volt lead-acid battery. One of the benefits of creating your own solar panel is you can design the solar panel according to your need and then later you can increase it if you need extra power.
Finding and Choose Solar Cells:
Here’s the video that gives you instruction on how to make a solar panel in which you learn about finding and choose the best cells for your solar panels.
Making A Solar Panel
Here’s a video that gives you guidelines on building a solar panel by connecting solar cells together. It includes wiring, soldering, and cells layout.
The End Of The Guide, New Beginning For You:
So, we have come to the end of this guide, and I hope you have learned the step-by-step method of creating and installing the solar panel.
I did my best to make this guide as simple as possible and show you every step for how to make a solar panel at home.
If there’s anything else that I missed out about how to make a solar panel, then please let me know in the comment box below. And don’t forget to update me with your progress in this project. Thanks for coming and reading this guide.