Are these panels any good?

MarkabMarkab Posts: 18Registered Users
Hi,
I found a seller on Ebay Canada that sells some interesting panels at a reasonable (Canadian) price, and I can pick them up.

http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=150431362589&fromMakeTrack=true

I would appreciate any input on the panels. Do the specs look appropriate for a 24v panel? I'm a little concerned about some of the broken English in the posting but given the high Asian population in the area it's not necessarily a red flag. Thanks for your time.

Mark
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Comments

  • BB.BB. Posts: 28,088Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    Re: Are these panels any good?

    I don't do EBay--but the little bit of history was a couple 5 watt panels and a $10 charge controller... Buyer does not have much recent history (that I can access without a user account) to show that they have what they claim...

    But they may be a perfectly fine vendor.

    My two cents.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Posts: 17,615Banned ✭✭
    Re: Are these panels any good?

    Unless I'm blind, there is zero info about the panels other than 115 Watts.
    Instead of running out and spending your hard earned $ on some pig-in-the-poke panels, determine what you want to do with solar and work from there. Chances are "unknown" panels won't figure into the plan anywhere.
  • MarkabMarkab Posts: 18Registered Users
    Re: Are these panels any good?

    Hi Cariboocoot,
    If you scroll down the "technical specifications" are listed. Thanks for your time.

    Mark

    Unless I'm blind, there is zero info about the panels other than 115 Watts.
    Instead of running out and spending your hard earned $ on some pig-in-the-poke panels, determine what you want to do with solar and work from there. Chances are "unknown" panels won't figure into the plan anywhere.
  • icarusicarus Posts: 5,108Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Are these panels any good?

    Even assuming they sell at the minimum bid, they are no bargain, (except that you can pick them up).

    With new, name brand panels going for as low as ~$1-$2 watt, why would you buy some no name panel from some e-bay seller?

    Tony
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Posts: 17,615Banned ✭✭
    Re: Are these panels any good?

    Okay, that was my Linux netbook misbehaving - again. I think the touch-pad is wearing out; wouldn't scroll! :grr

    Still no manufacturer. So what is the warranty worth then?
    115 Watts on a 24V panel is odd; they are usually over 150W.
    The "over 14%" efficiency rating is low.
    Safe bet that they're Chinese made.

    Cheap power, granted. But how reliable? I doubt anyone here would encourage you to buy them; can't give any sort of reference on a no-name panel. Your call.

    235 Watt Sharp panel is about $1000 in Canada, just for reference.
  • MarkabMarkab Posts: 18Registered Users
    Re: Are these panels any good?

    Hi Icarus,
    Have you seen prices (1-2 dollars per watt) available in Canada? From what I understand they are more expensive than that here. If I were to buy then from the states I think handling and duty would be prohibitive.

    Mark

    icarus wrote: »
    Even assuming they sell at the minimum bid, they are no bargain, (except that you can pick them up).

    With new, name brand panels going for as low as ~$1-$2 watt, why would you buy some no name panel from some e-bay seller?

    Tony
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Posts: 17,615Banned ✭✭
    Re: Are these panels any good?
    Markab wrote: »
    Hi Icarus,
    Have you seen prices (1-2 dollars per watt) available in Canada? From what I understand they are more expensive than that here. If I were to buy then from the states I think handling and duty would be prohibitive.

    Mark

    Yes, Tony; where in Canada can you get panels that cheap? Not in BC, that's for sure! :cry:
  • icarusicarus Posts: 5,108Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Are these panels any good?

    Shipping is the bear, but our site host will ship internationally, as will certain retailers in Florida who I shouldn't mention.

    As for Duties, I have never paid any duty on PV hardware of any sort, only GST/PST, and some items are exempt from that.

    While I am a big believer in buying locally when possible,but for 1/2 price you certainly have to consider the idea of importing from away.

    I would suggest contacting some retailers (including your local ones) and see if they can give you a better deal, or in the case of US contact the shipping depts and see what it will cost to ship to Canada. Add in GST/PST which you will pay anyway, and it should be cheaper.

    Tony
  • MarkabMarkab Posts: 18Registered Users
    Re: Are these panels any good?

    Is a Vpm of 26.3v acceptable for a 24v panel? If I go this route I would be using 4 of them in parallel to charge two 12v batteries in series through a MPPT cc?
    Thanks.

    Mark
  • audredgeraudredger Posts: 272Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: Are these panels any good?

    I didn't see a UL or CCA approval!
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Posts: 17,615Banned ✭✭
    Re: Are these panels any good?

    Look at the specs on a "comparable" 230 Watt (single) panel from SolarWorld:
    http://lib.store.yahoo.net/lib/wind-sun/SW-230.pdf

    NAWS price: $668

    There's less expensive ways to get about the same power, like 2 Kyocera 135's http://store.solar-electric.com/kyso130wa12v.html ($363 each), but nothing in a name brand panel that cheap.

    As to the performance ... :confused: Hard to say since you don't really know what you're getting.
  • MarkabMarkab Posts: 18Registered Users
    Re: Are these panels any good?
    audredger wrote: »
    I didn't see a UL or CCA approval!

    Hi audredger,
    Good point. I will enquire with the seller. Thanks.

    Mark
  • BB.BB. Posts: 28,088Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    Re: Are these panels any good?
    Markab wrote: »
    Is a Vpm of 26.3v acceptable for a 24v panel? If I go this route I would be using 4 of them in parallel to charge two 12v batteries in series through a MPPT cc?

    Realistically, you are looking at a 17-18 volt Vmp minimum (STC) for a 12 volt battery bank and 32-36 volts Vmp for a 24 volt battery bank. (~14-15 volts to charge a 12 volt battery, and ~28-30 volts to properly charge a 24 volt lead acid battery bank).

    If you are using a PWM solar charge controller, then those above ranges are the most efficient.=

    If you are using a MPPT solar charge controller, then the above ranges are a minimum Vmp value and you can go Vmp panel up the Voc limit of the controller (from ~30 volts to 150 volts--depending on brand and model number).

    Also, remember in hot weather, the Vmp voltage tends to drop.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • icarusicarus Posts: 5,108Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Are these panels any good?

    I stand a bit corrected. A quick look around seems to show that PV prices are beginning to rebound from their lows. I am now seeing prices in the low $2/watt to ~$$2.75. This is nearly double from where they were last time I went looking,

    Tony
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Posts: 17,615Banned ✭✭
    Re: Are these panels any good?

    But at least Canadian prices remain stable: one arm and two legs per Watt, plus GST. :cry:
  • warrenwarren Posts: 21Registered Users
    Re: Are these panels any good?

    My apologies to the OP for also venturing off topic. I am Canadian & refuse to pay the inflated prices charged in Canada for equipment. FYI I ordered a number of panels from the Florida based company but shipped from Arizona to Alberta....total cost for panels @ $1.74 / watt, shipping was slightly over $300, GST was less than $200 & brokerage charges were about $125. Total panel cost per watt came in about $2.25/watt Cdn delivered. I also had charge controllers plus some other stuff included in the load with no additional shipping charges, VERY cost effective.

    My suggestion for what it's worth ($0.02) is to shop around for what you want & compare apples to apples & request quotes. If a Canadian supplier is out to lunch price wise...tell them & order elsewhere after getting quotes for total shipping costs.

    Regards
  • brulazbrulaz Posts: 31Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: Are these panels any good?
    Markab wrote: »
    Have you seen prices (1-2 dollars per watt) available in Canada? From what I understand they are more expensive than that here. If I were to buy then from the states I think handling and duty would be prohibitive.

    This depends on how many you want but since you're in Toronto: Buy 135W panels from the states (they are a size that can shipped UPS, not truck) have them shipped to Buffalo (either the UPS depot or one of the MailBox stores that charges $5 per package) and pick them up there. Clear them in customs yourself. Should be no duty. Just taxes.
  • icarusicarus Posts: 5,108Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Are these panels any good?

    As Warren notes,, it can be done, and quite easily. That said, it is too bad that there aren't more local suppliers, or certainly Canadian based suppliers who are willing to compete.

    I know that my little local guy probably only sells a dozen or so a year so it would be hard for him to compete on scale. But even the bigger Canadian suppliers seem to be out to lunch. If US companies can ship in, though brokers paying proper GST/PST then Canadian companies should be able to be better than they do.

    As with everything else, scale matters. Buying a single panel brings one price per watt, a pallet load a lower one, and a semi load yet a lower one. One idea to consider is to co-op with friends and neighbours. If you are wishing to buy a few, perhaps with a bit of asking perhaps you can find folks close who also wish to, then you can share shipping, brokerage costs, as well as getting a cheaper price.

    Tony

    PS I'm sure that NAWS would be happy to ship a semi-load up if someone was going to pay for it.
  • MarkabMarkab Posts: 18Registered Users
    Re: Are these panels any good?

    Hi BB,
    Thanks for the info. So it's safe to assume that although these are listed as "24v panels" they won't properly charge/maintain a 24v battery? Some how I don't think this would work, but could I get away with running three of these panels in parallel with a forth in series to bring the voltage up (providing my cc controller is rated for it), and if so how would I calculate my panels total wattage output in this configuration. Thanks for your help and pm.

    Mark


    BB. wrote: »
    Realistically, you are looking at a 17-18 volt Vmp minimum (STC) for a 12 volt battery bank and 32-36 volts Vmp for a 24 volt battery bank. (~14-15 volts to charge a 12 volt battery, and ~28-30 volts to properly charge a 24 volt lead acid battery bank).

    If you are using a PWM solar charge controller, then those above ranges are the most efficient.=

    If you are using a MPPT solar charge controller, then the above ranges are a minimum Vmp value and you can go Vmp panel up the Voc limit of the controller (from ~30 volts to 150 volts--depending on brand and model number).

    Also, remember in hot weather, the Vmp voltage tends to drop.

    -Bill
  • solarvicsolarvic Posts: 1,048Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Are these panels any good?
    Markab wrote: »
    Is a Vpm of 26.3v acceptable for a 24v panel? If I go this route I would be using 4 of them in parallel to charge two 12v batteries in series through a MPPT cc?
    Thanks.

    Mark
    Did you contact the seller to get any info? I wouldn,t buy without knowing thier origin and who built them. for all you know they could be homemade and could be unsafe to use. i sent the seller a message asking hom the particulars. It figures out to be about $2.61 per watt. There are someul approved modules at that price and below. S:Dlarvic
  • MarkabMarkab Posts: 18Registered Users
    Re: Are these panels any good?

    Hi Solarvic,
    I did request info. from the seller but received no response. As it turns out because the panels Vpm is only 26.3v means they won't be much use in a 24v battery setup :cry:

    Mark

    solarvic wrote: »
    Did you contact the seller to get any info? I wouldn,t buy without knowing thier origin and who built them. for all you know they could be homemade and could be unsafe to use. i sent the seller a message asking hom the particulars. It figures out to be about $2.61 per watt. There are someul approved modules at that price and below. S:Dlarvic
  • solarvicsolarvic Posts: 1,048Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Are these panels any good?
    Markab wrote: »
    Hi Solarvic,
    I did request info. from the seller but received no response. As it turns out because the panels Vpm is only 26.3v means they won't be much use in a 24v battery setup :cry:

    Mark
    If you are going to use 4 of them with an MPPT controler rated to 150 volt they should work in 1 series string. I personally think if the seller doesn,t give you the brand and module number that he is hideing something. They are probably homemade or some kind of panels that are not approved. if he answers my request for info I will pass it on to you. S:Dlarvic
  • MarkabMarkab Posts: 18Registered Users
    Re: Are these panels any good?

    Hi Solarvic,
    Thanks for the suggestion. I clean forgot that there are some controllers that are rated for 150v :D Thanks as well for sending the seller a request for information. I as well will send another request. Incase my previous request was "unfortunatly overlooked" ;) Although I agree that the panels may be home made, given the picture, and description (vacuum sealed, pulse welding sealed, etc..) I don't think thats the case.

    Mark

    solarvic wrote: »
    If you are going to use 4 of them with an MPPT controler rated to 150 volt they should work in 1 series string. I personally think if the seller doesn,t give you the brand and module number that he is hideing something. They are probably homemade or some kind of panels that are not approved. if he answers my request for info I will pass it on to you. S:Dlarvic
  • BB.BB. Posts: 28,088Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    Re: Are these panels any good?
    Markab wrote: »
    Hi BB,
    Thanks for the info. So it's safe to assume that although these are listed as "24v panels" they won't properly charge/maintain a 24v battery? Some how I don't think this would work, but could I get away with running three of these panels in parallel with a forth in series to bring the voltage up (providing my cc controller is rated for it), and if so how would I calculate my panels total wattage output in this configuration. Thanks for your help and pm.

    Mark

    Well, if you have 4 matching panels, you could put two sets in series, then connect them in parallel.

    However, with a PWM controller, your actual wattage / efficiency will be very poor.

    Your battery will be around 29 volts when charging--So:
    • Power = Voltage * Current
    Just plug in your charging voltage and your charging current to get your wattage into the battery bank...

    The problem is that you will lose almost 1/2 of your panel's output power by using a PWM controller because the voltage mismatch is so severe. For example, say you have 4 panels x Vmp=24 volts @ 2 amps each:
    • Pmp=V,mp*Imp= (2 * 24 volts)) * (2 * 2amp) = 192 watts from panels
    • Pcharging = Vbatt*Ibat= 29 volts * 4 amps = 116 watts into battery w/ PWM controller
    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • MarkabMarkab Posts: 18Registered Users
    Re: Are these panels any good?

    Hi BB,
    Thanks. If I was using a MPPT controller would it improve things much?

    Mark

    BB. wrote: »
    Well, if you have 4 matching panels, you could put two sets in series, then connect them in parallel.

    However, with a PWM controller, your actual wattage / efficiency will be very poor.

    Your battery will be around 29 volts when charging--So:
    • Power = Voltage * Current
    Just plug in your charging voltage and your charging current to get your wattage into the battery bank...

    The problem is that you will lose almost 1/2 of your panel's output power by using a PWM controller because the voltage mismatch is so severe. For example, say you have 4 panels x Vmp=24 volts @ 2 amps each:
    • Pmp=V,mp*Imp= (2 * 24 volts)) * (2 * 2amp) = 192 watts from panels
    • Pcharging = Vbatt*Ibat= 29 volts * 4 amps = 116 watts into battery w/ PWM controller
    -Bill
  • BB.BB. Posts: 28,088Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    Re: Are these panels any good?

    You would get around 90-95% of the panels' capabilities... Also depends on how many panels and the size of the MPPT charge controllers.

    The smallest is around 200 watts at 12 volts (15 amp)... For the larger units (60 amps+)--you probably would need 400 watts of panels to make a MPPT charge controller useful.

    The MPPT controllers have more switching gear inside them and a large controller with a small amount of panels can be inefficient.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • solarvicsolarvic Posts: 1,048Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: Are these panels any good?

    Bill, Mark said in a few post back that he could use a mppt to put 4 panels in Paralall but I think he must have meant series for 4 of them which should work with a mx-60 or at least a flexmax 60. S:Dlarvic.
  • BB.BB. Posts: 28,088Super Moderators, Administrators admin
    Re: Are these panels any good?

    Depends on how many panels, Vmp/Voc/Isc, battery bank voltage, etc... Need to compare against rated voltage. The smaller MPPT tend to operate at lower Voc voltages.

    The 45+ amp MPPT charge controller tend to max out around 145-150 volts.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Posts: 17,615Banned ✭✭
    Re: Are these panels any good?

    With an MX60 the most efficient arrangement of four of these panels would be two parallel strings of two in series. When array Voltage gets too high above system Voltage efficiency goes down.
  • MarkabMarkab Posts: 18Registered Users
    Re: Are these panels any good?

    Hi Solarvic,
    I originally proposed having the panels in parallel until I realised that the Vmp of 26.3 would not properly charge/maintain a 24v battery system. It was then after your post that I remembered that a series configuration was possible :D

    Mark

    solarvic wrote: »
    Bill, Mark said in a few post back that he could use a mppt to put 4 panels in Paralall but I think he must have meant series for 4 of them which should work with a mx-60 or at least a flexmax 60. S:Dlarvic.
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