Can I Build a Solar Panel

Many people out there browsing this site are thinking to themselves, “Can I build a solar panel?” I am here to tell you that, yes, you can build a solar panel—and you should.

You should, first of all, because it’s fun.  When building a solar panel, you get to play with electricity. You get to cut wood, hammer wood and glue wood! You get to solder, seal and wire up. Not only that, but you get to work with technologically amazing solar cells!

In addition to all of that, you get to produce something that is of great value, unlike some other DIY projects that wind up just getting tossed in the basement!

So, you can do it, and you should do it. Now let me show you just how easy it really is. When you ask yourself, “Can I build a solar panel” you are really asking yourself two questions. Can I shop? Can I assemble? Let’s look at the first question.

Wait, before you do that, if this is your first visit here, stop by my about page, so I can introduce myself. Thanks.

Okay, let’s go! First of all, there are many suppliers that offer step-by-step guides that tell you exactly how to build a solar panel. Even though solar panels are relatively simple to build, it’s a good idea to get one of these sets of plans. Most will offer a combination of written material and audio/visual material. Check out the plans before buying to see if they make sense to you. Here is a list of the most popular guides I know.

Earth 4 Energy

DIY Solar Energy

DIY Solar Thermal Hot Water System

Build Your Own Solar Water Heater

Free Energy Options

Now that you have checked out those DIY solar panel plans, head over to my Solar Panel Guides: Righteous or Rubbish page to get some explanation in regards to the claims made by the companies who produce them (they make a few…Umm…exaggerations).

Okay, with your plans chosen, you’ll need to make sure you have the right tools. Fortunately, you’ve probably already got the tools necessary to build a solar panel—a hammer, a saw, a soldering iron, a screwdriver set, a set of wire cutters, wood clamps, a knife, a paintbrush—just the basics, really.

This is a clip from the Earth 4 Energy Instructional Video. It looks pretty good.

You’ll also need some timber to build the solar panel frame and housing, plus various bolts and screws, which you probably already have. For exact supply details, consult whichever set of plans you decide to follow. By the way, to see more comprehensive instructions, head over to my How to Build Your Own Solar Panel page, where you’ll find lots of great pictures and videos.

With the housing unit taken care of, you’ll be ready to purchase your solar cells and the tab wiring used to connect them. You’ll also need to pick up some EVA glue, solder and flux, and blocking diodes, which are used to stop unwanted current reversal. And don’t forget to grab some Plexiglas to cover the lid of the housing. Confused? Don’t worry. Your plans will tell you exactly what you need (I’m just giving you a basic idea).

Still got that nagging question, “Can I build a solar panel” in your mind? Just remember this, while the manufacturing of solar cells is technically challenging, assembling a solar panel just takes some good old-fashioned DIY skills. You can do it in a weekend. You just need to clear away some space to build and lay down your backing panel and frame.

This guy thought, “Can I build a solar panel?” …and then he did it! Check it out.

Then you’ll mount your cells on your backboard and connect them together with your wire. After that, you can add your blocking diodes and attach the cable that you will run to your batteries. Finally, you will cover the whole thing with Plexiglas and seal it up with silicone.

Another thing, before building your solar panel it is a good idea to decide exactly where you are going to mount it. Be sure to jump over to my How to Install Solar Panels page before making any decisions (there is important safety information there that you don’t want to miss.)

Also, if after looking around this site, you feel that building a solar panel from scratch may be a bit much for you, there are manufacturers that offer ready-to-build kits. You just unpack everything and assemble–easy as pie!

Most importantly, remember to have a good time. Building a solar panel is a fun and educational affair, and when you are finished you will have a solar panel that you can use to create your own energy!

And once you’re finished, you’ll have the answer to that question, “Can I build a solar panel?” That answer will be yes!

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you have found everything you need. If you do decide to build a solar panel, can please do me a big favor? I’d like to add a section to this site that showcases pictures and videos of readers building their own panels.

If you take pictures or make a video, please let me know using the Contact page. I would love to show the world your handy work!

Good luck with this and all of your home DIY projects!

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