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DIY solar panel
#1
Hello!

  Hopefully a simple one.   I am wanting to make a 48v system but do not have the budget for a good build to do it so far.  So i am going to build a modular style 12v that can be rewired later into a 48v system.  I have about 1k worth of cells that need to be tabbed and connected.  
 Looking for a little guidance/suggestions on the best way to make the 12v system so that it can be changed from a parallel system to series system when i get the budget later down the line. they are standard cells that are 3x6.  I have about 530 to 560 cells total.

If i am leaving something out, let me know and I will update with that information.  

CB
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#2
Lithium Cobalt can not effectively/properly be configured for a 12V setup. The reason being you get either 3s or 4s, which both are not suitable.

However, a 24V system is. It is generally wired up as 7s. Which, to make 48V, you just double them together to get 14s.
Which, 14 cannot be equally divided by 3 or 4. So this is another reason to not go this route, unless you want to completely rewire your setup.

And to add, if you don't have a large enough budget to make a 48V system now, you won't have a good budget to convert over later. The reason being, you will need to use much heavier wire for the 12V/24V over the 48V. The inverters for 12V/24V are not that much cheaper than 48V, and they cannot be used with 48V, meaning you have to re-invest in inverters.
The same goes for the chargers.

In the end, you will have spent at least twice as much than if you just waited a bit longer to build the 48V system. This is one reason why I have not built my powerwall yet as I have not been able to buy the 48V equipment yet.

And buying cheaper equipment with the mindset of selling it later to recoup the losses, is not gonna work. A used inverter goes for about 3/4 of a new one.


hahah, just noticed, you say 530 to 560 cells, and I was thinking battery cells, not solar cells Tongue doh! The above is still valid, though

for 12V "solar", I agree with Jason below. There's also several videos that show the process of making the panels. Have you watched those? I'll look for some of the ones I have seen and post them later.
Proceed with caution. Knowledge is Power! Literally! Cool 
Knowledge is Power; Absolute Knowledge is Absolutely Shocking!
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#3
Be very carefull with the solar cells. They are easy to break and become brittle from heating/soldering them
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#4
Each cell will be around 0.5V so you can wire 24s sets and then combine these into parallel / series sets to scale up to 48V. Depends on the cell specifications (Vmp / Voc/ Amp) and what you are mounting the cells on / covering them with - size of the board / glass.
Korishan likes this post
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#5
I know DIY solar panels sounds like a great project, but unless you got those cells for free it's easier (and probably cheaper in the long run) to buy used panels. You can get a used panel for around $50USD if you look hard enough. It's properly sealed so will last the 20 years that it's rated for. This probably hard to achieve with a DIY panel.

Most residential panels are made with 6x6 cells and in a 60 cell configuration. This will give anywhere from 200 to 300watts of power. The average voltage is 30Voc.
Some commercial panels are made with 6x6 cells and in a 72 cell configuration.

There's no 48V panel. Instead the solar charge controller handles the charging aspects. For example some MPPT charge controllers handle 500VDC. So all those panels will be linked in series until they reach 500VDC. Then it will buck the voltage to charge a 48V battery bank, or a 24V battery bank, etc.
Crimp Daddy and ozz93666 like this post
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#6
Thanks for the replys, will use the to do .ore research.
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#7
(07-13-2018, 04:24 PM)CBlack Wrote: Hello!..... they are standard cells that are 3x6.  I have about 530 to 560 cells total.....

Your post is not too clear CBlack .... you mean you have 550 of these ... these are 3x6 cells  .....

[Image: s-l225.jpg]

If so , I don't quite think you  realise what you are getting into !!! 

I spent a long time playing with these , building my own panels ... not to save money , I very soon realised to make your own panels is more expensive than buying them ready made ... I did it for the education and experience .....

You have to first solder them together using tab wire , a tricky and skilled job .... then they have to be Encapsulated  ...

Two ways of doing this , either buy liquid resin encapsulator ....ridiculously expensive .... or bond them to glass , you need a vacuum heater machine, to melt the sheet of plastic used for bonding .... not realistic .... I did build my own heater machine which had limited success...

Unless you encapsulate these cells , they will deteriorate very rapidly ..

You say you already have these cells.... !!!  I would cut your losses and not pursue this (unless you're looking to get an education by experience )  ... it is a black hole of unending expense , at the end you will have some dodgy looking panels that cost twice what new ones cost...

Look for second hand panels they are underpriced everywhere ... remember even after 25years  use , panels still output 80%of the power they did when new ... after 50 years probably more than 50%...
completelycharged, CBlack, rodagaster like this post
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#8
(07-14-2018, 04:05 AM)ozz93666 Wrote:
(07-13-2018, 04:24 PM)CBlack Wrote: Hello!..... they are standard cells that are 3x6.  I have about 530 to 560 cells total.....

Your post is not too clear CBlack .... you mean you have 550 of these ... these are 3x6 cells  .....

[Image: s-l225.jpg]

If so , I don't quite think you  realise what you are getting into !!! 

I spent a long time playing with these , building my own panels ... not to save money , I very soon realised to make your own panels is more expensive than buying them ready made ... I did it for the education and experience .....

You have to first solder them together using tab wire , a tricky and skilled job .... then they have to be Encapsulated  ...

Two ways of doing this , either buy liquid resin encapsulator ....ridiculously expensive .... or bond them to glass , you need a vacuum heater machine, to melt the sheet of plastic used for bonding .... not realistic .... I did build my own heater machine which had limited success...

Unless you encapsulate these cells , they will deteriorate very rapidly ..

You say you already have these cells.... !!!  I would cut your losses and not pursue this (unless you're looking to get an education by experience )  ... it is a black hole of unending expense , at the end you will have some dodgy looking panels that cost twice what new ones cost...

Look for second hand panels they are underpriced everywhere ... remember even after 25years  use , panels still output 80%of the power they did when new ... after 50 years probably more than 50%...

Yes, 550 ish of the solar cells. Part learning and part testing waters.  I got them really cheap and was testing how well I can do. 1kwh for 99.
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#9
I thought about making my own as well. I've held off on it as I wanted to do a lot more research. I have several (and can get more) tempered glass I got for free. They were sliding glass doors that weren't being used anymore. About the right size for solar panels. Just have to replace the frames with something better/lighter.

But, as ozz says, the encapsulation is not cheap. Either the vacuum/heat method or the UV resistance stuff you mix together. I don't mind if it takes me time. That I have plenty of and would rather spend it working on something productive than squatting on my chair. So that doesn't bother me. But the added costs associated would definitely need to be calculated in to make sure it's worth it.
Proceed with caution. Knowledge is Power! Literally! Cool 
Knowledge is Power; Absolute Knowledge is Absolutely Shocking!
Dollar Shave Club. Best Razor I've ever used
Certified 18650 Cell Reclamation Technician
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#10
(07-15-2018, 08:03 PM)Korishan Wrote: I thought about making my own as well. I've held off on it as I wanted to do a lot more research. I have several (and can get more) tempered glass I got for free. They were sliding glass doors that weren't being used anymore. About the right size for solar panels. Just have to replace the frames with something better/lighter.

But, as ozz says, the encapsulation is not cheap. Either the vacuum/heat method or the UV resistance stuff you mix together. I don't mind if it takes me time. That I have plenty of and would rather spend it working on something productive than squatting on my chair. So that doesn't bother me. But the added costs associated would definitely need to be calculated in to make sure it's worth it.

i was just looking at the eva film and it is not bad.  that door idea is pretty damn awesome!  I will look for used one on local face book.  it should have the metal frame around it and will not flex.  at the point, i am just looking to get it up and working on the back porch so i can get my local training in.  I am a firm believer that i will not do it right on the first try and will take at least one iteration.  Also the eva film overlaps and bonds to gather really well.  So i can take my cells and make the best combo after i find a door. 

thanks guys! (gals if there are any that helped.)
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