Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 17

Thread: Uni-Solar Laminate Rolls

  1. #1

    Default Uni-Solar Laminate Rolls

    Hi everyone. I'm Chris, a newbie to solar.

    The general consensus of opinion of Uni-Solar amorphous laminate seems to be negative, on the basis that the efficiency of the technology is not as high as the mono- or poly-crystaline technologies; they are over-priced when comparing the area required to generate a given wattage, and the life-span of the product isn't quite as long.

    At what price point would they become perceived as a viable option?

    $3 per watt? $2 per watt? $1 per watt? Never?

    The reason I ask, is that I have the opportunity to obtain some laminate rolls at the lower end of the given price per watt range.

    Your opinions are most welcome.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Lakeland Florida
    Posts
    1,959

    Default Re: Uni-Solar Laminate Rolls

    seeing as one can by Asi panels for under a buck a watt and Si panels for about 1.80 watt, I would say never

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Willits, CA
    Posts
    5,697

    Default Re: Uni-Solar Laminate Rolls

    If you need power, and the source has to be flexiable, survive a hole being punched in it, and last 10 years in the weather, I think Unisolar can do that. It works where other panels can't . Won't give a lot of power, but will work. How badly do you need the power?
    http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    http://tinyurl.com/LMR-BigLug
    http://tinyurl.com/LMR-NiFe

    Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph # 214505 ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV
    Powerfab poletop PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe battery | 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV | Midnight ePanel || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT

  4. #4

    Default Re: Uni-Solar Laminate Rolls

    Thank you Solar Guppy and mike90045, I'm getting the impression that the laminates have their place but overall, "standard" panels are the way to go. Probably best to run with the herd.

    Solar Guppy. As you pointed out, there are companies out there, including those with "sun" and "elec" in their names, who seem to offer "standard" products at increasingly reasonable prices.

    mike90045. I am looking at installing an off-grid system on my south-west Texas property. Having done some homework, I am thinking up to 2KWs of panels, coupled with a Magnum MS-PAE 4448 120/240 inverter/charger (for expandability), Magnum Classic Charge Controller (when available, otherwise an Outback FM60 or 80) and 450AHs of T105's. I realise I am skimping on the batteries but I figured that I would start off small and upgrade to L16s when the T105s eventually die. Anyway, since I am still building the modest 640 sq ft property, I am in no hurry. Still plenty of time to consider my options.

  5. #5
    ECD Fan Guest

    Default Re: Uni-Solar Laminate Rolls

    a company is selling 13.7%-efficient crystalline Suntech modules for $1.70 per Watt:


    while their pricing for the 6.3%-efficient Unisolar laminates is $1.20 per Watt ($1 per Watt, if you buy the inverter as well):


    Whether Unisolar's module is price competitive with the crystalline module depends on the balance-of-system (BOS) costs, the long-term performance degradation, and the system mounting (tilt vs no tilt). BOS costs are typically lower for modules with higher efficiency - the "advantage" is about 7-8c per Watt for each efficiency point, for large ground systems, and maybe a bit more for large rooftop systems. Using this common shortcut, Unisolar's module needs to be priced at $1.20 per Watt, all else equal (i.e, ignoring long-term performance degradation), which is what that company has done. While this shortcut does not apply to you (you will be doing the installation yourself from what I understand), you correctly note that Unisolar's laminates may have a shorter life and may underperform, so probably the $1.20 per Watt price is fair anyway.

    Note though that Unisolar's cost of manufacturing was $2.95 per Watt in the March quarter - in other words, the company effectively lost money on each and every modules it sold. The company claims that prices for its modules at the factory gate are $2.00-$2.10 per Watt on average, but it is liquidating some nonstandard inventory this quarter (the modules that company is selling have 20 cells instead of 22 cells - that's all that's nonstandard, apparently). Regardless, the company's survival is questionable, so don't expect that your warranty will be honored if a problem develops in year 2014 and beyond.

    mike90045: The only reason that the Unisolar modules can SOMETIME survive a hole being punched in them is because of the built-in bypass diodes, and many crystalline modules have bypass diodes these days as well. Unisolar's modules' long-term performance is questionable (the company really started shipping the current "triple junction" products in 1998, and there aren't many such Unisolar systems that have survived 10 years, while there are plenty of crystalline systems that have survived 20+ years). Some results by NREL indicate that the modules might be violating their long-term performance warranty (and there are documented cases of real-world system underperformance). Also, note that the Unisolar modules ignited on the rooftop of the Long Beach Convention Center in LA in February of 2008 (admittedly, there have been a few other fires linked to PV installations, with other modules such as BP's, Sunpower's, Open Energy's, etc). Finally, there have been documented failures of the adhesives used by Unisolar (take a look here: http://picasaweb.google.com/fan.of.e...olarInDistress )

    modified only due to some educational benefit as the whole post would've been deleted otherwise. this serves as a warning to the poster as well that this forum is a business sponsored forum. niel
    Last edited by niel; June 17th, 2010 at 7:41 PDT.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    SF Bay Area (California)
    Posts
    21,234

    Default Re: Uni-Solar Laminate Rolls

    Those last photos of the laminated panels with, apparently, little structure and mounting bolts through the "middle of the panel"--wow...

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

  7. #7

    Default Re: Uni-Solar Laminate Rolls

    Quote Originally Posted by cpfl65 View Post
    Thank you Solar Guppy and mike90045, I'm getting the impression that the laminates have their place but overall, "standard" panels are the way to go. Probably best to run with the herd.

    Solar Guppy. As you pointed out, there are companies out there, including those with "sun" and "elec" in their names, who seem to offer "standard" products at increasingly reasonable prices.

    mike90045. I am looking at installing an off-grid system on my south-west Texas property. Having done some homework, I am thinking up to 2KWs of panels, coupled with a Magnum MS-PAE 4448 120/240 inverter/charger (for expandability), Magnum Classic Charge Controller (when available, otherwise an Outback FM60 or 80) and 450AHs of T105's. I realise I am skimping on the batteries but I figured that I would start off small and upgrade to L16s when the T105s eventually die. Anyway, since I am still building the modest 640 sq ft property, I am in no hurry. Still plenty of time to consider my options.
    Sun Elec have good pricing for Grad B solar Panels, they are panels with minor manufacturing defects. The site lists them as Grade B.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Uni-Solar Laminate Rolls

    Uni-solar has a bypass diode about every 6 watts. This feature combined with laying flat on the roof make it a unique choice for rough mobile application. Some people have even been know to walk on the panels.
    I'm not aware of another product with similar characteristics. Perhaps there are thin film panels that can lay low on the roof.
    Efficiency of a panel that's been ripped off and left on the road is pretty low. Not to mention the warranty claim probably isn't going to go to well. :)

  9. #9
    ECD Fan Guest

    Default Re: Uni-Solar Laminate Rolls

    dmiller: Walking on the Unisolar laminates is a sure way to invalidate the warranty, or worse, rip apart the internal wiring and damage those numerous bypass diodes, and yet, some clueless installers who don't know how to read the warranty are still doing it (and take pictures of themselves).

    There are several products on the market that are essentially crystalline PV cells glued to a membrane and covered with Tefzel or similar transparent layer, which then you could glue to a mobile roof (if that's what you want) - Toyota's Prius solar roof is made of crystalline cells, for example. One of the advantages of crystalline cells is their efficiency - they require 1/3 to 1/2 the area that Unisolar cells need to generate the same amount of electricity.

    And, unlike crystalline modules, Unisolar laminates don't need to be ripped apart to start underperforming - NREL has documented severe long-term degradation (not the initial light-induced one) that appears to violate the warranty, but Unisolar is hiding the final results of the study.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Izmir, Turkey
    Posts
    593

    Default Re: Uni-Solar Laminate Rolls

    Hello ECD Fan - Been a while since I ran across you! Always enjoy reading your posts!

Similar Threads

  1. haha how many people does it take to install one unisolar laminate?
    By jkhawaii in forum General Solar Power Topics
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: February 28th, 2012, 8:21 PST
  2. SOLAR Laminate
    By conntaxman in forum Solar Beginners Corner
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: December 31st, 2011, 11:56 PST
  3. Solar laminate
    By Vivien in forum Solar Beginners Corner
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: October 13th, 2011, 17:52 PDT
  4. Specific testing method for 50cent/watt laminate panels?
    By meridiansolar in forum General Solar Power Topics
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: September 14th, 2011, 18:09 PDT
  5. Laminate panels for .50/watt
    By Shane Jackson in forum General Solar Power Topics
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: September 6th, 2011, 15:20 PDT

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •