Homemade Solar Panels for Kids - A Fun Science Fair Project

Copper is used in this project.
Copper is used in this project.

Homemade Solar Panels for Your Kids

A great science fair project is to teach your kids how to create a solar cell or solar panel using materials you can buy at a hardware store. Now there are some steps that needs a parents help such as heating metal over the stove. Of course it depends how old the kids are. Older kids may do the heating themselves under a parents supervision, but younger children might just have to stand beside and watch as the parent is perform the heating.

Now if you are creating homemade solar panels for kids, then I would suggest that you go ahead and build your own solar cells from copper. These solar cells doesn’t even come near to “real” factory produced solar cells which are made of silicon. The copper solar cells that we are going to do is a very fun alternative but they cannot really be used to produce any greater electricity as we know it. It could be but we would need gigantic amounts of copper that would cost thousands of dollars, and corrode after about 9 months of use.

If you want to make homemade solar panels that you can use to power a light bulb for example then you should take a look at this page.

Now to start making the solar cell you will need these materials:

  • Sheet of copper
  • 2 Alligator clips
  • Microampere meter
  • Electric stove
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Sandpaper
  • Metal shears
  • Plastic cup

You start out by cutting two pieces of copper that can fit into your plastic cup and at the same time can be heated on your stove. Turn the temperature on the highest and heat up one piece of metal. You will se that it will begin to change colors, from red to black.

After about 30 minutes: turn off the stove and you will se that the black copper piece is starting to cool down and turn into “copper color” again. When the copper has been cooled for about 20 min then it’s time to remove some of the black spots on its surface. You want to be very delicate with this step. If you scrub to hard you can damage the thin red oxide layer you have created with the heating. Try to wash the copper with water and gently use the sand paper to remove the most easiest black spots.

Now, it’s time to make the solar cell. Take the two pieces of copper sheet, (one is heated the other one is not) and place then in the plastic cup. The are placed apart but still facing each other.

Add hot water and a couple of tablespoons of salt to the cup and attach the alligator clips to the copper sheets (one clip for each sheet).

Now attach the microampere meter to the two clips and bring the cup out in the sun to see if it produces any electricity. If it does then congratulate your kid for creating their first homemade solar cell.

If you want more detailed instructions with pictures then visit this great diy solar cell page which I found. (This is the page where I found out about this project.)

Copper is a very expensive material and in order to power a lightbulb it would take lots of copper that would cost you thousands of dollars. The area needed would be enormous compared to a commercial solar cell.

Once your kids have made their first solar cell, then perhaps you could buy some factory seconds solar cells off ebay to make a solar panel. This project is a bit more difficult, even for adults so keep in mind that not everyone can pull this project off.

To give you more information and some instructions to get started on a real solar panel please see this page.

Comments 28 comments

kelly 7 years ago

This is probly one of the best project i done.We had to make a solar projects for school and i got and A+...I had so much fun with my project.

deepanshi 6 years ago

its awesome

mega-hamo 6 years ago

jeep jeep zooooooomm im MH hello earthlings. AAAAAHHHHAAHAHAHA MY CAT FARTEd IN MY SPACE SHIP

A Weird Dude 6 years ago

you wanna see my spaceship?WAHAHAHAHAHAHA

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adair_francesca 6 years ago

That's cool introducing solar panels to kids. yes, it is a project but of course they will be aware of the good things that solar panels can do.

i luv science 5 years ago

Does this work?

randm_one 5 years ago

it can work if you want it to.

5 years ago

i wonder if it works

Annie 5 years ago

Other than the many readibilty errors, and there are a lot of them, its a good project.

hi 5 years ago

hi w

rej oa'lvjkgk'ejl g

name 4 years ago

no way

oh my :) ;)

this is da boom diggity yo

rny is da bomb 4 years ago


anony- mouse lover 4 years ago

what if you cant get theese supies

diysolar-panels profile image

diysolar-panels 4 years ago from Dallas,TX

It is fun project, I did one few months ago with my niece and some of her friends, with surprising results based on the materials listed here http://topdiysolarpanels.com/

Nazharri 4 years ago

i love it!it looks so cool

AS 4 years ago

veryy baddddddd and dosentttttt workkkkkk :(

mayank 4 years ago

it's interesting

Kushal 4 years ago

Awsome...gotta try this for an A1 GRADE :-P

martellawintek 4 years ago

long time no see gaza i shouldn't give it out but i think this is the web address

and details ,ring them for advice ,tell them martellas put you on

john 3 years ago

awesome fun!

Djfjf 3 years ago


sameema 3 years ago

excellent work

Ramesh Dadhlanvi 2 years ago

This is the worst project of my life....... It did not work at all.. I am 42 years old and I have done it with my 9 years son. This idea of your's is the fucking , disgusting, harassing waste of money and time and I had to stand like a pole in the class project of my son

Calvin Pinto 2 years ago

Thank you verryyyyy muchh. I am13 years old. I havg got a medal, a trophy and 50,000 rupees from my school for the best science project 2013-2014 and the first price for it .Once again "THANK YOU VERY VERY VERY MUCH" for your idea.

sanchi 2 years ago

thank you

it is a very good website

but can you please show me how to make a solar helicopter

jassica 2 years ago

hi guys.

its an awsome website and truly .,

i have searched for 76 websites for solar cells

and this website!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Kennedy 16 months ago

I'm using this for a 7th grade project I think it will work, but all of the comments that downed this make me second guess. So I wonder what should I do. Someone help please.

pandu 9 months ago

next time photo will help

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