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Jafo 09-19-2012 03:50 PM

Popular Solar Panels
These panels are always really popular on Amazon and sell out really quick. I just got a notice that there are more in stock:


Amazon.com: DM 145w Polycrystalline Solar Panel (2 Pack): Patio, Lawn & Garden

A lot of people seem to be happy with them so I thought I would pass it along..

Corinarose 09-19-2012 05:30 PM


Can you say more about the solar panels and what they can power
Fridge, stove, lights etc?

Thanks for posting this

Jafo 09-19-2012 06:16 PM

Normally you use these panels to charge a battery bank and then run your appliances off of the batteries. I am not very good at sizing these things, but together these produce 300 watts I believe. My solar panels at my yurt produce a total of 90 watts and that keeps two deep cycle marine batteries charged no matter how hard I use them.

Heating with electricity is unlikely unless you had a large array of these. It just uses soo much power. Even a coffee maker uses a lot of juice compared to say a light.

hakalugi 11-27-2012 01:21 AM


there's a lot of variables that go into this type of calculation. A few pointers:

watts = amps x volts

so a 60 watt bulb on 120V house current will use "only" 0.5Amps of current. A 60 watt bulb via 12V will use 5 amps (yes a 10x difference) - still the same 'power' used (wattage and kwhours), but still, hence the allure of LED and ultra low wattage items when on DC power in off-grid power from solar or wind.

**you'll 'save' more by reducing load requiring a larger system. the panels cost, the wiring costs, the charge controllers cost, and the battery banks cost** lower load = lower costs at every stage. for most people, buying a 'kill a watt' meter and measuring every device in your house and putting it in a spreadsheet to know your draw is step 1.

Regarding the comment above about electric heating being too much draw - imagine one of those 1500watt free standing electric oil heaters, they pull 12-13 amps on 120V wall power. so they'd draw 120-130amps of current on a 12V system. eeek.

All electricity as friction type devices - think iron, coffee maker, hair dryer use a lot of electrons (current).

you also need to think about 12v, 24v, 48v - closing the gap to 120V has advantages in fewer amps = less thick cables from your solar array to the electronics in your home.

with solar panels, the wattage rating is under ideal circumstances, depends on the efficiency of the panels, efficiency of your charging controller and whether it's a battery system or no batts and grid tied only. And there's number of hours of daylight you actually get per day.

in short, 300Watts of solarpanels will not run 300 watts of actual draw constantly. think of the batteries as a reserve you can draw from with your usage and will refil from the solar panels - assuming you have enough sun+panels vs. your 24 hr draw. ergo, the 'watt-hours' - in the spreadsheet above, the wattage of an item should be factored by how many hours per day you use said item. resulting in a watt-hour value. add them all up and you know how much power per day you need, then you size a system to fit. (and this is when most people go: "oh, i will work on how to cut down my draw).

try this link: https://homepower.com/articles/what-solar-electricity to pick up the fundamentals.

my suggestion: buy a 12V battery, a 3Amp 12v charge controller, a 15W solar panel - all at amazon for under $120 to then have some 12v testing (led lighting, charging laptop, etc) from this you'll learn the basics and see it in action.

Corinarose 11-27-2012 07:33 AM

Wow, thanks for such an excellent explanation!!!!!!!!!!
Makes so much sense.
I may just make that purchase and get started!

Made my day!


hakalugi 11-27-2012 02:13 PM

i can't take credit for any of those thoughts, but thank you. checkout/buy the book: "Power from the Sun: A Practical Guide to Solar Electricity (Mother Earth News Book for Wiser Living)" for more info.

ryankal 01-28-2014 11:22 AM

Re: Popular Solar Panels
I am considering putting together a small solar system to run an LED bulb and charge an iPad and some rechargeable batteries. What are your thoughts on this panel?

Wel-Bilt Amorphous Solar Panel 7 Watt | Amorphous Solar Panels| Northern Tool + Equipment

I would likely get two of them and connect them to an adequately sized battery.



Jafo 01-28-2014 02:50 PM

Re: Popular Solar Panels
7 and 14 watts is not that much, and you will only get that under perfect conditions.

Griztopher 04-12-2014 06:26 PM

Re: Popular Solar Panels
Has anyone had experience with the 'Sol' portable units? Particularly the Sol Man Classic. A bit spendy but a nice (somewhat) portable and self contained unit.

Portable Solar Generators - Emergency Backup Power - Off Grid Solar Power

Jafo 04-14-2014 09:01 AM

Re: Popular Solar Panels
$5,000? Meh, you can build something similar with existing products for much cheaper than that.

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