An interesting project for anyone who is concerned about high energy costs is learning how to build a solar panel. To build a solar panel will not only be an interesting project but it will also be a fun experience. The total cost for the project can be as low as $400-$500. This total price includes charge controller, battery, and a deep cycle battery. To purchase a similar type commercial solar panel would cost the same amount for just the panel itself.
How to build a solar panel will depend on what wattage of solar system you require. The first step will include the creation of a template and putting a frame together. Step 2 will be the assembling of the solar cells. Step 3 will be to make holes for any connections. Step 4 is the gluing of the solar cells. Step 5 is the soldering of bus wire. Step 6 will be to consider the electrical application. Step 7 is to add even pressure on the plexiglass. Step 8 will be to install the junction box. Step 9, the final step, will be to silicone the edges, including the back of the junction box, and perform a voltage/current check.
All of these 9 steps may seem complicated but you will be surprised at how easy it can be done. A few tips for some of the steps, at this point of the article, may be helpful. For example, when making the template you can use either a regular piece of cardboard or plywood. Try to keep your solar cells even by using tile spacers. You will find it easier to cut the plywood with a jigsaw but any regular type of handsaw will also work fine.
Once you have cut the plywood panel it is important to apply two coats of a deck and siding paint. This will give your piece of plywood a good seal from harmful UV rays while at the same time making it water resistant. While the paint on your plywood is drying you can start to work on the solar cell assembly. For an average solar cell panel you will need to connect a series of 36 individual solar cells. This will provide you with approximately 63 W of solar power.
It is a good idea to continually check the voltage/current levels after you have soldered the bus wire onto two of the strings of each solar cell. This will allow you to check the connections each step of the way rather than to wait until the end when will be more difficult to find any faulty connections. To give the solar panel a clean look you can use a wire mold to run the wires inside.
When you are at the electrical step of your solar panel system it will be necessary to hook up the inverter, charge controller, and deep cycle battery. You first hook up the charge controller to the solar panel connections. Next you attach the charge controller to the deep cycle battery. Finally you connect the battery up to the inverter.
When you attach the plexiglass it is important to apply even pressure on all edges. Make sure that you drill very slowly into the plexiglass so as to prevent any cracks from developing in the glass. Also use screws that are manufactured especially for pressure treated lumber. Your final steps will be to install a junction box and to do a final inspection. You now are ready to attach your solar panel homemade project to your roof.