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Old 02-01-2013, 05:30   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Blue Mountain Ont
Boat: Beneteau Oceanis 400 40 ft "Camp David
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Solar Purchase

Looking for some assistance on the purchase of two solar panels, I understand that Kyocera is one of, if not the bench mark on 12volt nominal panels. Here in Canada they are upwards of 400 per panel.

I can purchase 150 watt "off shore" panels for 200.00 each. I know one often gets what one pays for however boat $ are shorter than in the past.

What does one look for in the panel when purchasing? Anything that should be inspected prior to purchase. As I know little about solar purhaps there are a few areas that other have seen go wrong,

If anybody has any guidance or thoughts on how to check the quality I would love to hear from you


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Old 02-01-2013, 05:37   #2
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Re: Solar Purchase

Most cruisers are using higher voltage panels and then tie them to a MPPT controller before going to the house bank of batteries.

Solar Panels and Associated Systems

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Old 02-01-2013, 05:46   #3
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Re: Solar Purchase

The main difference in price is mono crystalline and multi crystalline.

Mono is better but more expensive, so the $200 pannels will be multi and the $400 mono
As I understand it the mono crystalline produces more when partially shaded than multi
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Old 02-01-2013, 06:17   #4
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Re: Solar Purchase

I think these cheap panels are becoming a great option. The price of solar has dropped dramatically and some of the big players are not reducing their prices accordingly.

Check the claimed output (preferably NOCT data if they provide it) and divide this by the area of the panel to get an idea of its efficiency. Really you can only tell the quality by looking at and measuring the panel. The rigidity thickness of aluminium framing and glass will give some idea of the mechanical durability.

It's easy to measure the output, but you really need a control panel that is getting the same conditions to compare the panels. This is not as difficult as it sounds as the two panels can be very different sizes and still compared. A 100w panel should put out twice as much current as a 50w panel for example.

My impression is the cheap panels are a bit more optimistic with their claims so maybe deduct 10% output if comparing them against known brands. I also think the durability will be less, but even they only last 10-15 years there is likely to new solar technologies available.
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