Building a Solar Panel Part 1

by Kevin on April 27, 2009


I have started to build a solar panel to use for a class project here, and eventually in the Philippines. I searched the web and found that it’s possible to build a lower cost 60 watt PV panel, possible less than $200.00. One of my goals in building this panel is to learn more about this technology and to refine my skills. I also have a few of my middle school students that are eager to help and this will be a good learning experience for everyone involved.

I would also like to incorporate the solar panel into my large Mars Habitat project at the end of the school year. Maybe we will be able to generate enough power to run one of the fans. I’m not sure where all this will go, but I think it will be a fun project.

I already bought a piece of wood 3/8 inch thick, 2 feet by 4 feet plywood at the local store. This size wood is precut and easy to bring back to school. The only problem is that it’s a little warped. I’m not sure if this is critical or not. I plan to trim the perimeter with 1″ trim wood to add strength. Today I started to paint it and I’ll finish painting it tomorrow. So far, the cost of the wood, trim wood, paint and brush cost $38.00. Tomorrow I want to finish painting both sides and add the perimeter trim to strengthen the panel.