Installing solar panels on your home can provide clean, renewable energy and reduce your electricity bills. While pre-made solar panel systems can be expensive, you can build your own basic solar panel system with common household materials for a fraction of the cost. Here is an in-depth guide on how to build a DIY solar panel system for your home using common materials found around the house.

Gather the Necessary Materials

The main components needed to build a simple solar panel are solar cells, a frame, wiring, and a protective casing. Here are the common household items you'll need:

Solar Cells




Connect the Solar Cells

To start, thoroughly clean each solar cell with soapy water and let dry. The cells can then be soldered together into columns of 9 cells, with the tabs spaced evenly across the back of each cell.

Use the tabbing wire to solder together the metal busbars on the back of each cell. Solder the middle tabbing wire first, then alternate between the positive and negative sides to connect all 9 cells into a column.

Next, use the thicker bus wire to interconnect each column by soldering them together in series. Connect the positive tab of one column to the negative tab of the next.

This completes the solar cell matrix ready to be mounted in the frame.

Build the Frame

The solar cells need to be sealed and protected from the elements. A simple wooden frame and glass sheet provides structure and weatherproofing.

Cut a rectangle out of the plywood or timber slightly larger than your solar cell matrix. Apply silicone sealant around the inside edges of the frame.

Carefully place the solar cells inside the frame, pressing them into the sealant to secure them.

Cut the glass pane to size and place it over the top of the cells, pushing it into the sealant to hold it in place. Apply insulation foam around the edges for further weather sealing.

Allow several hours for the sealant to fully cure and adhere the cells into the frame.

Connect Wiring and Components

With the solar cells mounted, you can now do the internal wiring and connect the external components.

Attach the positive and negative MC4 connectors to the bus wire leads from the solar panel. Connect the charge controller, battery and inverter with electrical wire according to a standard solar power system wiring diagram.

A simple on-off charge controller helps regulate charging. Connect solar panel MC4 cables to the controller's solar input. Run positive and negative wires from the controller's battery terminal to the battery.

Finally, connect the battery to the DC input of the inverter. The inverter converts the DC electricity into 120V AC power suitable for household electrical outlets.

With the wiring complete, your DIY solar panel can be mounted on your roof, connected to batteries and an inverter to produce free renewable energy for your home!

Position and Maintain the Solar Panel

To maximize solar electricity generation, position your DIY solar panel on a south facing section of roof tilted at an angle equal to your latitude.

Ensure all connections are secure and watertight. Check wiring connections occasionally for corrosion. Keep the glass surface clean using a soft cloth and mild detergent, avoiding harsh cleaners.

DIY solar panels require more maintenance than professionally installed panels. Check your system frequently and replace any worn components when required. But with these simple steps, your homemade solar panel can provide free clean energy for years to come.

Building your own solar panel system from common household materials is a rewarding project that provides real power generation benefits. Follow this guide and with some basic DIY skills you can construct a fully functioning solar panel for a fraction of the commercial cost.