Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 13-04-2015, 14:21   #31
Marine service provider
 
newhaul's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: puget sound washington
Boat: 1968 Islander bahama 24 hull 182, 1963 columbia 29 defender. hull # 60
Posts: 4,006
Re: Cheap chinese solar panels

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steady Hand View Post
I don't own any of the solar panels yet, but intend to add them to a future boat. So pardon my ignorance in the following questions. . These are not rhetorical questions, do I hope someone with experience will be kind enough to answer them here.


The cost of the solar panels in general has fallen over time. But what else about the panels will fall or deteriorate over a few years?

I wonder what the materials lifetime projections are for the flexible (plastic foundation or casing or substrate) panels are going to be versus heavier panels that have glass fronts.

And are the typical panels sold for and used on boats today coming with real glass glazing, or with some kind of plastic (acrylic) glazing?

Do the "cheap" panels have a different kind of glazing material?

If the panels come with real glass, are the cheapest panels using tempered glass?

Will the plastic materials (especially clear glazing) suffer from the constant sun exposure and heat? Or simple "crazing?" Will they get cloudy or hazy like many plastic auto headlamp lenses do after a few years?

Do the panels sold for boating have special "marine" wiring? Or, would a cheap panel intended for land based use have inferior wiring that will corrode or fail quickly in salt marine air?
Our windy nation panels have tempered glass front in a ridgid aluminum frame I have never seen any difference between the connections for marine wiring and land based wiring for the panels
__________________

__________________
newhaul is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 13-04-2015, 18:13   #32
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 324
Re: Cheap chinese solar panels

@ OP- What brand panels did you purchase ?

Additionally,seems no difference "marine" panels than "home" panels.If someone knows different please post !!!

Sun Electric in Florida has lowest cost per Pallet/Watt prices I've seen anywhere.

My experience is Kyocera panels best bet for their warranty/replacement policy ! Alittle spendier but no questions asked if a cell goes bad for replacement.


All the best.
__________________

__________________
Arthur Garfield is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-04-2015, 18:22   #33
Registered User
 
leftbrainstuff's Avatar

Join Date: May 2011
Location: San Francisco and Australia
Boat: Liberty 458
Posts: 1,979
Re: Cheap chinese solar panels

Kyocera replaced on of our 120w panels under warranty. It was 12 years old and bought by the previous owner. They warranty them for 25 years and marine use is specifically covered.

We're in the process of moving our 2 x 80w panels off our dodger to a stackable / deployable location on our transom arch. Shading by the boom basically makes one side useless.

Sent from my SM-N900T using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
__________________
leftbrainstuff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-04-2015, 18:58   #34
Registered User
 
RainDog's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Varies
Boat: Pacific Seacraft 34 #142
Posts: 1,183
Re: Cheap chinese solar panels

The flexible Renogy panels I received definitely have some quality issues. If you can fit the Kyocera and already have a place to mount them, I think the cost and quality advantages make them the clear choice.

However the smallest kyocera panels are huge and you need to build a very expensive arch to hold the weight if you do not already have a good mounting location.

The Renogy 100w flexible panels work way better on a boat my size. Pricing panels by the watt is only part of the story. In most solar setups I would expect the panels to be 1/3 of the total cost of the system.
RainDog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-04-2015, 19:15   #35
One of Those
 
Canibul's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Turks and Caicos Islands
Boat: Catalac 12M
Posts: 3,209
Re: Cheap chinese solar panels

Very curious, what quality issues are you having with the Renology flex panels? I've just designed in 8 of them as one option on my new top.
__________________
Expat life in the Devil's Triangle:
http://2gringos.blogspot.com/
Canibul is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-04-2015, 20:09   #36
Registered User
 
RainDog's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Varies
Boat: Pacific Seacraft 34 #142
Posts: 1,183
Re: Cheap chinese solar panels

Quote:
Originally Posted by Canibul View Post
Very curious, what quality issues are you having with the Renology flex panels? I've just designed in 8 of them as one option on my new top.
The junction box where the wires come out of the panels was poorly assembled. I had to rebuild them and then reinforce the wires. Details and pictures here:
https://raindogps34.wordpress.com/20.../solar-panels/
RainDog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-04-2015, 21:25   #37
Registered User
 
autumnbreeze27's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Cruising Mexico
Boat: 50' Herreshoff Ketch
Posts: 967
Re: Cheap chinese solar panels

Quote:
Originally Posted by RainDog View Post
The junction box where the wires come out of the panels was poorly assembled. I had to rebuild them and then reinforce the wires. Details and pictures here:
https://raindogps34.wordpress.com/20.../solar-panels/
I like what you did with the junction boxes but I wouldn't bad mouth the quality of the part considering the cost. Are you suggesting that because they didn't include a couple of nylon cable clamps that you had to "reinforce" them.
__________________
autumnbreeze27 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-04-2015, 21:44   #38
Registered User
 
RainDog's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Varies
Boat: Pacific Seacraft 34 #142
Posts: 1,183
Re: Cheap chinese solar panels

Quote:
Originally Posted by autumnbreeze27 View Post
I like what you did with the junction boxes but I wouldn't bad mouth the quality of the part considering the cost. Are you suggesting that because they didn't include a couple of nylon cable clamps that you had to "reinforce" them.
Where the wires leave the panel Renogy has a four piece box. A square base, two end caps, and a lid. On each end of the box one wire come out between the lid and end cap. The four pieces of this box have no mechanical connections. They set them on the panel and glue them together. You can see the white glue all over in the pictures.


The panel I had was not glued properly. When I received the panel, the box had fallen apart in shipping. Luckily all the pieces were there. I rebuilt the box using marine goop.


This box should be designed well enough to hold the wires securely. Even with my repair the wires seemed like they would be damaged without additional reinforcing. That is why I added the cable clamps. I say I had to reinforce them because the wires would be damaged by using them as they came from the factory. This is a design flaw in the panel. I have not seen a similar flaw in other panels. The box falling apart in shipping is more of a manufacturing flaw than a design flaw.


As I said in the blog post, I would buy these panels again given the current choices, but people should be realistic about what they are getting.
RainDog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-04-2015, 09:34   #39
Sponsoring Vendor
 
OceanPlanet's Avatar

Community Sponsor

Join Date: May 2009
Location: Woolwich, Maine
Boat: Sold it!
Posts: 401
Send a message via Skype™ to OceanPlanet
Re: Cheap chinese solar panels

Quote:
Originally Posted by Garethk View Post
I purchased 4 x 100 watt panels from Solbian and after 12 months had major issues with them, Replaced under warranty but after another 12 mths they are starting to glaze over. Tried polishing the surface ,looked good for a month but back to how they where.Now these panels are not cheap at $900.00 each so you would think they should last at least 5-10 years.

Now it seems the original importer for Australia has pulled the pin so where does that leave the Australian guys who purchased for there warranty problems

Ok, if you only pay say $150.00 per panel I would cop that but $900.00 each and no back up, I go the Chinese panel
Ouch! We know the distributor in OZ has moved on, and we cover North America, however Solbian will likely help you out again. Drop us a note if you'd like us to connect you.

What's weird is that the glazing/fogging was theoretically tied to a supplier issue (bad batch of coversheet material), the replacements shouldn't have had the problem again.

Regarding polish, here we have used RejeX on new panels and suggest periodic reapplication. They seem to like it, makes them very slippery and bird poo-resistant.
__________________
Twice around was enough for me...
Now I just help others prep for ocean trips...
www.bruceschwab.com
OceanPlanet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-04-2015, 12:51   #40
Registered User
 
nimblemotors's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Sacramento, California
Boat: Solar 40ft Cat :)
Posts: 1,557
Re: Cheap chinese solar panels

It is always convenient to blame problems on a supplier...
I've been looking into producing solar panels.
I don't really see ANY plastic sheet that can last in a salt water marine environment and remain crystal clear for 10 years.

It seems to me one just has to assume the weight savings of using thin plastic is a cost of replacing them after a relative short time.
I've been thinking the better approach is to make them 'rebuildable' or the top sheet can be replaced. Nobody does this, it looks very difficult and maybe impossible..


Quote:
Originally Posted by OceanPlanet View Post
Ouch! We know the distributor in OZ has moved on, and we cover North America, however Solbian will likely help you out again. Drop us a note if you'd like us to connect you.

What's weird is that the glazing/fogging was theoretically tied to a supplier issue (bad batch of coversheet material), the replacements shouldn't have had the problem again.

Regarding polish, here we have used RejeX on new panels and suggest periodic reapplication. They seem to like it, makes them very slippery and bird poo-resistant.
__________________
JackB
MiniMPPT Solar Controller
nimblemotors is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-04-2015, 07:02   #41
One of Those
 
Canibul's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Turks and Caicos Islands
Boat: Catalac 12M
Posts: 3,209
Re: Cheap chinese solar panels

Quote:
Originally Posted by nimblemotors View Post
I don't really see ANY plastic sheet that can last in a salt water marine environment and remain crystal clear for 10 years.
I've used polishing compounds in the past to restore fogged plastic by resurfacing. I've probably saved at least a dozen CDs over the years using ultra brite toothpaste and a damp cloth.

Would buffing the plastic off and using one of the silicon fillers like Armor All or similar extend this life?

To us, the advantages of getting away from the heavy, fragile glass panels would be worth a polish job every few years if that would do it. At 4 lbs. each, the flex panels would not be overwhelmingly difficult to remove, buff and replace.

As a potential manufacturer you could offer buffing kits...something like 600 or 2000 grit wet paper and some compound and cloth? Still easier than brightwork.
__________________
Expat life in the Devil's Triangle:
http://2gringos.blogspot.com/
Canibul is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-04-2015, 09:38   #42
Registered User
 
nimblemotors's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Sacramento, California
Boat: Solar 40ft Cat :)
Posts: 1,557
Re: Cheap chinese solar panels

The solution is to use very thin glass. Normal solar cells need thick glass so it doesn't flex and break the cells, but with flexible cells, you can use thin glass.
Very expensive compared to plastic, but for marine environment I think it is needed.

If you thought scraping a hull for bottom paint was a pain, just imagine having to polish 1000 square feet of solar panels.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Canibul View Post
I've used polishing compounds in the past to restore fogged plastic by resurfacing. I've probably saved at least a dozen CDs over the years using ultra brite toothpaste and a damp cloth.

Would buffing the plastic off and using one of the silicon fillers like Armor All or similar extend this life?

To us, the advantages of getting away from the heavy, fragile glass panels would be worth a polish job every few years if that would do it. At 4 lbs. each, the flex panels would not be overwhelmingly difficult to remove, buff and replace.

As a potential manufacturer you could offer buffing kits...something like 600 or 2000 grit wet paper and some compound and cloth? Still easier than brightwork.
__________________
JackB
MiniMPPT Solar Controller
nimblemotors is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-04-2015, 10:27   #43
Marine service provider
 
newhaul's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: puget sound washington
Boat: 1968 Islander bahama 24 hull 182, 1963 columbia 29 defender. hull # 60
Posts: 4,006
Re: Cheap chinese solar panels

Quote:
Originally Posted by Canibul View Post
I've used polishing compounds in the past to restore fogged plastic by resurfacing. I've probably saved at least a dozen CDs over the years using ultra brite toothpaste and a damp cloth.

Would buffing the plastic off and using one of the silicon fillers like Armor All or similar extend this life?

To us, the advantages of getting away from the heavy, fragile glass panels would be worth a polish job every few years if that would do it. At 4 lbs. each, the flex panels would not be overwhelmingly difficult to remove, buff and replace.

As a potential manufacturer you could offer buffing kits...something like 600 or 2000 grit wet paper and some compound and cloth? Still easier than brightwork.
For buffing plexiglass and lexan I use turtle wax restorer
Turtle Wax Color Back Finish Restorer - Walmart.com and mister clean magic erasers ( melamine foam) basicly 2500 grit sanding /buffing pads just really cheap Mr. Clean Original Magic Eraser Disposable Household Cleaning Pads, 4 Pack - Walmart.com
__________________
newhaul is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 16-04-2015, 14:55   #44
Senior Cruiser
 
senormechanico's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2003
Boat: Dragonfly 1000 trimaran
Posts: 5,830
Re: Cheap chinese solar panels

I like Meguiars Ultimate Compound.

Meguiar's G17216 Ultimate Compound 15 2 oz Free Shipping New | eBay
__________________
Memento,homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris.
senormechanico is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-04-2015, 15:19   #45
Marine service provider
 
newhaul's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: puget sound washington
Boat: 1968 Islander bahama 24 hull 182, 1963 columbia 29 defender. hull # 60
Posts: 4,006
Re: Cheap chinese solar panels

Quote:
Originally Posted by senormechanico View Post
That works good as well just about any buffing compound works even better when used with a magic eraser
__________________

__________________
newhaul is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
cheap, 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
Cheap Vacuum insulated panels (VIPs) and how to use them efficiently susswein Construction, Maintenance & Refit 6 16-07-2015 21:56
Chinese Knock Off Solar Panels JK n Smitty Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 7 02-03-2015 10:58
Solar panel Installation and wire sizing from the solar panels to the mppt charger boatrips Electrical: Batteries, Generators & Solar 17 08-02-2015 19:25
Want To Buy: Need a Cheap, Cheap, Cheap Boat . . . Did I Mention Cheap ? TheScarab Classifieds Archive 52 05-02-2012 13:29



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 10:42.


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.