Many homeowners are looking to renewable energy sources, such as solar power, to lower their monthly cost of electricity. Hiring a professional contractor to install a residential solar power system can be very expensive. Be prepared to invest over $30,000 for a complete system.

To save cost, many people are building their own solar panel through the Do It Yourself (DIY) approach. If you plan to make your own solar panel, the following are 8 essential items that you will need.

1) Solar cells – The photovoltaic cell (PV) is the most important component. It is made of semiconductor material that will generate an electrical current when exposed to sunlight.

2) Connection cable – The panel cable will be used to connect the electrodes from a positive to a negative node of the cell. It will also be used to connect the cells to a charge controller.

3) wood panel – A piece of plywood will be used as a substrate for the photovoltaic cells. The sides of the plywood will be clad with strips of wood to create a box.

4) plexiglass cover – The transparent plexiglass panel will be used to cover the solar cells. The transparent surface will allow sunlight to reach the cells. It is recommended to use a UV resistant plexiglass to prevent yellowing after prolonged exposure to the sun.

5) Sale – Soldering together with a hot iron soldering gun will be used to connect the electrodes of the photovoltaic cells in series.

6) clear silicone caulk – The putty will be used to seal all the wooden joints. It is also used in the joint between the wooden slats and the Plexiglas. The silicone caulk will prevent moisture from entering the solar cells.

7) Stainless steel screw – The screws will be used to hold the plexiglass securely on the wooden strip. Special care must be taken not to overtighten the screws or the plexiglass will break.

8) UV protective paint – UV paint will be used on all wooden surfaces such as plywood and wooden lath. The paint will protect the wood from the harsh environment.

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