DIY, Energy, Initiatives, Solar|November 25, 2012 8:36 am

Building a Solar Panel

Building a Solar Panel

I’ve seen millions of posts of “How to Build a Solar Panel” step by step, telling you what to do, including the different parts and how to connect them, but most of them are very general in terms of where and how much would cost to get the parts for the panel.

I’ve been researching a lot this, just because my goal of building my own solar panel is to obtain the cheapest panel possible in order to see if I can pay the solar panel in the least amount of years.

This made me study a lot the prices of the solar cells, diodes, tabbing wires, and everything that I might need. Which while I was obtaining some of this parts I realized sometimes I made mistakes and sometimes I was right.
Ok, so here it goes

Building a Solar Panel:

After researching on the web this is the preliminary materials that I would need to do a Panel

+ 100 Solar Cells

+ 150 Feet (or 40 m ) of tabbing wire.

+ 10 feet of Bus Wire

+ Some 10 A Schottky Diodes.

+ 3 Solar Panel Junction Boxes.

+ Glass

+ L profiles

+ Some Sealant? ( I haven’t decided yet what to use)

1.- Start.. Where to get the Solar Cells.?

I started by looking where could I find the cheapest solar cell on the internet and I found a cheap solar cell that this guy was selling in 100 Solar Cells for $135 It was the cheapest [$/W] that I could find, about 2.37 [Watt] per US dollar, which brought me in to this mistake:

1st Mistake – I bought solar cells with 3 bus bars.

Building a Solar Panel

Solar Cells with 3 Bus Bars.

It is not a real mistake, but I didn’t realized that buying three bus bars cells would make me spend extra money in tabbing wire, but on the other hand the cells got home complete and cheap.

Although now instead of buying 30 meters of tabbing wire (which is what is recommended for 3 panels of 6 x 6 solar cells.) I would have to buy 40 meters of tabbing wire, about 120 feet, and no one sells 120 feet.. everyone sells 150. so I had to buy an extra 50 feet thanks to the third bus bar.

2nd Mistake – The delivery of the cells was by DHL.

I have nothing against DHL, they just take my shipments and they charge me for doing the customs.

In my country (Chile) if you buy stuff through Correos de Chile they not always charge you customs (I would say about 1 every 10 times they do), but in the case of DHL they always do.. so this time they charged me an extra 28% (approx.) for me to get the solar cells, but on the other hand, I received my solar cells in 7 days, and if I waited for the EMS or normal post it would have taken at least 6 weeks to get here, So.. Less time More money.

2.- Where to get the tabbing wire? (and how much tabbing wire?)

And now I am waiting for the tabbing wire to arrive home. I ordered it about 3 weeks ago to China, so I am specting it in 3 more weeks, I’ll let you know later how this goes.


Solar Cells $135
Solar Cells Customs $56.00
Tabbing Wire $11.48
Flux Pen $4.96
Total $207.44