How to Make a Solar Cell at Home

Need to make a solar cell for a science project or a low energy demand appliance? Well instead of buying your cells, you can learn how to make a solar cell yourself easily at home. They aren’t as efficient as professional solar cells, but if you need to power something very small these work great. I still recommend buying professional cells for your homemade solar panels. All the information about solar cells and solar panels can be found here.

How to make a solar cell, the easy way.

Things you’ll need to make solar cells:

1)      Clean copper sheeting

2)      Sheet metal shears

3)      Metal tongs

4)      Hotplate

5)      Alligator clips

6)      Wiring

7)      Glass jar with wide mouth

8)      Plastic Scraper

9)      Salt

Now you’re ready to begin building your solar cell. Follow these easy steps on how to make a solar cell and you’ll have power in no time.

1)      Use the shears and cut a square piece of copper sheeting that is the same size as the eye of your hotplate.


2)      Turn the hotplate to its maximum heat setting and place copper sheet on the eye for about 30 minutes. The copper will react to form cupric oxide on the surface (black).  Turn off the burner and let it cool for 20 minutes.

Oxide Forming

Black Cupric Oxide Formed

3)      Use tongs to remove the sheet. Never use your hands as the oxide and the copper cool at different rates. This can be dangerous if not using tongs.

4)      Use the scraper and remove the black oxide from the sheet. You will want to be careful not to remove the red oxide from the solar cell. Keep the red, get rid of the black!

Flake off the oxide

5)      Cut another copper sheet the same size as the one you did in step one.

6)      Place the two sheets in the glass jar and make sure they are arranged so they are not touching. Copper is very malleable (flexible) so you can bend them if you need to arrange them in the container.

7)      Attached the negative alligator clip to the cooked copper sheet, and the red alligator clip to the clean copper sheet.

How to make a solar cell : the finished product

8)      Make some saturated salt water. Fill the container with the water so that the copper sheets are in contact with the water, but make sure that the alligator clips are not touching the water.

9)      Connect the wires to a charge controller or DC compatible device and place your container in the sun. The copper on your solar cells will begin reacting and you will have power in no time.

Follow these nine steps on how to make a solar cell, and you’ll be off to a great start on producing power. Just remember only use homemade solar cells for small projects. Once you’ve mastered making solar cells, we think you should move on to making your own solar panels.

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3 Responses to How to Make a Solar Cell at Home

  1. Pingback: Advantages of Learning How to Make Solar Panels

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