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Parts List For Solar Panel Construction

Posted by Don Adams

We started building our own solar panels several years ago, after we stumbled on some solar cells that had gone up for auction.   Since then, we've gone through trial and error to determine what did (and didn't) work well.

We thought it would be worthwhile to give an updated parts list and general resource links for the solar panel construction.
 

SOLAR CELLS:  

We used 3 x 6 polycrystalline cells -Grade A

But, you could use 6 x 6 cells just as easily.
 

Available from eBay sources as well as US based suppliers (see kits below)
 

TEMPERED GLASS:  

We lucked out and found these as surplus on eBay.  This was glass especially made for solar with low iron and a modeled surface.  But other tempered glass will work along with plastics. But keep in mind that the plastic may “frost” over with long exposure to wind and sun, and they're less efficient.
 

Available from eBay sources as well as US based suppliers (see kits below)
 

FRAMING: 

We used aluminum “L” material 1” x ½” x 1/8” Thick for the frame and ½” x 1” x1/2”
 

“U” channel for the back braces. You could also make a frame using wood, but keep in mind that the frame is going to have constant exposure outside. We used www.mcmaster.com for the materials.
 

Also available from eBay sources as well as US based suppliers (see kits below)
 

ENCAPSULANT: 

We have used the following encapsulants with success:

Solar-Tite 386, Sylgard 184, Cell-Syl 1084-C, Cell Guard, Dow PV6010
 

Available from eBay sources as well as US based suppliers (see kits below)
 

TABBING WIRE: 

We bought this pretinned ribbon wire off of eBay.
 

Available from eBay sources as well as US based suppliers (see kits below)

  • 5mm Bus Wire
  • 2mm Cell Tab Wire

SOLDER: 

We used SN60 ROSIN CORE solder. ONLY USE ROSIN CORE!
 

Available from eBay sources as well as US based suppliers (see kits below)
 

Also: www.radioshack.com
 

SOLDER FLUX: 

We used Kester Flux Pens. Type 186 for the fronts and then an application of Type 951 first and then an application of Type 186 on top of that for the backs

These are ROSIN Fluxes.
 

Available from eBay sources as well as US based suppliers (see kits below)
 

SOLDER STATION: 

We found temperature controlled solder stations on eBay:

Kendall Model 937D. But a 40watt iron could work. You will need a working temperature of around 400 degrees C.
 

Available from eBay sources as well as US based suppliers (see kits below)
 

PROTECTION DIODES: 

We used Super Barrier Diodes, but regular diodes could work as well.

You will need diodes with 20 amp rating and over 40 volt specs. We did the protection by string on each panel.

www.digikey.comwww.newark.comwww.allied.com
 

Also available from eBay sources as well as US based suppliers (see kits below)
 

MULTIMETER / VOLTMETER
 

Sources: www.harborfreight.comwww.homedepot.comwww.radioshack.com

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KITS AND INFORMATION


 

PARTIAL KITS

www.everbrightsolar.comwww.mlsolar.com

Also available from eBay sources as well as US based suppliers
 

COMPLETE KITS

www.everbrightsolar.comwww.mlsolar.com

Also available from eBay sources as well as US based suppliers

KNOWN SOLAR MANUFACTURERS (US)

www.everbrightsolar.comwww.mlsolar.com
 

We also found the following Apple Apps very useful and am sure that these

same Apps are available for other devices:

PV Master, Ohmulator, WireCalc, 3DSunMoonHD