Monday, December 14, 2009

Building My First Solar Cell Array Panel

Just finished building a medium scale solar cell array panel to power some small electronics outdoors. Here're some pictures of the construction and the end result:


This is a closeup of a solar panel. These are polycarbonate panels that generate about 1.75 watts of power. I got them from this eBay seller http://myworld.ebay.com/rebeccayi0904


A closeup of a 6 panels connected in serial. The multimeter reads 3.20 volts. I was getting an average of 3.1 volts on a sunny day. When it's cloudy the voltage did not drop very noticeably, but the amps did fall quite rapidly.





A closer look at how the panels are connected. These are the "buses" that transmit the electricity from one panel to the next. The front side of the panel is the negative and the back side is the positive.









The final product. Sorry for the lousy lighting. I will try to take a better picture later. Total output on a sunny day: about 30 watts and 2.2 amps with 12.2 volts. These results will be dramatically different under cloudy days.





Inspiration for this project came from.http://solartechtown.com/how-to-build-a-solar-panel/. His video tutorials and explanations are very clear and simple.

Conclusions:
  1. I definitively suck at carpentry or anything that requires extreme detail wood work. Even with the right tools i make more mistakes than...@#%#@!!
  2. MDF sucks! :)
  3. Connecting these solar cells was harder than i thought. It is an exercise on patience and perseverance. If you've committed lots of sins, this is a good way to atone!
  4. Oh... i also hate plexyglass... but it's better than regular glass
Hopefully you learn a little from my experience and produce a better product from it. Good luck!

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