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Thread: Best place to buy solar panels??

  1. #1

    Default Best place to buy solar panels??

    I have only the meager beginnings of a solar power system, (two 15W panels, a cheap controller, and 3 marine deep cycle batteries) and I am now trying to figure out where is the best place to buy solar panels to upgrade my system.

    I have spent the past week scouring ebay, the internet, and looking at many many suppliers, trying to weigh out the cost per watt that they deliver, and thus far I'm seeing about $2.00 - $3.00 per watt, including the shipping.

    I'm in Canada, so I either have to buy Canadian, or factor in the cost of shipping and duty/import charges as well.

    There are alot of Chinese suppliers whose prices are down around $2.00/watt, but then I have the import, duty and brokerage fees, as well as a long shipping time.

    There are local Canadian suppliers who can supply panels around $2.75-$3.00 per watt, and there is a faster ship time, and no additional fees.

    I'm wondering if anyone out there knows of a good trustworthy supplier that might be cheaper, while not delivering a crap quality product to my door, which I suspect the Chinese panels probably are.

    Can anyone suggest anything to help me get a good deal?

    I'm probably only going to be able to afford between $500.00 - $700.00 at this time, so I need to get the best watts per buck I can find.

    Thanks!

    Chris

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Quetico, Ontario
    Posts
    5,025

    Default Re: Best place to buy solar panels??

    How near the border are you? Have them drop shipped to a freight terminal or UPS store near the border, take a holiday and go down and pick them up. Then you have to pay HST, but no brokerage or duty that I am aware of.

    Pallet load or so and you might have to rent a truck or trailer, but still cheaper than having them shipped trans border.

    Tony
    Please note, being a moderator does not add any weight to my opinions 300 watts Siemens/BP panels,plus a Sun 90,, making ~400. ~30 amps into Rogue MPT-3024, 450 ah of Trojan T-105, Morningstar ts300 inverter, a Tri-Metric meter.a collection of antique generators, plus 2 Honda eu-1000i's (also a BS2512 IX controller) and assorted other stuff!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Best place to buy solar panels??

    Quote Originally Posted by icarus View Post
    How near the border are you? Have them drop shipped to a freight terminal or UPS store near the border, take a holiday and go down and pick them up. Then you have to pay HST, but no brokerage or duty that I am aware of.

    Pallet load or so and you might have to rent a truck or trailer, but still cheaper than having them shipped trans border.

    Tony
    Hi Tony, normally, that would be a good idea, but I live in Nova Scotia, so I'm pretty far from the border, also, I'm disabled, and have a hard time getting around, so I'm pretty much limited to things coming straight to my door.

    So, are these costs that I'm seeing average solar panel prices, or are there better deals out there?

    For example, there is a place in Vancouver that sells them on ebay for as follows:

    12V 220 WATT MONOCRYSTALLINE SOLAR PANEL V OC 21 V / V MP 17 V (2x ABOVE 100 W)

    Price: Original price US $609.00 Discounted price US $548.10

    Is this a good deal do you think?

    How powerful a solar panel could I get for around $500 -$700??

    Chris

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Quetico, Ontario
    Posts
    5,025

    Default Re: Best place to buy solar panels??

    US prices start ~$1-2/watt, plus shipping.

    Tony
    Please note, being a moderator does not add any weight to my opinions 300 watts Siemens/BP panels,plus a Sun 90,, making ~400. ~30 amps into Rogue MPT-3024, 450 ah of Trojan T-105, Morningstar ts300 inverter, a Tri-Metric meter.a collection of antique generators, plus 2 Honda eu-1000i's (also a BS2512 IX controller) and assorted other stuff!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Best place to buy solar panels??

    Quote Originally Posted by icarus View Post
    US prices start ~$1-2/watt, plus shipping.

    Tony
    Can you suggest any specific suppliers??

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Williams Lake, BC
    Posts
    2,934

    Default Re: Best place to buy solar panels??

    check with our host http://www.solar-electric.com/
    100% Off Grid @ 51* 46' N lat 124* 44' W long

    New House system: coming - 2 arrays @ 2240W
    CL150&Epanel 2 @140 W 12v PVs , 24V C&D AT-15P AGM @ 950Ah
    + CL150 2@120W 12 V panels, 24V C&D AT-15P AGM @ 950Ah
    Cotek ST1500W inverter, TBS 30a-24v Omni-charger, Honda Eu3000is,

    Guest cabin system: 3 - 70W panels to SB 2000e CC, with 2 - 100 ah 12v SAFT wet NiCd's , 600W TSW Inverter

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    SF Bay Area (California)
    Posts
    20,575

    Default Re: Best place to buy solar panels??

    In general, the better pricing is in the >100 watt panels (and typically in the 200+ watt range). Small panels are, usually, much more expensive ($$/Watt as Tony said).

    And when you go >100 watt panels, there are few that are "native 12 volt panels" (Vmp in the ~17.5-18.5 volt range). With "non-battery" standard Vmp voltages (>>20 Vmp), then you should get a MPPT type solar charge controller too (much more expensive charge controller).

    So--Before you actually pay the money for any parts/panels/etc... Make sure you have everything "spec'ed" out so you don't find out that you have incompatible devices (and/or spend more money that you really wanted to).

    -Bill
    20x BP 4175B panels (replacement) + Xantrex GT 3.3 inverter for 3kW Grid Tied system + Honda eu2000i Inverter/Generator for emergency backup.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    pittsburgh, pa
    Posts
    10,239

    Default Re: Best place to buy solar panels??

    depending on your disability you may need somebody to put those pvs up for you too. don't rule out checking on a local installer to see what the total package with labor might cost or give our host a call and see what kind of a price you can get with them sent to your door without installation.
    NIEL

  9. #9

    Default Re: Best place to buy solar panels??

    Quote Originally Posted by NScooknet View Post
    12V 220 WATT MONOCRYSTALLINE SOLAR PANEL V OC 21 V / V MP 17 V (2x ABOVE 100 W)
    price US $548.10[/U][/B]
    Chris
    Hard to estimate what the duty etc would be for us state side, but I would imagine you have looked into the charge controler situation and want to just have a PWM charge controller and a 12 volt nominal, panel or panels. This is a good plan for starting out.

    I would suggest looking into 2 panels in the 100 watt range or 4 panels in the 50-60 watt range, while they will cost more up front, the shipping will be a lot cheaper, I think the 200 watt+ panels just about have to be shipped freight. While 50-60 watt panels can go standard UPS and 100 watt might as well.

    As to China made panels, The China made Ningbo panels I have are the best framed panels I've seen! and I own a few including some US made Evergreen.
    Home system- 20 - 200W Evergreen blems, 2 Classic Lites, E-Panel, 2 Prosine 1800 watt inverters, 800AH 24V forklift Batt, up and running 1 Classic Lite and 14 Suntech 185W in spare room.
    Experience with Pulse/Trace PC250 Power Center, Original Rouge CC, 80-4/5watt 6v panels, Odds and extras,

  10. #10

    Default Re: Best place to buy solar panels??

    What about a controller like this one:

    http://www.ebay.ca/itm/180675765312?...84.m1438.l2649

    Would this be a good scalable controller that I could later add a wind turbine to?

    What panels are compatible with a controller like this one?

    Chris :)

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