I was getting tired of powering a lot of the computers I use in my home office every month so decided to try out building some solar panels! I’m going to start off small, but try to plug the batteries into my existing electrical system. Luckily my fiance’s uncle is an electrician so he’ll be helping me with a lot of the dangerous stuff, my computer science degree can’t really take me too far on this. Although hopefully I’ll create some solution w/an arduino or raspberry pi to report on how well it’s working.
At the time of this writing it averages out to be roughly $2/Watt for a DIY solution, whereas purchasing a panel already constructed averages $4-$6/Watt, obviously much more!
I started off following the excellent guide located at mdpub.com, I highly recommend you check it out!
Here are the tools/items I purchased before I began:
- Soldering Iron ($7.60)
- Solder ($7.89)
- Flux Pen ($5.95)
- Silicon Caulk ($6.36)
- 31DQ03 Schottky Diodes ($10.10 on ebay for 24 which will be nice for future panel builds)
- 108 3×6 Solar Cells (Note: You need 36 to get 18V which with full sunlight will product about 60 watts)
More to come once everything arrives!
Update (6/1/14): Over a year later I’m finally heading over to Lowes to actually purchase the items to build the shadow box for the panels. Specifications:
- 3/8 inch thick plywood at: 45.75 x 22.25
- 3/4 x 3/4 wood for the outside of the box
- 2 pieces of pegboard at: 21.75 x 20.75
- Plexiglass: 45.75 x 22.25
- 1 inch dry wall screws
- white all weather paint
Original drawing from mdpub.com: