Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 07-03-2015, 06:19   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: still in a roll of fiberglass around Cape Town
Boat: Leopard 40 (new model)
Posts: 1,202
Anyone bought solar panels from these guys?

Does anyone have any experience (good or bad) with the “Semi-Flexible 135 Watt Solar Panel, High Efficiency Sunpower Marine Rated” panels sold in ebay for $269 or so by a vendor called “discountsolar”?
__________________

__________________
svlamorocha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2015, 08:01   #2
Registered User
 
zboss's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: On a boat
Boat: Cabo Rico 38
Posts: 3,431
Re: Anyone bought solar panels from these guys?

I have not but it is my understanding that DiscountSolar in Arizona is one of the larger solar retailers. Assuming its the same company you are probably in good hands.

http://www.discountsolar.com
__________________

__________________
zboss is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-03-2015, 09:46   #3
Registered User
 
JeffBurright's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Oregon
Boat: Northwest 21
Posts: 48
Re: Anyone bought solar panels from these guys?

Those look exactly like the Renogy 100-watt panels that I just installed on our boat. My guess is they just have one more row of cells. I love these things so far. Down here in Mexico, my two panels pump in 15 amps in full sunlight with a non-MPPT charge controller. The plastic is slightly bendable but overall much stiffer than the "roll-up" type flexible panels, and there are no seams to let in moisture over time.

I suspended my panels outside my lifelines attached between the stanchions and the toerail (parallel to the water) in order to free my deck space (no arch on my boat). I think they'd be too slippery to walk on. No additional backing or support was required for the install, simply heavy duty fishing twine under tension.

No long-term experience, but if they're made by Renogy, so far I would recommend.
__________________
Knowing we were fools had not made us sages.
http://www.taketothesea.us
JeffBurright is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2015, 11:09   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 40
Re: Anyone bought solar panels from these guys?

Quote:
Originally Posted by svlamorocha View Post
Does anyone have any experience (good or bad) with the “Semi-Flexible 135 Watt Solar Panel, High Efficiency Sunpower Marine Rated” panels sold in ebay for $269 or so by a vendor called “discountsolar”?
SunPower cells for $269! Sounds like that Rolex watch sold on the corner for $269 - sure it can tell time and it looks like a Rolex but is it really a genuine Rolex? Hmmmmmm
__________________
Anna Sail is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2015, 11:20   #5
Registered User
 
Nicholson58's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Live aboard
Boat: Camper & Nicholson58 Ketch - ROXY Traverse City, Michigan No.668283
Posts: 3,466
Images: 83
Re: Anyone bought solar panels from these guys?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffBurright View Post
Those look exactly like the Renogy 100-watt panels that I just installed on our boat. My guess is they just have one more row of cells. I love these things so far. Down here in Mexico, my two panels pump in 15 amps in full sunlight with a non-MPPT charge controller. The plastic is slightly bendable but overall much stiffer than the "roll-up" type flexible panels, and there are no seams to let in moisture over time.

I suspended my panels outside my lifelines attached between the stanchions and the toerail (parallel to the water) in order to free my deck space (no arch on my boat). I think they'd be too slippery to walk on. No additional backing or support was required for the install, simply heavy duty fishing twine under tension.

No long-term experience, but if they're made by Renogy, so far I would recommend.

Glad to hear these work for you. I have been lusting after the larger panels for in-series charging of the 24 VDC system or singly for the lap top or 12 volt system. I have been looking at a 12/24 MPPT controller. I figure we can store them under a mattress. How do you suspend them?
__________________
Nicholson58 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2015, 11:32   #6
֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 13,056
Re: Anyone bought solar panels from these guys?

Quote:
Originally Posted by zboss View Post
I have not but it is my understanding that DiscountSolar in Arizona is one of the larger solar retailers. Assuming its the same company you are probably in good hands.

Discount Solar - Alternate Energy for an Alternative World
DIFFERENT COMPANY. The ebay vendor has a logo that says they are "discountpv.com" and says they are shipping out of California, possibly that's panels arriving by container from China.
__________________
hellosailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2015, 14:09   #7
Registered User
 
zboss's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: On a boat
Boat: Cabo Rico 38
Posts: 3,431
Re: Anyone bought solar panels from these guys?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
DIFFERENT COMPANY. The ebay vendor has a logo that says they are "discountpv.com" and says they are shipping out of California, possibly that's panels arriving by container from China.
You are right. I have Solbian 137's using the sunpower cells... its my understanding that the cells from China are from the same assembly line but are considered 'B' quality cells and the panel may put out a lot less than the rated power... say 100 watts vs. 135 watts... in anything under optimum conditions (less so than Solbians). They might also fail much sooner... this is the same principle as microchip manufacturers use. Only the government and universities can afford 'gold' quality chips, all the rest of us get silver and bronze chips in our PC's.

However, given the price difference, I would have gone for these panels instead as we can replace them 5 times in the next 15 years and still be to the good.

The one thing I have noticed about many flexible panels (including solbian) is the junction boxes tend to be very poorly designed and integrated. I would prefer a much better designed and robust junction box or simple direct bolt electrical connections. Why bother with MC4 connectors? I see no need for them.
__________________
zboss is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2015, 14:55   #8
֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 13,056
Re: Anyone bought solar panels from these guys?

"Why bother with MC4 connectors?" My uncle, MC, he make very good best connector! He give me most excellent price, I can give you same price like family!


Reasons aren't hard to find. I've seen some trinkets made with a couple of drops of glue, or an ultrasonic weld holding the cover together. And others with literally A DOZEN tiny black coated screws. Now, you can bet a dozen screws plus assembly cost more than three drops of glue...maybe...but I'd bet one guy had screws, the other guy had a source for cheap glue, and no one wanted to change the way they were doing things.


As an old friends dear mother used to say "Bought cheap, paid dearly." Sometimes, I'd just rather pay up front and only do the job once. Ideally, I'd like to be Huck Finn getting paid to have my fence whitewashed.(G)
__________________
hellosailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2015, 20:05   #9
Registered User
 
JeffBurright's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Oregon
Boat: Northwest 21
Posts: 48
Re: Anyone bought solar panels from these guys?

I wish I had a photo to show you, but I haven't had a chance yet. The basics are these:
  • A total of 8 lengths of high-test rugged fishing line (the black twine-ish stuff you can find in rolls down here in Latin America, not the clear monofilament line).
  • The panel has 6 grommets around the border, but I only use the 4 at the corners.
  • On the inboard edge of the panel, attach two lengths of line to each corner. One line goes up to the top of a stanchion (pulling both "up" and "out" if you can get the stanchion spacing right). The inboard edge of the panel should be at about the height of the lower lifeline.
  • The other inboard line goes straight down to the toerail. Cinch tight.
  • On the outboard end, repeat the same upper/lower suspension regime. Suspend the panel close to parallel with the water using the upper line, again tied to the top of your stanchion. Attach the lower line to the toerail like with the inboard end, but position the lines farther apart along the toerail so it tensions the panel flatter.
  • I clipped the MC4 connectors and spliced each panel output to a long 12AWG wire (maybe it was 10AWG, I can't remember). The wire is zip tied to the inboard side of the toerail and led back into the lazarette where my simple charge controller is located.
  • I don't know that I'd recommend it for the true connoisseur, but I use a Coleman Air charge controller that simply disconnects the panels from my battery once the trip voltage is reached. I undoubtedly lose some amperage this way, but it was what I could afford when we left on our trip.
  • With my cheap charge controller, it was necessary to attach a blocking diode to the positive wires from each of the panels to the controller to prevent reverse power loss at night.

Before these Renogy panels, we had 8-foot long roll-up rooftop solar panels (Unisolar) suspended in the same way. These new panels look like tiny wings just forward of the cockpit, which for me is an acceptable aesthetic tradeoff.

We had the old panels out in 40kt+ blows without causing problems to boat operation, but over time saltwater found a way between the laminate layers and corroded the panels (the consequence of buying non-marinized). The Renogy panels are built without a seam along the edge, so I don't anticipate this problem repeating. If the new panels flex and flap too much, I will consider adding additional suspension lines to the center grommets to hold them fast.
__________________
Knowing we were fools had not made us sages.
http://www.taketothesea.us
JeffBurright is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-04-2015, 21:29   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: still in a roll of fiberglass around Cape Town
Boat: Leopard 40 (new model)
Posts: 1,202
Re: Anyone bought solar panels from these guys?

Quote:
Originally Posted by svlamorocha View Post
Does anyone have any experience (good or bad) with the “Semi-Flexible 135 Watt Solar Panel, High Efficiency Sunpower Marine Rated” panels sold in ebay for $269 or so by a vendor called “discountsolar”?
Just to close the loop. I ended up buying the 100W flexible panel from these guys and shipped to USVI for 229 dollars plus 16 dollars shipping
I am very pleased with the panel. It produced 42Ah in its first day at work despite a few bits of cloud and rain.

The panel fits very nicely in the back end of the bimini that will not be touched by the boom ever.

Here is my materials list for the project:

1 - $229 solar panel from Discount Solar via Ebay
2- 25 feet of AWG duplex wire from genuinedeals.com at about 1.05 dollars per foot.
3- Victron MPPT 75/15 controller (about 110 dollars inc shipping from Peter Kenney YS)
4- Clam/gland fitting from defender ( about 15 dollars plus shipping)
5 - MC4 male and female connectos from Renogy via Amazon ( about 8 dollars)
6 - Two butt connectors with heatshrinl for AWG 10.
7 - Two ring connectors to connect AWG to shunt and battery positive.
8 - Watts Up amp counter - about 50 bucks from Amazon


I am very happy and will order another panel soon. I will connect both in series to the Victron 75/15 MPPT controller.

Charlie

Sent from my GT-I9192 using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
__________________

__________________
svlamorocha is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
panels, solar, solar panels

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
What Type of Controller(s) Should I use for these Solar Panels? ErikFinn Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 22 02-09-2014 04:53
Feedback on these solar panels? Paperbird Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 10 11-03-2014 02:04
Can I ask, what are these guys trying to do in this video? endoftheroad Monohull Sailboats 36 10-01-2013 00:06
What About 'these' Solar Panels ? SV Demeter Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 119 07-05-2012 20:19



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 10:12.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.