photowatt p1000

cfcwcfcw Solar Expert Posts: 25
Hi Guys, I have dabbled in solar for a couple of years. I'm familiar with the big names, but not with the older/lesser known players in the business.

I've found a couple of photowatt p1000 panels for sale from an individual. They're 12/24 volt ,100 watt. They're older stock- the manufacture date of 3/99. however, They're supposedly in the box.

The seller wants $300 for two panels.

I'm looking for comments from anyone with experience with these panels. Are they supposedly any good? Even though they're unused, should the age of the discourage me from purchase, or would I be better to invest in newer(but more expensive) panels like the Kyocera 135 our site host sells?

Thanks for any help.

Comments

  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,617 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: photowatt p1000

    Photowatt broke one of the price barriers around that time, producing panels marketed at less than $5 a watt (I think) so they might have been less expensive panels at that time.

    I don't own any of these, though I do own some French made Photowatt panels made in the late 1970's that still produce reasonable well (or at least did when I put them in storage about 4 years ago). I have always added the 'French made' as I've never been entirely clear on if there wasn't 2 different Photowatt companies. These are obviously intended for a wider distribution as they back plate is in English.

    As I recall they also introduced or at least had a design where they sandwich the cells between 2 panes of glass, which might well create a more durable panel. the panels from the 70's have the backing coming loose.
    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.
  • cfcwcfcw Solar Expert Posts: 25
    Re: photowatt p1000

    Thanks for the info, these are indeed French made panels.

    I did make a mistake in the model # -it is a pw1000 not a p 1000


    Still a little apprehensive about buying a 12 years old panel, even if it has been stored in the box all these years. I figure I can just check the panels with my meter to ensure they're up to specs. Do panels not exposed to sun degrade over a decade?
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,617 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: photowatt p1000

    I just realized your not really saving much if anything over buying new and getting the 30% tax credit. I would at least ask for a further discount, unless it's a solar dealer so you could get the tax credit as 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.
  • XRingerXRinger Solar Expert Posts: 529 ✭✭✭
    Re: photowatt p1000

    I've got some Chinese made panels. And a small amount of PV experience.
    Paid 300USD each for 125w (x4)shipped (500w for $1200).
    But recently got 200w (x4) for 300USD each (plus some shipping).
    http://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f147/Xringer/Solar/solarfarm2.jpg
    The 200w panels weren't new, but unused. Canadian Solar CS6P-200 model.
    (All from Ebay).

    I inspected the sealant/adhesive around the edges of top glazing,
    and on the underside, wherever there were sealed seams.
    I can already see some spots where I might need to apply some extra sealant.
    The bottom edge (of the top) is where water and ice can build up. (until a hot day).

    All of my panels seem to have their terminal boxes held in place with the same
    white sealant used on seams. Some of it comes out around the edges of the
    plastic boxes.
    Poke at that sealant and see if it's still firm (not solid), and pull on the boxes.
    If they come loose, that might mean all the sealant is NG..

    Inspect the wires and connectors for aging effects. Are the wires covered in white powder?
    Some times that means improper storage.
    Bend them and look for signs of cracking. Any O-rings on the connectors dry-rotted?

    If the wires or connectors look like they might need replacement, you should
    open the junction boxes and make sure it has pristine screw terminals.
    And try to get a better price.. Re-cabling isn't going to be cheap.

    Look carefully at the glazing. Any little crack is a deal breaker.
    Check all four corners of the panels. If they show any bent metal,
    double check the glass in that corner very closely.

    Almost all panels will get slightly smashed corners if they are shipped
    or handled or moved around a warehouse.. (Unless they are very small).
    If you get them on a pallet, they will look real good, if the forklift operator was careful.. :roll:

    A volt meter can be used in volts mode to see if they are doing the Open or no-load voltage rating.
    In Amps mode (Make sure your meter is rated for it) check the Shorted Current against the spec.

    My 125w panels are discolored. Under the glazing, there are brownish looking stains.
    The importer said if I wanted to ship them to the west coast, he would send me some replacements.
    He also said that performance would not be affected... I'm not sure about that, but I kept them anyways.
    If they last 15 or 20 years, I'll be happy.. :p
  • cfcwcfcw Solar Expert Posts: 25
    Re: photowatt p1000

    Thanks for the responses, guys. Some good points were brought up. I may indeed pass on these.
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