If you are interested in making your own solar kit you need to know what it comprises of. Solar kits are basically solar energy systems that generate electricity and they comprise of solar cells, tab wire and a frame to hold it. All you need to do is assemble them all together.
But if you are interested, you can build your own solar kit. It might be cheaper as well although it will entail more work. The advantage of this is that you can make it as big or small as you like. A bigger solar panel will be able to power larger electrical appliances. You also get the satisfaction of making your own solar panel from scratch.
Building your own solar kit is not very difficult. You need some plywood, basic woodworking tools, soldering set, a set of solar cells, copper wire and a voltmeter. You can buy solar cells from eBay for less than $200. Get crystalline solar cells that have the capacity of at least 0.5V. 36 of these cells will generate about 18V, enough to charge a 12V battery. Solar cells come either tabbed or untabbed. Although they are a bit more expensive, it is advisable to get the tabbed ones. This will lessen the amount of soldering you have to do.
The first thing to do is construct your solar panel frame. The dimensions of the box depend on the length and breadth needed for your 36 solar cells placed in a 6×6 arrangement. If you are making it yourself it should be in the form of a shallow box. Make sure your edges are not too high as to block the sun’s rays when the sun shines at an angle. Drill some holes into the bottom edge to prevent water build-up inside your solar panel. You also need a base to stick your solar cells on. This is eventually fitted into your solar panel box and should be a thin, flat non-conductor like a peg board or even glass. When you have your solar panel box and base, paint them on all sides with weather-resistant paint.
Next you will want to wire your solar cells together in series. To do so, place 2 solar cells face down in line with each other with their tab wires coming out from underneath. Now solder the tab wires from the first solar cell onto the metal solder points at the bottom of the second cell. The front of a solar cell is its negative terminal while the back is its positive terminal. You now have a string of 2 solar cells connected in series. Repeat this action to make a string of 6 cells. You will end up with 6 strings.
Now you need to glue the 6 strings onto your base. Each string has to be facing opposite ends of the box alternately so that you can connect each string in series. Use the copper wire and solder it perpendicularly to the 2 tab wires at the end of the first string of cells. Likewise, solder it also to the tab wires at the start of the second string of cells. Make sure that the front of the cell from the first string is connected to the back of the cell from the second string. So the same for the second and third string of cells, the third and fourth string and so on. You will end up with a base full of solar cells and 2 copper wires exiting it, one from the back of the first cell and another from the front of last cell. This makes all 36 solar cells connected in series, somewhat like a giant flashlight with 36 batteries.
Take your base out into the sun and test your solar cell connections by connecting the 2 copper wires to a voltmeter. You will get an immediate reading. If you don’t, check your connections because tab wires are extremely fragile and could have broken in the process of constructing your solar panel.
Once everything is working, insert your base into your shallow box and screw it down. Put a blocking diode into your circuit. Your solar panel will be connected to a battery later on and this diode prevents the battery from discharging when the sun is not shining.
Finally, cover the solar panel box with a sheet of plexiglass and seal the edges with silicone caulk to prevent rainwater from seeping in. Now all that remains is to connect your solar panel to a battery that will store the electricity for later use.
Congratulations, you have made your own workable solar panel.
Click Here How to Build Solar Kits