You may already be aware of solar energy as a wonderful way for you to preserve the environment and save some money. But did you know you can build your own solar panels? It's true! With just some time and some materials from your local home goods store, you can make some. This article shows you how to make a solar cell so that you can understand the principle of how these panels work. This can be a great way to show kids how these things work. Keep reading to find out.
First, assemble the materials you need. You need to have sheet metal, copper sheeting, alligator clips, a hot plate and a clear bottle made of plastic. You also need salt and water, as well as a micro-ammeter that can read less than 50 amperes. Of course, be sure you have the appropriate safety gear, including gloves, goggles and tongs. Have a first aid kid nearby, as well as a tub of water or fire extinguisher.
Next, check that your copper is not corroded and sandpaper them to make sure. Then, cut two pieces of copper that are roughly the size of the hot plate. Put one of the pieces on top of the hot plate and turn it up to the maximum. As the copper heats, it is going to oxidize and ultimately turn black. That should take about 30 to 40 minutes. Monitor the copper during this time to avoid an accident. Then allow the copper to cool for about half an hour. Finally, rinse the cooled copper off in cool water, wiping off the top layer of the oxidized coating. Use your hands for this step, since you only want to address the top layer of oxidation that comes off easily, not all the way through. Be gentle as you do this.
Make a narrow bucket by cutting the top of the plastic bottle. Now, take the unheated copper piece and insert it into the bottle. Then put the oxidized copper on the opposite side. Make sure they do not touch. Attach an alligator clip to each piece. Clamp the alligator clip from the unheated copper and attach it to the micro-ammeter's postive terminal. Attach the other piece of copper in the same way to the negative terminal.
Use two tablespoons of salt and mix it with a cup or two of water. Then pour the mixture into the bottom of the plastic bottle, but don't wet the alligator clips. In fact, make sure there are a few inches of copper at the top that stays dry. Check the micro-ammeter needle for movement. When you put this solar panel outside, you will see the needle rise as the panel absorbs the sun.
Now, the solar cell in this article will not work as well as the solar panels you buy. However, now you can more clearly understand how this technology works and you can attempt to build your own solar panels or buy and install them.