The first step in learning how to build a solar panel is in knowing what materials and components are needed. The parts listed in this article is meant for building a solar panel capable of powering up small appliances like your garden sprinkler or automatic gate opener.
Now, let's look at the materials we need:
You have two options - to buy new solar cells or salvage used ones. Obviously it'll be more costly to buy new solar cells. If you're on a tight budget, you can even get broken solar cells and join them together. But if you're not comfortable doing this, it will be less frustrating to work with new solar cells instead.
You'll need three-eighth inch thick plywood and these are easily available in your local hardware store. Some art supply shops sell plywood frames, so you can use this as well if you know how.
Jones Plug. A 2-pin Jones plug is necessary to connect your solar panel to the rest of the solar powered circuit.
This is a waterproof seal that is commonly used for fixing bathtubs and kitchen sink.
Super glue and screws. Some super glue (or wood glue) is needed to hold the pieces together before you turn the screws in.
The best types of wire for a solar panel are those that come as a twisted pair of red and black. Chances of mixing up their polarity reduce dramatically with these types of wire.
Since the solar panel is placed outdoor, it is necessary to protect the wood from elements such as precipitation, dew and moisture.
The diode ensures that electricity only flows from the solar panel into the battery, never in the opposite direction. This is to make sure that the battery is not discharged into the solar panel during the night.
This is a protective cover over the solar cells. Plexiglass is often preferred over glass because it doesn't break easily and is easier to handle.
Having a battery ensures that your appliance continues to run even at night or on very cloudy days.
The above are the components you need to put together a solar power system that can supply electricity to a small appliance.