How to Make a Solar Panel with CDs: In-detail Guide

We'll explain the process and give you some basic information about such panels
Rodney Nestor
Rodney Nestor
Research Writer
Rodney holds a Master’s degree in Arts and apart from working as a freelance writer, is a rather successful author of science fiction stories published in several literary read more
Last updated: August 10, 2023
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It may seem surprising for many, knowing that it is possible to make solar panels with CDs. It has been used for most science projects in high schools and even adults for practical work in institutions. The truth is there are multiple ways to generate solar power using household items, and this seems to be one of the most interesting experiments people like to do.

If you want to know how to make a solar panel with a CD, we will show you in this guide. You can easily repurpose CDs to solar panels in very simple steps and generate power in no time in your home with available household items.

What You Will Need

Before we get started, there are some things you need to get when performing this experiment. You can’t make the solar panels with CDs without having the following items:

  • CD (Blue-Ray or regular CDs)
  • Zener Diodes
  • Copper Wire
  • Super Glue
  • Wire Cutters
  • Insulated Electrical Wire
  • Multimeter
  • Small low-energy consuming device

These are items you can easily get around, and if you don’t have a CD, you can get a cheap compact disk from your local store.

Step-by-Step Instructions

This guide will show you how to make a  solar Trusted Source A Solar-Powered Home: Will It Pay Off? Installing solar panels for your home to take advantage of solar power can be a long-term investment or just a step toward greener living.  panel with a CD in just four simple steps. So, let’s get started.

Step 1: Attach the Copper Wire

How to Make a Solar Panel with CDs: In-detail GuideThe first thing you need to do is pick up your copper wire and attach it to the backside of the CD using super glue. You can opt for a masking tape just in case you can’t get super glue. According to most reviews, the best tape to get is the Amazon Basics Masking Tape. It holds firmly during any application.

The backside is the part that is usually very shiny on the CD. Attaching the copper to the CD can be done in several ways. The easiest and most popular method is to bend the copper wire into curved sections separately. When you do this, apply the glue to the end of the copper wire just close to the CD’s center hole.

You will need to repeat the same process with the copper wire until it is completely circled on the CD. When you have completed 3 to four bends, you may want to cut the wire around the center hole before beginning a new section. Eventually, when you complete the attachment, the copper wire should look like petals around a flower.

You don’t necessarily have to stick with this method, and you can attach the copper wire any way that works for you. There are many ways to go about it, like we already mentioned.

Based on previous users, the best quality copper wire is the Arcor Soft Copper Wire. It is the most reliable option out there.

Step 2: Attach the Zener Diodes

How to Make a Solar Panel with CDs: In-detail GuideThis is the part where the Zener Diodes come in, especially after you have attached the copper. Before you begin with this second step, make sure the glue used for the copper wire is properly dry before you bring in the Zener diodes. The fastest drying glue is the Gorilla Super Glue Gel. It is the best you can get for your solar panel project.

The reason why you need to include these diodes is so that the voltage can be regulated. You should place the Zener diodes between the spaces of the cut portions of the copper wire. With the help of a soldering iron, you can solder the ends of the copper wire to that of the diodes. You need to leave one gap open, especially where you intend to connect the insulated wires, which will be discussed next.

Step 3: Connect the Insulated Electrical Wire

How to Make a Solar Panel with CDs: In-detail GuideAfter soldering the Zener diodes to the copper wire, you can then install the insulated electrical wire. Get a small knife or blade to clean the ends of the wire so that you get a better connection. You will also need the soldering iron again to join the two remaining ends of the copper wire to the insulated electrical wire ends. This is all you need to do, and then you have your CD solar panel ready for use.

Step 4: Test It Out!

Now that your CD solar panel is ready for use, you need to test it out to see how it works. The best time to test the solar panel is on a sunny day, and you also need that low-energy device to test it with. You can use a voltmeter to test the CD solar panel and see if it works. Connect the insulated electrical wires directly to the voltmeter and ensure the CD solar panel faces the sunlight. There will be reading on the voltmeter if the setup has been done correctly. The readings will increase depending on the intensity of the sunlight. After you get the reading, remove the CD panel from the direct sunlight and take it under a shade to see what happens next. If the solar panel is still generating power, you can connect it to any low energy consuming device, and you have to power it with free electricity. You can get a stainless-steel metal hanger to place the CD solar panel directly in the sunlight. According to most reviews, the Evob Hooks Stainless Steel is sturdy – which makes it one of the most reliable hangers sold.

How Efficient Is a Solar Panel Made from CDs?

CD panels can transform some energy from the sun to generate electricity. However, it is not very effective in converting a lot of energy. However, some CDs like the Blue-Ray discs usually have a higher capacity and high transfer rate. There is some potential in it to improve solar panels efficiency. The only thing is that building an advanced solar photovoltaic panel is quite expensive and nothing compared to our simple experiment with ordinary CD.

Even though the DIY CD panel project may not capture enough power, it is still helpful in powering low-energy devices.

Can It Replace an Ordinary Solar Panel?

Now, you may be wondering if it is possible to power your home electrical appliances with this CD solar panel. Unfortunately, it is impossible to do this using a CD, and even if you add more CDs to the mix, you still won’t get enough wattage to power home appliances. You can’t replace the ordinary solar panel with a CD solar panel, unfortunately. The power you generate from the CD can only be used for very few objects. You can’t compare it with a highly efficient solar panel with more advanced features. Solar panels can generate over 500 watts of power per day and power home appliances. A pocket-friendly solar panel is the Renogy 100W 12V Monocrystalline Solar Panel Suitcase. It can generate over 500 watts per day and is one of the most reliable products out there.

Possible Uses of Such Solar Panels

Here are some of the ways you can apply your CD solar panel:

  • For Learning

Academic practicals are usually where it is most needed. Kids will build this solar panel for DIY projects in school. It encourages them to be creative, and they can appreciate their work. The experience from this project is not only for kids, but it applies to people of all ages. You can use it to pursue your knowledge of renewable energy.

  • Toys

CD solar panel can be used as a handmade toy, and you can decide what object you intend to power with your project. Although the output will be minimal, it can still power small objects like bulbs and handheld fans. The good part about learning how to build solar panels with CD is that it opens your mind to possibilities. For some, it is the beginning of a journey to explore the potentials of solar panels.

  • Student Science Project

Science school projects usually make do with projects like this. They teach students to utilize the power of the solar system to teach them about energy transfer. Kids in lower classes will need supervision when working on solar projects. It involves using equipment like the soldering iron, which can harm them if not handled with caution.

  • Cheap Energy Source

Folks with old CDs in their home can set up a solar panel construction with the aid of sunlight. You can also use it to explore how renewable energy is generated and with available tools. You can go beyond making a simple solar panel to learning how to build a DIY Solar Generator. We also recommend you try out the ECOFLOW Delta solar generator. It is the sturdiest design and is equipped with a lot of ports to power your device.

How to Make a Solar Panel with CDs: In-detail GuideFinal Thoughts

Now that you know how to make a solar panel with CD, you can see how easy it is to transform energy. Although the CD solar panels are not for heavy use, it is still an excellent way to experiment and try new ways of doing things. You can do this at home and see the results you get. The experiment won’t cost much, and most of the items are accessible.  Solar power Trusted Source How Does Solar Work? | Department of Energy Learn solar energy technology basics: solar radiation, photovoltaics (PV), concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP), grid integration, and soft costs.  remains one of the best and eco-friendly ways to utilize free energy.


A Solar-Powered Home: Will It Pay Off?
Installing solar panels for your home to take advantage of solar power can be a long-term investment or just a step toward greener living.
How Does Solar Work? | Department of Energy
Learn solar energy technology basics: solar radiation, photovoltaics (PV), concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP), grid integration, and soft costs.
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