Table of contents


Solar cells

Solar cell basics

Amorphous cells

Flexible solar cells

Crystalline solar cells

Monocrystalline and polycrystalline cells

New cells vs. old-style cells

Solar cell output

Watt rating of solar cells

Testing solar cells

Match solar cell output

Tools for testing solar cells

Using a calibrated cell

Solar panels

Solar panel output for different applications

Solar panel ratings

Designer watts

Finding and choosing cells for solar panels

Tab and bus ribbon

Panel frames

Thermal resistance

Moisture resistance

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Solar panels, continued

UV resistance

Glass in solar panels

Plexiglas in solar panels

Solar panel backing and sides

The benefits of long screws

Planning the panel wiring - series and parallel connections

Voltage and distance to the battery

Panel arrays and connections

Panel size and shape

Connecting solar cells

Choose and inspect the cells carefully

Preparing the tab ribbon



Soldering tips

Soldering technique

Types of solder

Building a solar panel

Materials and tools

Figuring panel output

Calculate the number of cells you will need

Plan the panel layout

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Building a solar panel, continued

Over-all panel length

Over-all panel width

Bar stock length

Cut the tab ribbon

Prepare the tab ribbon


Crimp the tab ribbon

Attach the tab ribbon to the cells

Pre-tabbed cells

Make a layout template

Solder the cells together

Prepare the panel structure

Attach the screen

Place the cells on the panel

Attach the tab ribbons to the bus ribbons

Insulate the bus connectors

Junction box

Test the panel

Seal the panel

A small solar panel array project

Solar II project specifications

Panel layout and dimensions

Table of contents

Panel construction details

Panel backing

Cutting the Plexiglas

Drilling the Plexiglas

Drill Plexiglas, backing and sidebars together

Output holes

Attach sidebars to backing

Attach screen to backing

Junction box

Tab and bus ribbon

Coating interior panel parts

Cell preparation

Tab ribbon length

Soldering tab ribbon to the cells

Cell layout template boards

String construction

Plexiglas cover

Panel clips

Purchasing and working with solar cells

Off-spec or cosmetically blemished solar cells

Repairing solar cells

Creating cell fingers

Using broken solar cells

Table of contents

Making tab and bus ribbon

Tinning the cut foil

Other options for connecting cells


De-aerate the silicone

Cutting the silicone

Solar electric system

Charge controllers

Cables and connectors


Mounting panels

Solar panel location


Panel maintenance


Tools and materials


Other titles of interest

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