Building Solar Panels

While the idea off building solar panels at home by yourself may seem difficult to some people or even absurd to others, it is actually a relatively simple task which makes for a fun do it yourself project and overtime, a massive money saver.

This page covers everything you need to know about building your own solar panels including the materials and tools you need, total cost and other information. Please note this page does not give a detailed plan for building solar panels but rather an overview of the whole process. For a detailed and easy to follow plan for actually constructing solar panels then click here.

Stage 1: Getting the materials

It is a good idea to get everything you need to build your panels before you start so you can have it all laid out in front of you.

  • Solar cells - $120
  • Plexiglass - $20
  • Wood - $40
  • Wiring - $5
  • Caulk -$3
  • Screws - $2

Solar panels are made up basically of solar cells which are linked together and the waterproofed with glass (or plastic) and fixed in place in a wooden housing. All this lot together costs $190, a lot cheaper than buying new!

To build an entire DIY solar power system with an inverter and batteries then go straight to the earth4energy guide.

Everything on this list is easy to find but finding solar cells maybe a bit more difficult: The best place to look is probably ebay, you can usually find bags of used or new solar cells for pretty cheap.

Stage 2: Tools

If you have done a bit of DIY before then you will likely have everything you need for building solar panels, here is a quick checklist:

  • Drill
  • Work bench
  • Wood saw
  • Pliers
  • Soldering iron
  • Screwdriver

Stage 3: A detailed plan

It is really not worth trying to build you your own solar panel without a proper walk-through guide. There are many on the market today but the best one I have found is less than $50 and offers a 60 day, no questions asked refund. You can find out more information about this guide here.

Note: Your solar panel is going to be working for you and saving you money for the next 30 to 40 years so it is worth getting a good guide and doing thing properly.

Stage 4: Building the housing

Before you begin putting together the solar panel itself you need to make a home for it.

This is a relatively straight forward procedure and can be completed in as little as an hour.

Building solar panels housing
  1. The size of this box is determined by how many solar cells you have and how big you want it.
  2. It also needs to be covered with a glass or perspex (plexiglass) cover to keep out the rain.
  3. It needs to be waterproofed and sealed everywhere to keep the water out.

Stage 5: Wiring up the cells

Before you wire up you cells to each other you need it is a good idea to glue them into the container you made before.

  1. Once you have done this you it will be easier to solder them together.
  2. From looking at the cells you will be able to see where the wring needs to be.
  3. The cells should be wired together in a series, each connecting to the previous in a long strip.
building solar panels, wiring

Stage 6: Sealing and polishing

OK, so you don't really need to polish it but when you have finshed building solar panels you will want it to look good!

Once all of the cells have been wired together you just need to add the perspex cover and make sure the whole thing is completely waterproof so very carefully seal the whole thing.

The last thing you want is rain water seeping in and ruining the whole thing.

Stage 7: Plug it in

You need to position your newly built panel in a sunny place so that it can produce the most power possible.

You then need to connect to it to a battery or inverter depending on what you want to use the power for. You may also want to consider building a few more solar panels so you can get more and more free power from the sun. I mean why not? You already have the tools, the ability and some leftover materials.. go for it!

Don't be a fool

As I mentioned previously, these solar panels are going to be with you for life so don't skimp on materials and make sure you follow a proper plan like this one when building solar panels at home.

Be careful

Working with electricity can be dangerous especially if you don't know what you are doing. Always consult an electrician before installing solar appliances.

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