I don't like sunforce panels

n1776n1776 Registered Users Posts: 6
Check this panel out: http://www.amazon.com/Sunforce-37126-260W-Crystalline-Solar/dp/B004LWXSHA/ref=sr_1_10?s=lawn-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1356910261&sr=1-10&keywords=Sunforce.
It costs $900 for 260 watts. I can get three 100 watt panels for under 600 dollars from Costco. This does not include the inverter, charge controller and wires, but with 300 dollars I can get a good inverter, charge controller and get the wires. The inverter that comes with the kit is a joke, it only provides 200 watts.

So you could either get 200W of power for $900, or get 300W of power for around $800.

Comments

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: I don't like sunforce panels

    Most of these "solar kits" are comprised of what the seller will make the most profit from, not what will suit your needs.
    Kyocera 140 Watt panels are <$300 each. You only need a 20 Amp controller for that little amount of panel (about $80 for a Sunsaver) and a 300 Watt Samlex is only $130.

    It does not include the #1 key ingredient to any off-grid design: the battery. No battery = no power. Yet it is said to be "ideal for" all sorts of things.

    In a pig's eye. :p

    It has to be said: there's nothing wrong with Sunforce panels per se, it's just that this "deal" isn't much of a deal.
  • n1776n1776 Registered Users Posts: 6
    Re: I don't like sunforce panels
    Most of these "solar kits" are comprised of what the seller will make the most profit from, not what will suit your needs.
    Kyocera 140 Watt panels are <$300 each. You only need a 20 Amp controller for that little amount of panel (about $80 for a Sunsaver) and a 300 Watt Samlex is only $130.

    It does not include the #1 key ingredient to any off-grid design: the battery. No battery = no power. Yet it is said to be "ideal for" all sorts of things.

    In a pig's eye. :p

    It has to be said: there's nothing wrong with Sunforce panels per se, it's just that this "deal" isn't much of a deal.

    Yeah, but its called a solar panel, not a kit.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: I don't like sunforce panels
    n1776 wrote: »
    Yeah, but its called a solar panel, not a kit.

    Yeah, but it is a kit not just a panel.

    Their description of the panels is humorous talking about aluminium frame (very few don't have one) and how they're made to endure weather. Just what good would the panels be if you couldn't leave them outside? They won't work in the basement! :p

    I totally agree with you that this is not a good deal, and it is also a prime example of marketing gibberish.
  • n1776n1776 Registered Users Posts: 6
    Re: I don't like sunforce panels
    Yeah, but it is a kit not just a panel.

    Their description of the panels is humorous talking about aluminium frame (very few don't have one) and how they're made to endure weather. Just what good would the panels be if you couldn't leave them outside? They won't work in the basement! :p

    I totally agree with you that this is not a good deal, and it is also a prime example of marketing gibberish.

    Great.

    BTW if anyone is wondering what panels I use, I use 100W grape panels from costco. They only cost about $180.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: I don't like sunforce panels

    Grape PV panels are low-end generic Chinese panels that are distributed from Eugene Oregon.
    Buy with caution!
  • tmarchtmarch Solar Expert Posts: 143 ✭✭
    Re: I don't like sunforce panels

    hmmmmmmmmmmm, Grape panels @ $1.80 a watt are a bargain, NOT!!!!!
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: I don't like sunforce panels
    tmarch wrote: »
    hmmmmmmmmmmm, Grape panels @ $1.80 a watt are a bargain, NOT!!!!!

    For a 100 Watt panel it's not so bad, but for less money per Watt you can get bigger, better panels so why buy the small ones? A need for standard "12 Volt" electrical specs (avoid using MPPT controller on small system to make up for 30 Vmp), a need to fit space limitations, or a need to meet budget constraints.

    NAWS >100 Watt panel listing: http://www.solar-electric.com/hiposopa.html

    As you can see, a KD140 is nearly $300 or a bit over $2 per Watt. But on the other hand an SW250 is $6 more for another 110 Watts! That's just $1.16 per Watt.

    The bigger the array, the better the bargain.
  • PNjunctionPNjunction Solar Expert Posts: 762 ✭✭✭
    Re: I don't like sunforce panels

    My 85W Sunforce panel kit from a few years ago contained a very high-quality SHARP NE-80EJEA. Built like a tank, matched encapsulated diodes etc. They don't make them anymore, and I suspect that these kits *may* still contain SHARP panels if the little accessory hardware stuff is like mine and they are looking to get rid of old inventory. Best panel I own from a durability standpoint. Point is, aside from Sunforce marketing and pricing, these are actually very good panels for 12v systems, and beefy enough for professional roof mounting.

    Instead of looking to Sunforce for marketing, take a look at the actual panel documentation for Sharp solar. Japanese componentry built in the US from what I understood - although maybe the entire thing was from Japan. High quality indeed. It will probably outlive me, and outlive my other cheap panels. Somehow even in a simple solar panel, pride of workmanship showed through. Too bad that is a lost art these days.

    Of course I threw the charge controller away and upgraded to something nicer. Yes, you can do better these days, but don't judge a book by it's cover. :)
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: I don't like sunforce panels

    FYI, Sharp stopped making panels <200 Watts a while back. It's a pity because I really like my Sharp 175's. :(
  • PNjunctionPNjunction Solar Expert Posts: 762 ✭✭✭
    Re: I don't like sunforce panels

    I was heartbroken when I accidentally burnt out one of the two matching bypass diodes during a hasty installation with the wrong polarity. The CC survived, but I heard a faint snap. Now only half of the panel was working when I fixed the wiring. Saw a real big air-bubble in the encapsulation and sure enough one was fried.

    I didn't notice it at first since the system came alive, but the metering showed I was only putting out half the current of what I was expecting.

    The quick fix was to use common germanium rectifier diodes, but the voltage drop was evident. Bought some Schottky diodes and that fixed it nicely for now. I suppose I could try to replace the bypass diode pack with sharp oem units if I can find them but for now the schottkys will do.

    Hard lesson learned about slowing down and like Santa, checking things twice. :)
  • louielouielouielouie Registered Users Posts: 18
    Re: I don't like sunforce panels

    Grape PV panels are low-end generic Chinese panels that are distributed from Eugene Oregon.

    haven't you been paying attention? it's a race to the bottom.

    wanna see sumpin scary?
    http://www.lowes.com/pd_182581-40683-GS-S-250-FAB5_4294722431__?productId=3961605&Ntt=grape+solar&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNtt%3Dgrape%2Bsolar&facetInfo=
    this is a panel, not a kit.
    and just for grins, those of us living here in flyover country get to pay for three panels and get two. freight. so some of us will just have to beware.
  • bmetbmet Solar Expert Posts: 630 ✭✭
    Re: I don't like sunforce panels

    What is scary is that there are no actual specs listed which matter. No Voc, Vmp, or Isc. Just the total watts.
    louielouie wrote: »
    Grape PV panels are low-end generic Chinese panels that are distributed from Eugene Oregon.

    haven't you been paying attention? it's a race to the bottom.

    wanna see sumpin scary?
    http://www.lowes.com/pd_182581-40683-GS-S-250-FAB5_4294722431__?productId=3961605&Ntt=grape+solar&pl=1¤tURL=%3FNtt%3Dgrape%2Bsolar&facetInfo=
    this is a panel, not a kit.
    and just for grins, those of us living here in flyover country get to pay for three panels and get two. freight. so some of us will just have to beware.
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