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Building PV cells vs. Buying

Posted: Fri Aug 06, 2004 1:10 am
by High4Volts
I have been pondering buying some solor cells for various projects. After alot of searching and finding the cheapest is about $4/watt I wonder, can they be built at home cheaper? Does anyone have any experiance in this?

Re: Building PV cells vs. Buying

Posted: Fri Aug 06, 2004 3:38 am
by Mike
I don't thik that possible. Its like building your own chips, where you gonna find a chink of silicon and be able to cut it or whatever.

Re: Building PV cells vs. Buying

Posted: Fri Aug 06, 2004 4:20 am
by toejam
you can build them at home using copper that has been oxidized but not for 4 bucks/watt. Check out edmund scientific they sell broken ones that can be worked on for a little less if i remember right.

Re: Building PV cells vs. Buying

Posted: Fri Aug 06, 2004 5:46 am
by Dean Huster
Lindsay Publications http://www.lindsaybks.com/ used to have a book on rolling your own, but the poor efficiency of home-grown PVs will mean that you'll need 5 acres of cells vs. a few hundred square feet for same power output. Shop around the surplus electronics mail order firms and see what you can find. At one time, you could get bunches of 4" x 4" cells (0.7v, 1A in noon sun) for $2 or less.<p>Dean

Re: Building PV cells vs. Buying

Posted: Fri Aug 06, 2004 8:23 pm
by High4Volts
I guess my thoughts are that i have 8 deep cycle batteries just sitting around that i could be useing for something. My wife and I have a small hobby farm with about 80 acres in north central Minnesota. I was thinking of maybe useing them to power greenhouses or the heater in the shop in the winter.
Thanks for the info ToeJam and Dean, i kinda figured that was the case but it never hurts to ask. :)

Re: Building PV cells vs. Buying

Posted: Sat Aug 07, 2004 12:56 pm
by Chris Smith
You can build them out of all sorts of materials, but they are not efficient or small. If you live on a farm, and have an acre to spare, you can build a cheap but huge cell for peanuts. Dissimalar metals placed together form current flows in the presence of heat, light, and acids.
How much is the question?

Re: Building PV cells vs. Buying

Posted: Sat Aug 07, 2004 5:06 pm
by toejam
if you have a greenhouse on your farm, it is a great solar heater. Get some black pvc pipe and place it in the greenhouse circulate water through it into an insulated tank and you can get as much heat as you want to spend for pipe and tank.I used one in new york and during the coldest winter days it was balmy two hours after the sun rose.