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anyone have some advice for soldering to solar cells? also, could i get as much electrical output if i encased the cell in clear epoxy or do you think it would impede the light flow? what if i made a convex lens with the epoxy that could magnify the light onto the cell?
For soldering them, you should use specially designed strips, but I am not sure where to get these. My friends from college's dad solders large solar panels with a torch :twisted: hehe
As far as encasing the unit with epoxy, it should be okay as long as there is careful consideration to the spectral light transmission percentage at particular wavelengths. I am not sure which spectrums a solar panel uses other then our visual range, you should research that, you might lose some efficiency if your epoxy acts like a bandpass filter.
As for forming some lenses.. You should pre-form these lenses and pour the optical epoxy into this. Do not try to sand or machine a lense into this epoxy block. The lenses have to be extremely smooth for them to work well. Sometimes if they are too rough, they will reflect light all over and stop transmitting completely.
Most panels I've seen use 1/16" tinned copper ribbon.
I used 24 gauge silver coated wire.
I use water soluble flux solder.
The backs are no problem,
but it's easy to pull the traces away on the front with too much heat.
I attached mine to non-yellowing plastic
- the local hardware store sells this as storm window glass replacement.
A panel I made 10 years ago is still clear.
I used silicone to seal the back
- used a generous amount & have had no problem with humidity.
Most cells are made of poly-crystalline
- so you might want to test your epoxy on a fragment.
Magnification, I wonder if this might harm the cells.
On a hot day in full sunlight do you think such a panel might melt,
outgas or cloud up?
A sun tracking system might be more efficient.
You might try coating a piece of window glass with the thickness of the epoxy you intend to use, allow it to cure and then pass it over a cell while it's operating to see if there's any drop in output. Nothing like an actual test. Make sure that the glass itself doesn't impede light.