Building a DIY Solar Panel System

>> Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tip#1: Before starting of any mission or project, our main consideration is to save money in maintain considerable quality, so you must know how much you need to spend in order to build a solar panel. In relation to solar energy, one must check the cost per watt and for the cost; you will have to figure out the number of watts which will be the result of the multiplication of the number of amps produced by a solar cell with the number of volts. This can be shown as: Number of watts=Number of amps produced × Number of volts.

Similarly, multiplying the number of watts per cell with the number of cells will result in the total wattage. This can be seen as: Total wattage=Number of watts ×Number of cells

Let’s take an example of 36 cells having 0.5 volts and 3.6 amps. The number of watts in this case will be 0.5×3.6=1.8 and this will produce 64.8 wattage (36×1.8). This will give you a clear picture of the spending that you will have to make for the panels, after which you can easily move on to next step.

Tip#2: You need to buy solar cells which you can find online. Just buying the solar cells is not going to help you in building a solar panel. One needs to check the rates of each and every seller in order to make sure that a particular seller is experienced in making sales of these kinds of products. It is very important to know that tabbed cells save a lot of time and require little maintenance. These cells are useful particularly at those places where there is no national grid, thus, providing a cost-effective solution mainly where there is no electricity. These cells are completely silent and non-polluting, which will be beneficial for both children and adults in terms of noise and health.

Tip#3: After buying solar cells, these need to be properly connected. One thing to bear in mind is that these solar cells need to be handled carefully because of the delicacy attached to these cells. They need special connection without which they can be damaged. These cells should be made up of special plywood with a thickness of at least 3/8 inches as a thinner frame may result in the breaking up of these cells. This frame should be made up of a strong and thick lumber to keep it safe from any damage. The measurement of this lumber should be 1 (one) inch by 2 (Two) inches. It is very important to fix this lumber around the plywood so that it cannot loosen the cells. Next step is to paint the whole piece with weather proof outdoor paint which will keep it safe from weather and environmental effects.

Tip#4: Fourth step is to lay down all the cells for connecting them to each other. The series of the cells should be followed which means that the tabs at the front of first cell should be connected to the connecting point at the back of the second cell and so on.

Make sure that you use a low power setting on the iron that is being used for joining the cells, and do not tighten your grip onto them otherwise, you will surely break the cells. This connecting of cells will take some time in order to fit the frame in the plywood. After completing the first row, move on to the next. If you are building 36 cell panels, then you will need 3(Three) rows of 12 cells or 6 (Six) rows of 6 (Six) cells. The number of rows depends on the size of your frame. This process of connecting the cells is known as soldering.

Tip#5: After soldering, the cells need to be fixed to the plywood supported by fixing a dot of Dow PV804 Silicone caulk on the back of each cell. Next is to ensure that the caulk makes a strong contact with the plywood which will be done by turning the entire row of cells onto the plywood. This should be done in one attempt to make a strong connection between the cells and the plywood. Then press the cells gently against the plywood to establish a link between them.

Tip#6: Now the rows that were arranged in step 4 (Four) should be connected with a bus wire. The end of one row should connect to the back of the next row. The wire should be fixed to these rows in such a way that it does not put any strain to the connections. The position of the wire should be placed down in order to prevent it from covering the cells.

Tip#7: Next step is to arrange a blocking diode which is used to keep the batteries full of charge. A blocking diode is available online in the range of 3 (three) to 5 (five) amps and in order to make your panel more efficient, it is better if you get the Schottky type of diode. This diode should be connected to the cells with the positive lead.

Tip#8: After that need t0 cover the panel with polycarbonate (lexan) which will protect it from the weather. In substitute of polycarbonate, tempered glass can also be used but it is costly and requires more effort in order to handle it carefully. Before fully covering the panel, first you will have to pass the wires out of a hole in the frame and then use caulk to seal these holes in order to fix all the components perfectly. Silicon must be checked twice to make sure that all the solvent has been discarded before adding the cover. Then fix a bead or chain of caulk around the frame to keep it safe and then attach the cover to the frame to make it stronger. This completes your solar panel.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that with great power comes great responsibility. The amount of current produced by a panel is not for an amateur to handle. If you want to increase the number of panels on your roof it is better to call upon a trained professional.


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