If you’re new to DIY energy and are just learning to power your home with wind and solar panel, you might be tempted to create your own homemade solar cells. There are lots of websites out there that claim it’s “easy,” or that relatively little work is required to make your own solar cells – unfortunately, nothing could be farther from the truth, as it’s an extremely time-consuming process!
1. Just to make the cells, you’ll need to buy a lot of your own materials from the hardware store, including sheets of copper foil, wires, and your own electric stove.
2. To create a single solar cell requires about an hour of time, because you need to heat it up using your stove or electric heater, and then wait for it to cool down before you can begin testing it.
3. To actually power your house with your own cells, you’ll need thousands of them – if you have thousands of hours of free time, this might be a viable option for you, but most people can’t spend half a year working full-time on their own DIY cells.
So if homemade solar cells are such a pain, what’s the better alternative?
The best option is to buy cheap cells off eBay by searching for those that are”chipped” or “broken.” Do a search right now to see just how many good options there are. Yes, it costs money but think about how much time and money you’d waste by spend 6 months of full-time work on making your own cells.
Also, note that solar cells by themselves are not expensive – what makes “professional” solar panels so expensive is the assembly process – taking all those cells and attaching them together on panels, then wiring them to your house.
Fortunately, that process is far easier and more cost-effective to do yourself compared to making your own solar cells – so I would strongly recommend buying the necessary cells and then doing the assembly work yourself, as opposed to trying to do everything by yourself from the ground up.
So, should you make your own homemade solar cells?
Unless you have oodles and oodles of free time on your hands, the answer is almost certainly “no.” It might be a fun science experiment for a weekend to do it and say, “I built my own solar cell!” but it’s not a practical option for going off the grid and making your home solar-powered in the long-run.