solar panels are way too expensive to buy, can they be homemade cheaply? i want at least 500 watts. everyone on the web sells these instructions, but i'd like a link to free info, if it is really possible for a non-sciencey person to make. thank you
If you want long term working ones then no. I have not seen the web instructions ones, but solar panels that are manufactured are a lot more complex then simple solar panels that you make in your backyard. Also, you need to have some type of turbine or other thing to change heat energy into electrical energy. For a non science person to try and do this and have it work the first time maybe hard to accomplish.
The idea is to hand assemble scrap solar cells that would otherwise be thrown out. At one point in time, very few people would want to do this so you could get the broken solar cells for free but now they sell them by the watt. It's still cheaper than a pre-fabricated solar panel but it's very labour intensive. Technically it's like wiring a bunch of batteries together, you measure the voltage and current a broken cell produces and decide whether or not to wire it in series or in parallel with other cells to get the performance characteristics that you want plus try to fit them onto some kind of structural panel in a fashion that uses the space efficiently. Since your handiwork is likely to be fragile, you'll probably have to put some plate glass on top to protect the cells from the elements, you can also improve performance by positioning fresnel lenses to increase the amount of light on active elements versus inactive areas of the panel.
we can walk you threw the process. Materials you will need… A sheet of copper flashing from the hardware store. This normally costs about $5.00 per square foot. We will need about half a square foot. Two alligator clip leads. A sensitive micro-ammeter that can read currents between 0 50 microamperes. Radio Shack sells small LCD multimeters that will do, but I used a small surplus meter with a needle. An electric stove.