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Old 24-01-2013, 18:16   #16
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Re: Solar Panels From Home Depot

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Originally Posted by senormechanico View Post
We purchased a 120 watt panel for the boat from them a few years ago, then recently purchased 12 Sharp 240 watt panels and a rack system with Enphase inverters and misc. for our house's grid tie system.

Our son helped mount the panels. I'm sure glad it wasn't windy!

Here's one part of the array.

Steve--

That is a nice looking setup. If there were fewer trees in my neighbor's yard, I would consider putting some on my roof also. Those I have on my boat really do a nice job recharging batteries and when I get the other two panels installed next season, I might change everything over to 24 vdc.

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Old 24-01-2013, 18:27   #17
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Re: Solar Panels From Home Depot

If youre in the mid atlantic check out United Electric.
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Old 24-01-2013, 18:33   #18
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Re: Solar Panels From Home Depot

no direct experience, but I found these flexible solar during some google searching earlier in the year and had it book marked for when we got to that part of the refit

Marine Flexible Solar Panels

totally reasonable prices on flexible solar

I also bought from sun electronics in Miami for our last boat, 170 w (two panels a 95 and 75) for <400 including wiring and they worked great, we just went to the warehouse when we were in Miami on the boat and picked out the panels that fit our mounting locations, no shipping, no bs
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Old 24-01-2013, 19:18   #19
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Re: Solar Panels From Home Depot

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no direct experience, but I found these flexible solar during some google searching earlier in the year and had it book marked for when we got to that part of the refit

Marine Flexible Solar Panels

totally reasonable prices on flexible solar

I also bought from sun electronics in Miami for our last boat, 170 w (two panels a 95 and 75) for <400 including wiring and they worked great, we just went to the warehouse when we were in Miami on the boat and picked out the panels that fit our mounting locations, no shipping, no bs
Do you know if they come with diodes?
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Old 24-01-2013, 21:25   #20
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Re: Solar Panels From Home Depot

Re diodes,
In addition to our 120 watt rigid panel from solarblvd, we installed a couple of Aurinco 100 watt flexible WALKABLE panels on our amas.
To get walkable as well as flexible, you pay dearly, but I digress.

Aurinco's theory (and I agree with it) is that you lose more electricity during the day from the voltage drop across diodes than you lose at night through back feed.
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Old 25-01-2013, 04:30   #21
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I'm still curious to know the answer to the OP's original question.... Anyone ever buy and use panels from Home Depot?
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Old 25-01-2013, 04:57   #22
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Re: Solar Panels From Home Depot

Gotta add to what was said about sunelec.com. They guarantee low price and carry a variety of panels not just the cheapest chinese. They are more geared to wholesaling to retailers and designer/installers. With that in mind if you buy a minimum order of 2 or 4 panels you may or may not get the same customer service as those that regularly buy pallets or shipping container orders. They shipped panels to me on time and in one piece using a local shipper. I've got regular special offers since that have some unbelievably low prices per watt, mostly at volume qty. I appreciate that they will sell me a couple of panels, most wholesalers won't without an account and credit application or they jack up prices to suggested retail price structure to not compete with the retailers they supply. Not affiliated just a happy customer.
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Old 25-02-2013, 14:20   #23
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Re: Solar Panels From Home Depot

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I'm still curious to know the answer to the OP's original question.... Anyone ever buy and use panels from Home Depot?
Me too.

Some basic research reveals that Grape Solar looks like a reseller of other companies products which may be a good or bad thing. Worth noting is that they only provide a 10 year warranty with explicitly excludes saltwater exposure (although that apparently is pretty common from what I understand).

Edit: Typically, warrantees seem to be 25 years.

The price is tempting however you may get what you pay for.
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Old 28-02-2013, 21:01   #24
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Re: Solar Panels From Home Depot

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Re diodes
...
Aurinco's theory (and I agree with it) is that you lose more electricity during the day from the voltage drop across diodes than you lose at night through back feed.
My initial reaction is surprise, since a silicon diode forward drop is only about 0.6v.

I guess this would depend on the actual back-current that flows through a solar panel when it's dark. Anybody have typical numbers for that?

Speaking electronically- instead of a diode it would be simple enough to add a basic sun "sense" circuit and a relay that's closed when sun is present and open otherwise; that would eliminate loss due to back-current.
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Old 28-02-2013, 22:11   #25
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Re: Solar Panels From Home Depot

Diodes are generally not used on the output of solar panels any more. ( They were used when connecting panels directly to batteries with no charge controller) Your charge controller will prevent leakage current at night (which is very low) by disconnecting the panel from the batteries. The diodes that are required in most solar panels are by-pass diodes. These by-pass a single string of 20 or fewer cells which are part of a multi string panel and might become shaded. A cell will be reverse biased and will look like a load to the rest of the un-shaded cells and can get very hot, hot enough to meld the plastic components and even the glass on large panels. (Never use plastic faced panel in a large system, they can burn) General rule of thumb is one by-pass diode for no more than 20 cells in a string, meaning most panels will have 1-2 diodes for 12 volts and 2-3 diodes for 24 volt panels. Many low power modules (40 watts or less) will not have diodes as the current is low and will not produce a great amount of heat through a shaded cell.
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Old 20-02-2014, 20:00   #26
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Re: Solar Panels From Home Depot

Just took the risk and installed 3 x 100 Watt flexi Grape Solar panels on my hardtop dodger. I'm using a Bluesky mppt charge controller with a remote display. So far so good, I'll keep you posted if I have any issues down the line. For a third of the price as Solibian or Aurinco, seems like it's worth the risk.

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Old 21-02-2014, 05:37   #27
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Re: Solar Panels From Home Depot

Dan - Thanks for sharing the photo of your installation - it looks great! I didn't know Grape made flexible panels and I will be interested to hear how they perform. I had thought I was priced out of flexible panels, but at the price point of the Grapes, the cost per watt by the time you add all the fittings needed to install rigid panels is really not that far apart. Also love that they weigh about a third as much as rigid panels. I was never crazy about the idea of adding 60+ lbs of weight on top of my bimini.
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Old 21-02-2014, 06:18   #28
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Re: Solar Panels From Home Depot

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, DanWM.
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Old 21-02-2014, 08:28   #29
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Re: Solar Panels From Home Depot

Thanks! Glad to be here. Been a long time lurker and finally thought I would have something to share that hadn't been shown before.

For the panels, I will say the electronics seem to be bedded in a form of silicone. That's the only part I am a little skeptical of lasting a long time on the water. I'm debating cleaning all of the silicone out and potting it in a real electrical potting compound like 3M's DP270 before the panels get any exposure to salt. Keep you guys posted.

Otherwise, I need to get some canvas covers made to keep these things out of the elements when I'm not using them! They are semi-permanently attached with screws instead of zippers/clips/velcro to help force them on the shape of the rigid dodger; so they are likely not coming off unless I need to replace or work on them.
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Old 21-02-2014, 09:40   #30
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Re: Solar Panels From Home Depot

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Originally Posted by DanWM View Post
Just took the risk and installed 3 x 100 Watt flexi Grape Solar panels on my hardtop dodger. I'm using a Bluesky mppt charge controller with a remote display. So far so good, I'll keep you posted if I have any issues down the line. For a third of the price as Solibian or Aurinco, seems like it's worth the risk.

Nice looking setup.

Just curious: Is that a ray gun you have pointed off the port side of your stern rail?
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