Arco panels does anyone still use these?

706jim706jim Solar Expert Posts: 154 ✭✭
Back in 1994, panels were expensive, really expensive. I was able to purchase 7 Arco panels that I think were recycled from a solar farm in Arizona for about $700. The poor things were burnt brown when I got them and had an open circuit potential of approximately 6.5 volts. I was able to get about 180 watts from these when they had no other help and they still work today.
So, are these things still around?
Island cottage solar system with 1400 watts of panels, Trace DR1524 MSW inverter, Trace C40 PWM controller 8 Trojan L16's. My 22nd year.

Comments

  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 649 ✭✭✭✭
    edited September 29 #2
    Carrizo plain solar farm sold off all their panels  when they shut down They were sold as different grades depending on their condition. The bottom grade were called mud grade. The encapsulant had a tendency to "bronze" over the cell surface. I believe they were experimenting with mirrors to produce higher performance from the modules which added to the bronzing. Many modules were sold in "quad lam" configuration which had 4 modules in a frame.

    By the way, My first solar panel was one of the Carrizo Arco panels.


    2.1 Kw Suntech 175 mono, Classic 200, Trace SW 4024 ( 15 years old  but brand new out of sealed factory box Jan. 2015), Bogart Tri-metric, 700 ah @24 volt AGM battery bank. Plenty of Baja Sea of Cortez sunshine.

  • 706jim706jim Solar Expert Posts: 154 ✭✭
    Ok that rings a bell. Up here they were sold as bronze silver and gold. Never knew about "mud" grade; those must have been totally smoked. I did hear mention of mirrors being used on them. About 1' x 4' from what I remember while installing them.
    Island cottage solar system with 1400 watts of panels, Trace DR1524 MSW inverter, Trace C40 PWM controller 8 Trojan L16's. My 22nd year.
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,203 ✭✭✭✭
    Nice to know they are still working! I recall hearing about those. I purchased my first panel, I think they were an option, found we actually had a solar business in town, Al's Simpler Solar System's. It was still around last I heard in Tallahassee Florida. Shipping even then was a factor as I could buy a 60-70 watt panel locally. About as big as I wanted on my small sailboat. Same place I bought the Photowatt panels from used, a bargain at @$3 a measured watt in 2001!

    I have some Photowatt panels about 1980 vintage, They sound pretty in comparison. They still work pretty darn well! About 55 watt panels, rounds behind low iron prism glass. I'd bet the glass would cost more than today's panels. I lent one to a friend who uses it to directly run a water pump for hydroponics.

    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, ForkLift battery. Off grid for @13 of last 14 years. 1000 watts being added to current CC, @2700 watts to be added with an additional CC.
  • peakbaggerpeakbagger Solar Expert Posts: 332 ✭✭✭
    Just for giggles I would love to get a hold on some of the newer ARCOs that used the staggered rows of round cells. It will go in the collection with my souvenir Solyndra tube;). I have seen a few of them installed at off grid camps but have never found anyone home to ask about them.

    I went to a solar sale about 10 years ago where a solar installer was cleaning out a storage unit. They had several quad lams for sale in various conditions. The sold for cheap but they claimed they worked.  I picked up a pile of slightly newer Siemens 60 watt panels that I think were replaced on warranty as they had some delamination issues that I think were EVA related. I added a few I bought on ebay and assembled my first 2 KW array (back when new panels were $5 a watt). They got replaced with Evergreens bought after the bankruptcy and II sold most of them to off grid  camp owners. I still have one in service on a solar hot water system on my roof hooked direct to a DC pump. This one definitely has a lot more honey brown coloration to it. Its oversized but at some point I may need to replace it.

  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 649 ✭✭✭✭
    edited September 29 #6
    I don't know which modules are older but the crude traces on the round cells make them look older than the Carrizo Arco module
    .






    SuperSolar, I hope it's ok I used your photo.

    2.1 Kw Suntech 175 mono, Classic 200, Trace SW 4024 ( 15 years old  but brand new out of sealed factory box Jan. 2015), Bogart Tri-metric, 700 ah @24 volt AGM battery bank. Plenty of Baja Sea of Cortez sunshine.

  • SuperdupersolarSuperdupersolar Registered Users Posts: 4
    edited October 1 #7
    No prob! Here's a close-up of the l'il old fellers.
Sign In or Register to comment.