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Table Of Contents

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Copyright
Legal Disclaimer
Safety Information

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Section 1: Overview
Introduction
How Solar Panels Work
Pro's & Con's of Solar Energy
The Power4Home Solar Unit
Section 2: Constructing the Power4Home Solar Panels
Introduction
Materials And Tools
STEP 1: Testing The Cells
STEP 2: Wiring The Cells Together
STEP 3: Mounting Cells To The Backing
STEP 4: Completing Panel Wiring
STEP 5: Building & Assembling The Panel Frame
STEP 6: Testing Completed Panel

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Section 3: Maintenance
Simple Maintenance Steps

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Copyright
Copyright 2009 Power4Home.com. All rights reserved.
All literary work contained within this book belongs to and is the sole property of
its respective authors. Reproduction, copy, or any other form of use of the pieces
contained within the book is strictly forbidden without express permission from
the author. If perjury is discovered, the offenders will be prosecuted to the full
extent of the law.
Note: The owner of this book is permitted to print one hardcopy of this eBook for
personal use. These rules have been established to protect the rights and
ownership of the authors and to ensure that their work is upheld as their own.

NOTICE:

This is NOT a Free Book. You do NOT have resell rights for this
book. I invested years of research into the creation of this resource. If you
purchased this book from anywhere other than www.Power4Home.com,
including eBay, please report that site to: support@Power4Home.com.
Thank you.

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Legal Disclaimer
By using, viewing and interacting with the Power4Home guide or the
Power4Home.com website, you agree to all terms of engagement, thus assuming
complete responsibility for your own actions. The authors and publishers will not
be held liable or claim accountability for any loss or injuries. Use, view, and
interact with these resources at your own risk.
All products from Power4Home.com and its related companies are strictly for
informational purposes only. While all attempts have been made to verify the
accuracy of information provided on our website and within the publications,
neither the authors nor the publishers are responsible for assuming liability for
possible inaccuracies.
The authors and publishers disclaim any responsibility for the inaccuracy of the
content, including but not limited to errors or omissions. Loss of property, injury
to self or others, and even death could occur as a direct or indirect consequence
of the use and application of any content found herein.
Working with renewable energy sources is dangerous. Since you are dealing with
electricity, high roof tops or towers, and numerous other unknown conditions,
seek expert opinions and help where necessary. The authors and publishers
assume that, while carrying out your DIY project, you are aware of all the risks
and possible damages associated with home improvements and renewable
energy.
Check with your town, city, state, province, county or country for applicable laws
about home improvements and alterations. Often, it is necessary to obtain local
government permits and licenses to prevent legal implications.

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We also recommend that you call your local electrician, and other professionals,
to assist in your renewable energy project. Failure to do so could cause injury or
death - you are acting at your own risk.
By choosing to use the information made available on Power4Home.com or
within any of our publications, you agree to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless
the authors, publishers, and any other related companies from all claims (whether
valid or invalid), judgments, suits, proceedings, losses, damages, and costs or
expenses of any nature whatsoever that result from the use or misuse of any
information provided.
The information provided may need to be downloaded using third party software,
such as Acrobat or Flash Player. Its the users responsibility to install the software
necessary to view such information. Any downloads, whether purchased or given
for free from our website, related websites, or hosting systems, are done at the
users own risk. No warranty is given that websites are free of corrupting
computer codes, viruses or worms.
If you are a minor, you can use this service only with permission and guidance
from your parents or guardians. Children are not eligible to use our services
unsupervised. Furthermore, this Website specifically denies access to any
individual covered by the Child Online Privacy Act (COPA) of 1998.

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Safety Information
General Information
The installation of solar modules requires a certain level of skill and should only
be performed by a qualified licensed professional.
The word "cell" as used in this Guide refers to one or more photovoltaic modules
(panels).

Cautions
1. Avoid electrical hazards when installing, wiring, operating and maintaining
the solar cells.
2. A photovoltaic cells generate DC electricity when exposed to sunlight or
other light sources.
3. When installing or working with cell wiring, cover face completely to halt
production of electricity.
4. It is recommended that the cells remain packed in the box until time of
installation.
5. Do not touch terminals while cell is exposed to light or during installation.
As an added precaution, use properly insulated tools only.
6. Do not drop cells or allow objects to fall on the cells. Do not stand or step
on cells.

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7. Since sparks may be produced, do not install cells where flammable gases
or vapors are present.
8. Never leave a cells unsupported or unsecured. If a cell should fall, the glass
can break. A cell with broken glass cannot be repaired and must not be
used.
9. Work only under dry conditions, with dry cells and tools.
10.Module installation and operation should be performed by qualified
personnel only. Children should not be allowed near the solar electric
installation.
11.If not otherwise specified, it is recommended that requirements of the
latest local, national or regional electric codes be followed.
12.Use cells for its intended function only.
13.Do not artificially concentrate sunlight on the module.

Warning
1. All instructions should be read and understood before attempting to install,
wire, operate and maintain the photovoltaic cells. Contact with electrically active
parts of the cell such as terminals can result in burns, sparks, and lethal shock
whether the module is connected or disconnected.
2. Photovoltaic cells produce electricity when sunlight or other sources illuminate
the front face. The voltage from a single cell is not considered a shock hazard.

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When cells are connected in series, voltages are additive. When cells are
connected in parallel, current is additive. Consequently, a multi-cell system can
produce high voltages and current which constitute an increased hazard.

Power Tool Safety


Power tools make work faster and let you complete projects much easier. With
that convenience, however, comes many safety concerns. Blades rotating at very
high speeds, the presence of electricity and the sheer power of some of these
tools make them very dangerous. Special care should be taken when operating
power tools.
Safety Apparel
Safety goggles or a safety mask should be worn while operating power tools.
Shards of metal or wood can dislodge at high speed and do irreparable damage to
eyes or the soft tissue of the face. Safety footwear can provide some protection
against electric shock and can also protect toes if heavy items are dropped.
Guards and Safety Switches
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, guards should
be installed on power tools to protect the user from exposed moving parts. A
safety guard should never be removed while a tool is in operation.
Many kinds of saws and drills have a safety control that shuts the power off to the
tool when pressure is released. This way, if a tool is dropped during operation, it
automatically shuts off and cannot cause damage to the user or surroundings as it
falls.

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Electricity
Power tools should be plugged into a grounded receptacle. Electric shock is a
hazard to be avoided since it can easily be fatal. Never use tools in or around
water unless they are double-insulated. Store tools in a dry place and maintain
them properly. Replace frayed or worn cords on power tools.
Pneumatic Tools
These tools are powered by compressed air and can be very dangerous without
proper caution. Before using, make sure that tools are secure on the air hose so
that they don't fly off when operating. Pay close attention when using these
powerful tools and maintain a safe distance from people who are operating them.
Eye protection is a must, and screens can also be helpful to protect bystanders or
other workers. Do not ever point a pneumatic tool at a person or animal.

Workshop Safety
Keep your work area well-lit and free of debris. Properly maintain tools and
replace worn parts. Insist that everyone who uses power tools wear safety
equipment. Do not operate power tools while distracted or under the influence of
drugs or alcohol. Respect the strength of these tools and use common sense while
working.

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Power4Home Customer Success Story


"This is amazing! Everyone can follow these directions and if
you're like me, you'll have most of the materials needed just lying
around. Thanks again for this incredible information."

Jose C. Ford -- Bridgeport, NJ

Power4Home Customer Success Story


"The Power4Home System has saved me thousands of dollars. I've
built both the solar panels and the wind mills and they've been
running perfect for over a year. Thank you."

Matthew Bryant -- Gibsonia, PA

Power4Home Customer Testimonials


"These guides and videos are excellent, and the one question I did
have, your support team answered the same day. I'm going to
recommend Power4Home to everyone I know."

Brett Dudley -- Austin, TX

Power4Home Customer Testimonials


"I can't believe this worked! I've built the entire kit and now I'm
saving money on my electric bills every single month, thank you
Power4Home."

Chad Weidner -- Philadelphia, PA

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Section 1:

Overview of Solar
Power

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Introduction
With the talk of global warming and the need for alternative energy sources you
might hear that term is solar power mentioned on the news more and more often
these days. So what exactly is solar power?
Solar power is energy directly from the sun. The sun is a powerful source of
energy and is responsible for supporting all life on Earth. Without it, almost
nothing would existed as we know it today.
Ancient cultures harvested solar energy by having windows or doors that faced
the sun. The sun would come in through these openings and warm the interior of
the home. The least used part of the house was always facing north.
The Sun is also responsible for creating the winds and weather conditions on our
planet. Solar power can be attributed to creating wind. When that wind is
harnessed by wind turbines, we can capture another form of energy. This will be
discussed further in our other book.
Solar power and solar energy is basically the same thing. It's called solar energy
after it's converted from sunlight into electricity which is then used in our homes.
Solar power can be harnessed in two ways.
The first is to use the suns heat to boil water. The steam generated turns a
turbine to produce electricity which is used in homes, automobiles, and industry
needs. This method is most often used in large solar farms and is not economical
for home use.

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The second method and the focus of this book is capturing the power of the sun
by using something called the photovoltaic effect. This is the method used in
solar panels to convert sunlight into energy.
Many other technologies have been invented to trap solar energy and solar
power. These technologies are utilized in agriculture, solar lighting, water
heating, cooking, and most importantly heating homes and other buildings.
When one thinks about solar power and solar power equipment, the image of
huge solar panels on top of the roof of a house or building usually comes in mind.
Solar power has many uses beyond those of producing electricity for houses or for
automobiles. Even small electrical devices such as cell phones, GPS units, and
laptops can be powered by solar energy.
How many times have you been out fishing or camping and your cell phone
battery goes out? Most people carry cell phone adapters for their cars so that
they may recharge the battery in their automobile. This is fine if the engine is on
or the engine has been used to charge the battery in the vehicle. But running the
engine is a cause of pollutants and other toxic materials which you are releasing
out into the environment just by charging up your cell phone.
These uses reduce the need for fossil fuel energy resources such as coal, gas,
propane, and oil. By increasing the use of solar power technology, the world will
significantly reduces its need and use of fossil fuels. The Earth would then have a
cleaner environment because there would be less fuel emissions and factory
pollution, Thus, drastically reducing the amount of air pollutants within the
atmosphere.
With rising gas prices and problems with global warming, the automobile industry
is racing to find alternative ways to fuel cars. The hype today surrounds the all
electric car. This car design is touted as being very environmentally friendly.

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However popular, this design has a negative and that is that these cars still need
to be recharged at home and most of the power we can from our outlets it
created by coal burning power plants. In order for the electric car to really help
save the environment, we need to generate power from renewable energy
sources such as the Sun or the wind.
This book will explore the uses of solar power and how these technologies might
change the way that you travel, heat your home, and go about your daily life.
Solar power is not going away and is one of the biggest sources of unharnessed
energy that there is on the Earth. Any machine that has an electric motor can be
powered by solar power.
The biggest problem with solar energy is by far the cost associated to bring these
technologies around for full-time public use. Typical home solar installations can
run up to $10,000 or more. While there has been major innovation in bringing
the cost lower, big energy companies and their lobbyists have worked hard to
ensure you keep uses oil and coal for power.
We can't wait for the government or the big corporations to solve our energy
needs. It's just not in their interest for us to make our own power at home. They
just can't make money that way. Each and everyone one of us need to do our
part to save the environment.
Right now only 1% of all houses in the United States are powered by solar energy.
If we think outside the box, we can build entire solar systems at a fraction of the
cost using parts your an find locally to help us get out of the grips of fossil fuels
and nonrenewable energy.
The Power4Home system is helping entire communities convert to solar power to
receive the benefit of clean running energy that reduces cost while providing a

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cleaner environment. After reading this book, you'll learn how to save thousands
of dollars on a solar power system by building your own solar panels and cutting
out the middle man.
I want to personally thank you and the thousands of people who are taking action
to solve our energy problems. Maybe one person can't change the world, but
together our voice can be heard.

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How Solar Panels Work


You've probably seen large solar panels on the roofs of homes in your
neighborhood or on TV. You've probably also heard how wind and solar energy
are going to solve our future energy needs. But have you ever wondered how
they work?
On a bright, sunny day, the sun sends about 1,000 watts of energy for every
square meter on the earth's surface. If we could only collect all that efficiently we
could easily power all our homes and offices for free.
In this section I'm going to try to explain how solar cells work and how they
convert the sun's rays into usable energy using something call a Photovoltaic Cell.

Photovoltaic Cells
If you've ever seen a solar panel up close you'll see that it's made up of many
smaller panels called cells. Each of these cells uses the "photovoltaic effect" to
convert sunlight into electricity. Sometimes called a solar cell, photovoltaic cells
have been used since 1883 and were invented by Charles Fritts.
The first commercial use of solar panels was in space to power satellites but as
costs came down you'll find them used in more and more applications such as
powering your home.

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The Photovoltaic cells are made of special materials called semiconductors. Most
commonly, these semiconductors are made of silicon. I'll try to explain how this
works as best I can without getting too technical.
Basically, when light shines on a solar cell, a certain portion of the light is
absorbed within the semiconductor material.

Sunlight
Cell

Free Electrons

This light energy knocks electrons loose, allowing them to flow freely. This is
essentially what electricity is, free flowing electrons through a conductor such as
metal. It order to convert this energy into electricity to power our homes, solar
cells need to direct the flow of electrons in a certain direction.
In order to direct the flow of electrons, solar cells are divided into 2 layers.
Photons

N-Type
P-Type

+ + + + + + + + + + + + +
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

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Each of the two layers is made primarily of silicon, although each of them is
altered slightly through a process called doping. Doping is where you add another
material to change the properties of the first material slightly. For the N-Type
layer, the silicon is doped with phosphorous, this give the material an abundance
of free electrons that's why it's called N-Type of "Negative".
The P-Type layer for "Positive" is doped with boron. This gives makes the material
filled with holes, or missing electrons, so it carries a positive charge.
Once you put the N-Type layer with the P-Type layer and you add sunlight, you
get free flowing electrons which is electricity.

Solar Cell Construction


There are a few more layers in a solar cell to make them work efficiently. Silicon
is very shiny and very reflective. Photons that our reflected can't be used by the
cell so they need to add an antireflective coating.
Protective Glass
Anti-reflective Coating

Contact Lead

N-Type Silicon
P-Type Silicon
Contact Lead

They also add a layer of glass on the top to protect the elements from the
environment.

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This is a very simplistic explanation of how solar panels work, but it's enough to
get you started and feel comfortable with building solar panels at home.

Solar Cell Efficiencies


There's been lots of innovation in solar cell technologies in the last few decades
but we still have a lot of room for improvement. If we look at current designs that
are available for home use, we see that solar cells only absorb about 15% of the
energy hitting the solar cell. So why are cells only this efficient?
The first reason is that the current materials used for solar cells can only absorb
energy from a small range of the total energy sent by the sun. Many
advancements are being made but higher efficiency materials just cost too much
for home use right now. Then we have a anti-reflective coating on top of the
silicon that blocks about 5% of usable energy, though without this we would lose
a lot more.
Also, in order to complete the electrical circuit you need to put metal on the top
and the bottom of the silicon, one for positive and one for negative. This isn't a
problem on the back where metal cover the entire backing giving it a very good
connection. The problem is if you put metal along the entire top of the cell, light
wouldn't pass through at all, so manufactures only put metal along the sides of
the top plate. The problem here is that silicon isn't a very good conductor of
electricity, so you end up losing a lot of power while the electrons travel to the
edges of the cell.
This is why you need so many cells to generate a good amount of power. But
don't worry, with the Power4Home system, you'll make your own solar panels at
a fraction of the cost you would pay if you bought manufactured solar panels.

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Pros & Cons Of Solar Energy


Before you even begin considering your solar options, it's important that you
know why, exactly, solar is right for you. Without getting into any of the esoteric
reasons for doing it, like the environment or cleaner air, let's look at real,
measurable reasons.
First off, the cost to power your home, cabin, RV, and other things is rising.
Electricity is hitting more and more of us squarely in the pocket book.
So more and more people, like you, are looking into alternative ways to generate
electricity to cut down their bills. Guess what? This is not the best reason to get
into solar. I know, seems counter-intuitive for someone writing a book about solar
power and Do-It-Yourself panels to tell you that solar may not be the right answer
for you. But it's the truth.

TIP

Solar is a great way to generate electricity and is perfect


for the situations it's best suited for. There are times,
however, when other alternatives may be better but not
often.

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When Solar is a Good Option


In almost all Power4Home setups, you'll want to include some solar panels in the
system. Although wind is a excellent way to generate electricity, it's not always
windy and having both methods allow for more hours of energy production.
If you're house is covered in trees and you don't have any area where you get
direct sunlight, you might want to look at wind as a solution rather than solar. It
has a cheaper startup cost. If you live in a very windy area or live in the country
where you can install your wind generator very high, using wind to generate
power may be better as your first project. In the compact city or the close
neighborhoods of many suburbs, wind is not a good option, however. It's in those
situations that solar really, well...shines.
Ideally, you'll setup both solar panels and wind mills to product maximum energy.
Other applications for which solar panels is particularly well-suited:
Remote vacation/occasional use sites such as cabins, cottages, etc.
Recreational vehicles such as campers, boats, sheep rancher trailers, etc.
Farm/ranch applications.
Remote, outdoor, or security lighting uses.

The Pros and Cons of Solar


Solar power generation has definite advantages and a couple of strong limitations
as well. Before you make a decision as to whether solar is right for your
application, let's look at those pros and cons. Solar's advantages are many. The

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creation of electricity with no moving parts or loud motors, so it is quiet, safe, and
efficient.

Advantages
Works great in cities where by-law may
prevent you from installing a wind
generator
Generates power more consistently
than wind
Because they have no moving parts
they can last many years and require
very little maintenance

Disadvantages
Takes up a lot of space

Higher initial cost when compared to


wind generators
Only works when sun is shinning

It is also very versatile and can be utilized in a number of applications where other
forms of electrical generation are not feasible or would require great cost to
implement. Solar panel systems are also easily built to be modular, so adding to
them for future expansion is very simple once the system is in place.
Solar has a few disadvantages as well. First, solar is also not reliable 100% of the
time and can only generate electricity during specific times in the day when there
isn't too many clouds. Second, the initial costs of solar are more expensive per
watt generated than most other forms of alternative electrical generation.
With the Power4Home system, cost isn't as much of a concern so I can't stress
enough that in most setups, you'll want both solar panels and wind generators. In
the next section, we'll look at the specific advances of the Power4Home Solar
Unit.

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The Power4Home Solar Unit


With all the talk about global warming there seems to be more interest in
renewable energy than ever before. People from all walks of life are seeing the
many benefits it can offer. Solar power is likely to be the most adapted
renewable energy source. That's because it's plentiful. The only problem has
been the high upfront costs.
Popular commercial solar systems can run you up to $10,000 or more and that
not including installation. Many of us cannot afford this high initial cost, but with
electricity prices rising each year and the challenges we face with the
environment, we need to work together to find real solutions.
The Power4Home System was designed for people who want all the advances of
solar and wind energy, but without the high upfront costs. We've worked very
hard over the years to continually improve the design of our solar unit. Many of
the advancements have been through people like you.
Up until recently, you had no choice but to spend $10,000 or more to set your
house up with solar power. Large corporations monopolize the solar industry and
together will the big oil and coal companies, the work together to keep solar
panel prices high.
In fact, these same corporations have seen the advantages of renewable energy
and have begun building solar power plants to harness the sun to make cheap
electricity. But instead of passing the savings along to you, they plan to sell you
the power for more than your paying now.

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Now with Power4Home you have a choice. Today you can build a comparable
system for less than 1/10th the cost of commercial systems. The Power4Home
System has all the advantages of the commercial system and adds a few of its
own. Here are just a few of the advantages Power4Home has over the
competition:
Using the instructions found in this guide, you can build a complete solar
panel for a fraction of the price. The main components of the panels are
exactly the same as the commercial products, you're just cutting out the
middle man.
The Power4Home Solar Panel Unit is protected by a plastic sheet instead of
glass. Now you don't have to worry about hail or other objects damaging
your panels. Almost all commercial panels are covered in glass to force you
to replace the panels if they crack. (A dirty little secret in the solar industry
is that rapid temperature changes cause the glass to expand and contract
too quickly and this causes many panels to break before they need too)
Unlike other do it yourself guides, the Power4Home Solar Panel Unit is
framed with Aluminum. Not only does this significantly reduce the weight
of the unit making installation much easier, but it also helps cool the cells
which makes them run more efficiently.
With Power4Home, you create the frame of the unit yourself. This lets you
customize the solar panel to suit your needs. If your tight on space, you can
build frames to go around tight areas like your chimney to get the
maximum use of available space.
When you construct the Power4Home Solar Unit you will connect many
cells together to create your panel. Unlike commercial units, you don't
have to replace the entire panel if a single cell is malfunctioning or
damaged.

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The Power4Home System can be replicated. You don't have to pay for the
plans again. You can build your friends or family as many panels as you
want for. You can even sell them locally to earn some really nice profit.
These things sell like hotcakes, which is good in an economy like this one.
There are many other reasons to use the Power4Home System but one of the
most important is how easy it easy to build. In the next section we will show you
how easy it is to build a high efficiency solar panel in your garage in just a few
hours.

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Section 2:

Construction The
Power4Home Solar
Unit

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Introduction
Today, the only reason everyone doesn't power their home with solar energy is
the initial cost of a complete system. Commercial solar systems can cost you
$10,000 or more and up to 60% of that cost is the solar panels themselves. In
most cases, making your own solar panels can save you several thousands of
dollars.
The Power4Home System allows you to scale to meet your needs. You can start
with a small 50w system or you can join several panels together to handle the
most demanding residential needs.
If you've never built anything before don't worry. Even with no experience, most
people can build a complete Solar Panel Unit in less than a few hours.

Power4Home Customer Testimonials


"At first I wasn't quite sure if I could handle this projects, I've done
a few things around the house, but nothing like this. To my
surprise, everything was straightforward and easy to understand."

Martha R. Cardwell-- Philadelphia, PA

Everything is explained step by step both in this eBook as illustrations and photos
or by watching the included videos.

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TIP

Some of the steps in this build are a little more detailed.


We've done our best to explain everything in this eBook so
you can your own solar panel unit with ease. You may find
it easier to follow along with the videos and that's why
we've included booth.

Don't forget, if you have any troubles or problems along the way, you can send us
your questions and we will do our best to answer them. The best and fastest way
to get support is through the Power4Home Support System located at:
http://www.Power4Home.com/Support

Once you get all the materials listed in the next section, you can begin
constructing your own solar panel unit and pay less than a 1/10th what you would
have paid if you purchased a commercial unit.
Remember, please reread the Safety section before you start. With that said,
good luck and welcome to the world of green energy.

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Materials Required
Solar Cells
Description: Solar cells are rated by efficiency,
generally anything about 18% is good. Use as
many as you want, as long as they add up to
20 volts of total voltage combined.
Wood
Description: 1 8 ft 2"x4"

Panel Cover
Description: Polycarbonate sheeting

Electrical Wire
Description: 16 gauge wiring

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Solder
Description: High quality solder

Screws
Description: Self tapping screws

Rosin Flux Pen


Description: standard rosin pen for soldering

Ribbon
Description: Make sure to ask for ribbon
when ordering your cells.

Veneer Sheeting
Description: Easily found at your local
hardware store.

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Aluminum Angle Bars


Description: Easily found at your local
hardware store.

Silicone
Description: Easily found at your local
hardware store.

Polyurethane Adhesive
Description: Easily found at your local
hardware store.

Gorilla Glue
Description: Easily found at your local
hardware store.

TOTAL COST:

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Tools Needed
Power Drill
Description: 3/8" power
drill adapter, socket and
drill bits (at least 5/16")

Skill Saw
Description: 17-24 TPI skill
saw blades

Wire Stripper/Cutter
Description: Standard

Caulking Gun
Description: Standard

Circular Saw
Description: Requires
angle adjustment (you can
use a manual saw if you
prefer) 10" Blade

Knife
Description: Standard

Marker, Wood Pencil & TSquare


Description: For
measurements

Metal File
Description: Standard

Soldering Gun
Description: With
soldering sponge

Safety & Protective


Equipment
Description: Always wear
safety equipment.

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STEP Testing The Cells


1
Before getting started you want to make sure that all the cells you'll be using
actually work. The best way to do this is to test each one of them with a volt
meter. Although this may seem time consuming, it will prevent you from having
to take apart the panel after construction because of just one bad cell.
Solar cells are measured by the amount of watts they generate. To calculate the
wattage of a cell, you first need to know both the voltage (V) and the amps (A).
Then, all you need to do is multiply the two: Volts x Amps = Watts.

Step A

Testing The Cells

Test each cell with a voltmeter prior to using it to make sure you arent including
any faulty cells in your system. Place one side of the volt meter to one of the
ribbons and the other on the back. Make sure the cells are exposed to some type
of light or you won't be able to test the cells.

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STEP Wiring The Cells


2 Together
TIP

Step A

Try to buy cells that have the ribbons already attached.


This saves a lot of time and usually doesn't cost any more.
If you've purchased cells with ribbons attached, you can
skip next few sub-steps labeled as optional.

Cutting The Ribbons (optional)

Cut 84 pieces of ribbon, each 6 inches in length (2 per cell, plus 2 extra for each
row). Screw two screws into a piece of wood, 6 inches apart, and wind the ribbon
between them. Cut at either end to create your strips.

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Step B

Soldering Ribbons To Cells (optional)

1.Apply flux to the top faces of each solar cell.

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2. Solder ribbons to the top face of each solar cell.

Step C

Connecting Cells In A Row

1. Apply flux to the bottom faces of each of the solar cells.


2. Solder the ribbons on one cell onto the bottom face of the next cell. Repeat
until you have a row of appropriate length. Keep creating rows of cells in this way
until all your cells are soldered. Be sure to solder two additional ribbons to the
end of each row so that there are loose ends at both sides.

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STEP Mounting Cells To The


3 Backing
Step A

Measuring Panel

1. Arrange all your rows together to form the shape of your panel.

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2. Measure the length and width of your combined arrays. Add approximately 3.5
inches to each of your measurements to compensate for the aluminum frame,
and approximately 1/32" to compensate for your skill saw blade. If your
aluminum bars or your blade are a different width, adjust accordingly.

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Step B

Measuring Veneer

1. Measure your veneer using the measurements you took above.

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Step C

Measuring Polycarbonate

1. Trace your measurements onto the polycarbonate.

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Step D Cut The Polycarbonate & Veneer


1. Cut your veneer and polycarbonate to size using the skill saw and appropriate
blade.

2. Draw a box 1.5 inches smaller than the size of your veneer. If your aluminum
angle bars are not 1.5 inches in width, substitute their measurement instead of
the 1.5 inches.

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Step E

Mount Cells To Veneer

1. Using a clean damp cloth, wipe down the surface of the veneer.

2. Arrange your solar arrays on top of the veneer. Be sure to begin with a positive
end at the top right corner of your panel, and alternate polarity as you add more
rows. Assuming you have an odd number of rows, you should finish with a
positive end at the bottom left corner, as shown below. At each corner, make a
negative or a positive sign to indicate the polarity.

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3. Using a caulking gun, apply the construction adhesive to the backs of each cell
in one array.

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4. Flip the array over and adhere it to the veneer. Use a ruler or a discarded piece
of cut veneer to gently press the cells down so they lie flat and even. Repeat
steps 14 and 15 until all your rows are affixed to the veneer. Allow between 3
and 24 hours for the adhesive to set before continuing your build.

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Step Completing Panel Wiring


4
Step A

Making The Interlink Connectors

1. Cut 5 lengths of wire, each approximately 9 inches long.

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2. Using the wire strippers, strip half an inch off of the ends of each wire and twist
the fibers.

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3. Using the knife, strip two one inch sections from the middle of each wire,
corresponding to the placement of the ribbons on your solar cells. Twist each
section until snug.

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Step B

Making The Interlink Connectors

1. Place your first interlink connector. Starting at a corner with positive ribbon
ends, lay down the connector beside the solar array, lining up the stripped areas
with the ribbons so that the interlink connector is touching two positive ribbons
and two negative ribbons. Wrap one ribbon around a stripped section, looping
four or five times, and cut off the excess ribbon.

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2. Solder the connection. Repeat step 19 and 20 until all four connections are
soldered.

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3. On the same side of the panel, move to the next positive array end and attach
another interlink connector by following steps 1 and 2 above. Finally, attach a
third interlink connector to the last two cells on this side. On the opposite side,
leave the top two ribbons and the bottom two ribbons free, and attach your
remaining two interlink connectors to the 8 middle ribbons.

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4. Measure and cut two 3 foot long pieces of wire.

5. Strip an inch off of one end of each wire. Measure 3 inches down each wire
and strip off another one inch section. Following the instructions in step 1 of this
section, attach one wire to the two free ribbons at one end of your solar panel.
Solder the connections. Repeat this procedure, attaching the other wire to the
two free ribbons at the other end of your solar panel. Make sure the wires are
running towards the center of the panel.

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6. Mark where you will drill the hole through which the wires will pass. It needs
to be in the middle of the panel, along the edge where your wires run.

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7. Using a 5/16 drill bit, drill a hole through the mark you just made.

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8. Feed the wires through the hole, pulling them tight and bending them over
underneath to lock them in place.

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Step C

Attaching The Polycarbonate

1. Wash the surface of the polycarbonate that will be touching the solar cells. Use
a mild soap and water solution and be careful not to touch it too much or get any
dirt or debris on it once its clean.
2. If you choose to use Gorilla glue, do so at this point in the build process.
Submerge the wires you are gluing completely in glue, place a weight on top of
the area, and allow it to dry completely before continuing.

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3. Flip the polycarbonate onto the solar cells and line up the edges.

4. Seal your panel. Apply a thick bead of silicone around the edge of the panel,
between the veneer and the polycarbonate and gently press down to ensure a
good seal. Do one edge at a time. When you reach the hole through which the
wires run, make sure you apply the silicone between the hole and the cells to
keep moisture from getting into your panel.

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STEP Building & Assembling


5 The Panel Frame
Step A

Building The Pieces of The Frame

1. Cut one end of each of your aluminum bars at a 45 degree angle using your
circular saw.

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2. File each cut edge to remove flakes and slivers.

3. Following the instructions in steps 1 and 2 of this section, cut the other ends of
your aluminum bars. You should now have four finished bars, and each one
should have both ends cut at an angle.

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Step A

Connecting The Frame

1. Align the pieces of your frame around the cell casing to check fit.

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2. Cut four 6 inch lengths from the two-by-four.

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3. Put one of the pieces you just cut in each corner of your assembled frame.

4. Screw through the aluminum bar and into the wood, putting two screws in
each corner. Once youve completed all the corners, go back and put two more
screws in each corner.

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5. Measure the internal width of your frame and cut two pieces from your twoby-four to that length. Lay them in the frame.

6. Put two screws into each end of each piece, again screwing through the
aluminum and into the wood.

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STEP Testing Completed Panel


6
1. Set the panel where it can receive a good amount of direct light. Either sunlight
or powerful indoor bulbs will work just as well. Strip the ends of the two wires
that protrude from the panel and attach the leads of your voltmeter.

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Section 3:
Maintenance

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Solar Panel Maintenance


Now that you've built and installed our solar panels, there are things you can do
to ensure your panels last as long as can so you get the most from your
investment.
The best thing about homemade solar panel units is that there is no moving parts
that make noise or break down. You don't have to replace any bearings or other
parts you might need in a wind turbine. You only have to hope the Sun shines
bright.
Taking care of your solar panels is easy. All you have to do is be sure they are
clean and free of dust that could block the rays from the sun. In most cases, if
you live in an area where it rains often, you're solar panels will clean themselves
every time it rains.

TIP

Since solar panels have no moving parts, we might tend to


ignore their maintenance. Not only do the panels surface
need regular cleaning, any framing around the panel
should be checked as well.
While panels can function for up to 30 years, if you let the
frame deteriorate it will dramatically shorten the panel's
useful life.

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Another thing to look for is falling leaves, tree sap and bird droppings. Every part
of the panels that is covered is not producing any energy. Snow can also be a
concern in the winter months. This isn't usually a problem because the panels get
very hot which melts the snow on contact.

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Simple Steps To Maintaining


Your Solar Panel Unit
WARNING

STEP

Solar panels are generally installed on roofs or other high


places. Exercise caution when working above ground or
near the top of a ladder.

Inspect the solar panels on a periodic basis (once every 3-6


months works for most people) to remove any debris and dirt and
ensure all connections are tight. Look for any obvious cracks or
water in the enclosure.

STEP

Check the wiring and connections end to end to make sure


nothing is out of place and the system is in good shape. Replace
any wiring that has become frayed, loose or otherwise
compromised. Test the output wattage of the panel to ensure it is
working optimally.

STEP

Clean the surface of the solar panels by first spraying them with
water and then wiping them with warm water and dishwashing
soap to remove any accumulation of dirt and grime. Remove any
bird droppings as well since they can severely reduce the panel's
energy-producing capacity.

2
3

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