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The Lowdown on Single Solar Cells

For those of you interested in building your own solar panels, there is some information you should have about the single solar cells which you will assemble into your panels.
Before you rush off and buy a set of cells, here is some basic information.
A single solar cell will produce about 1/2 (one half) a volt regardless of the size of the cell.
The physical size of each cell will have a major bearing on how much actual power that cell will make.
Single cells come in several different sizes with widely varying power ratings.
It will take between 32 and 36 cells to make one complete solar panel.
Be aware of how much each cell is costing you on a per watt basis.
Watts are calculated by multiplying volts x amps.
Most vendors will sell you solar cells in packs, usually in multiples of 36.
In this fashion, you will have a sufficient number of cells to build a useful panel.
Try to find the larger cells for two reasons.
Firstly, as mentioned above, a larger cell will produce more power than its smaller brother.
And since it is about the same amount of effort to build a panel regardless of the size, you might as well use the bigger ones, all other things being equal.
Try to make sure that the cost per watt does not get out of line just because a cell is bigger.
Although having said that, I would be inclined to use the higher power cells even if they were marginally more expensive, purely because of the greater power produced for the same amount of work.

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