Opinions of semi-flexible panels

jcheiljcheil Solar Expert Posts: 722 ✭✭✭
I have a friend that is insisting on ordering a bunch of these...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/320-Watt-Semi-Flexible-Frameless-Solar-Panel-24-Volt-Made-in-USA-MonoCrystalline/272329685331?_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851&_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIC.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D38530%26meid%3D8ae97d1da65c4fa9ab5664bace0cdb9b%26pid%3D100005%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D6%26sd%3D261448754683

They are scary cheap. Like 0.27/watt (320w panels $89).  They are frameless and semi-flexible. and HUGE, something like almost 4' wide and 7+' tall. Personally, I would not touch them but he is wanting to save every penny (sometimes being pound foolish IMO).

I have no idea how he plans to mount them. It would almost seem like you would need to put them on a sheet of plywood with a supporting frame behind it, but then you have no ventilation, etc.  Again I think it's a bad idea IMO; but I was just wondering if anyone has had any experience with using them and/or mounting them.


Off-Grid in Central Florida since 2005, Full-Time since June 2014 | 12 X Sovello 205w panels, 9 X ToPoint 220w panels, 36x ToPoint 225w panels (12,525 watts total) | Custom built single-axis ground mounts | Complete FP2 Outback System: 3 x FM80, 2 x VFX3648, X240 Transformer, FLEXnet-DC, Mate-3, Hub-10, FW500 AC/DC | 24 x Trojan L16RE-B Batteries 1110ah @ 48v | Honda EU7000is Generator and a pile of "other" Generators | Home-Made PVC solar hot water collector | Custom data logging software http://www.somewhatcrookedcamp.com/monitormate.html

Comments

  • littleharbor2littleharbor2 Solar Expert Posts: 1,524 ✭✭✭✭
    From a comment on another forum, regarding the same Modules;

    #2
    08-13-2016, 04:26 AM
    You have to wonder why they are selling these at 27 cents a watt. Granted the modules are frameless and haven't got junction boxes attached yet. Is the reason for this that they failed flash testing to the point that it isn't worth finishing assembly? The most involved and costly part of manufacture is in actually making the monocrystalline cells and assembly....soldering and vacuum laminating. An aluminum frame and j box aren't much more costly in large quantity. If it hasn't been disclosed to you what the reason for such a low price point is I would be wary.

    ​These modules aren't necessarily "flexible panels" they just weren't finished for some reason. They would need frames for rigidity and the junction boxes will need to be mounted which may involve soldering and , hopefully, a weather tight seal on the j box.

    2.1 Kw Suntech 175 mono, Classic 200, Trace SW 4024 ( 15 years old  but brand new out of sealed factory box Jan. 2015), Bogart Tri-metric, 700 ah @24 volt AGM battery bank. Plenty of Baja Sea of Cortez sunshine.

  • JohannJohann Solar Expert Posts: 244 ✭✭✭
    edited August 2016 #3
    Looks like to be a 15 year life panel. Not very cost effective having to replace those panels every 15 years.
    You still have to mount them somehow and somewhere which may cost extra.
    Efficiency 17% and no warranty is mentioned.
    27 cent per watt, but look at the shipping cost.
    1 Laminate = $250 S/H
    2 Laminates = $287 S/H
    3 - 8 Laminates = $296 S/H
    9 - 16 Laminates = $305 S/H
    17 Laminates = $312 S/H
    18 Laminates = $320 S/H
    19 Laminates = $335 S/H
    20 Laminates = $350 S/H




  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,211 ✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2016 #4
    The shipping fees are dirt cheap when buying enough panels. It is the shipping fee$ that often kills the economy of panels that are too large for UPS/FedEx. 20 giant laminates shipped for $17.50/panel...shipping fee.


    They are ~6 1/2' x 3'. Made in the USA. Hmmm. Wonder if our government figured out a way to spend a few more billion $$$ via makework.


    Johann said:
    Looks like to be a 15 year life panel. Not very cost effective having to replace those panels every 15 years.
    You still have to mount them somehow and somewhere which may cost extra.
    Efficiency 17% and no warranty is mentioned.
    27 cent per watt, but look at the shipping cost.
    1 Laminate = $250 S/H
    2 Laminates = $287 S/H
    3 - 8 Laminates = $296 S/H
    9 - 16 Laminates = $305 S/H
    17 Laminates = $312 S/H
    18 Laminates = $320 S/H
    19 Laminates = $335 S/H
    20 Laminates = $350 S/H





    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,205 ✭✭✭✭
    I would want an explanation of;
    "These panels are semi-flexible, glass front..."

    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
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,205 ✭✭✭✭
    If they are looking for something in a 72 cell panel that is framed and glass fronted, Sun Electronics has been selling the Top Point 190watt panels for 41 cents a watt for a pallet (66 panels)

    http://sunelec.com/
    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
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 5,221 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The wasted time on sun electric and the junk that gets sold by them and others could keep a small army busy.
    Panels that stop working and have very clear defects that they say "no problem".
     Even their A panels are suspect let alone their B & C grade.
    You get what you pay for and if you have time to troublshoot something that should last 30+ years, enjoy!
    If you have time and enjoy troubleshooting I would suggest a wind or water generator :)
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • softdownsoftdown Solar Expert Posts: 3,211 ✭✭✭✭
    That should be interesting. I'm guessing the glass is very thin. Can they make a glass/plastic composite? I don't know.

    Photowhit said:
    I would want an explanation of;
    "These panels are semi-flexible, glass front..."


    First Bank:16 180 watt Grape Solar with  FM80 controller and 3648 Inverter....Fullriver 8D AGM solar batteries. Second Bank/MacGyver Special: 10 165(?) watt BP Solar with Renogy MPPT 40A controller/ and Xantrex C-35 PWM controller/ and Morningstar PWM controller...Cotek 24V PSW inverter....forklift and diesel locomotive batteries
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,205 ✭✭✭✭
    The wasted time on sun electric and the junk that gets sold by them and others could keep a small army busy.
    Panels that stop working and have very clear defects that they say "no problem".
     Even their A panels are suspect let alone their B & C grade.
    You get what you pay for and if you have time to troublshoot something that should last 30+ years, enjoy!
    If you have time and enjoy troubleshooting I would suggest a wind or water generator :)

    After building 2 system and helping with a 3rd, over 12 years, I couldn't disagree more. The fact is these panels I believe are drop shipped from someone else's warehouse (manufacturers?). The same Top Point panels were sold by NAWS not long ago. 

    Panels from Sun Electric have power my home for the last 11 years. They have replaced a panel broken in shipping, even though they were bought FOB! (my responsibility) They use to buy out small businesses that were going out of business, and had a good bit of odd things around, but that allowed my to buy a Pulse Energy/Trace PC250  Power center (UL listed with breakers in and out and 60 amp charge controller) for @$300 selling at that time for $1200-1500. They are bigger now and buying large quantities and making some pretty impressive purchases.

    If you don't like the 'B' rated panels don't buy them, they have been fine for me. But The Top Point are factory pallets as they arrive in the states. Don't think they had a chance to check them and sell you bad ones...

    If you have direct experiences, please feel free to post, just saying junk reminds me of people who have no clue and purchased CIGS or thin film panels from them and then complain they can't find a cheap charge controller that they can use with their 70-100 volt panels... We've seen plenty of those complaints here. Sun Electronics is NOT a full service solar distributer! they are a wholesaler, plain and simple. Many are pretty clueless about the products they sell, but if you know what you want they do have some good deals at times.

    I've only got about 50 panel experience, but some of those are 12 years old now. Zero problems or failures. Last purchase in 2012... Perhaps they've changed, but I doubt it.
    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
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 5,221 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I really should agree with you as I have recieved quite a few consults on what to do with the Sun problems in the last year.
    I always reccomend for people who live off grid to buy the best only ! Always!  Real warranty with serial numbers.
     I also reccomend the store here who pays for this.
     We just disagree big on this one and it is no surprise as I have always stated on the forum here how bad a choice it is to buy from Sun.
    My humble opinionated opinion!
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 5,205 ✭✭✭✭
    I guess I should also suggest people check, Top Point was in financial trouble in the past. Heck they might be out of business now, which would leave the warranty useless. I had checked in the past, I thought they were bought up/merged with another company but did not check this go around... My ignorance should not be others problems. Always worth looking into, particularly on inexpensive panels, my caveat to the forum. It should be pointed out that you have more experience than I, though you didn't add that... Always like your posts and insight.

    FWIW - I received flash test sheet and serial numbers on the Panels I purchased, Though they were Evergreen, a company who did things right, though they could not handle the influx of Chinese panels and joined them too late. Glad the technology survived, though I doesn't appear to be in use currently.

    I'm always surprised at people having problems after panels are setup. I know of BP's and Kyrocera's bad production runs, but generally panels are simple and long lasting. I still have a panel for 1980 in use...
    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
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 5,221 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2016 #12
    There is too much that you and [I] agree on to quip about this stuff. I always like your posts also.

    One of the reasons I know so much about the panel problems with Sun Electric is many of my customers are growing their systems and get wowed by the prices but do not understand they are often buying rejects that the OEM does not want their serial number on.
    I can often come close to their price and have full warranty from a major US company that will stand by the product even if the OEM goes out of business.

    This horror story recently happened with some fantastic prices on SunPower solar panels, some of the best 327watt panels made in the world right now.
    So, the SunPower factory in the Philippines has 5 years of rejects that good old John at Sun Electric Miami buys without serial numbers.

    Sun Elec puts a paper sticker on the back of the module that says Sun on it that is so cheap the sticker often comes off in shipment or shortly after out in the sun.

    The panels mostly are working outputting around 320 watts so that what Sun Miami sells them at.
    They actually are an education on how A quality engineer would be taught to QC a solar panel. On several there is every form of defect that one could find on a solar panel. On many, the output begins dropping in weeks and some that tested good after shipment begin going to zero output just sitting in a covered building. So many are failing, good old John is sending replacements.
     In one case the replacements are said to be "A" quality but are also not meeting a short circuit current test, by quite a bit.

    I know that Sun Miami does sell many good solar panels but I would not want to go thru this stuff unless I lived in driving distance and felt lucky. I have about 8 other sad stories on these guys over the 30 years or so that I have know about them.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

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