Laminate panels for .50/watt

I'm surprised I haven't seen this mentioned on here but there are laminate panels on sale for .50/watt when you buy a pallet of them. This is an insane price.

I know these laminates are not for everyone as they require some work but if you are skilled with a soldering iron you can save a ton.

I ordered a pallet of the 245watt laminates on July 22 for $.74/watt and received them on Aug 19. So far I have about 1/3 of the panels ready to glue the J-boxes on. It takes about an hour from start to finish depending on the panel. Some are faster as the bus tabs are still in tact.

Shane

Comments

  • solar_davesolar_dave Posts: 2,313 ✭✭✭
    Re: Sun Electric offering laminates for .50/watt!!!

    I think most people here would prefer to not raise a soldering iron, and would prefer a warranty included for reliability and long life. UL rated is require with most grid tie systems by the utility and homeowner insurance companies. It is unclear how you will achieve this if you have to add connectivity yourself.
  • solarixsolarix Posts: 713
    Re: Sun Electric offering laminates for .50/watt!!!

    I bought a few of these as well to try them out. The quality seems to be good but be aware they are wired a little unusual. The 148W version I got, have two sets of connection tabs coming out as if it was designed for two j-boxes. One tab for each column of cells - for bypass diode purposes. Possibly done so that you can wire it as one 24V module or two 12V sections. Anyway, awkward to finish out in a nice clean fashion. I ended up just putting on one j-box (they didn't warn me about needing two per) and running a wire over to the other tab and covering those connections with good 2" wide teflon tape.
    Can beat the price though, especially for non-standard smaller modules - just what my RV'er customers want.
    Are these laminates in the other sizes wired wierd as well?
  • Re: Laminate panels for .50/watt

    The panels (or laminates rather) I ordered were 245watt models. They have 4 tabs on the back and hook in a 4 rail junction box. Here is a picture of what one looked like as received:
    panels3.jpg

    I had to replace 3 of the tabs and add to the last tab. Adding the junction box was easy enough. Here is a panel finished:
    solar-back.jpg

    Yes it does require a little work to get these ready for use, but for the price... if you are skilled.... you can not beat it.

    As for warranty, they include a 20 year warranty. They are not UL rated and may be a problem when it comes to grid tied. For me I plan on putting in an off grid system anyways so that does not matter.
  • Re: Laminate panels for .50/watt

    Here is a close up of the back with the junction box installed. I covered the repaired area with clear vinyl (I'm out of white right now...) and glued the box down with 50 year clear silicon.

    solar-back-close.jpg

    So far, depending on the panel, it takes anywhere from 20min to an hour to install. Some of the panels only need tab extensions soldered on. Other require digging in and replacing the tabs. Neither of which is hard, just takes time.

    As for frames, I am planing on building a tracker system and will just use it's framework for the frames.

    Shane
  • bmetbmet Posts: 630 ✭✭
    Re: Laminate panels for .50/watt

    Doesn't removing the original junction box damage the trace underneath it? Why would they even yank it to begin with, unless there was something wrong?
    The panels (or laminates rather) I ordered were 245watt models. They have 4 tabs on the back and hook in a 4 rail junction box. Here is a picture of what one looked like as received:
    panels3.jpg
  • Re: Laminate panels for .50/watt

    I am not sure but my best guess (based on the known parameters) is these are Solar World 245 Watt Mono Solar Panels that were left over from the old design or did not meet their current design standards??

    Shane
  • bmetbmet Posts: 630 ✭✭
    Re: Laminate panels for .50/watt

    Did they measure okay?
  • rollandelliottrollandelliott Posts: 755 ✭✭
    Re: Laminate panels for .50/watt

    where did you buy the diodes and junction boxes from?
  • Solar GuppySolar Guppy Posts: 1,959 ✭✭✭
    Re: Laminate panels for .50/watt

    So what is the total cost per watt when you make the aluminum frames, add the J box and Diodes yourself?
  • rollandelliottrollandelliott Posts: 755 ✭✭
    Re: Laminate panels for .50/watt

    it depends on the type of framing you use. Low end mill stock aluminum is $1.50 to $2 a foot. with junciton box figure another $0.15 to $0.20 a watt. assuming free labor. average panel is 3x5' approximately

    However T slotted aluminum is around $3 a foot, but has the benefit of being dual usage of framing and structural figure $0.30 to $0.40 per watt.

    so anywhere from .65 to $.90 per watt.

    That being said if you order a lot you can get Korean panels for $0.84 a watt. Still trying to see if they are UL rated or not, might find out in the next few weeks.

    Kind of pointless to get panels that are not UL rated and won't pass the local grid tie codes unless you are strictly off grid. Plus there is something highly suspicious about panels that have ripped out junction boxes. I'd test them throughly, and somesort of system monitoring would be critical to find out when A panel dies.

    Yes, it is a good deal, but only for people off grid who are handy at fixing things. which is a very small percentage of solar customers.
  • Re: Laminate panels for .50/watt

    I purchased the junction box off ebay in bulk (30) and paid $18 each. They have the diodes installed already. As for the frames, If you wanted to use 8020 to frame it out it would be around $60 extra each panel. However I plan on building a tracker and using it's structure as the framing.

    So I guess on a 245 watt panel you would have 122.50 (laminate) + 18 (jbox) + 60 (frame) + 1.50 (supplies) + 8 (freight) = $210 or .86/watt.

    As for testing the panels, so far all of the ones I have done test out fine as far as VOC. I have not tested amperage yet as I am still waiting on my charge controllers to arrive.

    I guess I could build a load panel and measure the output.....

    Shane
  • Re: Laminate panels for .50/watt
    it depends on the type of framing you use. Low end mill stock aluminum is $1.50 to $2 a foot. with junciton box figure another $0.15 to $0.20 a watt. assuming free labor. average panel is 3x5' approximately

    However T slotted aluminum is around $3 a foot, but has the benefit of being dual usage of framing and structural figure $0.30 to $0.40 per watt.

    so anywhere from .65 to $.90 per watt.

    That being said if you order a lot you can get Korean panels for $0.84 a watt. Still trying to see if they are UL rated or not, might find out in the next few weeks.

    Kind of pointless to get panels that are not UL rated and won't pass the local grid tie codes unless you are strictly off grid. Plus there is something highly suspicious about panels that have ripped out junction boxes. I'd test them throughly, and somesort of system monitoring would be critical to find out when A panel dies.

    Yes, it is a good deal, but only for people off grid who are handy at fixing things. which is a very small percentage of solar customers.

    I figured 1010 from 8020inc for the framing (3.60 a foot) which is expensive. If you went with mill stock aluminum at $2 a foot you would knock off another .11-.12 per watt. So closer to .75 a watt.

    I would love to know more about the .84 watt panels. My time might be free but I only have so much. And if they are UL....

    Shane
  • solar_davesolar_dave Posts: 2,313 ✭✭✭
    Re: Laminate panels for .50/watt
    The panels (or laminates rather) I ordered were 245watt models.

    As for warranty, they include a 20 year warranty. They are not UL rated and may be a problem when it comes to grid tied. For me I plan on putting in an off grid system anyways so that does not matter.

    How the heck are they giving a warranty with the j boxes ripped off? Hehe just return them saying the j boxes are missing! LOL
  • rollandelliottrollandelliott Posts: 755 ✭✭
    Re: Laminate panels for .50/watt

    "I figured 1010 from 8020inc for the framing (3.60 a foot) which is expensive."

    you can go to their ebay store and get it for $2.50 a foot.
    they also have much much stronger 1.5 square aluminum for $3 a foot clearance via ebay,
    For a tracker I would not use 1010 aluminum unless it was for just 2 or 3 panels max, anything bigger and I'm guessing the wind deflection would crack the panels.

    1.5 square aluminum on the other hand is much much stronger.

    I'll let you know about the Korean panels if I get anymore info.
  • Re: Laminate panels for .50/watt

    I do not plan on using 1010 for the tracker. I will be building it out of steel. Probably 1.5x1.5 L with rubber cushioning for the panel framing and some 2x2 tubing for the main frame support.

    It's going to be heavy but that will be needed for a 12 panel array. 13ftx16.75ft
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