Chinese Solar Panels - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-22-2009, 12:24 AM   #1
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I've been looking into monocrystalline solar panels and have found some reasonably priced ones from Hong Kong on Ebay. Do any of you solar aficionados have any pro or con opinions regarding the purchase of Chinese manufactured solar panels? These are 85w panels that retail for $290 US plus shipping, of course.

Here's the link if you care to take a peek: Chinese Monocrystalline 85w Solar Panels

Thanks in advance for posting your opinions!
Lisa
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Old 05-22-2009, 06:26 AM   #2
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I've been looking at solar panels on amazon.com and reading the reviews. One thing I have noticed is many complaints about breakage during shipping. It appears that the panels you are looking at estimate around $100 for shipping. I would ask what replacement policy you get if the panels are broken during shipping.
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Old 05-22-2009, 10:38 AM   #3
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http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/disp...temnumber=96352


I saw this last night on the Harbor Freight site. Any experiences on this?
Will this do the job?

Overall, my experience with Harbor Freight is not all that great, so before I paid almost $500, Id like to hear from someone who has used it.
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Old 05-22-2009, 02:57 PM   #4
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I noticed these at Northern Tool on sale now: http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/wcs/sto...Category%20Page

They have others on sale as well at different watts.
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Old 05-23-2009, 10:15 AM   #5
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I've been looking into monocrystalline solar panels and have found some reasonably priced ones from Hong Kong on Ebay. Do any of you solar aficionados have any pro or con opinions regarding the purchase of Chinese manufactured solar panels? These are 85w panels that retail for $290 US plus shipping, of course.

Here's the link if you care to take a peek: Chinese Monocrystalline 85w Solar Panels

Thanks in advance for posting your opinions!
Lisa
I bought a 65 Watt amorphous cell panel on ebay with a charger controller for around $350 delivered. Amorphous cells are less efficient than crystalline cell, but retain efficiency better as they heat up. Also, as the amorphous cell is a “plastic” surface without the glass cover less prone to breakage. Has done a great job recharging the battery. Use it only when traveling and camping. The trailer is stored in a car port so long term charging in storage is unknown. Warning – my casita is a 2002 and the converter that came with it cannot be used without a battery. Without a battery the original system put out up to 20 volts when connected to 120 AC. Confirmed with the manufacturer it requires a battery.

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Old 05-23-2009, 10:18 AM   #6
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Quote:
I've been looking into monocrystalline solar panels and have found some reasonably priced ones from Hong Kong on Ebay. Do any of you solar aficionados have any pro or con opinions regarding the purchase of Chinese manufactured solar panels? These are 85w panels that retail for $290 US plus shipping, of course.

Here's the link if you care to take a peek: Chinese Monocrystalline 85w Solar Panels

Thanks in advance for posting your opinions!
Lisa
Forgot to add. Seller was local in California somewhere north of the bay area. Don't know if he is still on ebay.
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Old 05-23-2009, 10:53 AM   #7
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I bought a 65 Watt amorphous cell panel on ebay with a charger controller for around $350 delivered. Amorphous cells are less efficient than crystalline cell, but retain efficiency better as they heat up. Also, as the amorphous cell is a "plastic" surface without the glass cover less prone to breakage. Has done a great job recharging the battery. Use it only when traveling and camping. The trailer is stored in a car port so long term charging in storage is unknown. Warning – my casita is a 2002 and the converter that came with it cannot be used without a battery. Without a battery the original system put out up to 20 volts when connected to 120 AC. Confirmed with the manufacturer it requires a battery.
Thin-film is gaining ground. In the recent real life test (SanJoaquinIrrigationDistrict_test) thin-film was 10% more efficient then mono-crystalline cells. New thin-film technology gained 19.9% efficiency. I will likely buy some of the newest thin-film panels and tape them on my 20’ Bigfoot.

Due to fragility of mono-crystalline panels I would not buy panels directly from Far East.



George.

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Old 05-23-2009, 10:40 PM   #8
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Thin-film is gaining ground. In the recent real life test (SanJoaquinIrrigationDistrict_test) thin-film was 10% more efficient then mono-crystalline cells. New thin-film technology gained 19.9% efficiency. I will likely buy some of the newest thin-film panels and tape them on my 20' Bigfoot.

Due to fragility of mono-crystalline panels I would not buy panels directly from Far East.



George.
Amorphous silicon (a-Si), the panel I have, is different than the thin film in the test referenced above. Amorphous silicon is not as efficient as the crystalline cells or the thin film cells. However, it is cheaper so larger area for less cost. All the tape down rolls I have seen to date have been amorphous silicon, but will say I have not look in the last six months or so. At the level of our use, charging batterys, it probably does not make much difference how you get the amp hours. Without tracking the panels to the sun you get what you get. As long as I get enought input to the battery to run the heater each night during winter camping I'm happy. So far the "65 watts" have done the job. Qoutes as I don't track so I will never get the 65 watts.
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Old 05-30-2009, 08:07 PM   #9
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Thank you all for your candid opinions. You all had valid points against purchasing directly form China.

Gina recently found some panels from a seller in Florida that look like a real bargain but I'm confused about what kind of panels these are-- polycrystalline/multicrystalline or amorphous? They look like the former but the description states that they are "made with high efficiency back-contact solar cells." Does anyone know what this means? What do the specs tell you when compared to other 120 watt panels? In your estimation, do these panels appear efficient? I'm totally out of my league and would like to buy as much wattage as I can afford without needing to make additions in the near future. Plus, I really hate to throw money away! The $309 price makes these look particularly attractive. I'm hoping that one panel will more than fill the bill.

Here's the link for the panel I'm currently considering: Sun 120 watt solar panel


They also sell a charge controller that looks like it might fit the bill but, again, I'm not confident that I'm interpreting the data correctly. Here's the link: Charge controller


Lisa

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Old 05-30-2009, 09:48 PM   #10
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Lisa, I answered in the other thread.

These are Multi Crystalline.. multi and poly are the same thing.

an 8 amp controller is a bare minimum for get by on that panel. It is rated at 6.34a

I would go with a 12a controller.

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Old 05-31-2009, 01:05 AM   #11
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Thank you again, Gina!
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