Homemade Solar Panels - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 12 Old 08-07-2011 Thread Starter
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Homemade Solar Panels

Hey Everyone!!! This is my first post but I’ve been hiding here, reading and learning for a few years. I was wondering if anyone has made their own Solar Panels for their boat. I’ve made several for my home Solar system. When I first started building them, it was sort of an experiment to see if I could save some money…But also I wanted to learn about Solar with the hope of one day being able to build them with enough quality and durability that I could use them on my boat. What I want is to be able to build my solar panels to the size I need to fit the areas on my boat while allowing me to maximize the volts/watts for the space I have. What I found out is they are not hard to build at all if you have any mechanical skills and can soldier.

I’ve been buying my Solar cells un-tabbed from sellers on Ebay…Which means I have to soldier the tabs together. When I built my first one, I bought some that were listed as broken and got a real sweet deal. I thought for the price, I would be able to “practice” building a Solar Panel. Most of them had small chips in the sides and corners but most of them still put out 0.5 volts. Now I’m buying 40 new ones for under 50 bucks which allows me to build one panel with around 70 watts output. Each solar cell is 3x6 inches and has an average of 1.8 watts and 0.5 volts. Add some glass, a frame and Solar Cell Encapsulation and you have your own Homemade Solar Panel.

If anyone is interested, here is a link to a series of videos on how to make them but their are lots of them on Youtube. Robert does a good job explaining the process and I believe after watching them…You might want to give it a try.


‪How To Build A Solar Panel - Part 1‬‏ - YouTube
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post #2 of 12 Old 08-08-2011
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Pretty cool!
I don't think I'll be trying it anytime soon, but I am contemplating solar hot water.
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post #3 of 12 Old 10-03-2011
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post #4 of 12 Old 10-03-2011
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post #5 of 12 Old 10-06-2011
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Thanks for the link...

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post #6 of 12 Old 10-10-2011
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Excellent post, I have made all the panels that I use on my boat and a solar water heater. I have also made a water maker that works off of solar, it will produce about 8 to 10 gallons of water a day, just enough to keep the tanks full. I have also made a solar oven and dehydrator for food.
All of the solar stuff is easy to make if you use the KISS program. If you can get a copy of "Sailing the Farm" it is worth its weight in gold for info on this type of items.
Fair winds to all!!!!
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post #7 of 12 Old 10-10-2011
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I was going to go that route until I found Mono Crystalline solar cells and already built panels cheaper than I could make them on Alibaba.
You can buy a 240W panel for around $1.00USD/Watt
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post #8 of 12 Old 10-10-2011
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" I have also made a water maker that works off of solar, it will produce about 8 to 10 gallons of water a day,"
Can you share the details of that? Or do we have to buy it in book form?
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post #9 of 12 Old 10-11-2011
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" I have also made a water maker that works off of solar, it will produce about 8 to 10 gallons of water a day,"
Can you share the details of that? Or do we have to buy it in book form?
I do not see why you could not make a Solar powered RO water filter. It would just be another application of available power. Sounds fun to me.
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apogee, no one said you can't do it. Power in has to exceed power out. So, how much power does it take what system to produce 10 gallons per day of potable water from sea water?

An off-the-shelf Katadyn PowerSurvivor can supposedly put out 10 gallons in 3 hours, costs about $4000, requires about 300WH of power to do that. A single 100W solar panel dedicated to that for the midday hours would do the job, presumably allowing a bit more water to be stowed for...oh, wait, wouldn't need to store water for a rainy day. Just the overcast ones. Unless I've got my numbers wrong again. :-)

I guess the question is more like, how handy do you have to be to build that kind of watermaker on a better budget?
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