When building a solar panel frame, it is important to consider a few factors that will make your solar panel last. Some of these include material, design and workmanship. These are equally important. So we will look into each of them in detail.
Wood, plastic and metal are some materials you can use to make your solar panel frame. If you are considering wood, plywood may be a good option. They are strong, reasonably priced and easy to work with. If you're inclining towards using metal, aluminum is the best. Aluminum can withstand heavy loads and pressure when alloyed appropriately. Its strength approaches that of steel. Most importantly, it is light.
Frankly, almost nobody seriously considers using plastic. But if you are one of those few who are adventurous enough, be sure to use thermosets rather than thermoplastics. Thermoplastics can not stand high temperature. Thermosets can be brittle, so if you are living in an area where hails are common, you may need to reinforce your frame. An important reason why almost nobody favors plastic is because they are bad conductors of heat. With heat build up in your solar panel frame, your solar cells will not be working as efficiently as they are capable of.
Among these 3 materials, aluminum is the longest lying and can keep your solar generators in ship-shape for up to 30 years.
When designing your frame, you have to think about the material thickness and how you'll make the joints. If you're using wood, dovetail joints are the best, although it will certainly take you more time. An alternative to this is the miter joint. If you're using aluminum, you have the option of welding, soldering or bolting the pieces together. Generally for a solar panel, any one of these methods will do since these panels will not be subjected to very high loads or pressures.
Finally, your solar panel frame is likely to give way before its time if the workmanship is bad. Here are a few pointers to help you make sure this never happens to you:
1. Make sure you are working on a solid, level surface.
2. Use table clamps (or other types of clamps) to help you hold your material properly as you are working on it.
3. Use simple tools like the carpenter square to help you get your corners right.
When you consider the materials, tools and workmanship that goes into your solar panel frame, you are more likely to build a solar panel frame that can last you a long time.
Source by John Greenspan