The sun is the earth’s primary source of; sunlight; sunlight is converted to electricity directly using solar panels. Everybody knows how electricity is essential to our daily lives as it is used to run the various machines that make life better for everyone. Therefore, everyone is eager to know about solar panels, understand whether they can create one for themselves, and many other details concerning the equipment. This article provides learners and others on how they can make their available solar panels. Here is what you need to know:
Solar Panel Components
Solar panels are typically manufactured from six significant components; they include the following: photovoltaic cell or solar cell whose purpose is to generate electricity, the glass that protects the solar cells, the frame providing rigidity, the back sheet to lay solar cells, junction box for wiring enclosure and connection, and the encapsulant that acts as adhesives.
Most people cannot have direct access to these materials that are used for solar manufacture. Therefore, it is essential to note and understand the six components so that any person interested can plan and get the materials to make a self-made home solar panel.
The Photovoltaic Cell
When constructing a solar panel, the first thing you should give attention to is the solar cells, and the photovoltaic cells are responsible for converting sunlight into electricity. However, one solar cell cannot produce enough electricity that can be used, and thus the cells should be combined as a group to be helpful. The basic unit can generate a direct current of 0.5 to 1 voltage; even though this is reasonable, it is still too minimal for most applications. To attain a suitable DC voltage, the solar cells need to be connected in a series manner then get encapsulated in modules to make the solar panel. If one cell can generate 0.5 voltage, then if two of them are connected, they will produce 1 voltage, and they are called a module. A standard module contains about 28 to 36 cells connected in series, where a 28 cell module has 14 volts enough for charging 12 volts battery and other 12 volts devices. To connect two or more solar cells, one should have the basic knowledge of series and parallel connection, more like making battery connections to make a battery storage system. There are two standard solar cells sold in the market: the monocrystalline and polycrystalline cells, where they can be of the same size but with different inefficiency. You are advised to buy other cells if they fail you, like lousy solar or broken cells. The monocrystalline cells are black with an octagonal shape made from the highest and purest grades of silicone, thus making them expensive. However, they are worth the money because they are the most efficient than all the other solar cells. On the other hand, polycrystalline cells are bluish with a rectangular shape; they are much through simple processes that lower their purity of silicone content leading to reduced cell efficiency. Thus, monocrystalline cells are considered more efficient than polycrystalline cells, but none outperform the other in energy production. This happens because solar cells efficiency is affected by the size of cells and every solar cell have their efficiency based on the standard tests during manufacture. The ratings are always in percentages ranging from 15 to 205.
The glass serves as a PV cells protector and allows enough sunlight to pass through to the cells; they are made from anti-reflective materials. Tempered glasses have become the favorite for everyone, from new manufacturers to experts. However, some people still use flat plate glasses on their solar panels. Tampered glasses are created through thermal means, making them stronger than plate glasses, and therefore it is more expensive to produce, but the manufacturing price is currently reasonable and practical. Flat plate glass produces sharp and long shards when broken, unlike the tempered glass that shatters safely, thus making them safe for solar cells. Most amorphous solar panels utilize flat plate glasses because of their design and how it has been constructed. Manufacturers use tempered glass for mass production of solar panels; however, in DIY projects, you are advised to use Plexiglas, also known as acrylic glass, because it is safe. It can be expensive than the regular types of glass, but it does not break easily, and it is weather-resistant, where it can be glued or screwed to the frame.
Most frames are typically made from anodized aluminum meant to provide structure and rigidity to the solar panel. The aluminum frames are made to be compatible with the solar mounting systems and make it easy and safe to install on the roof or ground. It is primarily a rectangular frame where all the four corners of the solar panel are inserted; it is among the most straightforward components one can produce or make for their DIY projects. The size of the frame depends on the size of the solar; however, it should be thick enough and spacious to fit all the layers of a solar panel.
This is a layer of plastic film located at the back surface of the solar module; the layer protects the module from any unsafe Direct Current Voltage. However, its primary function is to insulate and protect the solar handler from shock, thus providing the safest, most efficient, and dependable electrical conductivity.It is wooden plywood where the solar frame gets screwed on the top and its sides; you should remember that the perforated hardboard is utilized to place and align the PV cells where it sits on top of this wooden backsheet gets fitted in the frame.
It is where the terminal wires and bypass diodes are situated and concealed; terminal wires are the positive and negative wires depending on the series connecting the PV cells. Moreover, they can easily be connected to another solar panel, battery system, inverter, or charger controller based on the system design. The bypass diodes prevent power from going back to the solar panel, especially where there is no production of electricity that can be at night or winter. Purchasing a junction box is not challenging; you can choose to buy online and wait for delivery if you still have time, but you can get one from the nearest hardware if you are fixed. Its primary purpose is to protect the terminal from dust, water, and other elements that can cause destruction. In addition, this is the source of the two wires, the red and the black one, the end of the two wires is protected by a PV accessory is known as the MC4 that is bought together with the junction box.
Encapsulant sheets ensure that water and dirt do not infiltrate the solar modules and act as a shock absorber protecting the PV cells. They have an adhesive bonding capability to glass, PV cells, and the backsheet where it is more of glue but stronger; they are made with Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate or EVA, and they are applied through lamination machines and processes. Solar panel manufacturers use vacuums and large ovens to seal the EVA sheet onto the solar panel. Encapsulants are thin plastic sheets with laminations on the top and bottom of the solar sheet cells where the bottom encapsulant makes the layer of the back sheet top where solar cells are placed and supported.