Because solar panels can transform the sun’s energy into electricity, they have become viable energy alternatives. If you want to build a solar panel to save on power or just curious, here’s how.
Required Tools and Materials
Two alligator clip leads
Electric drill with sand paper
1/2 foot square sheet of copper flashing
3 tbsp of salt
One 2 L plastic bottle
Micro-ammeter (can read between 10 and 50 microamperes)
Sheet metal shears
100W stove or hot plate
Cut the copper flashing with the metal shears. Cut it into a rectangle shape small enough for the burner. Ensure that the copper has no dirt whatsoever. Remove any signs of corrosion with the sandpaper.
Put the copper flashing on the hot plate or burner. Turn the burner on to cook the flashing. Keep cooking until black cupric oxide appears. This may take half an hour.
Let the copper cool before you proceed to build a solar panel. As it cools, the material will flake off. This is normal.
When the copper has cooled completely, scrub off all the black oxide. You can do this too under running water. Don’t be too harsh with the scrubbing; you do not want to remove the red cuprous oxide.
Get another copper piece. Slice it with the same dimensions as the one you just cooked. Use the alligator clips to join the two panels inside the bottle. Be sure the top has been cut off. Be certain the panels do not make contact. Make certain too that the panels are bent to conform to the bottle’s curve.
Join the alligator lead clip on the meter’s positive terminal. Get the cuprous oxide plate and join it to the negative terminal.
Pour hot tap water in a glass. Dissolve some salt in it. Make just enough to conceal the plate bottoms. The high clips should be kept dry.
Put the solar panel in direct sunlight. You will see the gauge move up.
Tips and Warnings
This project is fairly safe, but you should still wear eye goggles to protect your eyes. Do not attempt to do this project with small children. With older children, it is all right to do so.
Take your time when you build a solar panel. You need to be patient, especially during the cooking process. You must also be careful when washing. Again, the red oxide must not be taken off.