How to Make a Solar Panel With Common Household Items

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In today's world where everyone is concerned with “going green,” it is important to know how to do your own part yo protect the environment, while saving yourself a whole lot of money. Solar panels convert the light from the sun into usable electricity. Furthermore, a solar panel can be made right in your own home for a fraction of the cost of a store-bought solar panel. It is a simple process that takes about an hour, and it is well worth the time and effort to watch your TV while the sun's light powers it.

    Cut a piece of the copper sheet, with the tin snips, so that it is approximately the size of one of the stove's burners. Make sure your hands are thoroughly clean when handling the copper sheet.

    Wash the copper sheet piece with soap to remove any oil or grease. Clean the copper sheet with the sandpaper to remove any light corrosion.

    Place the copper sheet on an electric stove burner and turn the burner on high. The copper sheet will turn many colors, eventually turning black. Let the copper sheet turn completely black and then continue to heat it for another 30 minutes.

    Turn off the burner and let the sheet slowly cool to room temperature. This cooling should take about 20 minutes. During the cooling, the majority of the black coating on the copper sheet will flake off, revealing the red cuprous oxide needed for the solar panel.

    Wash the sheet under water to gently remove the remaining black deposits.

    Cut a second sheet of copper to roughly the same size as the first. Cut the top off of your bottle. Bend both pieces gently and place them into the bottle, without touching one another.

    Attach the alligator clip leads to the copper plates, one to each, so that the leads hold the plates against the bottle. Connect the lead from the first piece to the negative terminal of the micro-ammeter and the other lead to the positive terminal.

    Mix a few tbsp. of salt with hot tap water until all of the salt has dissolved. Carefully pour the saltwater in to the jar, leaving 1 to 2 inches of the plates above the water level. Do not get the leads wet.

    Things You'll Need

    • ½ square foot of copper flashing
    • Tin snips
    • Sandpaper or wire brush
    • Electric stove
    • Large, clear plastic bottle
    • 2 alligator clip leads
    • Micro-ammeter
    • Table salt
    • Water