Discover How To Make Solar Panels

The last time you got your electric bill, you probably noticed that it had gone up. Again. When you think about how much money you’re spending on energy bills, you might remember hearing about solar power and solar panels.

If you know how much money you can save, you might wish you had solar energy and wonder how solar panels are built.

Purchasing expensive solar panels aren’t your only option. Believe it or not, DIY solar panels exist. There are, as with most things in life, advantages and disadvantages to homemade DIY solar panels.

One reason that a lot of people don’t seriously consider solar panels as an energy alternative is the money – just one solar panel system can cost up to $40,000. However, this is one way in which inexpensive DIY solar panels can be an advantage.

Anytime you do something yourself you’re going to save money. While buying a really expensive solar panel might not help you to save much money – not for a long time, anyway – DIY solar panels can help you to save money now on your energy bill.

A DIY solar panel might save you some money, but it also depends on how much your time and energy is worth to you.

If you are less mechanically inclined, or you haven’t had much experience with DIY projects, you might want to start off small, such as a DIY solar panel to solar power your sprinklers instead of a bigger one to solar power your whole house.

That way you can get an idea of what you’re doing and go from there. But even if you haven’t built a homemade solar panel before, you don’t need to be a mechanical engineer to build DIY solar panels.

This article will address more of what you need to know before you start building your homemade DIY solar panel than how to actually build a DIY solar panel.

This way you can get an idea of how much money it’s going to cost you and if it’s something that you really want to do before you get started.

DIY Solar Panels: Start With The Materials

Materials

First off, you’re going to need some materials. The following list of materials is based on a DIY solar panel to power a 12 volt DC garage door opener.

  • 36 Solar Cells
  • Plywood – 3/8” thick
  • Jones Plug
  • Silicone Caulk
  • Super glue and screws
  • Diode
  • Plexiglass
  • Tabbing wires – twisted pair of red and black or other opposing colors is best
  • Paint – preferably with UV protection
  • 12 volt battery

Some of these items are fairly self-explanatory as to what they are and where to find them, such as super glue and screws, but others might prove more difficult.

One of the easiest and cheapest places to buy monocrystalline solar cells is from eBay (most solar cells are made up of monocrystalline silicon, giving them the name of monocrystalline solar cells). You can get them used, but you’re probably better off spending a little extra to get new ones.

On ebay, solar cells tend to be sold in lots rather than individually. They’re fairly inexpensive – I’ve seen an auction for 75 monocrystalline solar cells, new, go for about $50, and that was including shipping.

You can find a Jones Plug at your local electronics store –if you just ask someone where things are in the store, a clerk is usually able to find it for you. They usually only run about 5 dollars, so they’re pretty inexpensive.

Just about everything else that you need to build DIY solar panels can be found at a hardware store.

Price of Materials

Here’s an estimated price rundown for the materials that you’re likely to need for DIY solar panels:

  • 36 Solar Cells – $25
  • Plywood – $8
  • Jones Plug – $5
  • Silicone Caulk – $5
  • Super glue and screws – $8
  • Diode – $2
  • Plexiglass – $10-15
  • Tabbing wires – $10
  • Paint – $12
  • 12 volt battery – $5-10

If you don’t have any of these parts already and you have to go out and buy them all, you’re looking at about $80-$90 for a small homemade DIY solar panel. Lots of places sell homemade DIY solar panel starter kits, which will often give you a discount because you’re buying things together.

Sometimes the price is higher, though, so it’s good to have an idea of how much money you’re looking at before you get sucked into one of those “deal of the century” things on the internet. It’s nice to know that a homemade solar panel is a relatively inexpensive DIY project.

As far as tools go, you don’t need much – just a ruler, a drill, and a saw if you haven’t precut your plywood to the size you need.

How Big Should the Battery Be?

As far as figuring out amounts goes for whatever homemade DIY solar panel project you decide to attempt, it all depends on what your DIY solar panel is going to power.

If you’re going to use it to power your 12V DC garage door opener, you’re going to need a 12V battery. To charge your 12 volt battery, your solar panel needs to generate at least 5 volts more than that.

Each solar cell produces only 0.5 volts of power, so to produce 18 volts of solar power for our garage door opener, we’d need 36.

What Will You Power?

Now, if you’ve decided to tackle your own homemade DIY solar panels, your next step is to decide what you’re going to solar power. Then you can figure out the math for what materials you’ll need and you can find the best deal for your money.

The actual building process is relatively simple, and you can find a step by step guide on the internet for little or no money, or if you do decide to go with a DIY solar panel kit, those usually come with instructions as well. Building your own solar panels will save you money on both the solar hardware and your energy bill. Give it a try!