Parts To Build Solar Panels

by:Longsun     2020-05-24
What are the parts to build solar panels? It may or may not surprise you that there are very few parts needed to build solar panels. Obviously, the most important part is the solar cells so lets start there. We're going to be building our solar panel our of poly or multicrystalline solar cells. These are the ones that you see all the time is solar panels. There are also a third kind of solar cells called thin film solar cells; however, their efficiency isn't quite as high as the silicon cells (yet). If you just hop onto eBay you can find pretty inexpensive solar cells. There are several different kinds of cells you can buy which I'll go over. Whatever you do do not buy any broken or chipped cells. These cells are garbage. You can basically buy untabbed or pre-tabbed solar cells. The difference between them is a couple hours of work. Untabbed cells add a couple hours to the build time of your solar panel. Tabbed solar cells make it easier and faster to build your solar panel although they do cost a little bit more (not much). Depending on which cells you buy you may need tabbing wire as well. Tabbing wire is simply flat thin wire which is used to tab solar cells. It's available in spools and doesn't cost too much. You're also going to need something called bus wire. Let me explain what it's for. The solar cells get hooked into strings (usually 5-6 per string) and the strings need to get connected together. That's what the bus wire is for. It allows you to connect the strings of cells together without adding to the thickness of your solar panel. You're also going to need a soldering iron with some solder and flux. Soldering isn't that hard and soldering solar cells doesn't require anything special. As long as you can hold it you'll be able to solder. In addition you'll need a sheet of plexiglass (a thin piece works great) and a 2' x 4' piece of plywood. The plywood gets painted (I use white) so it looks more professional. You're going to need about 2 tubes of clear silicone as well. The strings of cells get siliconed into place and that creates a very good moisture barrier. It's important to use a fair amount because you don't want any moisture to get into your panel. Lastly, you'll need some tools like a scroll saw, caulking gun, pliers etc. Whatever tools you have at home will work just fine. There really isn't that many parts used to build solar panels. I recommend a beginner start with tabbed solar cells so you can learn the process of building a panel. If you want a challenge you can use untabbed cells in later panels. Just remember that it does add a couple hours to the build time.
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