How To Make A Solar Panel

A solar panel is often expensive. To avoid buying it, find out here how to make a solar panel by yourself … with soda cans!

how-to-make-solar-panel
John, who needed extra heat for his house, decided to build his own solar panel. The idea? Cans, assembled in long tubes, accumulate air that heats up when the sun shines and then blows into the house (here is a diagram to better understand the process).

solar-panel-process

Solarcellsales: John, How did you get the idea of ​​building a solar panel with cans?

John: I found the idea on the Internet. At first I could not believe that a panel of this type could heat the air as efficiently even when the outside temperature was around 0 ° C. So I had to try and check for myself. .

Is it hard to build?

No, everyone can do it by having basic tools on hand. You can build this solar panel in 4 or 5 days, spending only 2 hours a day.

However, when cured, the cans need a little time to dry. I made my solar panel in 3 or 4 weekends, as a simple pastime.

What is the power of the solar panel in cans?

It depends on its size. For a 2 m2 panel, you can have a maximum power of 2 kilowatts when exposed to bright sunlight.

It is good to make an auxiliary heating in a room of 20 or 30 m2. If you also want to make your solar panels based on cans, this guide is for you.

Hardware you will need:

– Can of soda and / or beer (about 225)

– Glue resistant to high temperatures

– Several planks of wood or plywood (15 mm)

– A plate of Plexiglass (3 mm)

– Rock wool (20 mm)

– Heat resistant black paint

– A fan (computer fan, to start)

– Two aluminum or PVC pipes

Note:

The dimensions of wood (or plywood) boards, Plexiglas plate and rockwool depend on the size of your future solar panel.

To be effective, count for example a 2 x 1 m board, or at least 15 columns of 15 cans.

1) Clean the cans, both inside and outside.

2) Enlarge the hole in the top of the bobbin (the one by which you drink) by cutting the aluminum from the center to the sides. Fold the cut parts inwards. Use gloves to avoid cutting.

3) Drill three large holes on the bottom of each bobbin using a needle.

panel-with-cans

4) Glue the cans together with the high temperature resistant glue. The top and bottom of each can fit together.  Illustration in this video:

5) Assemble the cans in several columns. Allow each column to dry by holding it against a fixed support to keep it straight.

cans-assembly

 

6) Cut 4 planks of wood / plywood to create the chassis of the solar panel (in which the cans will be placed). Assemble them into a frame.

Width of the frame: it must match that of all the columns of cans. Length: it must be greater than the columns of cans. Other boards will then “fix” the cans inside the chassis. (See step 11) •

7) Cut a wood / plywood board that will form the rear part of the chassis. It should apply perfectly to the framework created in the previous step. You get a “box” without lid.

 

wood-panel

8) For more waterproofing, siliconer (with heat resistant glue) the edges of the chassis.

9) Drill two large holes in the bottom of the chassis. A first in the top right corner, a second bottom left. These are the two air inlets. Nb: the size of the holes must match the size of the two hoses requested in the equipment list. The pipes will fit into the holes.

10) Cut two wooden boards: they will be positioned inside the chassis, in width, on both sides of the cans. Then puncture them with as many holes as you have columns of cans. Pay attention to the dimensions and spacing of the holes. Drill holes approximately 55 mm in diameter (depending on the diameter of the cans). The spacing between two holes corresponds to the space between two columns of cans.

cans-inside-wood-panel

 

11) Fasten the two perforated boards to the inside of the chassis. They will have to hold the columns of cans.

12) Add the rock wool to the bottom of the “box”, leaving both air inlets free.

13) Attach hooks to the back of the chassis that will hang the solar panel on the wall.

14) Paint the cans in black, then position them in the chassis.

15) Two empty spaces remain in the chassis, on either side of the columns of cans. Cover each with a black painted wood / plywood board.

final-panel

 

16) Attach the Plexiglass plate to the front of the chassis, with a maximum seal.

17) Your solar panel is almost finished. Check that it is working properly before fixing it to the wall by measuring the temperature at the air inlet and outlet of the panel.

18) Secure the panel to the wall.

19) Drill two holes in the wall corresponding to the air inlet and outlet of the panel.

20) Place the aluminum / PVC pipes in the holes. They allow air to circulate between the solar panel and the house.

Note: To improve air diffusion, you can also add filters on both holes and a check valve on the one dedicated to the air intake.

Your solar panel is now ready for use!

 

Additional  Resources

Fabriquez votre panneau solaire avec des canettes

 

 

 

Photovoltaic Cells

The different types of photovoltaic cells

A photovoltaic cell or solar cell is made of a semiconductor material that absorbs light energy and transforms it directly into electrical current.

Production of photovoltaic cells requires energy, and it is estimated that a photovoltaic cell must run for about 2 to 3 years depending on its technology to produce the energy that was needed for its manufacture.

Principle of operation

An individual cell, the basic unit of a photovoltaic system, produces only a very low electrical power, typically 1 to 3 W with a voltage of less than one volt.

To produce more power, the cells are assembled to form a module (or panel).

The series connections of several cells increase the voltage for the same current, while the parallel connection increases the current by maintaining the voltage. The output current, and thus the power, will be proportional to the surface of the module.

Advantages:

  • High reliability, no moving parts
  • Reduced maintenance, little or no running costs

Disadvantages:

  • High manufacturing cost
  • Intermittent operation, dependent on sunshine
  • Low yield

The main types of photovoltaic cells

Multi-junction cell

multi-junction-photovoltaic-cells

Multijunction photovoltaic cell
Credit: Spectrolab

The multi-junction cells are composed of different layers which allow to convert different parts of the solar spectrum and thus to obtain the best conversion efficiency.

Advantages:

  • Unmatched performance

Disadvantages:

  • No commercial application

Additional Data:

  • Record laboratory yield: about 40% (under a concentration of 240 suns)
  • Developed for space applications, this type of cell is not yet commercially available

Monocrystalline photovoltaic cell

monocrystalline-silicon-cell

Monocrystalline photovoltaic cell

During cooling, the molten silicon solidifies by forming only one large crystal. The crystal is then cut into thin slices which will give the cells. These cells are generally of uniform blue color.

 Advantages:

  • Very good efficiency (about 150 Wc / m²)
  • Long life (+/- 30 years)

 

Disadvantages:

  • High cost
  • Low output at low illumination

Additional Data:

  • Commercial module efficiency: 12 to 20%, Record laboratory yield: about 25%
  • High cost

Polycrystalline photovoltaic cell

polycrystalline-silicon-cell

Polycrystalline photovoltaic cell

During the cooling of the silicon, several crystals are formed. This kind of cell is also blue, but not uniform, we can distinguish patterns created by different crystals.

Advantages :

  • Good efficiency (about 100 Wc / m²)
  • Long life (+/- 30 years)
  • Better market than monocrystalline

Disadvantages:

  • Low output at low illumination.

Additional information:

  • Commercial module efficiency: 11 to 15%, Record laboratory yield: about 20%

This type of cells have for the moment the best value for money

CIS thin fil silicon cell

copper-indium-selenium-cell

Photovoltaic cell
Copper – indium – selenium (CIS)
Credit: 
Solar World

CIS cells represent the new generation of solar cells in the form of copper-indium-selenium (CIS) thin films. The raw materials needed to manufacture CIS cells are easier to obtain than the silicon used in conventional photovoltaic cells. Moreover, their energy conversion efficiency is the highest to date for thin-film photovoltaic cells.

Advantages :

  • Provides the best performance compared to other thin-film photovoltaic cells
  • Allows to get rid of the silicon
  • Materials used do not cause toxicity
  • The cell may be constructed on a flexible substrate

Disadvantages:

  • Thin layer cells require a larger area to achieve the same yields as thick cells

Additional Data:

  • Commercial module efficiency: 9 to 11%, Record laboratory yield: approximately 19.3%

Amorphous photovoltaic cell

amorphous-photovoltaic-cell

Amorphous photovoltaic cell

The silicon during its transformation produces a gas, which is projected onto a sheet of glass. The cell is very dark gray or brown. It is the cell of so-called “solar” calculators and watches.

Advantages :

  • Operate with low illumination
  • Cheap compared to other cell types
  • Less sensitive to high temperatures

Disadvantages:

  • Low yield in full sun (about 60 Wc / m²), the cells in thin layer requires a larger surface to reach the same yields as the thick cells
  • Short life (+/- 10 years), performances that decrease significantly with time

Additional information:

  • Commercial module efficiency: 5 to 9%, Record laboratory yield: about 13.4%

CZTS Cell(Copper Zinc Etain Sulfur)

czts-cells

Still in the development phase (as of 2016) and thus not yet commercialized, CZTS cells, made from non-toxic minerals – unlike silicon – have the advantage of being fine, and can therefore be applied to flexible supports.

CZTS cells belong to the category of “thin film” solar cells, which constitute the new generation of solar technology. These solar cells as thin as a film film are manufactured by affixing a thin layer of solar absorbing material to a support such as glass or plastic which has the advantage of being flexible.

In April 2016, the team of Dr. Xiaojing Hao of the Australian Center for Advanced Photovoltaics was able to achieve a record 7.6% for cells of one cm2. These results are constantly improving. The team was achieving a 5.5% return in 2013 and a 6.6% return in 2015. The target is to reach 20%, which would allow this technology to be put on the market.

CZTS have many advantages. They are thin, and measure barely 1 to 5 μm thick, whereas the silicon cells make 200 to 350 μm. Currently, nearly 90% of installed panels are composed of silicon cells, with an average efficiency of 21%. CZTS thin cells can be used on all types of substrates, unlike silicon cells, which makes it possible to design curved, transparent, or superimposed surfaces of other materials.

Advantages :

  • Use of common and non-toxic raw materials
  • Applicable on flexible supports

Disadvantages:

  • Reliability unknown
  • Average yield

Summary

The challenges of photovoltaic cells remain: to continue to lower the cost of solar energy, to find ways to give more solar cells more durability, to use abundant and non-toxic materials; which will give solar power its full potential.

 

All about solar systems

Welcome to SolarCellSales.com your one stop shop authority on Solar Cells.

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We will be sharing some valuable information on how you can use Solar Cells technology to lower your power bills and gain energy independence.

We are passionate about everything energy efficient and are committed to bringing you the latest on Solar energy.

Starting with the basic definition of what solar cells are, how they work and how you can incorporate them in your day to day life.

We will help you out in your search for answers to cut your energy bill and increase your home value in the process!

Stay tuned.

The Solar Cells Sales Team.