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Author Topic: reusing shattered solar panel  (Read 1620 times)
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So I grabbed a shattered solar panel from work today, with the intent of somehow reusing it. I was originally thinking of just breaking away all the shattered glass to reuse the individual solar cells, but I can't imagine it'd be easy to do without damaging either myself, or the cells.

The other obvious idea is to just reuse the panel in its current state, but i'd have to somehow resurface it in order to prevent moisture from getting in.

Tomorrow i'll post up the actual panel model and ratings (it's sitting in my car atm and will be hard to get to in the dark), and then hit it with a multimeter to see what sort of voltage the thing is still putting out. I know the fully sunlit rating is about 37v, so i'm sure that even in its shattered state it'll be putting out some useful amount of energy.

I guess i'm basically asking, is reusing the individual cells as simple as just removing them and soldering leads to the little conductors which connect them in series? And does anybody know what sort of epoxy or resin would work well for resurfacing the glass, or perhaps just have tips for doing it? I have access to at least 2 more at work, so I can experiment with taking one apart and just reusing another.

EDIT: Pictures and stuff

The shattered panel

http://i218.photobucket.com/albums/cc201/sinkoman_iii/2011-09-03_10-31-55_113.jpg
   
Test conditions

http://i218.photobucket.com/albums/cc201/sinkoman_iii/2011-09-03_10-32-12_271.jpg

Panel is a Trina 230 watt, with a rated open circuit voltage of 37v. In the test conditions above, I was getting between 34-32v (depending on cloud cover), so it still seems to be pretty useful.

I didn't measure amperage because I wasn't too sure of how to go about doing that. Just shorting the two leads seemed like a bad idea...
 
« Last Edit: September 03, 2011, 03:56:19 pm by sinkoman » Logged

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Replace the glass if broken, glue the cells in the corners. Keep a small distance so hot air can escape. Carefull soldering as the broken cells can be sharp as glass. After each soldering measure again with dmm. Success.
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The tempered glass covering the panel is actually totally shattered, so I don't think it'd be too feasible to chip it all off and put a replacement without damaging the cells in the process. The cells themselves seem to be totally fine though, as far as I can tell. None look to be cracked, and all the conductors are in good shape.

I'm thinking now that it might be best to just coat the thing with some sort of 100% light pass through resin or epoxy. Maybe whatever they use to fix auto windshields. God knows this might end up costing more than the panel itself though!

I just linked a picture in my original post to show the damage.
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Is that second picture looking down over San Diego? Just WAG.
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San Diego is my guess too. That's a beautiful view.
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Quote
The tempered glass covering the panel is actually totally shattered, so I don't think it'd be too feasible to chip it all off and put a replacement without damaging the cells in the process.

Why is any chipping required?  There typically is no attachment between the glass and the PV cells.  I would think you should be able to disassemble the frame and dump the glass into the recycle bin.  And then replace it with a piece of similar dimensions.


The frame is actually just held together with screws and caulking, so this is definitely a possibility.  I'm just not too sure how i'd go about sealing the glass once it's in place. I know the back of the frame is sealed with nothing more than silicon caulk, but i've never gone so far as to see how the glass is bonded to the frame (although I suppose it's about time).

Oh, and it's actually Downtown Honolulu smiley-grin
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Add a new sheet of glass in front of the shattered layer?  Use solar-rated epoxy resin to seal them together?  That might fill all the cracks and reduce the amount of light back-scattered by the cracks?

Or just use resin to seal the thing as is?

If any cells are damaged it will limit the total forward current and its best to short circuit them to get full current drive back though - this could be v. tricky.  Solar cells are as fragile as glass and 0.2mm thick...
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