Filed under: Projects. Tagged as: how to build solar panels, how to construct solar panels, how to create solar panels, how to make solar panels, installing solar panels.
In Part 1 I started showing you how to build solar panels. This article, part 2, shows you how I completed building the solar panels.
The front plate is made from 0.22 inch thick plexiglass. This allows a more rugged panel than regular glass, which was important for me.
The cells are 3.25 inches by 6 inches. While I could have gotten a smaller piece of plexiglass for my DIY solar panels, I wanted to leave enough room between each string to ‘buff’ with sandpaper. This can be seen in the picture as white stripes. By buffing the plexiglass, it gives the fiberglass resin a better surface to bond to. Another reason for using an oversized panel is that the plexiglass will try to bend as it gets hot. You’ll want it mounted really well to a stiff mounting board to prevent this.
Once I had all the tinned tails attached to the cells, I then wired them up front-to-back to create a string of solar cells in series. I did four strings of 10 cells.
In this picture, you can see one string of ten cells lined up and ready to string. Once I lay the four strings on, I have to wire them in series as well. At this point of my DIY solar panel, I am ready to fiberglass the cells into position.
The fiberglass and resin was obtained from TAP plastics. The resin is a clear, UV stable surf board resin. I used a little more than half a gallon of resin, but you could probably get away with exactly one half gallon. The fiberglass was 6oz cloth.
You can see that as the resin soaks into the cloth, it becomes transparent. Once the resin dries, it is perfectly clear. Those ‘buffed’ lines from the sandpaper will also be filled in and be as clear as glass.