Exploiting Cheap Solar Cells for
DIY Green Energy Projects
(If you're looking for cheap solar cells
and don't need any more info, please scroll directly to the bottom of
this page, where you find many choices, at rock bottom, wholesale
Building your own solar panels using cheap solar cells
is one of the best ways to to not only lower your residential
electricity bill, it can be a fantastic way to make sure your home has
the energy it needs if you are ever in a situation where your local
power grid goes out.
While there are a few steps in making your own DIY solar panels, we'll
concentrate on the actual solar cells in this report, as they are the
materials in the system that actually take the solar power from the sun
and convert it to renewable, green energy.
Although there are other methods of converting sunlight to electricity,
such as thin film, here we will discuss two most common types of
"photovoltaic" cells you'll come across when building your own homemade
solar panels, which are monocrystalline
and polycrystalline cells.
In theory, monocrystalline cells
slightly higher efficiency than
polycrystalline cells, but in most actual home power systems the
difference between the two is negligible. However, with everything else
being even, including price, I'd suggest you stick with monocrystalline
Building your DIY solar panels consists of 3 main parts:
Wiring/soldering the solar cells together
Building a case/enclosure for the wiring and cells
that the 3 items above are for the solar panels only, and not the
entire system, which can include other parts such as deep-cycle
batteries, inverters, etc.
For our purposes here, we'll just discuss the cells and how to
solder/wire them together. Its actually very easy to do, it just takes
some time. Below are a couple of great videos that
explain the general process:
In the video above,
you'll find all the info you need to learn how to solder your solar
this video, Dan
Rojas explains the basic fundamentals of electricity and wiring for
your cells and panels.
The best place I've found online to find the cheapest solar cells at
warehouse prices is on eBay. Basically, what you're looking for is
monocrystalline cells. I recommend 3 different types for DIYers:
Tabbed Solar Cells
- These cells have "tabs" already attached, which cuts down on the work
you have to do soldering them the cells together by about half, and the
additional cost is almost nothing. It's real time-saver to look for
pre-tabbed or tabbed cells.
6x6 Cells - The
standard size for solar cells is 3 inches by 6 inches. However, we are
starting to see more and more 6 inch by 6 inch cells, which are twice
as big (and twice as powerful) as the standard size. What this means to
us it takes alot less work
soldering them together, compared to untabbed 3x3 cells.
Unfortunately, I haven't found any 6x6 cells that are also pre-tabbed.
I'm sure that someday soon we'll see them, but until then make sure you
get either pre-tabbed or 6x6 cells, as this will cut the time and
effort of joining them in half as compared to using 3x6 untabbed cells
featured in the two videos above.
Broken Cells - If
you really want the cheapest solar cells you can find, check out
"Broken" solar cells. They will still work if they are broken, you just
need to spend more time soldering the parts together. Broken can mean a
lot of things...Are they broken in half, for example. Or do they just
have a small chip on a corner or two? Be sure to consider just "how
broken" they are when considering buying broken cells.
Broken and chipped cells aren't optimal for all systems and have some
obvious disadvantages, but because of how inexpensive broken sells are,
they are perfect for things like learning and experimenting. For
example, use broken cells for a cool project for you kids or a Cub
Scout project where they make a battery operated toy run on solar
power. This is a great way to have fun and learn something very useful
at the same time and may lead your kids to a great future in a green
Here's a quick video that demos working with broken solar cells.
You can see that your craftsmanship or the condition of the cells
doesn't have to be perfect to build your own homemade small scale
electric power system using renewable energy:
DIY Solar Panels Using Broken Cells:
So far, we've just talked about solar cells, which make up just a part
of building your own solar panel system. For everything you need to
know, I really recommend this great info kit for making your own system.
After you click, you'll find a great instructional system that covers
everything you need to know about DIY solar panels. You'll get:
Introduction To Solar
Energy - You'll be taught all the basics about solar energy,
including all the materials and components of a complete solar panel
Building Your Solar Panel
- Easy to follow, step by step plans, diagrams and pictures that take
you through the entire process.
The Solar Calculator
- You get only access to this special tool that will calculate exactly
how many panels and how big your battery bank needs to be if you want
to be completely "off-grid". Just give it your basic info and let it do
the thinking for you!
How To Install And Mount
Solar Panels - Fully illustrated guide to get the results the
Solar Tax Credits And
Rebates - All the needed forms and info in one place. It's easy
to qualify for special tax credits that can pay for up to 30% of the
cost of your solar power system.
Electrical Wiring Plans
- Everything you need to know to keep your green energy power system
working in a safe and efficient way.
Series - In addition to many diagrams and pictures, you'll get
access to high-quality videos that walk you through the most important
parts of building your solar powered, renewable energy system. Make A Wind Turbine
- You'll even get a tutorial on how to build your very own wind
The best part is, you get the entire DIY green energy course in two
1. Instant access by way of online videos. No waiting to get started.
2. A high quality DVD is send to your home, so you can play many of the
lessons on your TV or PC, if they have a DVD player.
I've found that eBay almost always has the cheapest prices on solar
cells, often below warehouse prices. Go ahead and browse the options to
get more info. These listings are updated daily, if not more often, so
be sure to check back regularly to get the best deals.