How to Make Your Own Solar Panel Or Solar Cell at home?

Solar Cell
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How to make a simple solar cell for kids? Here in this post you can learn two simple methods to make an experimental solar cell, for the purpose of impressing your kids. Or you can use this cell as a photodetector.

Solar cell manufacturing is a very expensive process, that's why even a small solar installation costs around $1500-$2000. However, you can make a simple solar cell by following some simple instructions as listed below. Keep in mind that the functioning of the device depends upon the perfection of your construction.

A solar cell is made up of a semiconductor. They are used to convert the energy from the world's largest renewable energy source, the Sun! Solar radiations carry enormous amount of energy. It is possible to harness energy from sun light by using solar cells or solar panels. There are similar devices used to harness other forms of energy from the sun. Solar heaters and parabolic concentrators are used to harness infrared radiations from the sun. A solar cell actually converts the energy of a photon to electricity. Here we are going to make a simple solar cell by using easily available materials.

Method-1 to make solar cell at home by using Cuprous Oxide

In the first method, we uses a copper plate to construct a solar cell
other than silicon based semiconductors. Materials needed,

1. Copper plate
2. Burner
3. Alligator clips
4. Copper wires
5. Bottle or jar
6. Salt water
7. Multimeter


1. Take a square sheet of copper about 5-8 inch width.

2. Wash your hands thoroughly and dry them.

3. Remove all the foreign particles from the copper sheet (example:grease)

4. Remove the top oxide layer by using sand paper or emery cloth from both sides.

5. Now you have a copper sheet with bright and shiny red sides.

6. Now we have to create a cuprous oxide layer on the copper plate.

7. Place the plate directly over the burner (highest settings)

8. Wait untill a thick black layer of "cupric oxide" to form on the top surface. It may take up to 30-50 mins.

9. After the heat treatment remove the black layer of cupric oxide from the copper plate. Usually it will flake off if you allowed the plate to cool naturally. Due to the difference in cooling rates of cupric oxide and copper it will be very easy to remove the top black layer.

9. Under the black layer of cupric oxide you will find another layer of cuprous oxide which is photosensitive.

10. Cut another piece of copper sheet and bend both pieces gently. Arrange those both pieces in a bottle or jar without touching one another. When arranging the plates be careful to place the cuprous oxide layer face outwards in the jar.

11. Attach two alligator clip leads to both the copper plates.

12. Connect the lead from cuprous oxide to negative terminal of the meter and copper plate to positive terminal.

13. Then carefully pour a little salt water into the jar by leaving an inch of plate above the salt water.

You are done! A simple solar cell is ready. The meter will read up to 50 microamps in the sunshine.

Method-2 Make a Solar cell Using Transistors

Now we are going to learn "how to make a silicon solar cell" using transistors. We know that a solar cell is a P-N junction semiconductor. It is possible to build such a solar cell using transistors.

1. Buy some transistors from electronic shop

2. Break the body of the transistor and remove the silicon plate without damaging the leads.

3. Yes! This can work as a solar cell.

4. Connect the similar leads of two or more transistors.

5. Check the output of the solar cell using a multimeter in bright sun     light.

Remember that both the solar cells cannot harness energy from the sunlight to turn on even an LED. These solar cells cannot be used to generate much more electricity. But can be used as a photo detector for school experiments.

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