BP Solar Panels 215W for $300.00....what's the catch? - SailNet Community
 
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post #1 of 7 Old 07-22-2012 Thread Starter
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BP Solar Panels 215W for $300.00....what's the catch?

I have the opportunity to buy some NEW 215W BP Panels for $300 per. After a quick browse on the "Google-izer" it appears that BP is out of the solar business. Multiple reasons stated on web and none flattering to this beleaguered company.

I called Frederick Md, the warranty number and location and on a Sunday the number is still up (no humans found on a Sunday) and will try again during normal business hours.

As I ponder getting 2-3 of the these panels (originally 25 yr warranty, 5 yrs blah blah could all be meaningless now) should I go with what seems to be a good $$ deal and gamble that the panels may be just fine and need no warranty or take my chances for 3-5 yrs and hope they are fine and outlive me and my boat?

Does anyone know if someone picked up the warranty work for BP or if these panels have a reputation as good or not good?

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Deale Md, to Caribbean Oct 2012-Aug 2013
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post #2 of 7 Old 07-22-2012
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Re: BP Solar Panels 215W for $300.00....what's the catch?

I wouldn't worry about the long term warranty period, just make sure you have a 15-30 day(some reasonable time) satisfaction-money back guarantee for sure. This protects you in case they are defective upon arrival. You never know. These could be rejects from a warranty center for all you know. Who is the vendor? Link please? I'm curious... Thanks Bruce
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post #3 of 7 Old 07-22-2012
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Re: BP Solar Panels 215W for $300.00....what's the catch?

Some months ago someone had posted about a misadventure from Craig'sList, a bargain on solar panels which turned out to be from a private seller, selling "new" panels that were warranty rejects or otherwise DOA IIRC. Who you are buying them from makes a difference, make sure there are no questions.
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post #4 of 7 Old 07-23-2012
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Re: BP Solar Panels 215W for $300.00....what's the catch?

The catch on these (and many newer) panels is that they're probably very high voltage panels...upwards of 30 volts for peak power output where they'll generate 8 amps. If you have a 12v system for house bank (like most people), this means 15 or so amps at charging voltage for your batter. Which means you need a pretty beefy MPPT charge controller to handle stepping down the voltage to your batteries.

So, what you save on a cheaper panel gets easily spent on a stronger, bigger, heavier, more complicated charge controller. Thats why so many people love those Kyocera 12 panels. More pricey up front, but let you use a cheaper charge controller.

S/V Jendai
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post #5 of 7 Old 07-23-2012
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Re: BP Solar Panels 215W for $300.00....what's the catch?

I used to work for BP Solar in Frederick, MD. The panels are pretty sturdy and if they work out of the box, they will work for many years as long as nothing stupid happens to them.
Yes, BP is basically out of the solar business as of May 2010. However, they are still buying and private labeling Chinese panels and supporting the warrenties of thier own panels. I do not know the new contact information, but I believe they are running things out of Texas. The reason they got out of solar is because the solar industry is seriously hurting with the European economic collapse and huge oversupply by Chinese solar material suppliers.

As stated earlier, make sure the output voltage is compatible with your system. BP made very few panels for mobile applications (12V) mainly concentrating on commercial applications. Also, as mentioned earlier, make sure the retailer is reputable.
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post #6 of 7 Old 07-24-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: BP Solar Panels 215W for $300.00....what's the catch?

All,
thanks for the insight and the vendor is "some guy on craigslist" so buyer beware. Was not aware of the "high voltage" issue with some panels and need for greater MPPT. Also thanks to the post from previous member of BP in Frederick, Md.

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Deale Md, to Caribbean Oct 2012-Aug 2013
Boat Type Irwin 43 Mk III Center Cockpit--Sold it
Boat Yr, 1989
Boat Length 43'

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post #7 of 7 Old 07-24-2012
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Re: BP Solar Panels 215W for $300.00....what's the catch?

EWSO-
IIRC the prior thread I referred to was locked on the forum where it had been posted, don't recall if that was here or a certain other place. But you might want to hunt around for it. If the poster is the same, then the guy KNOWS he's selling bum panels. KNOWS the maker condemned them. And out to be turned over for prosecution.
Big karma points if he is and you do.
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