Thin Film vs. Crystalline?;Kaneka 60's?

adam1984
adam1984 Solar Expert Posts: 72 ✭✭✭✭
I am somewhat new to the solar world. A professor got me really involved, and am an electrical engineering student at the moment. Was trying to get an off grid set up and am looking at different panels. I don't have alot of money, so I was hesitant. I found a website for .98c/watt. They are the kanika 60watt thin film panels. So am i wrong to assume that these are junk? I cant imagine at this price they are any good. Also it says they are 48 volts so i dont know if that would be too much for me. does anyone have any experience with these and how do they compare with the crystalline panels. The site i found i dont want to advertise but they are located in miami. If anyone can recommend where to get a cheap system (controller, panels, inverter).. appreciate it.

Comments

  • AntronX
    AntronX Solar Expert Posts: 462 ✭✭
    Re: Thin Film vs. Crystalline?;Kaneka 60's?

    The only trouble with them is that they are half as efficient as crystalline stuff. So to get same power output you need twice the space. But it's a steal for that price if you have the space.
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,398 admin
    Re: Thin Film vs. Crystalline?;Kaneka 60's?

    Check the warranty on the thin film panels... Some have 10 years or less, others have 20 year or so...

    The good ones should be OK--Although, if you really need long life panels, there have been problems in the past with amorphous panels and early life failures (but so have some good crystalline panel manufacturers have also had earlier life failures). So--if warranty is important to you--a vendor with good customer service is important.

    And, as Antrox says--you need twice the sq. foot/meter of panels for approximately the same power collection as crystalline panels. That also means twice as much mounting hardware and possibly some more copper cables for interconnects.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • adam1984
    adam1984 Solar Expert Posts: 72 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Thin Film vs. Crystalline?;Kaneka 60's?

    So at that price you are more than likely going to spend additional money on the mounting and hardware, and the obvious doubling of space. Now i get the aspect that they are half the efficiency, but you are paying for watt hours, not efficiency, so the efficiency only effects space not cost? Is that correct? i apologize I am new to this. Alot different trying to set one up than learning about them in class.
  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,398 admin
    Re: Thin Film vs. Crystalline?;Kaneka 60's?

    Yes, you are correct... If you are paying $$$/watt for power output--the efficiency only affects the physical size of the panel (less efficient means more square feet/meters to collect the same amount of power).

    Check the pricing of the mounts (and how much work it will take you) to mount twice the number of panels.

    Also--if you are looking to install 100's to 1,000's of watts of panels--then you probably would like to look at >100 watt crystalline panels (fewer electrical connects). And the >100 watt panels tend to be less expensive (generally geared towards Grid Tied systems which use a lot of panels are are sensitive to costs). ~175 watt Crystalline panels are about the largest a single person can install by themselves. Larger panels will usually take two people to move around the roof.

    Also, watch the Vmp (voltage maximum power) of the panels... Depending on the charge controller type--PWM type controllers you have to "match" Vmp to Vbatt.

    MPPT type charge controllers can take higher voltage arrays and efficiently down convert them to Vbatt (typically around 100 volts or so Vmp). And, there is an issue with MPPT type controllers with Vmp~48+ volt panels and Vbatt=48 volts... It is difficult to make the controller+panels+48volt battery bank all play together correctly.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • stephendv
    stephendv Solar Expert Posts: 1,571 ✭✭
    Re: Thin Film vs. Crystalline?;Kaneka 60's?

    The Kaneka's appear to be quality panels that have been used extensively for grid tied systems as well as MW scale solar farms. Manufacturer guarantees them with the standard 80% after 25 years.

    They're a bit tricky for off-grid though and according to Crewzer not suitable for a 48V battery because their Vnom is too low for a single parallel string, but Voc is too high for 2 in parallel, see: http://www.outbackpower.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=3353&p=20200&hilit=kaneka#p20242

    So the only option you'll have with them is to use an MPPT controller and a 12 or 24V battery bank. If you don't mind the extra expense of more mounting structure and longer install time, I think they're a great buy.

    The panels seem to do better than poli/mono in summer (in kWh/kWp), but worse in winter - not ideal for year-round off-grid, but then at that price you could just buy more :D

    If you'd like to see how existing Kaneka installations are doing, see: http://www.sonnenertrag.eu/suche.php?month=NULL&month1=NULL&year=2004&year1=2010&datenimport=alle&country=1&bundesland=&postcode=&city=&kfz=&district=&inbetriebnahme=&leistung=&leistung2=&neigung=&neigung2=&ausrichtung=&ausrichtung2=&nachfuehrung=3&hersteller=kaneka&modultyp=&modulart=&wechselrichter=&kosten=&kosten2=&extd_filter=y&search=search
  • adam1984
    adam1984 Solar Expert Posts: 72 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Thin Film vs. Crystalline?;Kaneka 60's?

    You guys are awesome... thank you. Bummer though that you have to use an MPPT. Thats getting pretty pricey.
  • Photowhit
    Photowhit Solar Expert Posts: 6,001 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Thin Film vs. Crystalline?;Kaneka 60's?

    Also a combiner box for 25 panels...

    Though if you have no code issues you could do other less 'OK' connections, inline auto type fuses, or go without and just use a distribution block to combine them, very common in the earlier days of solar, and reasonably safe, particularly if your not roof mounting the panels, only risking burning up a shorted panel, glass and silicon, even tedar don't burn very well.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Magnum MS4024, Prosine 1800(now backup) and Exeltech 1100(former backup...lol), 660 ah 24v Forklift battery(now 10 years old). Off grid for 20 years (if I include 8 months on a bicycle).
    - Assorted other systems, pieces and to many panels in the closet to not do more projects.