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Old 01-04-2015, 16:47   #1
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Pulling The Trigger..Installing Solar

Here's what I've come up with as far as panels and controller..

http://www.amazon.com/Solar-Boost-30.../dp/B00LCCDH5K

and

Grape Solar 265-Watt Mono-Crystalline Solar Panel (2-Pack)-GS-S-265-Fab1x2 - The Home Depot

I read somewhere on here that the Grape panels worked pretty well but couldn't find the thread. For you solar gurus out there would this be an ok system to charge a 440AH wet cell bank? The panels will be installed on the davits. And still trying to figure series or parallel..Any thoughts appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 01-04-2015, 17:23   #2
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Re: Pulling The Trigger..Installing Solar

Those panels look pretty expensive.

In a couple weeks I should have the new MPPT controller tested with some lightweight panels. I suggest you go with a larger number of 50 watt panels instead of two huge 265 watt ones. Those are heavy, and if damaged, there goes all that investment, whereas a 50 watt panel is damaged from a rock, etc, your out..a 50 watt panel, and with this microMPPT controller, you can parallel them all together.
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Old 01-04-2015, 17:35   #3
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Re: Pulling The Trigger..Installing Solar

Here is the kit we installed just after the first of the year and it keeps the batteries up good here in the pnw I would consider installing two of these kits will give 400 watts of solar in 4 seporate panels for better reduncy than two bigger panels and gives you a spare controller as well Complete Kit 200 Watt 200W Mono Solar Panel 12V 24V RV Boat Off Grid | eBay what is your power budget estimate we have a technautics holding plate fringe and all led cabin lighting
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Old 01-04-2015, 18:54   #4
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Re: Pulling The Trigger..Installing Solar

I do like the idea of 4 smaller panels instead of two large ones. My largest power draw has to be refrigeration. I have one compressor (BD35's) for the fridge and two for the freezer. I do shut down one freezer compressor when on the hook so we don't have to run the Honda genny as long to bring the batts back up. Other then that we have led lighting, fresh water pump, pump for the water cooled freezer compressors, anchor light is still incandescent and of course all the nav gear when underway.
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Old 01-04-2015, 19:04   #5
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Re: Pulling The Trigger..Installing Solar

You ar on a 40 foot cat. Go the big panels. U need the power and theres fewer connections.

What stuffs up first, firemost and ofenest?? Connections!


As for the charge controller I think u need the next one up. 30 amps is too small.
But an expert would advise you better

I have 370 watts including two old panels and they put out 16 amps. You have nearly 600 watts, it could get too close to the 30 amps. Or am I wrong?

I have the same brand controller but the 2000e. Make totally sure its three stage. Mine isnt, it drops the amps not voltage... It works well but the innovation may be ahead of its time... I thought mine was 3 stage voltage reducing.
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Old 01-04-2015, 19:11   #6
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Re: Pulling The Trigger..Installing Solar

Hang on! Those panels are not 12 volt. But 30 volts
Quote:
Voltage (volts) : 31.2
U need a different type of controller that drops it to 12v
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Old 01-04-2015, 19:15   #7
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Re: Pulling The Trigger..Installing Solar

I also think those panels are over priced. I bought 250 watt Kyocera panels last year for $250/each. I don't know anything about the Grape brand of panels, but Kyocera has a 10 year warranty and good name.

I am not a big fan of the Solar Boost controller. I have one on my RV (which has two 120 watt panels). The terminal block seems a bit rinky dink and not suited for large wires. The metal face also gets worryingly hot. It still works fine, but for the boat I used a Morningstar Tristar-MPPT controller, which has a big heat sink, better diagnostics and more advanced configuration (for charging voltages and automatic equalizing and etc), a higher quality terminal block (that accepts large wires), and overall just seems higher quality.

I don't agree with everyone else about getting a bunch of smaller panels. I feel that's just more connections and bolts. I think you should keep in mind when you mount the panels that, if you break them, years from now you may not be able to get a new panel with the same dimensions. So, if possible, mount them in a way that there's a little room for adjustment. I would also leave room for more panels (by putting them to the side instead of the center, for example, to leave a big space for more), if possible -- I feel 500 watts may not meet all of your needs. But 750 or 1000 watts may.

We've recently gone from 'too little' to 'way too much' solar, and it's a nice lifestyle improvement. To not even worry about energy any more.
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Old 02-04-2015, 09:32   #8
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Re: Pulling The Trigger..Installing Solar

Costco has this 400W Grape Solar kit for about $1K with controller and 2000W inverter. I was seriously considering it but have not pulled the trigger yet.
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Old 02-04-2015, 10:44   #9
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Re: Pulling The Trigger..Installing Solar

The Home Depot panels are inexpensive but huge. Check them for quality--I had looked at them and found some with bubbles in the silica and some damage to the cells.

There are smaller panels available from different wholesalers, i.e., 85 watt, 125 watt in squarish or longated rectangle shapes. They're a little more expensive, but nice sizes to wire in parallel. Check for bubbles, damage, etc.
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Old 02-04-2015, 11:18   #10
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Re: Pulling The Trigger..Installing Solar

Ad-hoc, I like to see double the W (-attage) into Ah (-age) of your battery bank. E.g. 100W of sol pan into 50Ah batts.

Plenty will depend on what you want the solar energy to do. Is it main and only and essential source or rather secondary and optional source. Etc.

Regulators? Well, PWM till you run out of solar space. MPPT sure if you want one, or if you are already fully paneled out. Price no issue MPPT wins.

I think, if you can afford batteries that will soak up any charge at any time, you can seriously reduce the amt (area) of panels. Given the cost of such batteries (say lithium tech), one may end up with plenty of panels and plain batteries as this is the way cheaper combo.

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Old 02-04-2015, 13:35   #11
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Re: Pulling The Trigger..Installing Solar

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
Hang on! Those panels are not 12 volt. But 30 volts


U need a different type of controller that drops it to 12v
The OP listed an MPPT controller, and that would work best with higher voltage panels.

I just bought 2 240W panels at $.60/watt. (And yes, they're not the worlds best panels) But those grape panels look pretty expensive. You can find name-brand stuff for $1/watt.
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Old 02-04-2015, 13:43   #12
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Re: Pulling The Trigger..Installing Solar

Quote:
Originally Posted by msponer View Post
I also think those panels are over priced. I bought 250 watt Kyocera panels last year for $250/each. I don't know anything about the Grape brand of panels, but Kyocera has a 10 year warranty and good name.
Where were you able to find 250 Watt Kyocera panels for $250 each? That's an incredible price!!
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Old 02-04-2015, 13:59   #13
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Re: Pulling The Trigger..Installing Solar

shttps://www.solarblvd.com/product_in...oducts_id=2957

240 watts @ $192.00 (+ shipping)

I don't this specific panel, but have had a 120 watt version on my boat for several years. No problems at all.
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Old 02-04-2015, 14:22   #14
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Re: Pulling The Trigger..Installing Solar

with three solar companies here in panama thing got competitive and 190 for 250 seems good price and that is a good brand is what i have
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Old 02-04-2015, 14:47   #15
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Re: Pulling The Trigger..Installing Solar

Quote:
Originally Posted by senormechanico View Post
shttps://www.solarblvd.com/product_in...oducts_id=2957

240 watts @ $192.00 (+ shipping)

I don't this specific panel, but have had a 120 watt version on my boat for several years. No problems at all.
Those _are_ the panels I just bought. I've not mounted them yet on the RV, so I can't report how well they'll do.

I've got a Solar Cynergy 140W on the boat, and it puts out rated wattage just fine. Not the best panel on the planet, but it was inexpensive.
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