Homemade Solar Panels

Homemade Solar PanelsHomemade solar panels are a great way for homeowners to generate free electricity from the sun and lower their electricity bill.  Even though there are many models of solar panels to choose from on the market, homemade solar panels are fairly easy to build and can save you a lot of money over fully assembled units.  All you need are a few components and about a weekends worth of time to build your own homemade solar panels and you can start enjoying the free power it provides.

I built my own homemade solar panel over a weekend.  I used a guide called GreenDIYEnergy to do it.  It has all the parts you need, where to get them and step-by-step videos that made the project really easy.

Click here to visit the GreenDIYEnergy website.

At the heart of any solar panel is a collection of solar cells and these are the actual components that turn sunlight into electricity.  These solar cells vary in their composition and individually can only generate a small amount of current each.  A solar panel will have a large group of these solar cells wired together to increase their output and collectively they can generate quite a bit of power.  How they are connected determines their output voltage and current, and you should decide what type of power you need before starting so that you can select the right components for your solar panel.

Homemade Solar Panel
Me playing electric guitar with my amp plugged into the homemade solar panel

The type of solar cell is important as well and there are basically two types of solar cells available to choose from and both of them have distinct advantages.  The most efficient solar cell is called a monocrystalline cell and it is basically made from a single large crystal that is individually produced.  Because it is a unified structure, it has the highest output and will also last longer than other types of crystals.  The challenge is that is it more expensive, but is a better value in the long run to use as the basis of a solar panel.  The other type of solar cell is based on the polycrystalline cell and this type of cell is a collection of smaller crystals.  This is a less expensive solar cell, but will produce a little less current than the monocrystalline cell.  The choice is up to you and both of these cell work fine for a project building homemade solar panels.

After you buy the solar cells, you must connect them together in the correct way to provide the proper voltage and current.  Most homemade solar panel plans come with wiring diagrams.  Be sure to follow the diagram closely.  One of the benefits to using GreenDIYEnergy was the step-by-step videos. The wiring was really easy since I just had to follow along with the videos.

Solar cell string
Laying down 1 string of cells on the substrate

To start building homemade solar panels you need to mount these individual solar cells onto a piece of thick plywood as a backing board to make sure they all face the exact same direction.  Lay the cells out in the configuration from the wiring diagram and this will give you an idea of how large to make the backing board.  Once you have them mounted, carefully follow the wiring diagram and connect them together by soldering wires to each of them and then connecting them to each other.  Make sure that you secure the wires to the backing board neatly and don’t allow any of them to block the solar cells access to the sun.  When you are finished with the mounting and the wiring, take this panel outside in the sun and measure its output with a meter to make sure you have the voltage you were expecting.  If not, check your wiring again to see if you made an error.  Once you are satisfied with the output, you need to finish building the cabinet by attaching sides and a clear front to the backing board. Be especially careful to use plenty of weatherproof caulking to ensure the enclosure is tight enough to withstand the elements.

You are now ready to mount the panel in a spot that gets good sun exposure and enjoy the power it produces.  The panel will produce a DC current that you can use to charge a bank of batteries or power a DC appliance.  If you need AC power, you can use a small inverter to convert the DC current to AC current to run a small appliance.

My homemade solar panel I built with the GreenDIYEnergy guide

I bought several DIY solar guides, but the one I ended up using was GreenDIYEnergy. It was by far the best and the videos were the best part. I followed along and by the end of the weekend, I had a working solar panel. If you’ve been thinking about building homemade solar panels, I recommend it. It was a fun project and now I generate electricity for free. If you decide to go for it, I highly recommend GreenDIYEnergy. By following along with the step-by-step videos, anyone can build homemade solar panels.

Click here to visit the GreenDIYEnergy website.

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