Free Instructions on Soldering Solar Cells Together FOR YOUR DIY SOLAR PANELS

This E-book contains all Free  information on how to make your own homemade DIY Solar panels. 
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This DIY solar panel E-Book is to help the beginner with making his first diy Solar Panel, using new or broken solar cells.  Please read this in its entirety before attempting to make your first DIY solar panel. This E-Book includes hints and tips that I have experienced first hand during my experiences of building my DIY solar panels.

First we are going to start with broken solar cells, they are the most commonly used for beginners in building DIY solar panels, simply because they are reasonably cheaper than new or "whole" pv solar cells.  Make sure when buying your solar cells they have present on each cell both soldering tabs.  This is necessary to make your soldering connections for making your DIY solar panels.  Remember, on most solar cells whole or broken, the top or the front of the cell is negative and the bottom or the back of the cell is positive.  To give you an idea below are pictures of whole solar cells front and back.

When making a DIY solar panel with broken solar cells remember that broken solar cells will be all different sizes because they are broken.  Most of the time the volts per cell will stay the same . 
However, the current or amp of each solar cell will be different.  For example, lets say you have 36 broken solar cells to use for your DIY solar panel.  They all look good and they have the required two soldering tabs on each cell.  The amps may vary from 2 amps to .80 amps for each solar cell.  You start by soldering in series, when your finished you should have about a 20 volt DIY Solar panel.  However, when you tested the current or amps of your DIY solar panel, you find out that your solar panel is only putting out .80 amps.  Why?   Because the one solar cell in your DIY solar panel that is putting out .80 amps drags the other ones down.  You can't make a runt do what the other stronger ones can do.  To avoid this problem from happening, what you need to do before soldering your solar cells together is to go through all of the broken solar cells and separate the larger from the smaller or the solar cells from the most to the least amps.  You can then take two small solar cells and solder them together in parallel, or positive to positive, negative to negative to negative, to make one larger solar cell.  You then continue in your series this will help even the playing field on your solar cells.  With good solar cells your amps will be more even.  When starting out I recommend using broken solar cells for your DIY solar panels, this will help with learning the soldering, and handling of the fragile solar cells.  When Soldering your solar cells I recommend using rosin core solder 60/40 with non-corrosive flux.  Rosin core solder 60/40 melts at very low heat.  You can use as low as a 20 watt soldering iron, I recommend no hotter then using a 40 watt soldering iron for your solar cells simple because it is too hot of an iron can start to damage the solar cell.  So you will need solder that will melt before the photovoltaic paint does on the solar cells.  Low wattage is the key, in soldering your solar cells for your own DIY SOLAR PANELS

Example of broken solar cells       


Instructions on Soldering Solar Cells Together FOR YOUR DIY SOLAR PANEL
* Multiple solar cells
* Ribbon or Bus wire 5mm
* Wire cutter/stripper 
* Soldering iron 15-25 watts
* Rosin core solder with non-corrosive flux (best for the value)
* Pencil eraser
* Tab wire or solar cell tin wire 1.5mm or 2mm
Step 1: Locate the wide line or bus, running down the face of each solar cell. On whole solar cells there are multiple buses, but on broken cells there may be only one.
Step 2: Clean the bus of each solar cell with a pencil eraser so the solder will stick.
Step 3: Cut 10-inch lengths of ribbon wire, one per cell.
Step 4: Lay a line of solder down the length of the cells bus.
Step 5: Place a length of ribbon wire on the solder. Leave a generous tab hanging off the cell and heat the wire with the soldering iron. The solder you just applied to the bus will melt and connect the wire to the cell.
Step 6: Repeat Steps 4 and 5 for each solar cell or  solar cell fragment.

Step 7: Turn the solar cells face-down and arrange them in a column with the ribbon wire tabs hanging off the front and each solar cell laying on the back of the DIY Solar panel directly above it. Keep about 1/4-inch distance between the cells.

Step 8: Solder each cells free wire tab that is on the back of the cell above it to where it touches the back of that solar cell.

Step 9: Repeat Step 8 until all of the solar cells are connected.

Remember on both poly- and mono-crystalline solar cells, the back of the solar cell is the positive side and the front of the solar cell is the negative side.

Tips I have learned along the way in soldering solar cells for, making DIY solar panels

I prefer doing all of the bottoms of the solar cells first with the tab wire hanging off of each solar cell.  If you are using 3"x6" solar cells, you will cut the tab wire 6" in length so you have 3" hanging over to solder on the top of the next cell.  Keep doing this, this is called soldering in series.  Then arrange them in rows.  You can work from the bottom to the top.  This means less flipping around the solar cells.  Most instructions I have read say to do the top first, but when you are finished you have to take the whole row of solar cells and flip it over, this may cause the solar cells to break.  So if you solder all of the tabbing wires to the bottom solar cells first, then you work with all of the tops this will lessen the chance of breaking your solar cells.  You will then have your series connections.  After you are finished, you can place the solar cells in your DIY SOLAR panel frame and connect each row with bus wire and solder each row in a series connection as well.  For example, lets say you have 9 Solar cells in a row and you have 4 rows of solar cells, you then need to connect the rows in series as well.

This is soldering in series +-+-+-
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