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Old 10-14-2010, 07:46 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Cheap Solar Panels and Kits For Sale

Somebody is selling 1 KW solar kits for around $450 on ebay. He's (lowcostsolar2010) got some real cheap solar panels too. I don't know anything about their quality and have not bought from him. http://cgi.ebay.com/1kw-DIY-solar-cell- ... 230ae6bee7

http://shop.ebay.com/lowcostsolar2010/m ... ksid=p4340

Those 200ish watt solar panels that are only 12 volt concern me.
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Old 10-15-2010, 02:56 PM   #2
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Re: Cheap Solar Panels and Kits For Sale

When I asked how so many solar cells (assuming they're .5 volts each) could be in one panel and still be set up for a 12 volt system he wrote back: "the panels are connected for 22.5v ocv 2 diodes".

I'm not sure how much amperage is lost with those diodes. There are likely things I just don't understand due to my lack of knowledge. I was thinking a 24 volt system would be better than a 12 volt.
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Old 10-15-2010, 07:48 PM   #3
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Re: Cheap Solar Panels and Kits For Sale

Thanks Smitty. Great to know!

Here's another list of clearance prices for solar panels. Again I have no experience with them:
http://sunelec.com/index.php?main_page=clearance .
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Old 10-15-2010, 08:48 PM   #4
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Re: Cheap Solar Panels and Kits For Sale

Smitty did you have to use that thick, expensive copper cable to connect your 12 volt panels to the combiner or wherever they went? I forget what size it is but i believe it is the size that automobile battery cables use because it's a 12 volt system. I hear an advantage to 24 volt panels are the wires can be smaller in diameter and thus cheaper.
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Old 10-16-2010, 11:48 AM   #5
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Re: Cheap Solar Panels and Kits For Sale

Thanks Smitty. Question, If one is looking to build a roughly 2 kilowatt system for their bus with those 12 volts panels, do you think they would work okay? At least one solar site posted that if the system is going to be between 1 and 2 kilowatt, they suggested 24 volt panels.
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Old 10-17-2010, 11:51 AM   #6
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Re: Cheap Solar Panels and Kits For Sale

I would be putting each kilowatt (roughly) on the sides of the bus on perpendicular flat door like extensions. I might put some on the roof also. Having to have so many batteries is a concern I hadn't thought about enough though. Ouch.

As you've noted in a previous post, making one's own PV panels is a hassle but I'm thinking I had best do it to lessen the chance of theft (as it won't look as good as standard panels) and I could make the solar cells to fit in these flat door-like extensions.
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Old 12-07-2010, 11:37 PM   #7
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Re: Cheap Solar Panels and Kits For Sale

If you don't know much about solar, you need to read a little first. Be an informed consumer.

This guy is pretty good with solar power.
http://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/2...er-that-works/

A few solar sites for comparison... these are geared towards RVers (read the info articles)
http://www.rvsolarelectric.com/
http://amsolar.com/
http://www.macandchris.com/IntroToDryCamping.htm
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Old 07-05-2012, 03:21 PM   #8
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Re: Cheap Solar Panels and Kits For Sale

i am building a solar system for my bus right now. while it is best to go with 24v for wire size, i am making it for a 12v system, and that takes 18 or 20 volts per panel, so that is why the panels are higher than the rated voltage. One of the solar engineers i met last year built his to 22v and he runs only 800w high quality cells, on his large s/s motorhome. I am building 20v ones. and while i haven't bought all of them, i am making a 1200w system.

if you build solar panels yourself, buy the best cells you can afford, and put a sheet of the laminate between the tempered glass and the cells. ya gotta build an oven or use a heat gun to melt the laminate plastic. its harder to find than the liquid stuff, but when applied properly has no air bubbles in it on the cells cause its laminate sheet of course, and then you can use the white liquid on the back of the cells.

batteries are going to be heavy of course. the L16 trojan or lifeline cost 300 or so apiece and they are 420 or so amp hr and you need 4. One customer at the wholesale battery place bought 16 and he runs his entire house. The trojan or even the good quality golf cart batteries for like 110 wholesale will work fine but you need twice as many of those to make 800 or so amp hrs.
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Old 09-18-2013, 04:27 PM   #9
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Re: Cheap Solar Panels and Kits For Sale

This is an old post but I had to dive in here as I am really, really interested in solar stuff.
I've got a solar system on my Class B. It is a smaller rig and everything is 12V. I've got it set up for being completely off grid. It works good in the oilfield; you don't need to be beholdin' to anyone for anything. With everyone trying to rape the working man up here it is the only profitable way to exist.
My system is small. I have a 160W 18V Sharps Solar cell 3 96ah 12V batteries and a 250W MTTP charge controller. I run a 12V refrigerator all my lights and my water pump 24/7 without plugging in anywhere.
The secret lies in the charge controller. An MTTP charge controller, sometimes referred to as a smart charge controller, recognizes the output voltage of the panel and will take the extra 6 volts, above the 12V it takes to charge the battery, and recycles it through the charge controller and steps up the wattage to the battery thereby charging it at a faster rate than a 12V panel would. With an inexpensive charge controller the extra 6V is just lost. With an MTTP controller you can actually mix it up with different sized panels (voltage) and the charge controller will work it all out through the electronics.

Disclaimer: I used the above voltage numbers for simplicities sake. My charged up voltage on my storage batteries is actually right at 13.5V. My system has never dropped below 12.5; ever. Bear in mind my system is extremely simple and therefor extremely trouble free. I have AGM batteries so I don't even have to check the water.

BTW, I only paid $50.00 on Ebay for my MTTP charge controller; a used one.
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Old 11-25-2013, 11:58 PM   #10
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Re: Cheap Solar Panels and Kits For Sale

By making panels with 18v or more it might behoove you to use a MPPT controller, they are slightly better at deciding how much power is avail to put in the batteries,
24v is more efficient at traveling distances but if your system is going on a bus the distance may not really an issue, using a MPPT controller means that you can hook up your panels to put out 24v and the controller can charge the batteries to 12v.
A big issue is making sure the batteries are getting a full charge, most wet lead acid batteries need 14.8v delivered to the battery to fully charge them. It can depend upon the manufacturer so check your batteries manufacturer. This is important since most controllers will not put more than 14.3v or 14.5v into the battery, this means your battery never gets more than ~80% charged.
It is of the utmost importance that your controller be placed within a few feet of the batteries since even if the controller is putting out 14.8v it will not reach the battery at that exact level if it needs to travel through 20 feet of cable.
Use a multimeter to check at your battery terminal to see what voltage it is receiving.
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