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Homemade Solar Panel with Cells Bought from eBay

Today I stumbled upon a web site made by a guy (he’s an astronomer) who did his own very cheap solar panel. He has a remote property in Arizona and there isn’t any power source, so he had to improvise it by himself.

Basically, what our fellow did was buying the solar panels from eBay at a very low price ($74), process them so they can be build onto a cardboard, and secure them in place. This particular solar homemade solar panel gives him about 18V, enough to charge a 12V car battery and run small consumers around his home. The biggest problem was to remove the wax from the solar cells that protected them from shocks during transport.

The cells he ordered are 3×6 inches in size, all of them assembled should be giving about 60W. That’s enough for a start, keeping in mind that a normal person doesn’t use any power than a refrigerator during the day, while he is at work. The time when the user doesn’t use the energy, it can be stored into batteries.

It’s a pretty good idea, and for $74 it’s really worth it, compared to the sky-rocketing prices of solar cells present on the usual market. Imagine how much power you could generate with the homemade solar panel if you invested $1000 in this type of panel and put them onto your rooftop! You would theoretically power almost your entire home from them (supposing you have a CFC lighting, LCD TV set and an economic refrigerator. It’s really worth trying.

The same guy (by the way, his name is Michael Davis) has built a wind turbine this time to add excess power to his homemade solar panel.

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Comments

  • Al Love

    look at the state of the land and the mind set of the people, we need not look far to see green. To go green and to stay green is a system and in the process we need to get good info. I like what I see in your site and look forward to the next visit, great job….

  • http://hoverboarding.com Nick

    I’ve done the same thing before and found mine on eBay too! They were a little pricier though – around $300. Works great though, we don’t use the power for anything specific right now, but I used to have it hooked up to the back shed and used it for power tools, etc.

  • Stu

    Well, not totally bullshit, I built a solar panel similiar to this one. Plywood backing, wooden frame, painted and sealed up with silicon, plexiglass cover. Looked good, worked good. I used silicon to stick the cells down. It died after about a year. Cost me about $200 AU to built it. Succumb to condensation, hot and cold expansion contraction, vibration from wind etc etc. When I pulled it down (not working anymore) the solder joints were corroded, cells had many cracks, some tabbing had lifted.

    I pig headed bastard so I tried again. This time with 5mm PVC sheet for backing, stuck down to 5mm cement sheet to make it stiff as a board. I used silicon to stick a frame made of extruded square plastic to that. I made my cell strings with rosin core silver solder and used rosin flux. I stuck them with silicon same as before but after applying heat shrunken EVA film to completly encapsulate the cells and the soldered tabbing. I used aluminium box section stuck down in between rows of cells the same height as the frame……each row of six cells was like a separate section…..very strong. I used polycarbonate 5mm and used silicon to stick and seal it down. The wired hook up to two bolt heads inside the panel which the shafts of stick out through the frame, it is completely sealed up and airtight. I had strip heaters just under the panel to heat the air up inside it to expand it and expel as much air as possible before I sealed the final breather hole. There is a partial vaccum inside because in the cool the polycarbonate sheeting is sucked slightly concave. I’ve gone to extremes for what one can do in a backyard garage. That was over a year ago……and guess what….they are still working perfectly………but……and here is the big but……the panel cost me $400 AU and at least 40 hours of painstaking work to build….not including researching and all the thinking one does about how to overcome all the possible problems. The other thing is….how long will it work. It’s putting out about 70 watts…..it will pay for itself in 5 or 6 years…….then its free power after that…..if it goes the distance. Hate to disappoint you guys……..but it’s a labor of love……if the satisfaction of building it yourself and having it up there working turns you on…then go for it…..otherwise buy a commercial panel and get a warrenty.

  • John

    Total Bull*#!@ !!!!!!!

    The solar array you show here would last about a month on a roof! Don’t fall for this people this is a scam just like the Acai Berry scam. Next they’ll be saying that Oprah or CNN had a story about thses solar arrays and how they built a windmill during the show. Wake up people.

    John

  • hank williams

    i shall try as i may, thanx for the idea. i will contact you for the outcome.

  • http://www.survivalbill.ca/ Survival Bill

    I will have to check out ebay and see if their really are cheep cells..

    http://www.survivalbill.ca/
    http://www.survivalbill.ca/wordpress/

  • http://renewable-energy-tv.blogspot.com Uncle Ray

    Think about it, how long will it take to pay back that $74.00 investment?

    Great post!

  • http://www.alternativeenergybase.com Submit Alternative Energy Article

    Excellent story, thanks for sharing it.
    You mentioned to put the panels on the roof. Today there are thin film solar shingles that can easily cover almost all the roof surface.

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