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Old 03-05-2014, 13:41   #31
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Re: Solbian Solar Panels

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Originally Posted by bgallinger View Post
My Solbian solar panel installed
Pictures? It's not real without pictures.

What is your configuration? Panel size, controller, battery bank?
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Old 04-05-2014, 05:42   #32
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Re: Solbian Solar Panels

Ooops..forgot the pic.
125 watt Solbian panel installed on my bimini with a Gensun MPPT controller and 2-100Ahr house batteries. I had the panel installed with velcro instead of zippers


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Old 04-05-2014, 05:59   #33
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Re: Solbian Solar Panels

Forgot the pic again...?
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Old 04-05-2014, 06:02   #34
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Re: Solbian Solar Panels

Looks like owner forgot to set proper permission for pic, so it is not viewable by others...
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Old 11-06-2014, 03:18   #35
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Re: Solbian Solar Panels

Hi all,

re-igniting this thread with a question:

Has anyone used the high efficiency Canadian Solar standard (i.e. rigid) panels?

Anyone who has used them have any comments?

Looking at one that I can buy here in Malaysia, they seem comparable in efficiency to the Solbian panels, but of course not semi-flexible.

One of the interesting things is that CSI (Canadian Solar) rate their panels at both STC (Standard Test Conditions: 1000W/sq.m @ 25 degC), which gives a high rating, and at NOTC (Normal Operating Cell Temperature: 800 W/sq.m @ 20 degC & 1 kt wind), which de-rates the panels by about 28%. I assume that the first rating is to play the marketing game, and the second is much closer to realistic conditions.

When I look at Solbian's ratings, they have only 1 set of figures, and they don't state under which condition they are measured at. Being naturally suspicious of such things, I'd have to assume that they're at STC to give the highest number possible.

But, does anyone actually know?

I did manage to find a document on Solbian's website which mentions STC, but it doesn't then relate it to their ratings.

If we assume that they are both rated at the same STC, then Solbian's SP137 comes in at 166 W/sq.m, and the CSI CS5M-200M panel comes in at 156.5 W/sq.m. That's only 6% less energy density, but at a much lower price (but, of course, without the semi-flexibility & low weight).

For me, I have a mounting location where I don't need the flexibility or low weight, but because of limited real-estate I do want high energy density. I am considering the Solbian's because of that high energy density compared to Kyocera's etc, but if the CSI panels are that close in energy density for a lot less money, then I'll go with them.

Anyone got real experience and knowledge (vs sheer conjecture & BS )?

Cheers,
Paul.
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Old 11-06-2014, 04:40   #36
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Re: Solbian Solar Panels

Hmm...very good questions!

Will investigate on this end, and perhaps do some testing...our SE US distributor Coastal Climate Control has recently set up a very cool testing rig.
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Old 11-06-2014, 07:00   #37
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Re: Solbian Solar Panels

I have recently installed 4 x 90w semi flexible Chinese panels I bought from Solar Future in Sydney and freighted them to St Maarten. They are connected to a Blue Sky 3000i MPPT controller and so far the highest amps I have seen is 25.4 and right now at 8:30 am they are putting in over 12 amps. Personally I'm very impressed with their performance and the cold beer is proof, sorry about the upside down photo.
I did have to get a new Bimini made as the old one was a bit saggy, but the result is great and still cheaper than having a frame constructed, not to mention the weight saving and the ability to remove when desired.
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Old 11-06-2014, 11:30   #38
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Re: Solbian Solar Panels

Quote:
Originally Posted by sytaniwha View Post
Hi all,

re-igniting this thread with a question:

Has anyone used the high efficiency Canadian Solar standard (i.e. rigid) panels?

Anyone who has used them have any comments?

Looking at one that I can buy here in Malaysia, they seem comparable in efficiency to the Solbian panels, but of course not semi-flexible.

One of the interesting things is that CSI (Canadian Solar) rate their panels at both STC (Standard Test Conditions: 1000W/sq.m @ 25 degC), which gives a high rating, and at NOTC (Normal Operating Cell Temperature: 800 W/sq.m @ 20 degC & 1 kt wind), which de-rates the panels by about 28%. I assume that the first rating is to play the marketing game, and the second is much closer to realistic conditions.

When I look at Solbian's ratings, they have only 1 set of figures, and they don't state under which condition they are measured at. Being naturally suspicious of such things, I'd have to assume that they're at STC to give the highest number possible.

But, does anyone actually know?

I did manage to find a document on Solbian's website which mentions STC, but it doesn't then relate it to their ratings.

If we assume that they are both rated at the same STC, then Solbian's SP137 comes in at 166 W/sq.m, and the CSI CS5M-200M panel comes in at 156.5 W/sq.m. That's only 6% less energy density, but at a much lower price (but, of course, without the semi-flexibility & low weight).

For me, I have a mounting location where I don't need the flexibility or low weight, but because of limited real-estate I do want high energy density. I am considering the Solbian's because of that high energy density compared to Kyocera's etc, but if the CSI panels are that close in energy density for a lot less money, then I'll go with them.

Anyone got real experience and knowledge (vs sheer conjecture & BS )?

Cheers,
Paul.
Some notes to consider:
STC gives the likely max output in ideal conditions (1000W/sq. meter irradiance, normal temps, etc.). This is an important figure as for safety reasons the wiring/controllers/etc. can be sized appropriately.

NOTC is "Nominal Operating Test Conditions" (not "normal...."). Which can be a bit of a guess as one must pick a temp, wind, etc. Attached is a 2013 Solbian sheet on the SP100. Note the Pmax temp coefficient of -0.38%/C (starting from the STC of 25C, I believe). Using that you can rough out the max power (in 1000W irradiance) for different temps. The chart does show a curve for 1000W irradiance @ 50C, note that it's the peak voltage that drops off, more than the peak current.

Interesting. Thanks for making me look...;-)
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Solbian 2013 sp100l_eng.pdf (512.1 KB, 55 views)
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Old 11-06-2014, 12:16   #39
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Re: Solbian Solar Panels

The maximum output we have seen from our 2x137 solbian and 2x140 solbian and wind generator is about 39 amps. That was on a cool day with zero shading on the panels, breezy. Each panel has its own genasun controller. We usually see between 26 and 30 amps (max sunny daily, no wind); less with one panel partially shaded and not putting out very much.

We have recovered more than 140 amps on a few summer days. My wind generator only contributes about 12 amps per day of that, on average.

We never quite reach the 14.8 volts that the trojans like. If we had lithium or AGM we could probably recover more power.
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Old 12-06-2014, 02:08   #40
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Re: Solbian Solar Panels

Hi guys,

Thanks for your replies, OceanPlanet (I assume it's Bruce replying).

Just to be crystal clear: I'm not trying to knock Solbian panels, just trying to understand more as I'm seriously considering buying them and it's a big investment.

Anyway, thanks for pointing out my typo: "nominal" not "normal".

Also, the spec sheet is useful: the ones I could download from the Solbian website don't have the curves - not sure why.

First follow-on question: Oceanplanet - I infer from your comments that the stated Solbian data is measured at STC, but you don't actually say that categorically. Can you confirm that?

Looking at the thermal efficiency data, comparing the Solbian to the CSI CS5A-200M, it looks like the Solbian panels have lower losses at higher temps. Solbian's Pmax Coefficient is -0.38 %/degC vs -0.45 for the CSI - that's 16% difference. Provided the base Solbian data is at STC, that gives a 9.5% loss at 50 degC, vs 11.25% for CSI. Not a huge difference, but it would compound into quite a significant amount.

Comparing the power output for different irradience levels, the Solbian & CSI panels are virtually identical as far as the accuracy of the curves go: @ 800W/sq.m both give 80% of the 1000 W/sq.m power. Unfortunately below 800W/sq.m they use different irradience values, so it's difficult to compare, but they're probably quite comparable.

Interesting stuff.

Of course, it's hard to compare semi-flexible & rigid panels from a cost viewpoint given the extra utility & light weight of the semi's.

Thanks,
Paul.
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Old 12-06-2014, 05:51   #41
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Re: Solbian Solar Panels

I just recently finished installing my six 50 watt solbian panels I am super happy so far! I wasn't willing to give up my "garage" above the davits, and had limited options otherwise. They have shown to be super efficient, even in low light days. The max I have read was 22.5 amps coming in (cool day with windows of full sunshine) but the average on a hot day is about 5 amps less than that...
I ordered from Coastal Climate Control, and they now offer them with a plastic u-channel backing plate. (like corrugated plastic) they say it helps when going over arch supports, and with cooling if mounted on a very hot surface. (My sisters rv roof) They weigh almost nothing. Click image for larger version

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I used adhesive backing and the six panels feed into three mppt charge controllers. The weight/windage savings on a smaller cat are invaluable!
I'd be happy to answer any questions about my experience

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Old 12-06-2014, 07:42   #42
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Re: Solbian Solar Panels

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Old 12-06-2014, 10:44   #43
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Re: Solbian Solar Panels

My question, and I ask this not to stir the pot but because Iím seriously grappling with the right decision for my own installation, is why people are paying the price premium for the Solbian panels when there are seemingly identical second tier competitors available for as low as 1/4 the price? What are the advantages of the genuine article other than being from a known company and having a better warranty?
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Old 12-06-2014, 13:30   #44
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Re: Solbian Solar Panels

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Originally Posted by 4arch View Post
My question, and I ask this not to stir the pot but because Iím seriously grappling with the right decision for my own installation, is why people are paying the price premium for the Solbian panels when there are seemingly identical second tier competitors available for as low as 1/4 the price? What are the advantages of the genuine article other than being from a known company and having a better warranty?
For me... it was a matter of how much space I had on my boat vs. how much power I really wanted/needed. It also weight. In addition, I wanted to be able to take them off and store them below easily.

Saving weight and storage dictated light flexible panels.

The space across the top of my bimini available for panels is about 65 inches wide. I can fit three solbian SP137's in that space, or 411 watts of power. The closest flexible Chinese panels I could find in that size was about 100 watts each, for a total of 300 watts in the same space. Yes - for a whole lot more money - I was able to fit more than one complete solar panel in there. That made the price worth it.

Right now though we have 2 x cp140 and 2 x 137 with the 137's on the rail and the 140's on the bimini top.
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Old 13-06-2014, 08:50   #45
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Re: Solbian Solar Panels

Whew...sorry to be slow but trying to keep up at the office has been hard enough!

Re the STC question, all the listed characteristics should be at STC, however note that the graph has curves at different irradiance levels and temps. That data sheet is the 2013 (I have sheets for a few years), and has more graphed data then they do now. Not sure why they left some off, will have to ask.

Yes, the Solbian product is high-end price wise. Always a tough question on Chinese knock-offs vs. original. Just tried to attach/upload some Solbian vs. Chinese test info however it appears too large a file. Will try to reduce and post later. Basically it points out that there are different grades of SunPower cells available and the lower ones wind up...you can guess where.

Less loss in heat is a characteristic of SunPower cells, whether laminated in glass or semiflexible structure.
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