Solar Panel Build – More Power!Posted: January 21, 2012
A new solar panel is born – More Power!
As we learned from our feedback, solar cells must all be of the same size/power capacity to hook them in series properly. In the original solar panel we had snapped our third row of cells in half to get them to fit down the remaining glass and make it easy to solder together. That essentially limits the current output of the entire panel because the full size cells are choked by the limited current that can pass through the snapped cells. So we built another panel using all complete cells. It made it take a little longer wiring the cells together since we couldn’t just run down the straight line of them all, but we found that using tabbing wire for everything worked good. If you bend or fold the tabbing wire to make 90 degree angles it made it pretty easy to solder to the next cell.
Laying out the new solar panel
Wiring up the solar panel
You can see we bent and folded most of the tabbing wires for the last row. It went surprisingly well and the solar panel tested good on the first attempt 🙂
Another up close shot of the 3rd row wiring using the tabbing wire
Ready for Epoxy
And finally the solar panel is ready for full testing
The results are definitive! The new panel using cells in full (without breaking them in half) generates almost double the power! We tested it Jan 21st 2012 in full sun on a 25F degree day when the sun was almost mid sky.
First Solar Panel Attempt
22 Full & 11 half cells – essentially 27.5 cells worth of surface area
35 Watts (20.7V x 1.7A)
Second Solar Panel Attempt
28 Full Cells
59 Watts! (16.7V x 3.55A)
So now that we know how to build these DIY Solar Panels properly we just repeat the process. Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.