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Solar Cell Tabbing

How to attach tabs or tab wire to un-tabbed solar cells.

Safety First

Always take all necessary precautions when connecting solar cells together.

Always wear a respirator mask and safety glasses during soldering to protect from the inhalation of fumes and from flicking solder.

During solar cell tabbing, always make sure, you wear gloves when handling solar cells so you don't get oil on the cells and reduce their effectiveness.

Also, keep in mind that solar cells are very fragile and can break if handled roughly during solar cell tabbing. You can learn more about solar safety by clicking here to go to the Solar Safety section of our website.

Instructions For Tabbing Solar Cells

Solar cell tabbing involves soldering tab wire to the contact points of the un-tabbed solar cells.

How To Connect Solar Cells (Un-tabbed)

Step 1. Place your solar cell down on a clean work surface with the negative side (front) facing up.

Front of Standard un-tabbed solar cell

Negative side facing up.

Step 2. Grab your flux pen and rub it along the entire surface of both contact strips. (These are the two vertical lines you see running up and down the solar cell).

Step 3. Next you need to cut out 36 x 2 = 72 pieces of tabbing wire (the thinner of the 2 wires in our materials list). The length of the wire pieces should be two times the height of the solar cell. So if your solar cell is 3.25 inches high, cut your pieces of tab wire 3.25 x 2 = 6.5 inches in length.

Step 4. Take one of the pieces of tab wire you just cut out and place it on one of the contact strips as shown in the diagram below.

Step 5. Heat up your solder iron and apply some very light pressure with it along the surface of the tabbing wire (which is sitting on the solar cell's contact strip.) This should bond the tabbing wire to the solar cell. If not, add some solder directly to the tab wire and heat to secure the tab. Since tabbing wire comes pre-coated with solder, you shouldn't normally have to use any extra solder.

Step 6. Now take another piece of your pre-cut tabbing wire and do the exact same thing to attach it to the solar cell's other vertical contact strip.

That's it! You have now tabbed your first solar cell. I hope you had fun tabbing solar cells because you will have to tab all 36 of your solar cells this way before you can add them to your solar panel.

If you need to, you can watch a video of the entire solar cell tabbing process performed step by step by clicking here to view the video.

Now that you know how to tab solar cells, click here to go back to the Make Solar Panels section in the exact spot you left off (or just click your browsers back button).