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PV Solar Panels Construction, Considerations Part Two, Tabbing

 

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Solar Cells Connections

Because solar cells only produce a limited voltage and current, it is necessary to connect them in series and parallel to achieve the required  voltage and current. Be sure to know your cells electrical specs to calculate your panel size and the number of cells requires to achieve the desired voltage and current targets.

 

Tabbing the Cells

Before the cells are connected to form a solar panel, they have to be tabbed or wired with a flat wire called tabbing wire which it is pre-tin with solder for ease the soldering process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To solder the tabbing wires use a soldering iron with sufficient heat, otherwise the soldering process will be very difficult, it is also important to use a diagonal or flat soldering iron tip to evenly apply the heat to the solar cell electrode buss bar.

Before the cells are soldered be sure that they free of dirt and grease, could be desirable to clean them with a soft fabric and alcohol before proceeding to solder the tabbing wire, although the cleaning with alcohol could be optional, applying solder flux to the buss electrode is a must to assure the good flow and quality of the soldering. Fortunately applying the flux is a very easy process using flux pens commercially  available at very inexpensive price, just pass the pen as a regular writing marker over the electrode buss wire, leave sufficient coverage.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connecting Cells in  Series

The cells connected in series must be connected following the polarity rule, the negative electrode buss  must be connected to the positive electrode buss as shown in the figure, each one of the negative tabbing wire must be connected to positive tabbing wire of the other cell and so on.

 

Three Cells Electrical Circuit Representation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Side view of the of the wiring of three cells, note that the upper cell side, must be connected to the lower side of the next cell, this procedure must be followed to all other cells connected in series.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Checking the Cells

It is recommendable to test each cell once is tabbed to avoid any disappointing surprise, then each columns of series connected cells. It is a lot easier to fix any problem at this stage that after you have completed the full panel assembly. Place the cell exposed to sun light or a suitable strong lamp, connect a voltmeter to the tabbed + and - wires and check the reading, it must read at least 0.5 Volts.

 

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Solar cell Negative

Side, (where the sun light strike the solar cell)

Positive

Side

Negative electrode

buss bars

Positive electrode tabs

Tabbing flat wires

Tabbing flat wires

Flux Pen

Negative

side

Soldering  Iron 60 W

-

-

-

+

+

+

0.5 V

0.5 V

0.5 V

Total Voltage 1.5 V

-

+

Solar Cell Symbol

The tabbing wire length must be cut considering the height of the cell plus two to four millimeters

Height

+

-

                     First cell                                          Second cell                     Third Cell

Negative side

Positive side

2 to 4 mm