Alternative Energy

I was going to outline my journey of assembling solar panels from scratch, but after getting half-way, I realized it was cheaper just to buy them pre-made. The price of complete solar panels has gone down so much that it's not worth it to assemble your own. Just the price of the cells (which I managed to find dirt cheap) combined with materials (solder, etcetera) was more than the price of a completed panel. So my advice is: just buy a pre-made one and save your time and money!

However, if you are the science-y type and want to fool around with this stuff, feel free to give this experiment a try. I personally haven't done it myself, but the materials and methods are very basic. Even a teenager (with supervision) could probably do it! Click here to see.

Here is a picture of my solar panel to date - as you can see, they got badly chipped due to my husband moving them around. One strip was incorrectly wired together, so I just chucked it. So overall I got 4 strips attached together and connected. Despite the MASSIVE amounts of tutorials on how to daisy-chain solar cells together, there is virtually nothing about the next step of connecting them together into one positive and one negative feed.
UPDATE: I did test it in the sunshine. I bought a single panel recently the size of my hand and compared my homemade panel against it... and they produced the same amount of energy. So, a hand-size panel versus an arm-length size panel... my advice is to buy pre-made instead of making your own. Especially since photovoltaics are improving at a very fast rate.

Solar cells $25
Charge controller $5
Tabbing and bussing wire $5
Solder $40
Caulk/glue $5


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