Almost everyone in the world is getting in the trend of using alternative energy to power their houses, but solar panels are not cheap, as you may have already known. So why not make a solar panel on your own?
After you are done reading this article, you will know how to make a homemade solar panel with household items. But before you can make a solar system with household items, you need to make sure you have these materials in your home first.
What You Will Need
Some of the items here can be found in any home, while others have to be bought but still are cheap. So do not worry, your wallet will not suffer.
Talcum Powder with Zinc Oxide
To make a solar cell with household items, we will need a substance that can absorb photon particles from sunlight and convert it to electrons. Titanium oxide is sometimes the choice for solar panels, but we want something cheaper, and so we use Zinc Oxide, which is commonly found in talcum powder.
This semiconductor is almost as good as Titanium Oxide, is chemically and mechanically stable and has no toxic properties. You can even find it in nature. That is why it is a good alternative.
Face wash with Carbon
Zinc oxide might be photon absorbent, but we still want to give our solar cell more photon absorbing capabilities. That is why we will put in a layer of carbon on it.
We choose face wash since carbon can be found in some products like activated charcoal. But if you have other carbon materials like actual charcoal, you can still use it.
Carbon can absorb sunlight instead of reflecting it, making our solar cell gather more energy.
White Glue and Silicone Sealant
For our chemicals to stick to our solar cell, we are going to need an adhesive. We choose white glue as our adhesive since it is very cheap and readily available in any school supplies store. Plus, it will also dissolve in water, which we will use later in making a solar cell.
As you may know, white glue becomes transparent when it dries up so it cannot block the sunlight, which means the process in our chemical components will not be disrupted.
The silicon sealant, on the other hand, will be used to mount our solar cells and hold the plastic sheets together.
Aluminum Tape and an Insulated Wire
Now that we can transform photons into electrons, we will need electrodes so our current can run on our solar cell. The best electrode we can use would be copper, but it can be expensive, so we choose an alternative, an aluminum tape.
It is much cheaper than copper tape, and although it is not as good as copper, it will still get the job done.
To connect the other solar cells to form a solar panel, we will need an insulated wire. Since each solar cell does not have that much voltage and power, we can use a small insulated wire like those in a flashlight to connect individual solar cells.
Our materials will need something to hold them all together, so to make solar cells at home, we choose a glass slide. One box can contain up to 50 slides and will not cost you more than 10$. This means you can create about 50 solar cells if you want to.
A glass slide is also durable enough to hold the materials in place even if exposed to sunlight. So it’s the best material to choose as our solar cell medium.
2 Transparent Plastic Sheets (12 x 8 inches)
After you are done with your solar cell, you will have to mount them and cover them from the elements, and a transparent plastic sheet will be enough. You can choose what kind of plastic sheet you want, but we opt for PVC. Just make sure that it is UV resistant.
Other than that, make sure that the plastic is not damaged. Otherwise, if it rains, you can easily damage your solar cells.
Step By Step Guide To Make A Homemade Solar Panel With Household Items
So now that you have the proper materials, you are now ready to make your solar panel. All you have to do is follow the steps below.
Step 1: Mix the Glue and Talcum powder, and mix the Glue and the Face wash in separate cups
So before you start, you will have to mix both of these solutions first. Get two cups, and in the first cup, mix the glue and talcum first. Make sure they are in equal portions, so if you have a spoonful of talcum, you need to pair it with a spoonful of Glue too.
Then add water to the mixture to make a diluted solution of paste. Mix it well in the cup until you achieve a uniform texture. Do the same for the glue and face wash mix. Ensure that you are not adding too much water, or else the solution may not stick to the aluminum.
Step 2: Attach an aluminum duct tape to the glass slide
Set aside first the two mixtures you have made and ready your slide and aluminum duct tape. Cut the duct tape enough for it to cover about 75% of the slide. We will not cover it all so we can mimic the positive and negative sides of a battery.
Step 3: Paint the aluminum with the facial wash mixture, then the talcum the mixture and let dry.
After covering 75% of one side with aluminum duct tape, you can now apply the two mixtures you have prepared. Apply the face wash and glue mix to the aluminum strip — about 75% of the aluminum strip. Then let it dry. You can use a blow dryer to make the process faster.
Apply the talcum and glue mixture over the face wash and glue and let it dry. Again, you can blow dry it to speed up the process.
Step 4: Cover the opposite side with aluminum duct tape and put two thin strips of aluminum tape on the mixture applied surface.
Now you are almost done with your homemade solar cell. The next step is to cover the other side fully and connect it with the non-mixture applied part on the opposite side. Then put two thin strips of aluminum tape on the mixture applied surface, connecting it with the non-mixture applied one.
Now your solar cell can collect sunlight and make the electricity flow through the aluminum.
Step 5: Expose to a light source, then test
So before you get excited, we need to find out first if your solar cell can collect solar energy. Expose it to a light bulb and use a multimeter to measure the voltage of your solar cell. Put the positive probe (red wire) on the side with no aluminum and the negative probe (black wire) with the aluminum tape.
The voltage of your solar cell will depend on how efficient it is.
Step 6: Repeat the process, connect the solar cells, and mount them.
If you can get at least 0.5 volt per solar cell, we can connect 12 of them in a series to build a solar panel with 6V. To connect them in a series, attach the positive end of one solar cell to the negative side of another cell until you have connected all ends of your solar cells.
Connect them in one direction to have a positive and negative end and mount them on a plastic sheet. Cover it with another plastic sheet and seal with a silicone sealant.
Test it with a multimeter so you can know how many volts your solar panel is.
So, did you enjoy reading this article? Solar panels can be expensive; that is why this inexpensive way of how to make a homemade solar panel with household items is great for anyone who is on a budget but wants to use alternative energy.
If you like what you have learned today, then be sure to leave a comment and share it with your friends. We would love to hear any of your suggestions or comments to create a better solar panel in the future.
Hi, I am Eddie, Cleanenergysummit’s content editor. It’s so much joy to work alongside Justin, as the idea of providing knowledge about using clean energy excites us.
I’ve been working to address any concerns or questions you may have as you transition to using solar electricity to power your home. Tune in to hear our advice and suggestions on anything clean energy. Welcome!