It’s our goal at Voltaic Systems to provide the highest quality, small scale solar panels to our customers. Should one of our existing small solar panels not fit your needs, here is our guide to making a custom solar panel.
For more information, contact us at (212) 401-1192 or better yet, schedule a consultation with a Voltaic expert.
Voltaic solar panels have a track record of thriving in almost any environment, 24x7, 365 days a year. Our panels have been bobbing in the saltwater of the Indian Ocean, mounted on huts in the deserts of Africa, and braved the snow and altitude in the Himalayan Mountains.
Here's what you get when you choose Voltaic custom solar panels:
*To determine the panel specifications, we typically need to know:
Total power is determined by surface area. We use 19% efficient monocrystalline cells which provide about 0.019 Watts per square centimeter or 0.12 Watts per square inch. For example the solar cell sections on this 2.2 Watt panel measures approximately 4in x 4.8in, adding up to 2.2W.
As a general rule of thumb, we typically recommend that the voltage of the solar panel is 1.5 times the voltage of the battery. This ensures efficient charging throughout the charge cycle.
Recommended Panel Voltage
|Battery Voltage||Panel Voltage|
We create a specific voltage by stringing individual cell pieces in series. Each cell piece is ~0.5 Volts, so for the 2.2W panel shown below we used 12 pieces to create a 6 Volt panel.
We typically use mono-crystalline cells for their high efficiency (19%). We can use other cells including CIGs if that is what your project requires.
All solar cells are protected with some sort of coating material. For commercial solar panels, it is often glass. For smaller panels there are a number of different options.
Urethane: Highly UV resistant, but heavier than ETFE. Our standard panels have a urethane coating and last up to 10 years in the sun with minimal power degradation. The urethane coating is poured or "potted" on the solar cells and leads to a highly waterproof panel.
ETFE: Slightly less UV resistance than urethane, but lighter weight. ETFE is attached to the cells via a lamination process. Finish available in glossy or matte.
Epoxy or PET: We don't recommend this coating as it tends to have a relatively short lifetime. It is the least UV resistant of any of the options.
Glass: Most UV resistant, but also the heaviest and can be challenging to mount in a streamlined manner.
The left images shows a) aluminum-plastic-aluminum substrate with urethane coating b) PCB substrate with ETFE coating and c) aluminum substrate with glass coating. The right image shows matte vs glossy ETFE coating.
The solar cells are mounted on a substrate or backing. Again, there are several options.
Aluminum-Plastic-Aluminum: Very high strength to weight ratio material used in commercial building applications. Easy to create waterproof panel. Allows embedding of screw or nut into substrate.
PCB Plastic: Different thicknesses available, from 1mm to 5mm depending on requirements. Allows embedding of knurled nut into substrate. Higher density than Aluminum-Plastic-Aluminum substrate. Not waterproof without additional hardware.
Aluminum: Typically the strongest substrate option, but is also the heaviest. Thin and rigid.
Depending on the substrate material used, we can embed screws or nuts into the panel, leave empty through-holes or simply flat backs.
Our standard wire has strain relief is about 12 inches long and terminates in a 3.5x1.1mm plug. This can be changed to whatever length and terminal you prefer. The wire can be embedded into the substrate to keep it waterproof or soldered on the outside of the panel. Power and ground wires can even be separated as shown below.
There are no design fees to create a prototype of your custom solar panel. Some, but not all designs may require a fee to prepare the machinery to create your specific panel at volume. This tooling fee begins at around $1,000.
Our MOQ is typically 1,000 panels although we can sometimes lower this number for minor changes to existing solar panels.
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