A Quick and simple 101 Guide to Solar Power Production

solar power

Making a solar panel at home is quite a daunting task and something that shouldn’t be tried without fully committing personally to a lot of work. It may not be rocket science but it’s certainly a tricky and time consuming process. If you are the kind of person who thinks a hammer is nothing but an odd-shaped door stop, it might be to your advantage to leave the solar panel construction to professionals.

However, making your own solar panels can definitely be considered a rewarding home project and also by taking on this kind of project yourself you possibly can significantly cut your costs – by 50 to 80% – over the commercially available solar panel.

Since the too high price of solar panels is within large part due to the high cost of solar cells, you’ll achieve much of your cost reduction by buying damaged and used solar panels from sites such as eBay. Thereafter, using your ingenuity and some handy DIY skills, the one thing between you and a working solar panel is time and effort.

For the moment however, let’s undertake a much more easier task and make a single solar cell. This project is excellent fun and may show the fundamental as well as simple concept behind solar power.

What Will You Need:

1. Copper sheeting.
2. 2 alligator clip lead cables.
3. A sensitive micro-ammeter (you could find this at Radio Shack).
4. An electrical stove or perhaps a one burner hot plate should you have a gas range. If you are buying a hot plate ensure it’s at least 1100 watts.
5. A huge clear plastic bottle. Think 2 Liter Coke or Mineral Water bottles with the top cut-off.
6. A few tablespoons of salt.
7. Water.
8. Sand paper, steel wool or perhaps a wire brush attachment for the electric drill.
9. Metal sheers.

How it is done:

1. Cut a piece of copper sheeting at around the size of the stove burner. (Ensure that you clean up the copper sheet making use of sandpaper or steel wool to remove any sulfide and/or light corrosion.

2. Heat the copper sheet to the burner (in the highest heat setting)

When the copper increases its’ temperature the color will change black with a layer of cupric oxide. That is normal. Let the copper “cook” for around half an hour.

3. After a half hour turn off the burner and wait until copper cool. It will shrink – also quite common. The black cupric oxide will begin to flake and detach as the two oxides and copper shrink. It may need approximately twenty minutes for the copper for cooling, at which point you will have to remove any excess cupric oxide black film left in the copper. You can scrub lightly together with your hands below your tap.

At this stage cut another piece of copper at a similar size and dimensions since the “cooked” copper.

4. Place both copper sheets into the plastic bottle, bending them carefully to fit and ensuring they do not touch.

5. Place the two alligator clips to each sheet, connecting the positive lead (from the “Clean copper sheet”) to the positive terminal of the meter, and the negative lead (the “cooked” copper sheet) towards the negative terminal of the meter.

6. Combine your 2 tablespoons of salt along with some hot water. Stir till the salt is dissolved.

7. Carefully pour the salt water into the plastic bottle being careful in order to avoid pouring onto the leads. A good guideline is to leave no less than an inch amongst the water and the leads to help you move around the device with relative ease.

A solar cell is a battery, so you can expect that even in the dark your meter will show just a few micro amps of current. Don’t expect that it’ll light a baseball field though, also it would take acres these (literally) to power your house. I sincerely doubt there would be sufficient power generated by this to power the light bulb. Nonetheless, as soon as you put this device in the sunlight you will observe the meter jump to 30+ microamps of current – which may be enough to use your new solar cell just like a light meter or light detector.

Creating a home solar panel is definitely an entirely different beast from this, nevertheless , you now have a basic thought of how a single solar cell functions. To make a solar panel you will need to buy a great deal of prefabricated solar cells – second-hand (as outlined above) if you would like spend less. Once you’ve the cells, you will require a water tight and robust enclosure to help keep the elements from damaging your solar cells. Solar panels are very delicate. The process of making the cells work within your panel enclosure is really a relatively easy process.

So that’s it, solar power 101. Just for fun, give this a try one day when you’re bored. There’s nothing more satisfying than creating power from nothing but sunlight.

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