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Old 02-08-2011, 13:05   #1
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What About 'these' Solar Panels ?

Anyone know anyhting good or bad about either of these panels?

Amazon.com: 100 Watts Solar Panel, All new Monocrystalline, JA Solar: Patio, Lawn & Garden

Amazon.com: LTSP100 Lotos 100-watt High-efficiency monocrystalline Solar Panel with switch box (100w mono solar module): Patio, Lawn & Garden

Im looking at 100 watt panels want to get (4). Already got an Outback Flexmax 60 charge controller. Dont have to be 100 watt panels just looking for the most watts I can fit and dont want to exceed about 45" in panel length and 26" in panel width.

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Old 02-08-2011, 20:56   #2
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Re: What About these Solar Panels ?

Before you buy anything, check out these guys.
I purchased a 120 watt from them last year and am very satisfied.
Costs have gone down as we all know, so you should be able to find what you want with savings.

No financial interest, just a happy camper.

Solar Cell, Solar Panel, Renewable Energy, Wind Energy, Charge Controller, Solar Trackers
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Old 03-08-2011, 08:07   #3
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Re: What About these Solar Panels ?

Seems to be quite a bit of difference in pricing on panels. My guess is they are not all created equally. Im trying to find out what brands are to be avoided and what brands are considered best in breed.
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Old 03-08-2011, 08:40   #4
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I bought a cheap panel from eBay (don't have the link right now, but they are a popular seller. Might even be Lotos). The panel itself seems to be high quality. I get higher output than what it's rated for in direct sunlight. The only major difference I see from the more expensive panels is in the junction box. The connections are kinda flimsy and the box itself was not watertight. Took about 5 minutes to rewire it (which I wanted to do anyway to use a quick disconnect) and silicone up the box to make it watertight. The biggest problem i had was squeezing my 10 guage wire into the little box, but it worked out well.. I can't speak for it's longevity yet, but I see no reason for it to fail anytime in the near future.
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Old 04-08-2011, 15:56   #5
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Re: What About these Solar Panels ?

For use on a boat, bear in mind that very few companies (i.e. Kyocera) will warranty their panel for 25 years in marine use, or any "vehicular" mobile use. Considering what salt air does to electronics, I wouldn't gamble much on any panels not warranteed for marine use. Obvisouly your mileage may vary.
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Old 04-08-2011, 17:18   #6
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Hellosailor is correct, of course. But I feel like I should defend my purchase like any good cruiser

These 'cheap' panels come with a 20 year factory warranty, and while there's nothing said about a salty-air environment, they do specify usage on boats. All solar panels are built to be used outdoors in all weather conditions. So as long as the panel itself stays watertight, there isn't much else left available for corrosion, except the cable connection in the junction box. A little bit of silicone goes a long way... Silicone may be pain to remove, but it's impervious to the elements.

At less than 1/3 the price of the equivelent keocera, I'll take my chances YMMV

Note: this is a "Sopray" brand panel, made in China. I can't speak for the Lotos brand, but if my memory serves, they were nearly identical panels, I went with this one over the Lotos, because it was a little cheaper with free shipping from somewhere in the US.
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Old 04-08-2011, 17:36   #7
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Re: What About these Solar Panels ?

"All solar panels are built to be used outdoors in all weather conditions. "
Ask the manufacturer for their opinion about that. And then, try to enforce your warranty in China.<VBG>

Outdoors is one thing, but the vibration and movement from a "vehicle" of any kind apparently is a warranty breaker for a reason as well. Outdoor use does not mean "in motion". And being splashed with salt water from below, is not the same as fresh water falling from above.

Bottom line? If you're lucky you get what you pay for.

Silicone? Often sticks well to glass, but drops off many plastics (like plexi) after some time and UV exposure. It may help, especially if you degrease parts before applying it. Or, if it is the type that generates acid when curing, it may actually attack.

Sopray has a quaint ("Chinglish") web site and I see they've upped the warranty to 25 years. But they don't show you what the warranty is, and they specify their panels are for "ground mounted" systems. Still, at 1/3 the price I could see it being a great temptation.
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Old 06-08-2011, 07:50   #8
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So how about some recommended brands that I should consider? Looking for 85-100 watt panels that won't break the bank but are suitable for marine environment
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Old 06-08-2011, 08:45   #9
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Re: What About these Solar Panels ?

I've been wondering about some of the "less expensive" panels myself

These 250w panels sold for $380 or $1.52/watt

Thats the same price as an 80w panel at most "Marine" places here.

I could do the whole flybridge roof out of panels at that price, if they are any good, well away from salt spray
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Old 06-08-2011, 11:21   #10
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Re: What About these Solar Panels ?

As with most things...if its not rated for the marine environment it will corrode or fail early. The initial cost savings is quite often a poor investment long term, but not always.

Hellosailor had 2 really good posts...

Cat...nothing is ever away from salt spray. Cars rust like crazy in Hawaii though they never go boating.
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Old 06-08-2011, 16:21   #11
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Re: What About 'These' Solar Panels ?

I just cant see how anodized aluminium and glass can corrode
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Old 06-08-2011, 17:07   #12
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Re: What About 'These' Solar Panels ?

Some interesting reading
'Cheap' Chinese Solar Panels Alternative Technology Assn Forums

The article below is good, with additional links off of it
China Solar Booming- Chinese Solar Panels Prices,Cost,Review,Best Manufacturers(Trina,Suntech) | Green World Investor

The Back Shed: 2 year old sharp panels failing??
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Old 06-08-2011, 17:27   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cat man do
I just cant see how anodized aluminium and glass can corrode
It won't... Like I said, all panels these days are basically built the same. The junction box is the only weak point, and it's really not that difficult to squirt some silicone around it once a year.

You can pay 3 times as much and not worry about it, I guess it's a personal choice...

I've bought a lot of Chinese products the last few years, usually directly from the manufacturer via eBay, and occasionally I get a faulty device or something I don't like. Every time, I've been treated more than fair, never had a problem with returns or warranty replacements (from the manufacturer, not the eBay seller). I've never had to provide proof of purchase or warranty certificates, or signed documents and blood samples, to have the products replaced.

Solar panels are dead simple. Whether they're made in japan or china or the us is almost irrelevant. They are being manufactured by the Millions these days, and these companies that want to keep the prices high are going to lose out eventually. But I guess, if you have half the customers and still make twice the profits, who cares right?

I'm sure there are some that are 'junk', but If you buy from a reputable dealer (even a Chinese one), you really don't have much to worry about.
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Old 06-08-2011, 17:47   #14
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I agree with cat man. When I bought panels 2 80 watt bps. I looked at the warranty piece. Kyocera is excellent and the only panel who's warranty coveted marine installation. The bp panels have been fine. What I really looked at was the efficiency rating and output. Compared to cash price. The panels have been fine.today they would cost 30% laess then what I paid then. I'm pretty sure I will get a lifes service and will want to replace them before they ate cooked.
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Old 07-08-2011, 15:24   #15
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So BP and Kyocera get good marks. Any other brands come with good comments? Not really into squirting silicone an would prefer decent MC connections.
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