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Author Topic: Solar Panel  (Read 2401 times)
stuckinarut
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« on: August 20, 2009, 05:38:34 AM »

For you people out there that are a little geeky and like electronics....I bartered for my first solar panel.  It's a 115 watt that I'm going to use for charging a small panel of batteries that will run a couple attic fans and a motion flood light I'll have on the side of the house.
I'll post some pics of it later.  It's really really a simple design and very easy to use.  I wasn't really sure what to expect...this panel came with a cable and a battery charger panel, and mounts.

The battery charger panel has an input for the negative lead and positive lead and outputs for the positive and negative terminals on the batteries...that's it.

So I'll decide what size batteries I need and go from there.  I believe it's a 12 volt system.  The panel puts out about 16.7 volts in the sun, in direct sun when I was measuring it, it put out about 22 volts!
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maustypsu
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« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2010, 06:37:49 PM »

I know it's been awhile but was wondering how this worked for you.  Do you have pics of the set up?  Running good?  Recommend the brand/model you got to others?

Thought it was relevant so didn't mind refreshing an old post.

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stuckinarut
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« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2010, 06:41:46 PM »

Well let's say that was a project that was put on the back burner.  I still have the panel and am still excited about getting it into action, but with a new roof from storm damage, winter and all this stuff that hit us really hard this year I've had to prioritize.

I've got my batteries.  And the solar panel I got is actually made for RV's that really want to go 'offroad'.  This project will probably continue this coming summer, since I have planting season coming up, a house to paint and some other things like that.

Just FYI, I read that solar panels are good for years and year, like up to 30 years.  Some people that buy a new (used) house that have old solar panels on them don't want them and sometimes give them away if you remove them!  So keep your eyes peeled.  There's some info on the web about what type of solar panel is best, but I don't remember brand info...sorry.
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atomic17
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« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2010, 06:30:29 AM »

Actually, solar panels arent "good for years and years". Although they keep producing power for years and years, they lose power annually. Unless you buy from well know manufacturers who guarantee against it, most lose 2 to 5 % per year. Seeing as its cumulative, RealPower=NewPower*0.95^x where x is the ages of the panel in years. with that formula you can easily find out how much power you will have left in 10 or 20 years. "^" is the symbol for "to the power off" btw...

And totally off topic, tell your kids to pay attention in math class when the teacher is talking about logs and exponents. Its boring, but really useful.
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stuckinarut
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« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2010, 09:33:32 AM »

I'm not so sure about your statistics.  You may be right for particular types of solar panels depending on the quality of the solar cells themselves but the more I read online the more I find people saying they have 40 year old panels still putting out 80% or more.  With your fromula at best after 40 years of use a panel would be at 20% output! And with a 5% loss per year you'd be down to 100% loss or 0 output just in 20 years.  I just think 2 - 5% loss per year is way too high even for crapy ones. 

Here's some links that talk about longevity of solar panels.

http://scitizen.com/future-energies/how-long-do-solar-panels-last-_a-14-2897.html
http://alternativeenergysystems.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=18&Itemid=15
http://www.envirocitizen.org/article/how-long-do-solar-panels-last/1004.html


Plus most manufacturers have a 25 year waranty!
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atomic17
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« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2010, 02:30:22 PM »

okay i checked my book on renewable energy by william kemp. Most panel lose is indeed  less than 2% per year, assuming good quality brand name solar cells, but he recommends 2% as a good bet. He also warns that manufacturers often exaggerate their panels power by 20-40%...

anyhow, the warranties you see are for power lose per time. essentially, its guaranteed not to lose more than X watts in Y time, assuming its warranty conditions are met.
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stuckinarut
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« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2010, 09:20:16 PM »

Oh, ok...thanks for clearing that up.   Smiley  I hope to add some serious panels someday....as money allows...lol.
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penguinofdoom
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« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2011, 12:02:29 AM »

I'm a Mechanical and Energy Engineering student and for our senior design project we are building a self-powered, portable air monitoring/pollution system. One of the huge problems we are facing is that we all thought solar power is great until you try to run 3 sensors, a data logger, and a small AC system. After doing all this research I've come around to the conclusion that solar sucks. Not in it's entirety but it's not as wonderful as we thought. Based on the our average power consumption, 5 sun hours a day in our region, it would take 34 solar panels to run our home on 100% solar power, this is a 12 year pay off and most solar panels have a life of 10-15 years. So about the time we pay it off it's time to buy new solar panels.
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atomic17
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« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2011, 03:27:14 PM »

You forgot the best part; by the time the panel has produced enough electricity to offset the cost of buying it, the technology will have changed so much your panel will be worthlessly inefficient compared to whats on the market.
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