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Thread: Solar Panels

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    Junior Member rastus86's Avatar
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    Exclamation Solar Panels

    I was wondering can anyone recommend places to buy solar panels from?
    I need to setup some in two places a shed and on mobile home i want to see what i can get for my money. I am not sure the wattage's etc.. yet (bigger is better )
    I seen a few on eBay but not sure that's the way to go yet any feedback would be appreciated and experiences

    thanks



Look Here ->
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    Junior Member vbthanks's Avatar
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    Big tip - don't buy cheap chinese stuff (most of them). The backlash from home-owners who've been fleeced by all the 'new' solar companies is gaining momentum and is already starting to get media coverage. They're saving bugger all on their energy costs because the panels are toys.

    A recommended brand is kyocera.

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    Rastus. You are entering a mine field with asking about Solar Panels

    You are correct that bigger is better. If your motorhome is 12volts then buy 12v panels.

    Do not buy cheap China stuff - Kyrocera, BP, Suntech are some that use.

    The thicker the cable the better - and copper aint cheap nowadays!

    Storage into Batteries (Gel type for the motor home).

    Solar controller (controls the amount of power from the panels into the batteries), get a controller to match the power of the panels and a bit left over.

    Getting power from the batteries - Invertor - lots of homework needed before you get one of those. Modified Sine Wave will kill any electronic transformer/charger.
    Pure Sine Wave is the way to go. Start at 1000W - if using in your motorhome. If you want to run a small fridge - you will need 1500W (and that's not including the 'surge' wattage!

    There is plenty of advisors here on Solar stuff. Try a website called The Rainbow Company they have lots of advice there.

    Hope you have plenty of money

    Even the connections cost hundreds at the end of the day.

  • #4
    Junior Member rastus86's Avatar
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    yes i know i will need to but do it once do it right i say

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    Junior Member bunyipbilly's Avatar
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    Hi Rastus,
    I know a few people that have bought them from Satplus. Price was good and so far no problems. I would try them.

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    Junior Member rastus86's Avatar
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    i will look into it i have a bit of time to look into it
    thanks

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    I have done designs for many caravans, houseboats and RAPS.

    I will be able to design a suitable system for you and I have some brand new Kyocera KC85T solar panels for sale at the moment and a 1500 watt pure sinewave inverter that may be suitable.

    PM me for further info

    Watson

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    Watson, that sounds good.

    Kyocera make some good stuff and a 1500PSW will be ideal in a motor home.

    As you have done designs for 'the above', you will know all the little fiddly bits as in Anderson connections and proper cabling specs.

    BTW, what batterys have you been preferring for use in caravans etc and controllers?

    Hopefully rastus86 gets back to you.

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    Junior Member rastus86's Avatar
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    sounds OK do you have any pricing ...etc ?

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    GT250
    My preference for controllers is the Plazmatronics PL60.
    For batteries my preference is for wet cells wherever possible because you you can check the charge state of the battery very quickly and monitor the performance of each individual cell. Gell cells are a pain because you can only check their state of charge by proper load testing, are not as forgiving to charging variations and are prone to split over time. Gell cells have thae advantage of being non-spillable, side mounting etc but they will and do leak if the charging circuit develops a fault and puts out too much voltage. Wet cells are a pain because they have to be topped up regularly but in the long run battery type is dependant on what the owner wants.

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    rastus86
    The Kyocera KC85T is a quality panel and the trade price is around $570 with retail being around $800. I have 22 panels still in the box that I got stuck with when the bank foreclosed on a farmer. I am prepared to sell these at cost for $430 each or $9,000 for the lot ($410 each).

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    Watson ???? Where are you for pick up or freight ????? interested in 2 x
    Last edited by pieces; 12-02-10 at 07:47 AM. Reason: .

  • #13
    Junior Member rastus86's Avatar
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    thanks i will let you know asap

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    I don't want to get into an argument about batteries , this is another opinion based on my experience and lot of real life situations.

    rastus86 is asking for recommendations for a Shed and Camper , In both cases you don't want wet cell batteries anywhere close ( unless built into a special enclosure outside ) , they emit poisonous and explosive gases while charging , not to mention these gases corrode everything that's close. ,most importantly they need to be constantly maintained and recharged because they have a very poor shelf life and are prone to early failure if left to go flat. ( seen this so many times )
    Wet Cells don't like being deeply discharged below 80% of their capacity , if they do recover buy a lotto ticket because the amount of times this is possible is very limited.
    There are no advantages to using wet cells apart from initial cost and when very large storage capacity is essential and will be religiously maintained.
    EG: In RAPS systems.

    Gel Batteries are a far superior technology , they are completely maintenance free , no gases , no spillage , can even be mounted upside down, they excel in deep discharging and will recover in cases that most wet cells would become land fill , they can be left for months without going flat ,, with a no load voltage of 13.1v it's not uncommon for a battery to sit without being used for 12 months and still be above the lowest recommended float voltage of 11volts.
    Gel batteries are designed to cope with long continuous discharging , where wet cells cope much better with very high instantaneous loads ( like starting cars ) and can be recharged much faster, Gels are much more temperature tolerant , unlike Wet cells that struggle in extreme cold or heat.

    The disadvantage of Gels is they cost a lot more to start with but will still be going strong after you have changed a few sets of wet cells , especially in deep discharge situations .
    As mentioned the charging voltage of gels is not very forgiving and needs to be properly regulated , of course using a proper regulator from your solar panels will take care of this , and yes if anyone was stupid enough to abuse these batteries by overcharging or using the wrong charger / regulator they will swell and possibly split but using battery abuse as a reason not to choose them is just crazy., wet cells can also boil and explode if charged for long periods at to higher voltage.

    Checking a gel is very easy (easier and safer than getting near acid that's for sure ) , if it is fully charged and left idle for an hour you can measure the float voltage , it should be above 13.1 volts if the battery is good , if it is below 12.9 after an hour of no usage it's getting towards the end of it's usable life.
    Gels are used everywhere for critical backup situations , like Phone exchanges , traffic signals , remote monitoring stations , railways etc etc.

    Either camper or shed , in both cases you can have the batteries mounted inside , not something you would want to do with wet cells.

    BTW , the Kyocera panels are a great choice.

  • The Following User Says Thank You to Joey For This Useful Post:

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    Quote Originally Posted by watson View Post
    rastus86
    The Kyocera KC85T is a quality panel and the trade price is around $570 with retail being around $800. I have 22 panels still in the box that I got stuck with when the bank foreclosed on a farmer. I am prepared to sell these at cost for $430 each or $9,000 for the lot ($410 each).
    Retail on these at a couple of places $1095.00 Each

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    Joey
    I have been designing and installing solar systems since the mid 70's and have used every type of battery there is from le carbone dry cells through to nicads (mandatory in underground mines in WA). I am not going to get into debate on the various types of batteries and why one type is preferred over the other.
    Your post is misleading in a number of areas and you may want to do some more research before making generalised statements wrt battery types and applications - I am not going to give every one a lesson in battery types and their applications. By way of example a customer of mine lives in his caravan for 4 months of the year and never runs a generator - all power generation is solar and the wet cells are located in the front storage area of his custom made Roadstar caravan. Using a hydrometer he can acurately determine the state of charge of each battery instantly - you cannot do this with a gell cell. Cell voltage sampling will not tell you what the charge status of the battery is because cell voltage will change depending on battery impedance. This customer has been using the same batteries since 2001 and it is not uncommon for wet cells to last for between 10 and 15 years when they are properly rated and maintained. The longest I have seen a gell battery last is 6 years and three years ago I had a faulty batch of 2 volt 450 A/H gell batteries replaced under warranty because of electrolyte leakage from the terminal posts (this was a real pain replacing 120 of these batteries). I agree that gell cells are more convenient to lug around and install but they are not a better battery

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    pieces

    I am located in Perth - freight would be paid by you

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    Quote Originally Posted by watson View Post
    Joey
    I have been designing and installing solar systems since the mid 70's and have used every type of battery there is from le carbone dry cells through to nicads (mandatory in underground mines in WA). I am not going to get into debate on the various types of batteries and why one type is preferred over the other.
    Your post is misleading in a number of areas and you may want to do some more research before making generalised statements wrt battery types and applications - I am not going to give every one a lesson in battery types and their applications. By way of example a customer of mine lives in his caravan for 4 months of the year and never runs a generator - all power generation is solar and the wet cells are located in the front storage area of his custom made Roadstar caravan. Using a hydrometer he can acurately determine the state of charge of each battery instantly - you cannot do this with a gell cell. Cell voltage sampling will not tell you what the charge status of the battery is because cell voltage will change depending on battery impedance. This customer has been using the same batteries since 2001 and it is not uncommon for wet cells to last for between 10 and 15 years when they are properly rated and maintained. The longest I have seen a gell battery last is 6 years and three years ago I had a faulty batch of 2 volt 450 A/H gell batteries replaced under warranty because of electrolyte leakage from the terminal posts (this was a real pain replacing 120 of these batteries). I agree that gell cells are more convenient to lug around and install but they are not a better battery
    watson it's obvious you are old school , I suggest you do some research yourself into modern batteries.
    Like I said if you are happy to babysit your batteries then Wet Cells might suit you , if you want maintenance free and often drain your batteries deeply then wet cells will die quickly.

    If you want to abuse and overcharge gels they will also fail quickly , a faulty batch from a few years ago is hardly deciding factor of which is the better battery type especially when they were replaced under warranty.
    I have had enough wet cell failures that I have stop recommending them , I can offer that people do some reading themselves in regards to all batteries types and make their own decision.


    This is one of those type of subjects that never reaches a conclusion either way , the same type of debates still go on in regards to battery banks wired in series or parallel.

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    So there ya go Ratus...!
    Told you it was a minefield

    Watson, i use a PL60 and i have a bank of 12 Trojan T105's (5 years and doing ok), and approx 20 panels of varying makes.

    Look, for Rastus the Gel type batts are going to be ok in general. From his last post, he looks as though he has seen the prices involved and is backing out now.

    Watson, those 85's look like a good price. Hopefully you didn't join the thread to 'move' these panels!

    If Rastus is serious, then i suggest he talk to Watson in private.

    Joey, you are quite correct. The solar debate - Panels/Chargers-Controllers/Batts will go on forever....
    At the end of the day, someone has to buy something.

    And to add fuel to the fire A PL60 is way over the top for a caravan set up! There are % ratings as to how well they perform. A PL60 would need at least 20Amps to start working ok and think about how many panels and weight that will take.
    Maybe a 40Amp controller would be ok for a caravan.
    Very rarely - if not ever - will a flat solar panel array EVER get the full force of the sun (besides in peak summer when the sun is directly overhead).

    I have my 20 panels in a mixture of facing North, and West and angled accordingly.

    I'm going to bed now

  • #20
    Senior Member mutanti's Avatar
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    Mine went up On Tuesday 16th Feb. Very Happy with the Whole Process so far, Inverter is latronics, Now just gotta wait for my smart meter.
    will take some pix and put them up soon

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