Newbie panel question (Trina Solar TSM-230)

audiodave1audiodave1 Registered Users Posts: 10
Hello all,
I have been poking around and learning what I can to build a small off-grid system for the essentials in my house. I am electronically inclined so no major issues understanding it. I continue to run kill-a-watt's on devices and collect Kwh data. I use my EU2000 for backup power so the basics of "what needs to run" are pretty firm as are expectations.

I have come across what appears to be a good deal on used (3 years) panels, Trina Solar TSM-230 panels to be exact for less than .50/W that were un-installed from a home. Assuming everything is on the up and up with the panels this appears to be a good deal as they are pretty local to me. I am considering 6 of these to a MPPT to a 24v battery bank of sufficient capacity.

I am putting the cart before the horse here for sure but it may be a good deal that won't last.
Does anyone have any strong opinions on these quality or life expectancy wise?

I appreciate any opinions,

Dave

Comments

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Newbie panel question (Trina Solar TSM-230)

    Welcome to the forum Dave.

    Nothing wrong with Trina Solar panels at all. Most any "name brand" panel is perfectly good and will last 20 years. Look at them carefully for any signs of damage or electrical fault (discolouration either front or rear can indicate a problem). If you can, do a short circuit test in full sun on each one and see if it comes near specs (angle of panel is important). I haven't got the specs in front of me but they are probably Vmp 30 Imp 7.5 or so with an Isc near 8.

    Six of them would give you quite a good size array: 1380 Watts. Probably 2.8 kW hours per day (off-grid @ 4 hours). You can run a lot with that! :D
  • audiodave1audiodave1 Registered Users Posts: 10
    Re: Newbie panel question (Trina Solar TSM-230)

    Thank you for the information and insight. So for the test, just test +/- into the leads of a DMM in current measuring mode? Shorting things out does not come natural to me.
    How about testing across a load resistor?
    Not quite sure what load a panel would generally see driving a charge controller. Looks like if the panel will produce 7A into 4 ohms (assuming a sunny day/collector angle and the panel is meeting spec) I should measure about 28v.
    Would this be a fair way to measure each panel?

    Dave
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Newbie panel question (Trina Solar TSM-230)

    Nope: short circuit current is across as close to zero Ohms as you can get. The best way is with a clamp-on DC Ammeter, but that's not always available. Most DMM's will handle 10 Amps and most panels' Isc is under 10 Amps so it can be done.

    The Voltage isn't particularly relevant, as panels are a current source. Don't worry; they can put out Isc all day long without anything going wrong. The only caveat is to make the connections (and solidly) before energizing the panel; you don't want any arcing going on.
  • audiodave1audiodave1 Registered Users Posts: 10
    Re: Newbie panel question (Trina Solar TSM-230)

    Hello,
    Unfortunately the panels were sold out by the time I made the call...But this will not stop me. Time to read some more and keep an eye open for a good deal in the region on panels.

    Dave
  • SkiDoo55SkiDoo55 Solar Expert Posts: 414 ✭✭✭
    Re: Newbie panel question (Trina Solar TSM-230)

    Unlesss they are damaged do as instructed and do an Isc test on each one.
    I have had 20 each in my GT system operating everyday for 2.5 years, with no problems, have been thru hail and high winds, lot of sun in N. Calif. Produced over 16 MWh since 08/2010. If they ever get the trade commision taxes figured out I would buy another 20 for other half of planned system,
    GT3.8 w/4600W Trina 230W, TX5000 w/5000W ET-250W, XW4024 w/1500W ET-250W, 4 L16, 5500W Gen. (never had to use) Yet!!
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,025 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newbie panel question (Trina Solar TSM-230)

    Hi SkiDoo, are the Trina panels CL listed? I was looking around and found info but didn't list CL or ETL in it's certifications, thought that might be why they weren't installed. I know some inspectors are clueless, my brother could have put homemade panels up, no one climbed up to look.

    There are Trina panels (245watt) cheaply discount at other sites but they don't appear to be listed either. Usually they make a point of putting noting UL listing and if it's not marked onsite they often aren't.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • SkiDoo55SkiDoo55 Solar Expert Posts: 414 ✭✭✭
    Re: Newbie panel question (Trina Solar TSM-230)

    I think that they are, but would have to check with a vendor to see if they can supply the supplemental certificate. It doesn't show that rating on the panel label or in the literature I have for mine.
    Have the following ratings
    C UL US, CE, ISO,
    IEC61215, IEC61730, UL1703, TUV Safety Class II, CE
    GT3.8 w/4600W Trina 230W, TX5000 w/5000W ET-250W, XW4024 w/1500W ET-250W, 4 L16, 5500W Gen. (never had to use) Yet!!
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,025 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newbie panel question (Trina Solar TSM-230)

    Sorry I ment UL, I've been a bit light headed the last week, wish I could point and 'say it hurts there...' but I bailed during my Christmas trip and came back home, feel like I'm on the mend just today. Only mentioned it since I had seen these others cheap, but clearly not showing UL while the more exspensive panels did...

    ...my bad, I may have to quit the forum for a week or so, 'til I'm thinking clearer, I think this is my 3rd apology in the last couple days...
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Newbie panel question (Trina Solar TSM-230)
    Photowhit wrote: »
    I think this is my 3rd apology in the last couple days...

    But who's counting! Your help is always appreciated. Maybe after the New Year things will be calmer.

    Some other things to watch out for are:
    "UL-compliant" (which means nothing really unless you are willing to take the manufacturer's word, which an inspector will not :-)). It means that they think it would pass the test but they never submitted it for testing, :-)
    UL-certified, or UL-approved, neither of which are official terms and are meaningless without the UL listing seal on the product, and
    UL-recognized, (backwards RU mark) which applies only to OEM components, not finished products.

    (A label which shows that a product is UL-listed has to be from a UL approved label supplier.)
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • SkiDoo55SkiDoo55 Solar Expert Posts: 414 ✭✭✭
    Re: Newbie panel question (Trina Solar TSM-230)

    They are UL and are Calif CSI rated and approved panels.
    GT3.8 w/4600W Trina 230W, TX5000 w/5000W ET-250W, XW4024 w/1500W ET-250W, 4 L16, 5500W Gen. (never had to use) Yet!!
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,746 admin
    Re: Newbie panel question (Trina Solar TSM-230)

    You do have to be careful--Because each panel should be marked with UL/ETL/etc. There have been "sales" of non-listed panels by Evergreen (and I am sure others) that specifically did not have the Listing Marks. Where the panels identical to listed panels--probably. Where the listings removed so that they could be sold as "grade B" panels so as not to reduce the retail price of the grade A panels--More than likely.

    But, without traceability as required by code--The panels not marked would be assumed to be non-listed panels (for whatever reason).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
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