To make solar panels is definitely a big project even to those technically skilled. However, with mounting power bills and high purchase cost of manufactured solar kits, the idea of making your own panel is still tempting. So, exactly how hard it can be to build a home solar panel? If you merely know how to use an electric drill and a simple screwdriver, will that be enough?
Before we look into the details, let us make clear that what we are discussing here is how to make photovoltaic solar panels that produce electricity from sunlight for general home use. You may have heard about solar devices that can heat water, but those ones will not generate electricity for you.
Basically, your project can be carried out in two ways, either semi-DIY or full-DIY. By semi-DIY, you can purchase solar panel kits from the market and assemble the parts. Usually, these kits are quite straight forward with simple-to-follow instruction, and are really good for those with moderate handy-man skills. By full-DIY, you will be making your solar panel from scratch. Of course, a higher level of handy-man skill is required, in addition to a little ambition to challenge yourself.
Semi-DIY way - make from solar panel kitsYou can get the solar panel kit you need either locally or online, which usually include photovoltaic cells, wiring kits, installing hardware and mounting devices. Some kits are accompanied by plans or instructions in either printing or video form. Otherwise, you may like to purchase the plans separately so that a better result is more assured. Don't forget to also check with your local authority whether a permit is required or if you have to get a licensed worker to perform the job for you.
Full-DIY way - make from scratchBuilding your cells from scratch is much harder work. Use raw copper sheeting, heat it for 30 minutes to form copper oxide on its surface. Cool it, keep it alongside non-oxidized copper sheeting, add salt-water solution and submerge in a break-proof glass panel. Fix wiring and mounting jacks, and your low-voltage solar panel is done! Naturally you will need several of these lined up, enough for household use without risking using up all power halfway through the dark night!
Of course, to make solar panel from scratch is easily said than done, but don't get intimidated. There are very good guides available in the market, which will help you from A to Z. The full-DIY method is not just cost-effective, but provides lots of fun to those who really like experimenting. However, if you have more money than time, you may well start your project the semi-DIY way. In either case, always remember to check the licensing requirement by your local authority, so that you do not risk having to give up all your hard work.
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