You won’t find big scientific terms or equations here… That would be too hard to understand. This guide is meant for everyone who is interested in using alternative sources of energy. Solar power is generated by solar panels; solar panels are made up of solar cells or photovoltaic cells that are arranged in a grid or honeycomb like pattern on its surface.
These photovoltaic or solar cells are made by using special materials such as silicon. When the solar energy falls on these Solar Panels, this energy agitates the electrons within the cells and allows them to flow freely. The solar cells have the electric field that makes the free electrons to flow in certain direction and becomes electricity in a direct current (DC).
To draw this current off for external use we put metal contacts on the top and bottom of our solar cell. This electricity is then used in applications like lighting, heating etc. This was the basic process explained above but to know it better let’s consider a case of solar cell: the single-crystal silicon cell. Silicon in its crystalline form has a number of special chemical properties.
One particular atom of silicon has 14 electrons that are set in three different shells. The first two inner shells, which are adjoining to nucleus, are completely full and the outer shell has only four electrons.
The outer shell is short of four electrons; as a result a silicon atom will constantly look for the ways to fill up its last shell. It will share the four electrons with its adjacent silicon atoms for completing its outer shell, thus forming the crystalline structure.
This was the description of pure crystalline silicon that is a poor conductor of electricity as all the electrons are completely locked in it. Solar cells also have the silicon however with various impurities and these impurities are actually put there for making it more conducting. Consider an atom of silicon with that of phosphorous having five electrons in its outer shell.
When it bonds with its adjacent silicon atoms, then there is one electron in phosphorous that is free. When such a combination gets heat or some energy, most of these electrons go free, and hence we have a lot of free carriers. This procedure of adding impurities to make the Silicon atom more conductive is called doping. When silicon atom is doped with phosphorous, then we get N-type (“n” for negative) because of the dominance of free electrons. Actually, by this we got an N-type part of our solar cell.
To get the other part silicon atom is doped with boron, which has three electrons in its outer most shell instead of four, to turn into P-type silicon. In this P-type silicon (“p” for positive) we have free holes. When we place N-type silicon jointly with P-type silicon, the free electrons from the N side, which necessitates holes to fall into, found the free holes on the P side, and they run to fill them in.
This completes the electric field, and this is the way our solar cell work. Solar Power for your home Solar energy received by the Earth in an hour is more than the total energy used by the world in a whole year. Unfortunately solar energy is still not that popular as it should be because it is too expensive in the first place when installed by professionals. No doubt solar power generators promises big savings on your monthly electricity bills when generated through homemade solar panel.
A small investment on DIY (Do It Yourself) homemade solar panel can get you immediate results. Installing solar panels in your home is also a great way to support the go green movement which is the need of the hour. There are lots of things you should know before you plan to start the project. If you have decided and you are determined to build your own solar panels, technology today is so advanced that it’s very easy and within your reach.
Latest solar power generators can even work in less sunlight. Building solar panels have become easy now with a little motivation and guidance. All the materials required to build solar panels like glass, plywood and copper wire can be procured from your nearby local hardware store or it can be bought online. Plans and instructions should be followed properly to make your own solar panels.
During this process electrical knowledge can be a big help but is not necessary. Here are some important tips to follow to help you get your job done: Before you start the project make sure you have all you need to finish your work without any hindrance. If you will have all the materials which are required, it will be much easier to complete the project then stopping in the middle of a job to go get an essential part. Getting them all in the beginning will definitely save a lot of time and will ease your job too.
- Solar panels are available in many designs; you can use your own imagination to visualize which design fits into the requirements of your home. One should always prefer the design per his/her electric consumption requirements and the space available.
- Invest in a high-quality instruction manual which would save you from slip ups and will definitely save your precious time on research for what you need. Alternatively there are many discussion forums and online articles which could provide a great support throughout your project.
- Plan before you start….do as much research as possible before you start on your project. Knowing what you would be required to do in advance beforehand will help you to do the things in easier and better way.
- Safety is a very important feature to be taken care of since you are working with electricity. Care should be taken to not to leave anything exposed and keep it away from children.
- Where to fit your Solar Panel: Now this is the most import part before you get going…the solar panel has to be installed at the correct location where it will work best. Our main objective is to get the unobstructed sunlight. The best place to install the solar panel is to put it on the roof of your home. Rooftops usually receive the most direct sunlight so it is a suitable place to install your homemade solar panel. You can place the solar panels in your backyard as well if you think it can get direct sun rays there.
- Tracking of your homemade Solar Panel: The angle of the sunlight keeps changing since the earth moves in the elliptical path around the sun throughout a yearly cycle. In order to get the maximum output from the solar system, the sun must be tracked. You can go in for an automatic solar tracker which automatically chases the sun’s path alternatively you can adjust your solar panels manually to track the sun by yourself.