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Building your own solar panel reduces pollution and cost

By thinking about building your own solar panel for home use, you have decided you want to reduce your impact on the planet but might not have a huge amount of money to invest. While homemade solar panels may not produce energy as effectively as commercially purchased new panels, they are nonetheless a cheap and relatively easy option for producing your own power. 

There are many designs available for building your own solar panels completely from scratch; solar cells are quite difficult for the average homeowner to construct though. This doesn’t mean that you can’t still build smaller solar collectors completely from scratch; just don’t expect to power your entire home off of these. All solar cells work with a photoelectric effect, which means that light causes electricity to flow through the material. Any material that has photoelectric properties is able to generate solar power.

Another great option for building solar panels is to buy cheap used solar cells, and construct your own panels to attach them to. These homemade panels can then be mounted onto your roof or installed wherever you wish. Just be sure to inspect each panel thoroughly to ensure it is built strong and sturdy enough to withstand the weather in your area.

Steps for Building Solar Panels

  • Consider your location
  • Finding used solar cells
  • Repairing damaged solar cells
  • Constructing the solar panels
  • Installation
Consider Your Location

Before deciding to build your own solar panels, the first thing you need to consider is your location. The area you live in will determine the effectiveness of any solar array you install. If you live in an area that is predominantly cloudy, your solar output will be severely diminished, so it may be best to consider your other options before devoting your time and large chunk of your property to a large solar array. 

You can do a survey of your property to decide the best location for your solar panels, although the roof is normally the best option. Just because you live in a cloudy area doesn’t mean your solar panels still can’t help with contributing electricity to your home, but just don’t have expectations about them granting you complete energy independence.

Finding Used Solar Cells

used solar cellThere are many places where you can find used solar cells, and although these cells may be slightly damaged, they are still a great way to cheaply produce your own solar panels. You can search online and come up with hundreds of used panels on eBay or Craigslist, although always be cautious about purchasing these online unless they come from a reputable source. Some used panels may be damaged to the point that their output is only a tenth of what it once was.

Another great place to find used solar panels is in your own neighborhood or town. Look around for any places that use solar panels, and inquire as to what they do with their damaged panels. 

Solar panels are quite expensive to dispose of, which means that many companies will gladly sell or even give away their used panels to save themselves the large disposal fees. Always be sure to check any used solar cells with a multimeter to determine their energy output before installing them in your panels. Cells with small cracks or chips can easily be repaired, which may increase their energy output.

Repairing Damaged Solar Cells

Before you install any used solar cells in your panels, be sure to inspect them closely for any signs of damage. Smaller chips and cracks can be fixed with epoxy or solder. Cells which are browned will usually not be able to be repaired, however they can still produce a decent energy output, so always test any used cells you find to determine whether they are worth using or trying to repair.

Constructing Solar Panels

build solar panelOnce you have all of your used solar cells on hand, you are ready to start building your solar panels themselves. The first step is to build the panel on which you’ll attach your solar cells. You can build the panel to any size you wish, and it should be large enough to easily fit all of your solar cells. 

You may want to keep the panels smaller to make them easy to move around and install by yourself. The panel should be build out of lightweight but sturdy plywood. 

Once you have cut your board to the desired size, it’s necessary to drill holes in the board where the wiring for each individual solar cell will go through. Then you can use a strong glue to attach the solar cells to the panel, making sure to carefully thread the wiring through the holes you drilled. 

After you have attached the solar cells to your panels, the final step is to cover the panels with glass or plastic. You can have a piece of plexiglass cut at your local hardware store to fit your panel. This can be screwed directly onto the board, and then you should seal around the screw holes and the edges with silicon. This will keep the cells from being further damaged by rain or wind. 

The final step is to wire all of the solar cells together, which should be done by someone with technical knowledge about electrical components. Once wired, you can test the output of your panel with a multimeter to determine how much energy your homemade solar panel will produce.

Another important thing to keep in mind is the weight of your solar panels. You want them to be made of materials that are strong enough to withstand the effects of the weather, but the panels still need to be lightweight so they can be easily moved around during the installation phase. After you have attached the solar cells to your panels, the final step is to cover the panels with glass or plastic. 

This will prevent the cells from being further damaged by rain or wind. Another important aspect of the solar panel is the battery. It’s important that you choose the appropriate battery for your panels so that you can still use you power even when the sun isn’t shining. The batteries will store up any excess power that is generated, so that even during a storm or nighttime, you can still use the energy created by your solar array.

Installing Your Homemade Solar Panels

Once you have built your solar panels, the final step is to install them so they can start producing free, clean energy. Your solar panel arrays should always be installed either on your roof or in an open area so that they can receive maximum exposure to the sun’s rays. The panels should always face south and they should be installed so that the angle can be adjusted according to the season, so as to maximize their electrical output throughout the year.

When it’s time to connect all of the final wiring, it’s probably best to hire a professional electrician. This way you can be sure that your solar panels are wired correctly, providing you with maximum output. It’s also important to consult your local building codes, as it may be necessary to have a building permit and an inspection before installing solar panels on the roof of your home or possibly anywhere else on your property. A licensed electrician can give you all of this information when you call to inquire about the wiring of your solar panels.

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