How to Build a Solar Panel

There are many ways to build a solar panel. This is one of the simplest and will give you an idea of how it actually works.

Required Tools and Materials

Copper sheeting
2 tbsp of salt
Electric stove or hot plate
Micro-ammeter (can detect below 50 microamperes)
2 alligator clip leads
Wire cutter
Plastic bottle
Sheet metal shears

Step 1

Slice two pieces of copper sheeting. Make each one as big as the stove. Take one copper sheet and wash it. Use the sandpaper to remove any corrosion. Put the copper sheet on the stove burner. Turn on the burner and put the heat settings to the maximum level.

Step 2

The copper will turn black as it oxidizes. To build a solar panel successfully, the copper sheet needs to be left at the stove for 40 minutes. By this time it will be covered with black material. Turn off the burner. Allow the copper to cool down for half an hour.

Step 3

Take the copper sheeting. Wash it under running water. Take out the oxidized coating. Only remove what can be taken off. Don’t scrub too vigorously; you might break the copper.

Step 4

Cut the top part of the bottle so it resembles a bucket. Get the copper you did not wash. Bend it a little so it conforms to the shape of the bottle. You’ll need to put this copper in the bottle. To build a solar panel, you need to put the burned copper in the bottle too. Do not allow the two materials to make contact.

Step 5

Link an alligator clip lead onto each copper. Link the alligator clip attached to the non-blackened copper to the positive terminal of the micro-ammeter. Set the alligator clip lead on the blackened copper to the micro-ameter’s negative terminal.

Step 6

Pour hot water into several cups. Add salt into each cup. Stir until the salt dissipates completely. Carefully pour the liquid into the bottle. Make sure the alligator clip leads do not get wet. Make sure that an inch of the copper materials are over the water line.

Step 7

Look at the needle of the micro-ammeter. You will see a charge appear. After you build a solar panel, it’s time to put it to a test. Take it out into the sun. Watch how the charge goes up. The reason is that the apparatus takes the sun’s energy and transforms it into electricity.

Tips and Warnings

Although the device is simple, it shows you the basic principles behind even the largest solar panels. You can use the concepts here to make larger solar panels.

There are many solar panel designs available. Look at various designs to get some ideas as well. Different appliances will require bigger solar panels. Do some research so you can figure out how large a solar panel you need to power your house.

It takes a bit of effort to build a solar panel. However it opens the doors to a whole new energy source and could make a difference down the road.

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