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Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > Opinion on solar panel kit wanted

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tenbear

Northern Vermont, USA

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Posted: 01/19/14 05:31am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I received a notice of this solar panel kit. It seemed like a good deal here in the northeast. 300 watts for $500 including S&H.

All opinions welcome.


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WoodGlue

Los Angeles / Montana

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Posted: 01/19/14 05:36am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

At more that $1.00 per watt, seems awfully expensive. Also, you might want to upgrade the controller to 30amp in case you ever want larger panels.

WoodGlue

pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 01/19/14 05:49am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi tenbear,

Looks good to me. I'd probably upgrade the controller to something that allows a temperature probe on the battery.

If you have a good roof location with zero shading I'd consider using mppt technology and wiring in series--of course this costs more.

* This post was edited 01/19/14 06:16am by pianotuna *


Regards, Don
Full Time in a Kustom Koach Class C 28'5", 256 watts Unisolar, 875 amp hours in two battery banks 12 volt batteries, Magnum 3000 watt PSW inverter.

RJsfishin

Winston Or.

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Posted: 01/19/14 06:48am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

W/ solar running near $1 a watt, and a $15 controller, how is that a good deal at $500 ?


Rich

'01 31' Rexall Vision, Generac 5.5k, 1000 watt Honda, PD 9245 conv, 300 watts Solar, 400 watt inv, 2 12v batts, ammeters, led voltmeters all over the place, KingDome/sat, 2 Oly Cat heaters, and towing a Dodge GCV, or a Lowe bass boat, or a Kawi Mule.


pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 01/19/14 07:46am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi RJ,

It is under $2 per watt. Please show us your source for $1 per watt with hardware, controller and wire?


RJsfishin wrote:

W/ solar running near $1 a watt, and a $15 controller, how is that a good deal at $500 ?


tenbear

Northern Vermont, USA

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Posted: 01/19/14 07:49am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

RJsfishin wrote:

W/ solar running near $1 a watt, and a $15 controller, how is that a good deal at $500 ?


I have been unable to find solar panels at $1 a watt in the north east. Buying panels from the south west where the best deals are gets expensive due to the shipping cost. Maybe I should look harder.

tenbear

Northern Vermont, USA

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Posted: 01/19/14 07:53am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

And shipping.

pianotuna wrote:

Hi RJ,

It is under $2 per watt. Please show us your source for $1 per watt with hardware, controller and wire?


RJsfishin wrote:

W/ solar running near $1 a watt, and a $15 controller, how is that a good deal at $500 ?


CA Traveler

The Western States

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Posted: 01/19/14 07:57am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

For 300W including wiring, hardware, controller and SH that is a good price.


2009 Holiday Rambler 42 Scepter with ISL 400 Cummins
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Bob


BFL13

Victoria, BC

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Posted: 01/19/14 08:28am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The usual rule for PWM is you need 20% margin over your rated Isc amps for sizing the controller and the fuse that goes on the pos line near the battery.

300w pointed at a high sun can get you 300/130 x 8.2 = 19a (which should be about twice the Isc of a 150w panel) so the 20a controller supplied is inadequate for amps size.

Also that controller has been noted on this forum in other kits as a poor one for some reason can't remember so you will need a better controller anyway. Lots of 25 and 30a PWM controllers on ebay at low cost, so no problem there.

As to that kit's price, just take off the "free" shipping and go with what they really cost and it looks better.

An alternative to consider is a single 24v panel in the 250w range and the 20a Eco-worthy ($102) or Tracer $130) MPPT controller.


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Almot

Vancouver BC

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Posted: 01/19/14 12:16pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Don't know where BFL got his 130 in that formula, but 19A total Isc is really too close to the rated 20A PWM limit. For 300W array I would go for 25A controller.

The price - to me this kit has only one useful item: 2*150w panel. Possibly, 2*MC4 Y-connectors, they are expensive but you only need them if you run a parallel without a roof junction box. Everything else is either wrong item or wrong quantity. 40ft #10 wire is too short for on-rig installations, this is mere 20ft one way run. Z-brackets are a cr-p. Controller is too weak for this setup. And yes, there was a negative feedback on Phocos 30 - which in itself doesn't mean much, but the brand is not popular in RV.

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