Solar Panels

This is a discussion on Solar Panels within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Our recent thinking on ''things'' to have around for problem situations reminded me about solar panels - something I have had in mind for some ...

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Thread: Solar Panels

  1. #1
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    Solar Panels

    Our recent thinking on ''things'' to have around for problem situations reminded me about solar panels - something I have had in mind for some while.

    I did some searching to look for 12V panels of around 50W output - which would charge a lead/acid at about a 4 amp rate. All I could find tho were pretty darned spendy, at around the $350 - $450 region.

    Just in case I am missing something - anyone know any good sources for panels - which maybe might be less expensive.

    I know - I'm a cheapskate
    Chris - P95
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  3. #2
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    Ebay Chris

    There are always some listed on there. This one is closing in 18 minutes and it's at 21.00 right now.

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    Many thx QK - that one is too low a current tho good price it seems so far. I must probably keep an eye on ebay and see what comes up.

    Thx again.
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

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    VIP Member Array Sheldon J's Avatar
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    try making your own, I did. You can buy the individual cells the large 3 and 4 inch cells generate around 1 amp at .5 volts. Wire them in series I used the flat copper foil and made some frames for them. usually I will go for about 15 volts and put a charge regulator in line with a diode to keep them from back charging after dark. The higher voltage is for lower light operation.
    "The sword dose not cause the murder, and the maker of the sword dose not bear sin" Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac 11th century

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    I may well try this - currently trying to get hold of a box full of broken cells - in hope that if I get them I can build up what I want sufficient to do the job.

    The diode protection is indeed very necessary.
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

  7. #6
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    Chris,
    I had one of my classes do an internet search some years back for solar cell systems for a residence. We found exactly what you did, they are pricey.

    One of the issues I see is weather proofing and heat sinking the cells. By the very nature of their use, they are exposed to all kinds of weather, condensation, and heat build up from the sun.

    The heat build up is often not considered, but IIRC, the efficiency of a solar cell goes down significantly as temperature goes up, so that spec'd current output may not be realized at actual operating temps.

    Also the claimed current output is in the elusive "bright sunlight, clear day, perfect angular alignment with the sun" condition.

    I've wanted to build a solar power unit myself, but the initial cost of the entire system, and the amount of energy it can provide is not very encouraging.

    I started with the battery. It doesn't take very much calculating to realize that if your battery has to provide 4 amps for 10 hours, that's only 48 watts for 10 hours, the solar recharger has to average over over 4 amps for over 10 hours to recharge the battery.

    It sounds simple to go to a larger solar cell, but the cost goes up significantly. OTOH, one can get a 5500 watt generator from Northern Tool for $630 and maybe even less other places. Like Harbor Freight sells a 5700 watt for $499.

    As you and I both found, a 50 watt solar system can cost as nearly as much as a 5000+ watt generator. It just ain't fair!

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    Prices of cells are due to go down, they are curently working on nanotube tech to bring eff. up from the 8-12% to 40+. Also their Eff drops off as they age in the sun. But for back country use where your resources are limited and difficult to renew, the solar system vs a inexpensive 1.5 kw gen makes sense. I have been useing the 3" round cells and have seen the 4" square for sale for quite reasonable prices when bought in bulk of say 100 at a time, (I have several hundred in the basement now for a future project) Try an internet search there was a place in Fl that sold them that way, but cant remember their web site though.
    "The sword dose not cause the murder, and the maker of the sword dose not bear sin" Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac 11th century

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    More good input - thx.

    True Ron - equating generator and decent output solar array seems like a no brainer but - reason I would like the solar option is simply that if I no longer have gas for gen'y - then I'd at least have some way to keep lead-acids up to some sorta charge - and then the option to make short-term use of inverter.

    I'll keep looking and maybe hit lucky on some assorted cells - I have no prob over the contruction of an array - one thing I always managed well was soldering and allied things.

    Some aspects of self-sufficiency and energy conservation sure can come out pricey tho - in some ways still a disincentive for folks who want to be aware.
    Chris - P95
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    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

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    I don't have any problems with building the array either, that's the easy part. The hard part is the protection against weather and heat build up within the protective enclosure. I have heard of building a shallow frame a bit taller than the solar cells and pouring a clear encapsulating material over it to essentially hermetically seal it.

    Do some calculations regarding how many amp-hours you need from the batteries, see what size solar cells you need to provide the recharge amp-hours for the battery(s). Some factors needs to be included to account for less than ideal alignment with the sun throughout the day, less than optimal sky conditions, and how long it takes to recharge the batteries should the sun not come out very bright or long for several days running.

    The math/cost is not encouraging. But it doesn't have to be perfect and I want to do it too so maybe we all can keep searching and brainstorming until we get something acceptable.

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    The way my old shop is aligned Ron could actually enable me to set up the array under cover. It would only make best use of perhaps half a day's sun but - it would relieve me of having to totally protect it.

    I shall continue scouting around
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

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