DIY Pop Can Solar Panel; A Personal Take On Solar Power

DIY Pop Can Solar Panel; A Personal Take On Solar Power

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Tinkerers that have the time and the means to transform things into solar energy have expanded to create pop-can solar panels. They can be useful when no other source of aluminum is available, or you are out camping in the woods.

Using a number of pop cans transformed into solar panels has been proven to be able to heat an entire room when done correctly.

More people are trying pop cans to create solar panels and to use a heat source in smaller areas or areas that do not have a standard heat source – like a backyard shed or greenhouse.

But how can you turn pop cans into a solar panel? Well, today I am going to break it down step-by-step and show you how. The important thing to do first is discuss why solar power is so vital.

Why are Solar Panels Important?

flare against grey background

Not only can solar power save you money, but it can also help save the environment. The use of solar panels and the corresponding power they generate is important for a variety of reasons.

  • It is good for the environment – as a source of green energy, the use of solar power generates a minuscule carbon footprint when compared to other energy sources such as coal or propane, or natural gas. It reduces greenhouse emissions by half and releases less harmful chemicals into the air than traditional energy sources.
  • It saves you money – with rising utility costs in almost every location you can think of when combined with the rising costs associated with almost everything else, it is no wonder that people are looking to other sources to save money. Solar power is one of these sources as having certain rooms or certain items on solar power only can reduce your monthly costs by half in some cases.
  • It can increase the market value of your home – homes that have some source of solar power have a higher market value than homes that use conventional sources of energy such as electricity or propane.
  • Conserves non-renewable resources – the more people that use solar power as their main source of energy, the more that non-renewable resources such as coal and gas can be preserved.

Other Sources of Renewable Energy

Renewable Energy Concept - Group of gears with the sustainable energies. Wind, solar, biomass, hydropower, power of the sea

Energy from the sun isn’t the only source you can easily tap into. Although it’s one of the best. But there’s wind power, hydro, geothermal, and even tidal which uses the force of the tides to generate energy.

These may sound like new ideas or modern innovations, but science has been available to us for centuries. The use of wind and solar energy has been depicted as far back as ancient Egyptian times and is believed to have been their main source of power. There’s some food for thought!

What You Will Need

What you will need text on laptop keyboard

So now that we know how important solar power can be for saving money and the environment, let’s narrow down exactly what it is we will need to make a DIY pop can solar panels.

The following materials can be found around the home and at your local hardware store.

  • Clean and empty pop cans – as many as you will need depending on the size of the solar panel you are constructing but at least 30
  • Wooden beams for the support of the solar panel housing box
  • A piece of thinner wood – such as plywood
  • Black paint
  • Heat resistant glue
  • A tool that will punch a hole through aluminum or cut through it with ease – such as a chisel and cutting shears
  • Drill and screws
  • Adhesive or insulation silicone

Step-By-Step Instructions

Follow these easy steps and you’ll have a cool DIY solar panel in no time! It won’t power your entire house, but it’s a fun project to do with kids or just on your own. Once all of the materials have been assembled, it is time to start construction on your own pop-can solar panels! Find an open area that you won’t mind getting a little messy and prepare to begin.

Step One

Make sure to wash out each pop can numerous times to remove any leftover drink or sugar residue, as this can have a negative effect on your solar panel and also omit a sour odor as the air is being heated. This can be done using mild dish soap and warm water, or a water and vinegar solution does the job, too.

This DIY project only works with aluminum cans, but some are made of iron so use a magnet if you aren’t sure what type of metal cans you assembled are made from. To be safe, you should be good with Pepsi or Coke cans.

Step Two

Take each can and cautiously cut small fin-shaped openings into the top of each one.

Step Three

Different sizes of nails

Use a nail or similar object to puncture three holes in the bottom of each can before using a larger object (chisel) to make the holes bigger but leave metal in between each one.

Step Four

After the holes and fins are completed, use pliers to remove any small fragments of metal that could have fallen into the can to avoid injury.

Step Five

Take the glue – make sure it is heat resistant and can withstand high temperatures – and glue all the cans together in rows parallel to each other.

Step Six

To ensure a snug fit for the cans, make sure to glue each edge together along with the tops and the bottoms of the cans.

Step Seven

Once the cans are fully glued together, it is time to let them dry and it is during this period that you can begin the assembly of the wooden frame.

Step Eight

Take the support beams and screw them together to form a wooden box.

Step Nine

Screw the piece of thinner wood to the back of the frame to create a chamber for the pop cans.

Step Ten

Orange/black decker drill

Use the drill to create intake and output holes along the top and bottom edges of the wooden frame – this is where heat will enter the can and escape into the room where it is placed.

Step Eleven

Take the rows of pop cans and glue them into the wooden box placing the cans in line with the intake and output holes.

Step Twelve

Fill in the edges between the rows of pop cans and the gaps of the holes located in the wooden frame with adhesive (heat resistant) or insulation silicone.

Step Thirteen

Black spray paint in white background

Paint the pop cans facing you in the opening of the box with the heat-resistant black paint to draw the heat into the cans.

Step Fourteen

Once the glue and the paint are fully dry, position the pop can solar panel in the room to which you want to heat or place it in front of a vent if it is going into a room with no heat source, such as the shed or greenhouse.

Step Fifteen

Then sit back and feel the heat!


Saving, computing, budgeting money with paper cash, ballpen and notebook

If you are interested in saving money or you are interested in reducing your carbon footprint, then why not take an afternoon and assemble some pop-can solar panels? With a bit of time and effort, you can be saving money and the environment all at the same time!

Solar power is becoming the way of the future and before we know it, solar panels will be more expensive as well.

So why not jump on the bandwagon and start converting your home to run-off solar power today? You can start easy by making your own pop-can solar panels and once you discover clean energy, you’ll be wanting to install all types of solar panels in your home!

DIY Pop Can Solar Panel; A Personal Take On Solar Power

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