A solar cell or also known as photoelectric cell is an electrical device which converts the energy of light into electricity. This is made possible by the photovoltaic effect where electrons are ejected from the solar cell’s surface because of the exposure to the sunlight. Solar cells can be used for a lot of things especially to generate free electricity for your remote controlled car and other small devices. Solar cells can even help reducing your monthly electricity bills if built in a large scale. If you are interested to make a solar cell, make sure that you follow the steps below.
Steps to make a solar cell:
Creating a solar cell is not that hard but it can bring great benefits to yourself or your family. We divide the process into parts to make it easier for your reference.
Part 1: Preparing the TiO2 (Titanium Dioxide) Solution
- Mix 6 grams of titanium dioxide and 1 milliliter of white vinegar into a mortar and pistil. Grind them well for 30 minutes until you have a very white and milky solution.
- Add a drop of clear dish washing liquid into the solution. Do not grind the solution because it will be foamy. The dish washing liquid will reduce the surface tension and help distribute the liquid evenly.
- Use a funnel to put the solution into a small dropper bottle and leave them for 15 minutes.
Part 2: Coating the plate with TiO2 Solution
- Clean the conductive glass plate with ethanol and dry them using soft tissues.
- Use an amp meter to know which sides of the conductive glass plates is conductive.
- Use a transparent tape to tape the plates on all four edges. The tape should cover roughly 1 millimeter of the slides on three edges and about 4 millimeters on the last edge.
- Clean the plates to wipe any fingerprints and put a drop or two of the TiO2 solution onto the plate and quickly spread them using a glass rod. Leave it for a couple of minutes until dry.
- Remove the tape
Part 3: Annealing the Coated Plate
- Anneal the plate by placing it at the tip of an alcohol burner for ten minutes at each side.
Part 4: Staining the Plate with Anthocyanin Dye
- Crush 3 or 4 berries using mortar and pistil and transfer them into a petri dish.
- Add 15 milliliter of distilled water and stir with a clean glass rod.
- Put the side with the TiO2 solution onto the crushed berries mixture and leave it for ten minutes.
- You will see that the plate will turn to bright purple color
- Life the plate using a plastic holder and rinse it with distilled water.
- Rinse the plate with ethanol to remove excess water on the plate.
- Wipe the plate dry with soft tissue.
- Store the plate in distilled white vinegar in a dark-colored bottle.
Part 5: Carbon Coating Another Plate
- Use another glass plate to create the counter electrode.
- Light a tea candle with a match.
- Determine which side of the plate is conductive and smear the plate fully with soot using the fire from the tea candle. Hold the plate using a metal tongs at one edge.
- Clean the edge where the metal tongs hold the plate using cotton buds. Make sure that around 4 millimeters of the edge is cleaned properly.
Part 6: Assembling the Solar Cell
- Rinse the TiO2 plate with distilled water and then ethanol.
- Dry the plate with soft tissue.
- Sandwich the slides together and make sure that both the carbon coated and the TiO2 sides meet completely. The 4-millimeter edge must not be at the same side as it will serve as the positive and negative side for the solar cell. Also make sure that the 4-milimetre edge must be exposed.
- Use 2 binder clips to clip the two plates together. Do not clip them at the 4-milimetre edge sides.
- Drop iodide electrolyte solution at an edge of the two 4-milimetre edges.
- Interchangeably open and close the 2 binder clips so that the solution can enter the space between the two slides. Make sure all of the stained area is contacted with the solution.
- Wipe excess electrolyte solution with ethanol and tissue. Now your solar cell is completed but a test must be done to know the usability of the cell.
Part 7: Testing the solar cell.
- To test the electricity output, expose the cell with sunlight and clip the two poles of the solar cells using alligator clips connected to an amp meter.
- If there are positive readings on the amp meter, then the solar cell is completed and ready for use!