The complete guide on how to make solar panels with aluminum foil

The complete guide on how to make solar panels with aluminum foil

The complete guide on how to make solar panels with aluminum foil

Electricity is one of the important utilities needed for the smooth running of day-to-day activities. It is needed in every aspect of life. The electricity bill keeps on increasing as the day goes by. We cannot decide to decrease the electricity bill by not using it. However, we can find different ways of generating electricity to use to help decrease electricity bills or stop us from using electricity from the power sector of the government. The complete guide on how to make solar panels with aluminum foil will teach you how to use simple materials to generate electricity for your household.

Solar energy is one of the few renewable energy sources currently harnessed on a large scale. The most suitable material used is silicon but is very expensive. The use of aluminum to make solar panels has introduced a cheaper way of making solar panels to help reduce the cost of electricity in our households.

Understanding the Basics of Solar Panels

It’s crucial to comprehend the fundamentals of how solar panels operate before beginning the DIY process. Photovoltaic (PV) cells found in solar panels use light from the sun to generate electricity. Typically, silicon-based semiconductor materials are used to create these cells. Direct current (DC) electricity is created when sunlight strikes these cells, causing an electron flow.

The Role of Aluminum in the Making of Solar Panels

Aluminum foil may appear to be an unusual material for solar panel construction, yet these qualities can be quite helpful. To increase the efficiency of solar cells, more sunlight is directed onto aluminum foil’s reflective surface. Aluminum is a good conductor of electricity and can be used to join parts of your DIY solar panel system because of this.

How to make solar panels with aluminum foil- Materials needed

  • Plywood
  • Aluminum foil
  • Adhesive preferably silicon caulk
  • Utility knife
  • Duct tape
  • Tape measure
  • Insulating wire
  • Marker
  • Soldering iron
  • Voltmeter

How to make solar panels with aluminum foil- Step-by-step guide

  1. Cut the plywood into a rectangular shape
  2. Place the plywood down horizontally and divide it into three parts
  3. Measure the size of the two sections at the edge of the plywood
  4. Measure and cut the aluminum foil to fit the sections at the edges of the plywood
  5. Apply silicon caulk to the sections at the edges of the plywood leaving the middle section
  6. Place the aluminum foil gently at the portion of the plywood with silicon caulk,
  7. Label one aluminum foil as an anode and the other cathode.
  8. Take two pieces of insulating wires and attach them to each aluminum foil with the help of a soldering iron
  9. Make sure the other end of the two pieces of insulating wire is exposed
  10. Attach the exposed wires of the insulating wire to a bulb with the help of the duct tape
  11. Expose the aluminum foil to sunlight

Voila! You have just completed your journey on how to make a solar panel with aluminum foil

How to measure the voltage of a solar panel made with aluminum foil

  • Install Your Solar Panel: To ensure that your DIY solar panel produces a voltage, place it in the sun or close to a bright light source. Make sure the solar panel is positioned such that it receives the most sunshine.
  • Set up your multimeter: This can be done by turning it on and selecting the DC voltage measuring option. Choose a voltage range on your multimeter, if it has any, that is greater than the voltage your solar panel is predicted to emit. If you anticipate that the panel would produce about 6 volts, for instance, choose a voltage range higher than that, like 20V or 50V.
  • Connect the Multimeter: Attach the positive (red) test lead of the multimeter to the positive terminal of your solar panel, which is typically denoted by a “+” symbol or a red wire. Connect the multimeter’s negative (black) test lead to the solar panel’s negative terminal, which is typically represented by a “-” symbol or a black wire.
  • Read the Voltage: Once the multimeter is correctly connected, it will show the voltage produced by your solar panel. This reading is the open-circuit voltage, which is the voltage generated when the panel is not connected to a load.
  • Measurement to be Noted: Make a note of the voltage reading that the multimeter is showing. Your solar panel’s open-circuit voltage is shown here. Remember that the voltage may vary significantly depending on the lighting and the panel’s orientation in relation to the light source.

It is very important to know the voltage produced by the solar panel you have created because it allows you to know the number and type of appliances you can use. Manufacturing a solar panel with aluminum foil that produces a high voltage can destroy household appliances and incur huge unplanned debts. A low voltage will not be able to make the appliances work efficiently.

Advantages of using aluminum foil to make solar panels

It is cheap

Looking at the materials used in manufacturing this solar panel, it does not cost as much as buying solar panels made from silicon. With a little money, you can quality materials and generate electricity.

Easy accessibility to materials

You will not need any license or approval before going to the markets to buy these materials. Again, it is very easy to get them on the market which makes buying them less stressful.

Lasts long

Aluminum foil is very good resistant to heat making it the best material to help in the generation of home-made electricity. It can resist to about 550 degrees Celsius. Moreover, it can withstand extremely cold temperatures. Due to the tough nature of aluminum foil, it is the most recommended material to use in making solar panels at home.

Easy to clean

Due to the shiny surface, cleaning is very easy when a little effort is applied.

Low electricity bill

When you can generate electricity to power some selected items in your house, it reduces the cost of electricity bills since electricity consumption from the service providers has been reduced.

Easy to fix

With little tutorials and supervision, you can go on to fix or produce a lot of solar panels made with aluminum foil because the workload is not cumbersome as in the use of silicon to produce solar panels.

Another factor that makes it easy to fix is that it does not involve any complicated process. When a layman with no electrical engineering certificate is taught, he or she can easily replicate it perfectly.

Disadvantages of using aluminum foil to make solar panels

It can easily be destroyed

When left in the open birds and rodents can bite and make holes in them to disrupt the flow of electricity.

It is not meant for a large area or household

Unlike solar panels made with silicon, solar panels made with aluminum foil cannot cover a large area or be used in a large household with a lot of appliances. It can be used in basic things like charging mobile phones, lighting a house, watching television, etc.

What will happen to solar panels made with aluminum foil when it comes into contact with water?

Usually, a reaction between aluminum and water should result in aluminum hydroxide + water. However, this does not happen because the aluminum foil is coated with a thin film of aluminum oxide which resists water from reacting with the aluminum.

Dos and don’ts on how to make solar panels with aluminum foil

  • Always expose the aluminum foil to sunlight
  • Clean the aluminum foil regularly
  • Measure the voltage of the solar panel
  • Do not cover the aluminum foil
  • Plywood should be treated to prevent insects from destroying it


Now that you know how to generate a renewable form of electricity using aluminum foil, you will be able to make it with ease. The complete guide on how to make solar panels with aluminum foil will not only help you generate electricity but also teach you how to take care of it to make it last longer.

You can take this on as a project to provide light in households that have no source of electricity in their community.

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