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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Yup, today only... This kind of makes a solar panel install cheap enough to walk away and leave them without worrying too much.

Anyhow, these Grape Solar panels are not the mechanically strongest panels available nor the highest efficiency so smallest panel on the market but well anchored on a sturdy roof top mounting rack system or with six or eight 'L' bracket tape mounts these should perform nicely!

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Grape-Solar-100-Watt-Polycrystalline-Solar-Panel-for-RV-s-Boats-and-12-Volt-Systems-GS-Star-100W/204211365

The Home Depot (USA) has a special on 100 watt polycrystalline solar panels - free delivery and $100 each with a limit of five.

26.37" x 40.16"... 36 cells, 18Vmpp, 21.9Voc, 14.63% module efficiency...

GS-Star-100W Specifications

And finally - this model panel is most likely going to be available for a few more years so adding to the PV string in the future can likely be done with matching panels, something not likely getting the flavor of the month panels off eBay, Amazon, Craigslist etc..

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
So... We just ordered five, express shipping was $20 for entire order and promised delivery of 20 April, maybe only a few days less time but hopefully kinder & gentler handling than usual ground shipping.

Now the cheap solar greed is creeping in... thinking I may co-opt someone to order in three more and see about using them as detachable awning sunshades over south side glass :cool:
 

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Wow Zoomyn, would that be 800 watts? Better get a couple of electric motors and build a hybrid van- thats a lot of solar when you factor in 6 hours of sunlight/day. I use a less than that 150 KWH a month in my home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
:::sigh:::

The Credit Card Fraud squad sent me a text wondering if this was a legitimate purchase, guess whose ringer was turned off so the sale was canceled...

Lucky they did not sell out, or lucky I was NOT ordering these near midnight and in so missed the one-day sale. Five panels ordered.

RDinNHandAZ? That exaggerated thinking even if just for fun kind of insults the sensibilities, don't harsh our buzz,man! :rolleyes:

As drag racers say - there is no replacement for displacement; for photovoltaic there is no replacement for panel wattage... so it is 'make hay while the sun is shining' and all that rot.

Use the NASA tool to peek at your NH statistics and wonder if you could long term boondock or improve a homestead or full-time campsite using smallish PV wattage?

_Here_ is a neat data tool, have a glance at my areas NASA Surface meteorology and Solar Energy report for things like:

Monthly Averaged Clear Sky Days
Number Of NO-SUN Or BLACK Days
Monthly Averaged Daylight Cloud
Minimum Available Insolation Over A Consecutive-day Period

The last one listed shows my location in any 3-day period in April could see as little as 26% normal sun power due to weather conditions.
Monthly Averaged Daylight Cloud Cover that will reduce output to some degree in April? 67.1%
Monthly Averaged Clear Sky Days in April? 2!

Now it's location, location, location - we have trees here and enjoy parking in shade in 100°F weather, can just morning & mid-day sun make up overnight losses? blah blah blah.

I'll be posting soon on the 300AH LiFePo4 cells I just glommed onto for 75¢ an amp-hour...

Anyhow - the $1 a watt delivered is a gift, hope some people take advantage of it!

My locations statistics, it ain't Arizona for sure...
https://eosweb.larc.nasa.gov/cgi-bi...ay_cld&p=cldamt0&p=cldamt0_0&step=2&lon=-93.1
 

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Zoomyn,
No insult of any kind was intended.
Not trying to rain on your parade man. I just am trying to bring perspective for average readers who might think they need 800 watts or solar isn't worth doing, or LiFePo4 cells either.

Thanks for the research to educate what you perceived as an ignorant poster, you went to a lot of work and I appreciate that BUT........ I lived in NE Kingdom of VT, off the grid, for nearly 20 years, and have lived on a 110 volt battery set, a Dunlite wind plant, PV, solar heat and biomass heat, blah, blah, blah so I am intemetly knowledgeable about what nature provides like one only learns with lots of years of running your own personal power production and managment company. If you have similiar expereince I would love to pick your brain and we could share some funny and tragic stories I bet.

More power is always nice but like most things there is an ENOUGH level that makes the sweet spot between huge expense and reasonable resources. I like finding that spot. Respectfully you are building a system that is really not there. Its your money, roof real estate, shade panels and so forth, go for it. The $1.00 a watt has been the large purchaser price point for a while and to get it on 800 watts is a great deal.

Now look back and understand some here don't have the resources to go this route even at that point, don't understand that a 1K Watt MPPT contoller is real money, don't know battery technology, but have come here to see what they should have to run their van. Please suggest why that works for you and what you are going to do with it. I stand buy my comment that I can run my home on it. All nature-provided power will provide only a part of all the power you need. My Arizona solar hot water does 87% of my use in the sunnyest place in the World, really 90 miles from the sunniest city in the world but what does 90 miles between fellow posters mean? 4 times as much solar and 3 times as much storage would raise that to 96% acording to my figures but it just isn't worth doing as that expense won't keep my shower hot 3.8 days a year so I still need a back up plan. See my point?
 

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Interesting commentary on solar panels and their applications. I do not have any intention of adding a PV system to my van , but can say that we have been off-grid for eleven years now and providing for all our needs with a total of 984watts on a ground mount,180degree rotation array; c/w a Honda eu2000 for charging. But definitely a real proponent of all things solar !! Hope people took advantage of the sale
 

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What do you guys think of the 25 Amp-hour per day rough estimate per 100-watt panel?

If close to right, it would suggest 5 panels would deliver roughly 125 Amp-hours each day. Does that sound about right?
 

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Averages are a tricky thing. A full sun tracking panel in northern latitudes in mid summer on a cool day can surpass 80 Amp-Hours. The same panel on an overcast warm winter day at the same location a low of 8 or 10 is more likely. My monocrystiline planels suffer shading badly so get them in the sun. Even a single cell shaded compromises the outupt dramatically. Non tracking panels will produce only perhaps 60+- percent as much. So yes 25 seems a good number but any number is a bit of a fiction. The tecnology works very well. Better if you pay attention to the details. I have friends with one (others with two) 100 watt panels on long cords and they camp with the panels up to 20 feet from their camper to aim them and get them in the sun. It is a good system if you must camp in shade. BTW "flex" panels make a great choice for that system as they weigh about 4 lbs and store easily but are about $2.25+ per watt, and don't let them blow away!
 

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I got my first Renogy panel in today to mount on the roof of my PM. Another coming next week. I was pleased to see it put out 21.4 vdc on a cloudy day. Rated at 22 vdc max. I'll have two of these 100 watt panels on my roof to keep a deep cycle charged to power a small frig.
 

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Don't ya just love solar? After the sting of the payment is over (and at $1 a Watt that should not hurt too bad) the power is FREE, FREE, FREE......... as sunshine!
 

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Yup, today only... This kind of makes a solar panel install cheap enough to walk away and leave them without worrying too much.

Anyhow, these Grape Solar panels are not the mechanically strongest panels available nor the highest efficiency so smallest panel on the market but well anchored on a sturdy roof top mounting rack system or with six or eight 'L' bracket tape mounts these should perform nicely!

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Grape-Solar-100-Watt-Polycrystalline-Solar-Panel-for-RV-s-Boats-and-12-Volt-Systems-GS-Star-100W/204211365

The Home Depot (USA) has a special on 100 watt polycrystalline solar panels - free delivery and $100 each with a limit of five.

26.37" x 40.16"... 36 cells, 18Vmpp, 21.9Voc, 14.63% module efficiency...

GS-Star-100W Specifications

And finally - this model panel is most likely going to be available for a few more years so adding to the PV string in the future can likely be done with matching panels, something not likely getting the flavor of the month panels off eBay, Amazon, Craigslist etc..

Good luck!
Just checked the link at Home Depot. Those panels are now $110. With free delivery ... Are they a deal?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I've seen a little more off-brand 100w panels down to $80 w/ additional $30 shipping, 160 watt panels for $150 shipped. That deal I linked was Home Depot backing Grape solar panels, pretty much dependable seller/supplier for warranty and returns etc..

After mounting my trial set of panels far forward on the roof then hearing the squalling & buffeting from our upper Mid-West constant wind tearing at them with reduced mileage I've rethought the solar plan and likely will go with flexible panels to keep aerodynamics clean.
 

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I put a 100 w solar panel towards the back of my van and have had no wind effects. I am adding another 150 w panel to power an Engel Fridge. If wind sounds happen, I will put a baffle in front of the panel.

I am using monocrystalline Renogy panels. The quality is impressive.

I am less happy with my ArkPak battery box and charger but it did certainly help me understand battery management, the effects of wire length and gauge and modes of charging (solar, vehicle alternator, and 110v).

ETA: I use monocrystalline panels because I read that they are more efficient. Here's a comparison of the different sorts of photovoltaic panels: http://energyinformative.org/best-solar-panel-monocrystalline-polycrystalline-thin-film/
 

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I put a Fantastic Vent in the flat area forward where the "moon roof" would go. It is a low pressure area and pulls air around the gasket of the vent unless I crank it down tight, this would not be a good place for "normal" aluminum framed panels like my Renogys. My panels are mid-roof, raised only about 3/4 inch off the roof and make no noise and I seem to average 26+mpg so I don't think they interfere with the mileage. I placed them so I could add an AC unit behind them if I decided to but I don't plan to go that route. The Flex panels interested me but no method of attaching them made me feel right as they would be taped or glued and both have drawbacks. They were about 1/3 more in price too. It seems to be the future of solar though.
 

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.

After mounting my trial set of panels far forward on the roof then hearing the squalling & buffeting from our upper Mid-West constant wind tearing at them with reduced mileage I've rethought the solar plan and likely will go with flexible panels to keep aerodynamics clean.
Good to know. I'm just beginning to look for solar , and might avoid the leading edge area of the roof .
 

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Not bad though as in 2007 I bought a very nice 80 watt monocrystaline panel for my Phoenix pop-up slide in camper for about $400 and marveled at the quality and price. We are paying 1/5 as much today!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The Home Depot link is, for today only, a 25% discount over the best delivered price of ANY brand 50w panel on Amazon... and so, according to old arithmetic, this would be advantageous to a loyal & honorable forum member looking for a dinky-doo starter or add-on panel. A smart forum member researching for a purchase would've already used google-fu to *learn* usual customary and reasonable prices for smaller solar panels, said consumer would notice small wattage prices ALWAYS command a premium price per watt over larger ones.

I have 115 watt Sharp panels I gladly paid $4.00/watt for when full retail was $6+ per watt - in 2005, but most* new panels now trend toward a disposable and throw-away capital expenditure, much lighter weight frames, cheaper construction, and lowered assembly precision of the electricals. I'm not saying the old panels were repairable but that it took higher quality everything to convince people to pay $600 (delivered) for a 100w panel.

There are tariffs in place on Chinese panels from them dumping products here for less than it took to manufacture them, folks using solar know it's taken a quite a few years of market protection to have US made panels become this cheap. If the Home Depot has lowered prices, even for a day, know there will be more discounted panels in the next few months from high volume suppliers.
 

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I was quite happy with my Renogy panels when they arrived. Really well packed and the quality is better than I expected. Perhaps a bit lighter in the past 8 years but fit an finish were just as good. In 2007 I don't remember panels being at all cost effective. I bought as little solar as I could and it was seen as somewhat of a luxury on my little camper. Today it seems to be a bargain way to gear up lots of electrical power in our vans. I am often amazed here by what some folks are doing with electricity and storage. Back when I lived off-grid I literally ran a 2,000 square foot house on about the power some posters have in their vans. It all seems good to me! Renogy has about 10% off for independence day!
 
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