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Paul

Here ya go, Theb. :)

 

Are you going to buy tabbed cells or just bare ones? Have you sourced frames? What about encapsulating resin?
 
Please post complete details including pics.

 

First things first. Unfortunately, I do not have a camera here. So, images will have to be from the site(s) involved.

Now. A friend, who lives in California, ordered a complete Do-It-Yourself Solar Panel Kit on eBay (USA), from a company called Ever Bright Solar.

 

The following items were in the box that he shipped to me:

 

1 each - 40 3x6 Original Untabbed Solar Cells DIY Panel Kit w/ Wires Flux Diodes

 

40_3x6_Original_Untabbed_Solar_Cells_DIY_Panel_Kit.jpeg

 

 

1 each - Junction Box with connectors

 

Junction_Box.jpg

 

 

 

The items still necessary to complete the construction of the panel, are listed below:

 

1 each - Aluminum Frame Kit (I can probably have this fabricated locally.)

 

Aluminum_Frame_Kit.jpg

 

1 each - Encapsulation Kit

 

Encapuslation_Kit.jpg

 

 

1 each - Solar Glass Panel (I can probably have this sourced locally.)

 

Now that I am about to move into a house, I will have the space, and hopefully the time, to get this little project finished.

Edited by Paul
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Knowdafish

Very cool! It looks as though it is a 63 watt kit? "(63 watts divided by 18 volts = 3.5 amps)"

 

Just make sure if you source any local glass it gets tempered and is low iron glass, which does not have green tint to it, and looks very clear compared to regular glass. 

 

Please keep us aware of your progress and total costs involved. Normally panels are judged by how many watts they produce at a given voltage per dollar. I think you will be ahead of the game but after shipping and all costs involved it is hard to say? 

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Dolsos

Whats the price savings by building your panel?  Is it a cost motivation to do it this way or are you just interested in the mechanics?  Will you expand the system to live off grid or just doing this for enlightenment?

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Paul

Whats the price savings by building your panel?  Is it a cost motivation to do it this way or are you just interested in the mechanics?  Will you expand the system to live off grid or just doing this for enlightenment?

 

Hi Dolsos,

 

I do not know the savings at this point. However, keep in mind that my friend shipped me all the parts (above), for free. I tried to pay him for them, but he would have no part of that. So, I am off to a good start!

 

Cost motivation was not a factor, except time and monies to deal with import duties. The entire box of current parts, cost me a total of 2,500 Riel, or about .625c US. Yes, folks, that is sixty-two and one half cent, to allow the box to be picked up by me at the post office here in Sihanoukville.

 

I am interested in the mechanics, so this will satisfy my curiosity, hopefully anyway. I have always enjoyed learning about PV Panels, yet have never bothered to try to construct one.

 

I doubt I will live off grid here, completely. That doesn't matter, really, one way or another. However, electrical issues are too common here - power cuts are still quite frequently occurring, although promises have been made for months and months, that all will be well soon.

 

My electric rate is about to drop from 1,100 Riel (.275c US) per Kwh, down to 720 Riel (.18c US) per Kwh, when I transfer from this apartment to the house. But, I still want stable power for my electronic devices. And, it would be nice to have some lighting and fans to run, during extended power cuts here.

 

Granted, a single pv panel will not be enough to power everything that I need. However, if this panel functions okay for me, and produces sufficient power, I will expand my system with more of these types of panels. For it to be much cheaper than importing completed panels, well, that is just the icing on the cake. .

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thebob

If I were to attempt this I think I would just ship the cells and the encapsulation resin. Everything else is available here in cebu.

 

Next you need to work out which charge controller to use and what size battery.

 

I think this is a nice simple circuit, that mainly uses components from an old ATX power supply, you can most probably find an N channel MOSFET in there as well to replace the TIP30 transistor, and plenty of diodes.

 

http://paulorenato.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=81&Itemid=4

 

You need a soldering iron to build the panel, might as well put it to good use.

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Paul

Very cool! It looks as though it is a 63 watt kit? "(63 watts divided by 18 volts = 3.5 amps)"

 

Just make sure if you source any local glass it gets tempered and is low iron glass, which does not have green tint to it, and looks very clear compared to regular glass. 

 

Please keep us aware of your progress and total costs involved. Normally panels are judged by how many watts they produce at a given voltage per dollar. I think you will be ahead of the game but after shipping and all costs involved it is hard to say? 

 

Sorry, man. I didn't see your post before. Yeah, that's right. Each of these cells should be about 1.75 watts each. I will build a typical panel, four (4) rows of nine (9) cells each.

 

I know I will have to look for the proper glass as well. Low iron is a must.

 

 

If I were to attempt this I think I would just ship the cells and the encapsulation resin. Everything else is available here in cebu.

 

Next you need to work out which charge controller to use and what size battery.

 

I think this is a nice simple circuit, that mainly uses components from an old ATX power supply, you can most probably find an N channel MOSFET in there as well to replace the TIP30 transistor, and plenty of diodes.

 

http://paulorenato.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=81&Itemid=4

 

You need a soldering iron to build the panel, might as well put it to good use.

 

The unit I have decided to go with an MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) charge controller. Below is an example. It is manufactured by MorningStar Corporation. This particular unit will probably cost about $200 USD, or a bit more.

 

sunsaver_controller.jpg

 

sunsaver_mppt_open.jpg

 

Here is a complete list of current MorningStar Controllers.

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Dolsos

I know you're big on solar and renewables but have you considered a wind turbine as well?  I'm led to believe you can get a smallish (1kw or smaller) turbine for relatively cheap, could be a good way to keep batteries charging at night. 

 

I don't know if its a possibility in your area or not, its something I'm considering if we find a big enough piece of land on a hill somewhere.

 

You've also mentioned you prefer "off grid" systems so if power goes out you still have it, is it not possible to set up a system thats a grid tie but will keep a set of batteries topped off and switch to the batteries during a brownout? 

 

I imagine the costs involved could be a big drawback on that if its possible.  I like the idea of simply sending the power back to the grid, batteries and replacements as a recurring cost could be a bit of hassle, but then again having uninterrupted power is a pretty big benefit.

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Paul

I know you're big on solar and renewables but have you considered a wind turbine as well?  I'm led to believe you can get a smallish (1kw or smaller) turbine for relatively cheap, could be a good way to keep batteries charging at night. 

 

I don't know if its a possibility in your area or not, its something I'm considering if we find a big enough piece of land on a hill somewhere.

 

Yep. I live less than 1 Kilometer from the water (The Gulf of Thailand). There is, almost always, some sort of breeze here. I like the idea of adding a wind turbine, especially in addition to the solar array.

 

By the way, there is a 225 Kilowatt wind turbine that was installed at the port of Sihanoukville. It was installed, and run by the Chinese. Go figure.

 

I have also seen a couple of small wind turbines on some of the businesses here. They are not, in my opinion, mounted properly. One is actually mounted on the hand rail on the second floor of a guest house / hotel here. :rolleyes: What a waste of money.

 

Another alternative energy installation I have seen - two in fact, are solar water heaters on roofs here.

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Dolsos

 

Yep. I live less than 1 Kilometer from the water (The Gulf of Thailand). There is, almost always, some sort of breeze here. I like the idea of adding a wind turbine, especially in addition to the solar array.  

 

 

Plus you may get a fresh bird or two to fry up for dinner.

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Paul

I tell ya, if I were a bit smarter about this, I would probably go ahead and buy a charge controller that will have an input for a solar array, as well as wind power. They do make them.

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thebob

But wow! that is a singing dancing charge controller!

 

I'd be doing it all Macgyver style. Reading up on that controller really has got me thinking how to implement the same functions using a micro controller.

 

Nice project.

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Paul

I recently learned of MorningStar coming out with a generation 3 version of their Sunsaver 10. It is the Sunsaver 10L. However, it is not an MPPT controller. It is a PWM controller. For small / starter systems, and in warmer temperatures, this controller may have an advantage over MPPT controllers.

 

Read pages 8 and 9 of the following PDF:

 

Trad-PWM-vs-TrakStar-MPPT-April-2013.pdf

 

Below is the information file for the alternative controller that I may possibly go with, since learning of the updates to the controller, completed last year:

 

SunSaver Gen 3 Overview 8.12.pdf

 

-----------------

 

Final Note: From doing more extensive research recently, on voltage controllers that is, I have accrued, and added a number of additional PDF files to my Drop Box, Google Drive, and Copy accounts. If anyone is interested in receiving this information, please contact me.

Edited by Paul
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