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How to make solar panels

3 min read

Solar energy systems provide an incredible combination of technology to bring clean energy to homes. And they’re unique in that they are the only self-sustaining energy source that you can mount on your home as well as take with you in your backpack. Even so, the technology itself feels like a conundrum. Well, what better way to understand a piece of technology than to build it yourself? While this may not be the best solution to bringing clean energy to your home, it is a great way to dispel some of the mystery. So without further ado, here is a high-level overview on how to construct your own solar panel.

Make a frame

The first step to building a solar panel is to make a frame. You can make this however you have the means, whether that is with wood or plastic. This is simply a case for your solar cells. It can be about any size you want, just make sure it is large enough to house the number of cells you want to include on your panel and try to make the bezel as minimal as possible to avoid blocking out any sunlight. If you decide to use wood, seal it with a high-quality sealant and don’t be afraid to give it some extra coats. You’ll want it to be able to resist some bad weather if you plan to have this outside where it can capture sunlight. When your frame is built, attach a pegboard to it. The holes in the pegboard are important as they allow you to wire your solar cells through the panel. Then drill two holes at the end of the frame for your positive and negative connections to run through.

Put it together

While putting your solar cells together into a connected panel, it’s important to make sure you know which side is the top and bottom of each cell. The top is the negative side and the bottom is positive. You’ll need tabbing, bus wires, and some confidence in your soldering skills. It would also be a good idea to watch some videos for this step on youtube to avoid any mistakes.

Glue it down

Now you can use silicone to glue your solar cell strings to the pegboard. You can use bus wire at the end of your strings of solar cells to connect the wires. After this point, it’s a good idea to check your voltage rather than wait until the end. Once all your strings are connected, you can connect some 22 gauge wires. Next, shine some light on your panel to see how well it’s generating electricity.

Make some connections

Next, you’ll want a charge controller, inverter, and deep cycle battery. First connect the solar panel to the solar side of the charge controller, then the battery to the charge end of the controller. Finally, connect the inverter to the battery. This will let you power the system on and off.

Clean it up

Use some plexiglass that’s been cut to match your panel. Secure it onto your cell, making sure to apply even pressure all around. Be gentle while attaching it so you don’t crack the glass. To go the extra mile, you can install a junction box onto the back of the frame and wire your panel to it.

Where you decide to hook up your panel is up to you. Hopefully, this gave you a general idea of what goes into making one.

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