Forums > Sailing General

Solar technology?

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Created by southace Two weeks ago, 9 May 2020
southace
QLD, 4359 posts
9 May 2020 5:58PM
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looking at these 200w panels one has max amp hr charge at 9.19 amp and the other 11.1 this seems a fair difference between the same sized panels. However both are smaller than my 140w panels I fitted 4 years ago with a max of 7.5 amp each. I do wonder if it's just a sales pitch or is it the tech has got better and smaller?


woko
NSW, 644 posts
9 May 2020 8:44PM
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Tec has definitely become more efficient I have some quality panels from 20 years ago that have less output than newer ones per m2 and per $. But I think some claimed out put should be viewed with scepticism, I guess the only way to know for sure is to put them to the test

Tonz
354 posts
9 May 2020 6:54PM
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test it yourself,, with the ones to bought,
what were they rated at?
what to they produce?

theres your answer

southace
QLD, 4359 posts
9 May 2020 9:01PM
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Select to expand quote
Tonz said..
test it yourself,, with the ones to bought,
what were they rated at?
what to they produce?

theres your answer


Been testing all day. I put all my solar panel inputs onto 6mm studs and then just the one 6mm wires going to the 100/50 Victron mppt. This way I can isolate each panel and see what's best.

cisco
QLD, 11724 posts
9 May 2020 9:05PM
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W = V x A

Most solar panels run at 20 odd volts, therefore 140 w panels should give you 7 amps.

southace
QLD, 4359 posts
9 May 2020 9:06PM
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This 200w Flexi panel for $130 was worth a look.


southace
QLD, 4359 posts
9 May 2020 9:09PM
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My two old 140 w panels giving me 10 amps today in cloudy rain conditions and the Flexi was giviving me a futher 5 on a bad angle.

woko
NSW, 644 posts
10 May 2020 7:57AM
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That's good going, the mppt reg you have is working a treat, I've got 300w of panels and don't see 10amps on a good day with the old school type reg

Datawiz
VIC, 556 posts
10 May 2020 11:24AM
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Having replaced 5 x 50 Watt (ie 250 Watt total) 10 year old panels with 2x160Watt panels, I've been amazed at the efficiency difference of the new panels. Don't have comparative measurements, but the difference is quite striking.
In particular, the performance at low sun angles is very impressive.

With respect to specifications of solar panels, one needs to be careful in their interpretation.
Solar panels should be tested at a standard solar radiation level of 1000 Watts/square meter, and if this is not stated you can't reliably compare panel specifications.
regards to all
allan

LooseChange
NSW, 2067 posts
10 May 2020 11:58AM
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Most (if not all) panels are made in China and China has never had a problem with labels telling you whatever it is that you want to believe. In other words China just plain lies with their specifications.

Anyone ever bought any Chinese made marine plywood that was stamped as complying with BS1088 only to cut it and find it full of voids and holes. They know that BS1088 is an accepted world standard and so they stamp their products as such.

With anything coming out of China it must always be "Caveat Emptor", let the buyer beware.

Toph
WA, 1564 posts
10 May 2020 11:10AM
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I just bought 2 x238w panels that are of the same physical size of 150w panels. The 250w panels were huge in comparison. I wonder if there is a point where there is a jump in size for a given watt.

santanasaga
NSW, 101 posts
10 May 2020 4:54PM
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I replaced my 4 x 10yo 55w panels with 2 x 330w panels. Had to upgrade the MPPT to suit - 100v 50Amp victron
Amazing.... Just after sun up10amps into the battery. battery is floating by 0930...
I am now working out how to get my excess charge to divert into a 600W 12v hot water element i have just purchased for an hour per day.
new panels are so cheap by comparison. 20 years ago i paid nearly $1000 for a single 120W BP solar panel. Now i paid under $0.75/watt..
the difference in panel output in amps is often their voltage. in the case above there must be a typo - one is V x A = 199W the other 170W.
WIth the advent of MPPT charge controllers no longer are we bound to getting panels rated for a certain battery voltage.
my 330w panels have a open circuit voltage of 40.4v.
My only tip is only having similar panels facing the same direction for each charge controller. This helps improve efficiency greatly. having a couple of charge controllers is great for redundancy as well.

woko
NSW, 644 posts
10 May 2020 8:04PM
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I like the idea of having separate controllers for panels facing differently to take advantage of the various input as its very unlikely to get an array on a boat ever in the goldielocks orientation, less need for large array, back up controller and with better charge rate smaller storage required for a given useage. Gold

slammin
QLD, 943 posts
15 May 2020 6:20AM
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How did you go Southace, Make a purchase? I'm looking to upsize my panels but there's a lot of crap out there?

southace
QLD, 4359 posts
15 May 2020 12:34PM
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slammin said..
How did you go Southace, Make a purchase? I'm looking to upsize my panels but there's a lot of crap out there?


Yes the semi flexible 200 watt is great I have ordered a second one. Outbax give good service free next day postal. Bit cheaper if you can find them through eBay rather than ordering direct. $130 for 200watt is amazing however I'm not convinced it's a true 200watt panel.

Toph
WA, 1564 posts
15 May 2020 10:42AM
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I would be a little cautious of the cheap flexi-panels put on a Bimini or Dodger. They may produce good power, but there are many stories of 'burn through' due to no cooling underneath the mat. The expensive panels may have the same issue too though for all I know though. I have gone with the rigid panels recently. I may consider a flexi-panel in the future as a 'clip on clip off' type of set up for when needed at anchor only.

Harb
WA, 188 posts
15 May 2020 11:06AM
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Did yours began blistering the clear top layer ?
I've bough a 200w last Nov to replace a couple of 100w flexible ones that died after less then 2 years. Its only sitting on top of a flat roofed van that doesn't go anywhere so no flexing or vibration to cause them damage and corrugated sheeting should have allowed enough ventilation to get rid of any heat.
Yesterday I looked at it for the first time since I installed it 6 months ago and the top clear layer has gone. 1/3 of it has already blistered , crumbled and blown away and the other 2/3 of the panel is a mixture of blisters and white chalky surface. Looks like they use biodegradable plastic to make flexible solar panels because mine is definitely not UV resistant.

southace
QLD, 4359 posts
15 May 2020 2:59PM
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These ones are only semi flexible can only flex up to 30 degrees seems good quality that why I ordered another one! ??


sun fisher
NSW, 20 posts
15 May 2020 3:38PM
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The second panel V x A does not make 200W, only 170W

southace
QLD, 4359 posts
15 May 2020 3:41PM
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sun fisher said..
The second panel V x A does not make 200W, only 170W


I have a feeling the second panel comes with a regulator maybe something to do with it, I was interested in the second panel due to the adjustable brackets.

slammin
QLD, 943 posts
16 May 2020 4:17PM
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OK I've had a few hours research on this, wish I was paid! I need a 200w hard panel and it's come down to 2 panels both claim 200w from different suppliers (links are at the bottom).

Low Energy Developments have a 1580x808 panel at $289 delivered, possibly additional freight for regional, which they haven't passed on to me before. I believe the spec's on this panel are REAL because it's 72 cells and the maths for V W and A make sense. Made in China. Claimed performance is 17.4%. Very reputable company that I have many previous dealings with.

In the other corner we have Outbax Camping with a 1030x680 panel at $109 delivered. I'm not sure if it's really 200w. It has 36 cells and the maths for V W and A make sense. Made in China Strangely the shop has 2 panels listed at the same price size and dimensions but one has German TUV rating and the other has ce iso lvd etc These ratings don't really mean much, they are safety , interference magnetic etc ratings and are stamped on many items and may or may not be genuine. They are NOT panel performance ratings. The claimed panel performance is 24%. One of their panels comes with an extra 1m Anderson to MC4 connectors.

This claimed performance is a huge difference between the two suppliers. The claim of 24% means it is at the peak of the industry the rated REAL domestic installation style panels make similar claims but have certification to back them up and the budget domestic panels are 17% rated. This 24% claim represent the top 5 domestic manufacturers but most are at 20% which is fine for a domestic installation just buy an extra panel and not pay double the price but I digress.

My solution is to buy the Outbax Camping Ebay listing which has EbayPlus listing. This means even if i don't like the look of an item I can send it back free of charge no question asked. At $109 shipped with a handy 1m cable t's a wallet no brainer and if it doesn't pump close to 10amps at midday I can just box it back up and send it back free, covered by Ebay and Paypal.

My small moral problem is I don't want Chinese but that's all I can find, the European panels are only 30% at best of the market and in domestic sizes so 280w. The only saving grace in this is that Outbax is at least allegedly Australian owned and based. How they can compete at $109 I have no idea but I really hope the panel performs as claimed because the freight cost back to them will sour the deal.

I have a Victron75/10 smartsolar mppt controller so it'll be easy to test the real world output of the cheap panel. I'll report back.

Lowenergydevelopments www.ebay.com.au/itm/200-Watt-12 ... Sw8XBZsJS4
Outbax www.ebay.com.au/itm/12V-200W-So ... 1#shpCntId

fishmonkey
NSW, 483 posts
16 May 2020 5:39PM
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the other big complication is longevity...

southace
QLD, 4359 posts
16 May 2020 6:09PM
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fishmonkey said..
the other big complication is longevity...


I'm going to try spaying my semi flexibles with selleys water shield, I have been spraying the binimi and cockpit enclosure and the water is beading off so worth a try.

woko
NSW, 644 posts
16 May 2020 6:34PM
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Select to expand quote
slammin said..
OK I've had a few hours research on this, wish I was paid! I need a 200w hard panel and it's come down to 2 panels both claim 200w from different suppliers (links are at the bottom).

Low Energy Developments have a 1580x808 panel at $289 delivered, possibly additional freight for regional, which they haven't passed on to me before. I believe the spec's on this panel are REAL because it's 72 cells and the maths for V W and A make sense. Made in China. Claimed performance is 17.4%. Very reputable company that I have many previous dealings with.

In the other corner we have Outbax Camping with a 1030x680 panel at $109 delivered. I'm not sure if it's really 200w. It has 36 cells and the maths for V W and A make sense. Made in China Strangely the shop has 2 panels listed at the same price size and dimensions but one has German TUV rating and the other has ce iso lvd etc These ratings don't really mean much, they are safety , interference magnetic etc ratings and are stamped on many items and may or may not be genuine. They are NOT panel performance ratings. The claimed panel performance is 24%. One of their panels comes with an extra 1m Anderson to MC4 connectors.

This claimed performance is a huge difference between the two suppliers. The claim of 24% means it is at the peak of the industry the rated REAL domestic installation style panels make similar claims but have certification to back them up and the budget domestic panels are 17% rated. This 24% claim represent the top 5 domestic manufacturers but most are at 20% which is fine for a domestic installation just buy an extra panel and not pay double the price but I digress.

My solution is to buy the Outbax Camping Ebay listing which has EbayPlus listing. This means even if i don't like the look of an item I can send it back free of charge no question asked. At $109 shipped with a handy 1m cable t's a wallet no brainer and if it doesn't pump close to 10amps at midday I can just box it back up and send it back free, covered by Ebay and Paypal.

My small moral problem is I don't want Chinese but that's all I can find, the European panels are only 30% at best of the market and in domestic sizes so 280w. The only saving grace in this is that Outbax is at least allegedly Australian owned and based. How they can compete at $109 I have no idea but I really hope the panel performs as claimed because the freight cost back to them will sour the deal.

I have a Victron75/10 smartsolar mppt controller so it'll be easy to test the real world output of the cheap panel. I'll report back.

Lowenergydevelopments www.ebay.com.au/itm/200-Watt-12 ... Sw8XBZsJS4
Outbax www.ebay.com.au/itm/12V-200W-So ... 1#shpCntId


Looking forward to the outcome, the size difference is significant the the larger possibly being old tec but not reflected in the price or perhaps it is

2bish
TAS, 468 posts
16 May 2020 8:15PM
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Check out www.solar4rvs.com.au/

They have a few euro manufactured models of higher quality. And also read their buyer guides, I found them helpful.

GKandCC
NSW, 193 posts
17 May 2020 6:19PM
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'Buyer beware', I had a bad experience a few weeks ago...ebay ad said '350W folding solar panel, MPPT controller (not PWM), German made cells', really good price...yeah, I know if it sounds too good to be true...!!! Short story... NOT MPPT, NOT GERMAN made, one alligator clip fell off on first day due to poor soldering and one Anderson plug fell off due to the copper wiring being so corroded it just looked like grey powder. Too much bother to send back and wait so just bought a set of Narva alligator clips with bullet-proof soldering on the Anderson plugs.

BlueMoon
687 posts
18 May 2020 6:09AM
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A bit of a gamble buying solar panels online via eBay etc, but the low prices are worth the risk, but you need to shop around and do your research, I looked for a supplier that specialised in solar, had a street address and photos of their warehouse, their prices are similar to the sellers "power" sellers that sell everything including the kitchen sink, they have to be if they want to compete on eBay.
i found Sunwatt ( I think it was called), I can't recall if they have a cheap line of panels as well as the decent ones, only problem I had was with the terrible Couriers Please, delivery company they used.

southace
QLD, 4359 posts
Thursday , 21 May 2020 5:21PM
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Got the second 200 w semi flex solar panel today . Thought it looked smaller than the first one when I picked it up from postal. Sure enough it was ! It was 990 x 660 as to the first one was 1100 x 660 !

i rang the guys at outbax and he explained they had sold out of my original purchase and the suppliers new batch was a new size! He then said the next batch will bigger than my first order! What's going on?


slammin
QLD, 943 posts
Friday , 22 May 2020 5:55AM
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Just check the individual panel output.

LooseChange
NSW, 2067 posts
Saturday , 23 May 2020 9:54PM
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Select to expand quote
southace said..
Got the second 200 w semi flex solar panel today . Thought it looked smaller than the first one when I picked it up from postal. Sure enough it was ! It was 990 x 660 as to the first one was 1100 x 660 !

i rang the guys at outbax and he explained they had sold out of my original purchase and the suppliers new batch was a new size! He then said the next batch will bigger than my first order! What's going on?



"He then said the next batch will bigger than my first order! What's going on?"

Easy! He lied to you, he's a retailer and will do anything for a sale, especially in these times. The first rule of retail is to sell what you have, not what you are going to get. If he knows the next batch are going to be larger then he could have put you on backorder with your consent.

southace
QLD, 4359 posts
Saturday , 23 May 2020 11:55PM
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Select to expand quote
LooseChange said..

southace said..
Got the second 200 w semi flex solar panel today . Thought it looked smaller than the first one when I picked it up from postal. Sure enough it was ! It was 990 x 660 as to the first one was 1100 x 660 !

i rang the guys at outbax and he explained they had sold out of my original purchase and the suppliers new batch was a new size! He then said the next batch will bigger than my first order! What's going on?



"He then said the next batch will bigger than my first order! What's going on?"

Easy! He lied to you, he's a retailer and will do anything for a sale, especially in these times. The first rule of retail is to sell what you have, not what you are going to get. If he knows the next batch are going to be larger then he could have put you on backorder with your consent.


Yep was some American back packer that had no idea put me on hold for 15 mins and then came back with answers but no idea on my questions so I gave up with no answers.



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"Solar technology?" started by southace