How to Build a Solar Panel on a Tight Budget

How to Build a Solar Panel – this article will give you the basics on where to start, what you need and how to go about building a solar panel.

You have probably heard many times that you can build a solar panel and reduce your energy bills by thousands of dollars over the lifetime of your home. Friends, neighbours, TV, everybody seems to be putting a solar powered system on their roof or in their yard to generate electricity to heat their home and produce hot water. If you ever wondered how to go about it then read on.

If you are looking for detailed instructions, then have a look at this review on how to build a solar panel.

Here is one way on how to create or build a cheap home-made solar panel.  The methods are extremely simple, making the process possible for everyone. Here’s how:

Know how many watts you need to generate to power your home or office, etc. You can do this by getting your monthly utility bill and finding the average electrical consumption per month and dividing it by 30 (days) giving you your daily kilowatt/hour consumption per day.

The next step is to calculate how many solar arrays you need to make to meet your electrical consumption needs. Say for example you are consuming 14-kilowatt hours/day. An average array can generate 840 milliwatts per square feet. So you would need about 40,000 square inches or 285 square feet of photovoltaic cells for your house.

Monocrystalline and polycrystalline Solar cells are extremely expensive so to be able to save money try these simple tips:

1. Do not buy branded name products. A 70-watt cell is a 70-watt cell.

2. Purchase small units:  6-30 watt panels can cost half the amount of a 45-watt.

3. Look for free panels, contact your local DMV for used parts and see if you can get them for free or for just a few bucks.

Once you have acquired all your solar panels, mount them on a flat sheet of plastic or hardboard. Connect each cell to each other. Solder the cells together using thin soldering wire. Cover the cells with a sheet of Perspex.

The next step is to find the best place to locate your array. Using an amp reader and a volt meter, calculate the incoming amps by connecting to the panel and then slowly lift the top edge of the panel, facing into the sunlight, until the amps hit the highest point on your meter and then secure in position.

Having your solar panels installed, storage now comes into the picture.  To store the electricity produced you will need deep-cycle batteries.  Unlike your car battery, which is a shallow-cycle battery, deep-cycle batteries can be run right down while still maintaining long life. Copper wire is used to connect the panels to the batteries.

The commonly used deep-cycle batteries are lead-acid batteries and nickel-cadmium batteries. Nickel-cadmium batteries are more expensive, but last longer and can lose more of their charge without causing problems.

The use of batteries to store power requires installation of a charge controller to make it last for a long time.  A charge controller makes sure that fully charged batteries don’t get overloaded. It also makes sure that once the batteries have been drained to a predetermined level, they will be shut-off until they have been recharged.

Ever heard of the two types of electricity?  The two types of electricity are AC and DC.  DC is the electric current stored in batteries while AC is the current that most home appliance’s use.  To utilize the electricity stored in the batteries you will need an inverter. It is advised to use separate small inverters in every room.  This way if an inverter malfunctions only part of the house will be affected.


11 Comments on How to Build a Solar Panel on a Tight Budget

  1. Barbara on Wed, 8th Apr 2009 4:50 pm
  2. How do I make solar cells – I know you can buy solar panels but what if I wanted to make the solar cells, is this possible how would I go about making solar cells?

  3. Simon on Thu, 9th Apr 2009 10:48 am
  4. Solar cells are not that easy to manufacture, to make solar cells requires specialised equipment which is very expensive. It will be a lot easier, quicker and cheaper to purchase new solar cells or buy some damaged solar panels and repair the cells.

  5. Skifu on Thu, 9th Apr 2009 10:59 am
  6. how large of solar panels need to be if I build my own panels using bought solar cells?

  7. Simon on Thu, 9th Apr 2009 11:04 am
  8. It will depend on the size of solar cells you get hold of. Most cells produce about 2 watts so you would have 50 cells to make a 100 watt panel. You then layout the cells and cut the panel frame to size.

  9. Christian on Wed, 30th Sep 2009 2:21 pm
  10. How can I make a homemade solar electricity

  11. Simon on Tue, 10th Nov 2009 9:16 pm
  12. Hi Christian

    Have a read of this page

    You should find some answers there.

  13. m0neybiz on Sat, 30th Jan 2010 9:40 am
  14. How to Build a Solar Panel on a Tight Budget is a nice article.

  15. Damo on Mon, 1st Feb 2010 12:50 pm
  16. What would it cost to supply enough solar power to run an average household of two people with solar power and how often do the batteries have to be replaced and at what cost?

  17. dr majed on Thu, 18th Mar 2010 9:41 am
  18. i bought soler penals on 240watt 6 penals with 600ah 12volt batrries and 500 watt coverteer .how expncives be cause i am poor person .i pay all bill in instalment few few charges

  19. dr majed on Thu, 18th Mar 2010 9:45 am
  20. 5000 watt converter

  21. Henry on Tue, 15th Mar 2011 8:57 pm
  22. I want 2 construct a solar power panel and i’ve caught the solar panel and also mounted them, what is left is how 2 connect the cell that is +,- signs. Please can u give me the diagram for the source on how 2 be connected +,- signs

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