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Old 07-27-2020, 05:26 PM   #1
Rock-N-Ruth's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Freedom Field, New Mexico
Posts: 136
Year: 1998
Coachwork: International
Chassis: Amtrans
Engine: 444E
Rated Cap: 84 pas
Sunpower Solar Panels in the South West CHEAP!

Our solar system is made up of all Sunpower panels. Some we bought used from a craigslist seller in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 327W panels for 140.00 each. The panels were New Old Stock and had no blemishes and perform as rated.
He still has plenty. Marc: (505) 712-5707 You can text or call.

The rest we got from (Phoenix Arizona) new Sunpower 327W panels for .30/Watt Came out to less than 100.00/ per panel. Awesome. They had higher rated panels for the same price but I wanted to match the panels I already have. Not really necessary because I have the 12 panels broken up into 3 banks of four. Each bank is on it's own controller.

If you are in the area or are willing to travel, I haven't seen better deals on New panels. Our system works great producing as much as 3800W depending on load and battery state. Our current power demands are about 1.5KWh and the panels keep up with it and keep the batteries topped even on 100% Overcast New Mexico days.

Our current system: (mounted flat on the roof)

12 Sunpower 327W panels in 4 banks.
Bank one: Parallel VOC 60VDC
MakeSkyBlue 60A Controller
Bank two: Parallel VOC 60VDC
MakeSkyBlue 60A Controller
Bank Three: 2S2P VOC 120VDC
MakeSkyBlue 60A Controller

The front bank number three, is in a series parallel configuration because the wire run from this bank to the controller is nearly 40 feet, while the runs from bank one and two are just 15 and 20 feet.

Batteries: We just upgraded to LiFeP04 BYD batteries from batteryclearinghouse ebay seller.

We have four of the BYD 24V 5KW 220Ah battery banks in parallel for a rated 880 Ah. We have not done a measured load test, however our needs are being met and we never have to connect to shore power or generator even when it rains or is cloudy all day. ( this happens often July- August Monsoon)

So we have about 1550.00 in solar panels
300.00 in controllers

2000.00 in batteries

250. in wire

200.00 Breakers panels and boxes

300.00 in mounting hardware and materials

Total system cost to be free from the grid and Mobile = $4350.00 Optimistically puts our Electrical power cost at about 18.00 per month over 20 years.
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Old 07-27-2020, 06:19 PM   #2
Bus Crazy
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 1,761
That's the best way to get good deals, close enough to pick them up.

Not just ordering online. . .
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Old 07-27-2020, 10:20 PM   #3
Bus Nut
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Orange County, CA
Posts: 952
Year: 1990
Coachwork: integral
Chassis: Crown Supercoach II (rear engine)
Engine: Detroit 6V92TAC, DDEC 2, Jake brake, Allison HT740
Rated Cap: 37,400 lbs GVWR
I'm impressed! You have more power than my system, a lot more, and I'm happy to hear it's performing well for you even in marginal conditions. I have only 2040W (which even then is a lot more than most buses' and RVs' PV systems), and like you I've split my system into entirely separate sub-systems. Each of the two arrays is four Sharp 255W made-in-USA panels that can be raised to 21, 33 or 45 degrees up or stowed down against the roof for travel, and each array feeds its own Morningstar TS-MPPT-60 charge controller that in turn feeds its own battery bank of four GC-2 batteries. Each battery bank is electrically isolated from the other by 250A Schottky diodes to prevent one bank backfeeding into the other, but both banks' outputs are combined after the diodes to power the main DC busbar and Magnum inverter. I've just bought a 12K minisplit A/C with heat pump, another project in the making, and it should happily run off the panels on even low-light winter days. I paid more for my panels, but I did buy them some years ago when PV prices were much higher, so I have about the same money overall in the entire system as you spent for yours. I also keep the two start batteries constantly charged by two Ultra Trik-L-Start maintainers that run off the house batteries. So far I'm very happy with my system, and I hope to never need my emergencies-only 3500W generator even in winter.

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Old 07-29-2020, 10:09 PM   #4
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: NY
Posts: 743
Year: 2002
Coachwork: International
Engine: dt466
Rated Cap: 65C-43A
I'm ready to start my Solar and your post has already helped!
oh yes she did!
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Old 08-01-2020, 06:12 PM   #5
Almost There
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: St. Louis
Posts: 92
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Thomas 4-Window
Chassis: 2003 Ford E350
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 6
Sweet find and thanks for the tip!
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Old 08-05-2020, 07:07 AM   #6
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Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: USA New York
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Year: 2016
Chassis: Marty
Excellent commentary, on all aspects regarding solar installation!
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Old 08-09-2020, 12:25 PM   #7
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Location: USA New York
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Year: 2016
Chassis: Marty
Originally Posted by lipovsky View Post
Excellent commentary, on all aspects regarding solar installation like in this review!
Seems useful.
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