How to Build Your Solar Panel from Scratch?

If you are a homeowner, you will try everything to save as much money as possible. The first one that pops up in your mind is the electricity bill. Without electricity, life seems dead.

As electricity is getting used heavily on a daily basis, you will be shocked at the number of times you will look at your electricity bill or how frequently you will have the thought of it at the back of your head. Fear not, because there is a solution to every problem.

The solar panel will be your ultimate savior. This only requires proper sunlight, and it will take solar energy from the sun and convert it to electrical energy. Your happiness will be on top of the world when you get to see the electricity bill drop down beyond your expectation.

Investment for the installation of the solar panel is huge, but you can lower it significantly if you build it on your own. You will feel proud if you can get it done by yourself.

Building it on your own has multiple advantages. Your installation cost for the professionals will not be required, and most importantly you will get to use the panel right away.

Before starting, you must know all the tools and techniques necessary to make your project a successful one. The following article will cover all of it.

Let’s check it out.

Solar Panel Sizing

This is a very important process to get effective results after your installation. You first need to know about the solar cell voltages and how much you should use for the panel. Regular cells are available in 0.5V containing various ranges of power output. You must align and connect all of the cells in a series.

Suppose you need to charge a battery of 14V from the solar panel. You then need to use a 20V panel. For the 20V panel, you need to use 40 cells in a series. This is done by a calculation; 40 x 0.5 = 20V.

20V is the output that you will need for the panel. The reason for a 20V panel being used for a 14V battery is that, if you don't have sunlight during a typical day, the stored energy will be able to charge the battery.

Along with the voltages, the power output of the panel is also mandatory. With the power output, you can check the overall cell that you will need for the panel.

Suppose you need a 300W panel, and each cell is of 5W. You then need 60 cells overall. This is also done by a calculation; 300W/5W = 60 cells. One thing to keep in mind is that the power output is independent of the cell connection (series or parallel).

Frame for Solar Panel

Solar cells are very sensitive, and they can break down easily. So, you need to protect it with a glass cover that won't shatter. Attach the cell on its back with the frame. The frame should be made of wood or plywood for the safety of the cells. Not only for the cells, but the frame should also be able to support the solar panel.

The Process to Build Your Solar Panel

Start by finding a suitable place to position the panel. Measure the area and choose the safety glass according to the location. Next, tab the solar cells carefully. If you are new to this, buy tabbed solar cells from the market.

If you don't get tabbed cells, you then have to do it by yourself. This is a lengthy process, but with practice, you can master it.

Take a tabbing wire and cut it carefully. Cut it in a way that it is a bit longer than the length of the cell. Then, solder the wire to the cell. There are various videos online regarding this method. You can have a look at it to understand how it is done practically. After the tabbing is done, you then need to connect the cells.

The positive portion of the cell is on the back, and the negative is on the front. Connect all of them like the one you see in a battery. This is done by soldering the tabbing wire of one of the cells to the other. The soldering should be done in a way that the wire on the back of one cell is connected to the front wire of another cell.

Repeat the process until the wire connection is complete. Finish it with a connecting bus wire to each completed line of tabbed wire. The bus wire should have a positive and negative terminal for proper flow of electricity.

Now, use a sealant to seal the panel effectively. Apply the sealant on to the board where the cells will be fitted. On top of the sealant, place the safety glass cover containing the solar cells. Leave it for a day to let the sealant dry and fit the board with the glass strongly. Adjust the terminal box onto the board with screws.

If you don't prefer drilling, use the sealant. As the bus wire has 2 terminals (positive and negative), solder them on the strip of the terminal box. For the final touch, use a high-quality mounting bracket and attach it to the backboard. You are done building the solar panel.

Fit the panel to a solar charge controller and connect the batteries to the controller. The controller will prevent the battery from overcharging and will make sure your solar system is efficient and durable.

Tips

  • Wear protective gloves while soldering. Just to be on the safer side, wear protective eyewear as well. 
  • Build the solar panel in your garage or any other private area where kids won’t be present or can’t have any access. This should be done for their safety, and also you need full concentration and zero distraction.
  • Consult with the supplier about the installation process. Take advice from them about the do’s and don’ts and what you can do to make your solar panel work efficiently.

Conclusion

As you will read the whole article, you will know that it is not that tough to build the solar panel by yourself. With proper knowledge, you can make your vision come true. If you start building the first solar panel, you will gain more confidence to build a second one or move towards a different project.

Don't wait for it. Go and build your solar panel from scratch right away!

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