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Cheap solar (PV) panels?

Discussion in 'Photovoltaics' started by Ptaylor, May 31, 2005.

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  1. Ptaylor

    Ptaylor Guest

    Hey guys,

    I ran across a site with cheap solar panels a while back,and now I
    can't remember the name of the company,and Google hasn't turned up thier
    site yet. (I was sure I bookmarked it,but..)
    I'm looking for a small panel or two for a friend's project,and I told
    him I knew of a place to get cheap panels,but I think I fibbed - since I
    can't find it again! He probably won't need much power, 50W should do
    him well.
    And I might be in the market for some solar panels myself,sometime soon.
    My little 10W Solec panel was great to start experimenting with PV,but
    now I want more power! :)

    So,uh,I'm asking for all your links to cheap solar panel (PV) suppliers!

    Anything- Assembled panels,kits,raw cells,etc..
    We can make panels from raw cells,if needed.

    Thanks In Advance! Patrick.
     
  2. N9WOS

    N9WOS Guest

    The first one that comes to mind is one right close by in Indiana.

    http://www.theenergyalternative.com/

    They sell a 20 pack of 1.2 watt panels (24w) for $65 dollars.
    Less than $3 a watt

    http://www.theenergyalternative.com/energy_efficient_products/index.html?item=412

    They also sell a number of other things.

    http://www.theenergyalternative.com/energy_efficient_products/index.html

    And you also want to look around walmart or home depot.
    They have 10 packs of solar lights for around $40.
    Buy them, throw away the plastic, and part out the solar light heads.
    For $4 a unit, you get a 2x2 solar panel that puts out about 4.5V, and 70ma.
    And you get two 600ma nicad batteries, and a high intensity LED.

    So, for $40, you get, 20 600ma nicad batteries, 10 high power LED's and 10
    nice little solar panels.
    Almost as good of deal as the TEA store I listed above.
    The ten panels can be configured for anything from 45V at 70ma, or 4.5V at
    700ma
    Or about 3W at $40 not including all the other stuff.

    Personally, I just stick with the $40 ten packs from the local store for my
    source of small solar panels.

    Needless to say, I have plenty of 600ma rechargeable nicads hanging around
    here.
    No shortage of them at all.
     
  3. Richard P.

    Richard P. Guest

    Hi Patrick,

    You're addicted to PV now... I can see it in your wording. You can join us between 6 and 8pm every
    2nd monday. ;-)
     
  4. N9WOS

    N9WOS Guest

    And you also want to look around walmart or home depot.
    The exact model I buy is the LZ1
    In the 10 packs.
    http://www.intermatic.com/images/fact_sheets/LZ1-10.pdf

    I usually see them going for $40 to $45 for the pack at the local home
    improvement stores.

    The panel that's visible on the top of the units on the product literature,
    and the picture on the box, looks like it has 4 cells, like would be used to
    charge one nicad. Like the one you see in the PDF.

    But all of the lights I have ever bought have 8 cells.
    I guess the ones in the product literature have just one battery, with a
    step up inverter to run the LED.
    It may depend on what factory they come from, and you may get a different
    type of LZ1, But the 8 cell panels are all I have ever seen in the top of
    them.
     
  5. N9WOS

    N9WOS Guest

  6. Ptaylor

    Ptaylor Guest

    Well,just cheap.
    The site I'm so desperatly trying to find had a few panels for sale
    (like 20->80W) for around $3 a watt,which I thought was a pretty good
    deal.Unfortunatly the site/company seems to have vanished..I havn't been
    able to find them again.

    The panel(s) for my friend will be used for an experimental "Solar
    powered cooler" for camping trips to the beach. It's basically A cooler
    with a peltier inside,and a 115AH deep-cycle,and (eventually) a solar
    panel to help extend runtime atleast a bit before the battery goes flat.
    We figure if he can get away with cycling the Peltier with a thermostat
    or something,so it isn't running all the time,there should be enough
    juice in the battery to last 3-4 days.(perfect for a weekend beach
    trip!)My buddy plans to recharge the battery at home after every
    trip,unless he can get enough solar power to prolong running time,*AND*
    recharge the battery a bit while at the beach.He can forget about
    charging,aslong as there's sun.
    I figured ~50W would pretty much power the Peltier from the solar (I
    think it draws about 36W.) and have a bit left over for the battery to
    charge with.A charge controller probably won't be needed.

    The panels for Myself will probably be used for similar "experiments"
    Currently I have a 10W Solec panel,and a couple car batteries,and some
    smaller SLA's. (about 130AH total)
    My Modem,Cellphone charger,CB radio,Scanner,etc are all run from the
    solar power! 10W isn't much energy,but it's suprising what you can do
    with it..Now if I can bump it up to 100W I'll be in hog-heaven!
    I may even end up with more power than I can use!(pfft,who am I kidding)
    I eventually plan to power my house with PV power,someday. -perhaps
    after I win the lottery.
     
  7. Ptaylor

    Ptaylor Guest

    Yea,but is that gonna keep icecream from melting,and keep the beer cold
    for 3-4 days,on a beach thats like 100-110 degrees?
    Probably not :-/ Or else,that would be a much easier solution!
     
  8. jmar

    jmar Guest

    Sounds like they was selling out to go out of business. That price is
    way too low. I have been watching prices for well over a year now and I
    have never seen lower then 3.75 a watt and prices get higher with under
    80 watt or from 100 watt and up.

    I agree with not needing a charge control if you are planing to use a 50
    watt panel. You may never be able to full charge the battery anyway. I
    have already tried that. 115ah battery/20=5.75 amp panel minimum. You
    are going to pull about 68 amps from that battery in 24 hours if running
    full time. And I'm sure there will not be 12 hours of sun light being
    lots of trees around any lake. So you may get 6 hours of sun per day
    meaning you need about an 11 amp solar panel to keep up. so two 100 watt
    panels. Damn, 900 bucks just to keep beer cold. Get a large ice chest..


    About the best price per watt you are going to find is 4.09 a watt for a
    90 watt panel. And the only brand that low priced is SunWise. Try
    http://www.infinigi.com/sunwize-sw90-90-watt-solar-module-12v-p-2.html .
    I just bought two Shell 85 watt panels from that site. I have two of
    the Sunwize but they are a little larger and take up more space than the
    Shell brand because of using round wafers. Other than that I have no
    problem with them.

    Do you have pictures of that cooling unit? I am interested in how it works.

    Jon
     
  9. SpiderG

    SpiderG Guest

    I've bought a few things from here before.

    http://www.sunelec.com/

    They seem to have pretty good prices. Just be sure you are buying what you
    think you are - laminates, seconds, etc.

    hyh
    SpiderG
     
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