Low-cost Solar Panels Are Easy To Make And Reconfigure

What’s the size of a deck of playing cards and can pump out enough power to charge your cellphone? These awesome little home-made magnetic solar panels!

[Christian Pedersen] has just published a guide on how to make these handy little solar panels, and they only cost about $1.25 each! They are capable of providing between 0 – 0.5V at 400-1000mA depending on the light available and load being driven.

All you need to make them is some multicrystalline solar cells, copper tape, Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA — a film used to protect solar panels) and Polycarbonate sheet for the external hard case. You can then assemble them in a matter of minutes, and laminate for a permanently sealed panel. He’s also added thin neodymium  magnets so the panels stick together when you arrange them in a line! Perhaps a future version could have the copper strips going in both directions to allow for larger arrays to be made.

He also has a complete BOM on his GitHub, and if you happen to be at the Maker Faire in San Mateo in May, he’ll be showing you how — in person!

[via Instructables]

18 thoughts on “Low-cost Solar Panels Are Easy To Make And Reconfigure

  1. ” 0 – 0.5V at 400-1000mA depending on load and lighting”
    hum, unless you live in desert in summer and have them angled perfectly, the specified ratings of those things are absolute off in “normal usage” for most people

  2. I once tried to make my own panel years ago, I bought a bunch of 3×6 sized cells and soldered individual tabs on them, also made a frame for them, but once I came to solder them together I discovered only about 9 of the 70+ cells actually yeilded the proper voltage under sunlight. I tried to see if I could re-solder the tabbing on some but they just wouldn’t work.

    Very. Cheesed. Off.

  3. Run through laminator… Because we all know that Solar panels are super durable and super flexible! The cracks are actually a benefit as they make the solar cells even more efficient!

  4. I thought it was a nice post when i red the title easy to make.. after read the article, sum the costs and see it gives around 55$ i ask, 55$ dolars for a 1W max solar panel is anything? or even if the 55$ is for 40 solar panels that in total gives you AT MAX 40X1W, sorry but am i crazy?

    Here in europe a 24v 100W solar panel costs around 100€, maybe 130$. So what’s the point of buying things separate and make it ourselves and have to do it, instead of buying it from a shop and simply use it?

    I thought it is disapointing creating something with all the pieces, actually he didn´t create nothing he mounted the pieces, when there are projects outhere that explain how to create sollar cells out of nothing.

        1. From 0.5v? It’s possible but I can’t help thinking things’d be better generating the power at nearer the voltage you need, less inefficient power conversion needed then. Solar panels are usually series-parallel, that is if you have enough cells, otherwise just series.

    1. I’m from europe too and I haven’t seen 100W panels at 100€ anywhere.

      Sure, my research it’s about a year old but the price for consumer ready panels(no DIY, no buying broken cells from ebay, …) was quite a bit higher.

  5. Cool.
    Also, by the way, does anyone know where I can get my hands on some small square solar panels/solar cells that have a voltage rating of at least 5V with a current rating of at least 200 mA that is around 3 inches x 3 inches? The smaller the size, the better.

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