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post #41 of 44 Old 09-24-2010
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I used to work for BP Solar (until May of this year) as an engineer making the wafers for their panels. I will say that our wafers were some of the best in the world. They were made in Maryland, USA. We also cast the poly silicon used to make the wafers and made cells as well as the panels. The factory began shutting down last November starting with the panels. When all of the components were made in the USA the BP panels were worth the price. Now the BP panels are made in India and China. These panels are not even close to the quality of the USA panels.

I am still in contact with the remaining engineers who decided to stay on a qualify material suppliers in India and China. All of our old quality standards are gone and price is now the driving factor. The once high quality BP panels are now being made on the same assembly line as the cheap Indian/Chinese panels.

The point of all this is to have you check the date and location of manufacture. If the panels are made after November 2009 then they are not worth buying. Look at the Kyocera and Sharp panels. They still have very high quality standards. When it comes to solar panels price is, for now, a decent indicator of quality since there are only a few manufacturers of the core components.

Sorry for the long post. It is my way of venting after seeing a few hundred people loose their jobs (some after 30 years) and a once great technological innovator go down the crapper.
Good post. Sorry to hear about your job. But it confirmes my observations that you get what you pay for with solar panels and some of those cheapy panels should be labeled Fisher Price.

If it were my boat I owuld get the Kyoceras, TDW. Also, Blue Sky and Outback make solid MPPTs, though I belidve that Outback has the better reputation.

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post #42 of 44 Old 09-24-2010
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Thanks Ilenart....hey, how's the boat hunting going ?
Have made an offer and going through survey / inspection. Cannot get the yacht out of the water until the 6th October, so things will take a while. Number of issues that are adding up the $ so we will see. Will post more details once things are finalied.

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post #43 of 44 Old 09-24-2010
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Thanks for your input. BP have also recently closed their manufacturing facility in Australia. All panels now sold in Australia are Chinese sourced. Quite frankly (and yes I am a bleeding heart liberal) this and some other matters in the Gulf of Mexico have quite put me of buying any BP product whatsoever.

Unfortunately, Kyocera panels are very hard to find in Oz not to mention hideously expensive and Sharp appear to have pulled out of the Australian market altogether.

I am trying to confirm this but Blue Sky Energy who manufacturer panels and MPPT regulators appear to have taken over the BP plant and are producing panels locally.

edit....Blue Sky are not manufacturing panesl in Oz, they sell Kyocera but from their website it appeasr nothing smaller than 95w.
The good news is the plant in Homebush was bought by a company that brought back most of the staff who used to work there. One of the principles in the company used to be the plant manager here in Maryland. From what I hear in the industry they are making top notch cells and doing well. This, after the previous management told BP they couldn't be profitable.

Loosing my job has been a blessing. I received a nice severance package so I am able to take some time off to spend with the family and do quite a bit of sailing.

One thing to keep in mind when boycotting BP. Do not take it out on the local petrol station. The way the fuel is delivered (at least in the US) is each refiner puts their product into the same pipeline infrastructure. So, Shell, Exxon, BP, etc. all add to the refined fuel "pool". At the distribution centers all of the tanker trucks take from the "pool". The brand specific additives are added in each truck load. The refiner is paid for what they add to the pool and the local petrol stations buy from the pool. All brands are basically the same. So, please do not take it out on the small businesses that have no control over whose oil they get.

I have seen several stations in my area change branding to help keep business.
________
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Last edited by nickmerc; 08-18-2011 at 06:34 AM.
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post #44 of 44 Old 09-24-2010 Thread Starter
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The good news is the plant in Homebush was bought by a company that brought back most of the staff who used to work there. One of the principles in the company used to be the plant manager here in Maryland. From what I hear in the industry they are making top notch cells and doing well. This, after the previous management told BP they couldn't be profitable.

Loosing my job has been a blessing. I received a nice severance package so I am able to take some time off to spend with the family and do quite a bit of sailing.

One thing to keep in mind when boycotting BP. Do not take it out on the local petrol station. The way the fuel is delivered (at least in the US) is each refiner puts their product into the same pipeline infrastructure. So, Shell, Exxon, BP, etc. all add to the refined fuel "pool". At the distribution centers all of the tanker trucks take from the "pool". The brand specific additives are added in each truck load. The refiner is paid for what they add to the pool and the local petrol stations buy from the pool. All brands are basically the same. So, please do not take it out on the small businesses that have no control over whose oil they get.

I have seen several stations in my area change branding to help keep business.
Well I'm certainly glad it has not been a catastophe for you and your family. Big facilities like this clsing down can have a horrid effect on people's lives.

Ref the local servo....in Australia virtually all servos in the cities and on main highways are directly owned by the oil companies. Very few independents anymore.

Andrew B (Malö 39 Classic)

“Life is a trick, and you get one chance to learn it.”
― Terry Pratchett.
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