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Old 24-11-2015, 11:04   #1
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Buying solar panels from Alibaba?

Anyone have good/bad experience buying solar panels from Alibaba? How do you find a good supplier? Quality issues?

Thanks,
Len
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Old 24-11-2015, 11:50   #2
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Re: Buying solar panels from Alibaba?

We used SunSun Solarenergy off Alibaba and while the connectors were not of great quality the panels are, putting out around 22 volts apiece. We have only had them hooked up for a couple of weeks but so far so good. Hope this helps. The guy we dealt with from SunSun was Jet, he kept up with us through the complete process and was excellent to deal with.
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Old 24-11-2015, 13:26   #3
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Re: Buying solar panels from Alibaba?

I bought to 100w flex panels direct of Aliexpress. They have been in use for about 2 years. The connectors have been reenforced by drilling through the substrate and wrapping with wire ties. The surface has gotten a bit foggy after years in the tropics. The panel outputs are all good and they are dirt cheap compared to the high end flex panels. I will be ordering 2 more soon. If they only last 4 years or so, they work out to be pretty good value.
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Old 24-11-2015, 13:29   #4
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Re: Buying solar panels from Alibaba?

Don't forget that there is a 20% duty on Chinese solar panels right now as part of the Anti- dumping activity on solar panels!
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Old 24-11-2015, 13:58   #5
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Re: Buying solar panels from Alibaba?

It should be 200%
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Old 24-11-2015, 20:42   #6
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Re: Buying solar panels from Alibaba?

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Don't forget that there is a 20% duty on Chinese solar panels right now as part of the Anti- dumping activity on solar panels!
Right now you can get 50 watt flexible panels for $110 including shipping and duty.

The 100's are $150 also including shipping and duty.

Plus, you get that great alternative energy discount on your taxes, reducing the cost a further 30%.

I've been in talks with a seller to skip the mc4 connectors and just supply me a junction box. If he won't do it, I'll just cut the mc4 connectors off and replace with a decent connector of my choice. I fail to see any value in MC4 connectors.

While I have not bight solar panels from Alibaba I have bought engine parts very successfully at about 1/5 the cost that Westerbeke wanted.
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Old 24-11-2015, 21:05   #7
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Re: Buying solar panels from Alibaba?

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Right now you can get 50 watt flexible panels for $110 including shipping and duty.

The 100's are $150 also including shipping and duty.

Plus, you get that great alternative energy discount on your taxes, reducing the cost a further 30%.

I've been in talks with a seller to skip the mc4 connectors and just supply me a junction box. If he won't do it, I'll just cut the mc4 connectors off and replace with a decent connector of my choice. I fail to see any value in MC4 connectors.

While I have not bight solar panels from Alibaba I have bought engine parts very successfully at about 1/5 the cost that Westerbeke wanted.
Good in theory, but the renewable energy rebate only applies to residential installations! At $150 shipped that's more expensive that the Grape solar panels you can get at Costco, and without the convenience of dealing locally. Chinese panels need to be up at or under $1 per watt shpped for it to make sense money wise.
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Old 24-11-2015, 21:12   #8
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Re: Buying solar panels from Alibaba?

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Good in theory, but the renewable energy rebate only applies to residential installations! At $150 shipped that's more expensive that the Grape solar panels you can get at Costco, and without the convenience of dealing locally. Chinese panels need to be up at or under $1 per watt shpped for it to make sense money wise.
Are you comparing flex panel to flex panel? I only see rigid panels on the Costco site.
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Old 24-11-2015, 21:46   #9
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Re: Buying solar panels from Alibaba?

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Originally Posted by pcmm View Post
Good in theory, but the renewable energy rebate only applies to residential installations! At $150 shipped that's more expensive that the Grape solar panels you can get at Costco, and without the convenience of dealing locally. Chinese panels need to be up at or under $1 per watt shpped for it to make sense money wise.
Actually you can get the discount on your taxes by listing your boat as either your main residence or your second home there is a thread somewhere on here that quotes the exact tax laws that allow it.
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Old 24-11-2015, 21:48   #10
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Re: Buying solar panels from Alibaba?

Here ya go Can I Get a Tax Credit for Solar on My Boat ?
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Old 24-11-2015, 22:16   #11
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Re: Buying solar panels from Alibaba?

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Good in theory, but the renewable energy rebate only applies to residential installations! At $150 shipped that's more expensive that the Grape solar panels you can get at Costco, and without the convenience of dealing locally. Chinese panels need to be up at or under $1 per watt shpped for it to make sense money wise.
Nope. It works for your boat as well.

You are comparing grapes and pineapples. The grape panels are hard panels - these are flexible light weight panels. Completely different beast. I can't fathom why anyone would by a solid panel these days. All four of my existing flex panels put together weigh less than a single 100 watt solid panel.
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Old 25-11-2015, 00:19   #12
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Re: Buying solar panels from Alibaba?

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Nope. It works for your boat as well.

You are comparing grapes and pineapples. The grape panels are hard panels - these are flexible light weight panels. Completely different beast. I can't fathom why anyone would by a solid panel these days. All four of my existing flex panels put together weigh less than a single 100 watt solid panel.
If you go cruising, you'll find out in a jiffy when S#*t hits the fan and things are flying around.
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Old 25-11-2015, 04:40   #13
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Re: Buying solar panels from Alibaba?

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Nope. It works for your boat as well.

You are comparing grapes and pineapples. The grape panels are hard panels - these are flexible light weight panels. Completely different beast. I can't fathom why anyone would by a solid panel these days. All four of my existing flex panels put together weigh less than a single 100 watt solid panel.
You don't often see flexible panels on boats that really want to generate solar power because 1) they just don't last as long. 2) are less efficient so need more of them 3) decent quality ones are more expensive than rigid panels.

That's why flexible panels generally aren't seen or popular for marine applications.
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Old 25-11-2015, 05:17   #14
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Re: Buying solar panels from Alibaba?

I stand corrected, flexible panels have come down in size to be similar to rigid panels. but it does still present the problem of supporting flexible panels.. put them on deck . deffinietly not as they then present a slipping hazard when you walk on them! generally not enough space on a bimini/dodger. means you're back to building a frame to mount them to. Another reason for Rigid panels! stronger and easier to mount!
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Old 25-11-2015, 08:28   #15
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Re: Buying solar panels from Alibaba?

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Anyone have good/bad experience buying solar panels from Alibaba? How do you find a good supplier? Quality issues?

Thanks,
Len
Yesterday afternoon I helped a dock neighbor load several newly purchased panels aboard his boat to replace his older units. The panels he purchased can be seen at (click on) Renology Solar Panels. The panels are reportedly built in Canada and imported by a company in Chino, Ca. They appear to be well built, are quite a bit less weight than those they replaced--good as they are mounted on a Bimini Frame above the fabric cover--and once hooked up, showed they generated about 25% more power (measured on a Link 2000) than the old panels.

FWIW...
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