PV panel model for longer availability

manzanitamanzanita Registered Users Posts: 37 ✭✭✭
I was looking at the 200 watt plus Kyocera panels available at NAWS and wondered if any of the specific models are more likely to be still available in 4 or 5 years.

I am planning to buy a second controller, looking at the Morningstar MPPT 60. Then to slowly build an array as funds allow. The key word is slowly ... which explains my interest in which panels will likely be available over several years.

At 12 volts, I'll hit the controller's current limit with only 2 or 3 panels depending on the wattage. The goal is to upgrade to 48 volts, but 24 volts is more likely. (Maybe I can upgrade the voltage each time I replace the small battery bank.) For now I'm only buying components that can be configured to operate at one of several system voltages.

My 12v inverter died (my fault) and was replaced by a 300 Morningstar inverter. Plan to stick with a single string of T-105 batteries, for each upgrade in voltage. Of course a higher system voltage will create issues with 12v only components, probably eventually leading to two separate systems. But for right now I'm stuck with doing what I can with what I have.

I suppose that it is impossible to predict which panels will be offered in 4 or 5 years. Your input would be appreciated.Thanks!


  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    One thing that you might look at is how many years each particular panel model has been offered. If the marketing lifespans turn out to be pretty much equal, then getting the most recently offered panel would give you the greatest predicted time window.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • manzanitamanzanita Registered Users Posts: 37 ✭✭✭
    Thanks for the input. In the past it seemed that smaller panels have been phased out. Buying more 75 watt panels to accompany my existing panels would be ridiculously expensive if I could find any.
    Considering the winter temps at my location and the Morningstar MPPT 60 controller seemed to lean most favorably to 215 watt panels ... but NAWS doesn't offer them any more. Which is what prompted this inquiry.
    I'm tempted to go with the 325 watt panels ... although they might be hard to handle before they get bolted down!
  • manzanitamanzanita Registered Users Posts: 37 ✭✭✭
    This is a fairly old post. Recent events have brought this topic up for me again.

    I was online tonight looking again at the Kyocera 270 watt PV panels. Considering my previous post on the extended availability of a specific PV panel, I was fairly enthused when they were announced as a new product. My thought was that this new panel would be around for several years.

    Much to my surprise, I read that the NAWS store announced that they are putting Kyocera panels on discount and discontinuing them after they sell out! So much for that panel being available for an extended period, unless I buy some here now and perhaps buy them elsewhere when I'm ready to expand the system.

    The fact that I'm still thinking about this after 20 months doesn't make me look like a promising buyer either.
  • EstragonEstragon Registered Users Posts: 4,478 ✭✭✭✭✭
    You don't really have to be too concerned about finding identical panels later. Panels are a fairly low margin commodity business and even the giant corps may divest or discontinue it.

    The best you can do IMHO is pick panels with common specs for Voc and Isc. As long as you can find panels close to that spec when the time comes they should work fine. Most of the 60 and 72 cell panels each seem to have similar specs these days.

    The 72 cell panels are really a two person job to handle at 1m x 2m.
    Main daytime system ~4kw panels into 2xMNClassic150 370ah 48v bank 2xOutback 3548 inverter 120v + 240v autotransformer
    Night system ~1kw panels into 1xMNClassic150 700ah 12v bank morningstar 300w inverter
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 5,241 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Size is an issue also :)
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
    E-mail [email protected]

  • solarvicsolarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,053 ✭✭✭✭
    I read on a dealers web site that Kyocera got sued and had to pay a big anti dumping fine so decided to sell their panels in other countrys that they can make more money on. Most of the panels I have are different. I bought some sharp 167 watt panels 3 different times and they were all different. I bought 8 panels shuco panels 1 month and 6 weeks later I couldn,t find any more and bought 8 Kyocera panels to make my array. So you can see that there is no  guarantee that you can get the identical panels.
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