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Homemade Solar Panels for Kids - A Fun Science Fair Project

Updated on September 20, 2009
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.


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    • profile image

      pandu 21 months ago

      next time photo will help

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      Kennedy 2 years 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.

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      jassica 3 years ago

      hi guys.

      its an awsome website and truly .,

      i have searched for 76 websites for solar cells

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


    • profile image

      sanchi 3 years ago

      thank you

      it is a very good website

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

    • profile image

      Calvin Pinto 3 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.

    • profile image

      Ramesh Dadhlanvi 3 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

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      sameema 4 years ago

      excellent work

    • profile image

      Djfjf 4 years ago


    • profile image

      john 4 years ago

      awesome fun!

    • profile image

      martellawintek 5 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

    • profile image

      Kushal 5 years ago

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

    • profile image

      mayank 5 years ago

      it's interesting

    • profile image

      AS 5 years ago

      veryy baddddddd and dosentttttt workkkkkk :(

    • profile image

      Nazharri 5 years ago

      i love it!it looks so cool

    • diysolar-panels profile image

      diysolar-panels 5 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

    • profile image

      anony- mouse lover 5 years ago

      what if you cant get theese supies

    • profile image

      rny is da bomb 5 years ago


    • profile image

      name 5 years ago

      no way

      oh my :) ;)

      this is da boom diggity yo

    • profile image

      hi 6 years ago

      hi w

      rej oa'lvjkgk'ejl g

    • profile image

      Annie 6 years ago

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

    • profile image

      6 years ago

      i wonder if it works

    • profile image

      randm_one 6 years ago

      it can work if you want it to.

    • profile image

      i luv science 6 years ago

      Does this work?

    • profile image

      adair_francesca 7 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.

    • profile image

      A Weird Dude 7 years ago

      you wanna see my spaceship?WAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    • profile image

      mega-hamo 7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      deepanshi 7 years ago

      its awesome

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      kelly 8 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.