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post #11 of 58 Old 03-08-2019
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Re: Why are Solara solar panels so expensive

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The difference between Solara and other panels is their quality and reliability in a marine environment. My first panels from Solara lasted 12 years so I replaced them with the new M series fixed on the bimini (low weight (5kg), high efficiency (22%)). With the new panel, I now run the fridge (on sunny days) without any worry. I tried cheaper solutions twice first lasted one month, second a little bit longer: 3 month.
Would be interested to learn what brand of cheap panel you purchased that failed in one month and three months. I purchased a couple of cheap panels from Grape Solar, one that has been on the boat several years and both are working perfectly.
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post #12 of 58 Old 03-08-2019
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Re: Why are Solara solar panels so expensive

The main difference in the price range might be that Solara is still produced in Germany (once the leading nation in solar power). So you have to decide if you really need a BMW as solar panel
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post #13 of 58 Old 03-08-2019
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Re: Why are Solara solar panels so expensive

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Originally Posted by BillMoran View Post
This is the key part of the question, for me.

I _might_ be willing to pay significantly more for panels, if someone can justify it. But just saying, "they're better" doesn't mean anything. If they're 1% more efficient in full sunlight, that's not worth 5x the cost (for example).
I'm sure you're exaggerating what you believe to be the differential. Nevertheless, read the rest of my point. For many, there is value beyond the incremental power. If you are just 10% below being able to make up your daily amp usage, that can be all the difference needed.

Another example is the newer Lithium PO battery technology. I can essentially get 2 times the amp hour capacity into the same footprint as lead. It will cost 3 times as much as the batteries in the bank today. While right on the edge, I find that an acceptable trade to avoiding having to find room for doubling the number of lead acid batteries I have now, taking on the weight, losing the storage, not to mention Lithium's superior charge profile is value beyond just capacity. Value and cost are not always linear.


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post #14 of 58 Old 03-08-2019
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Re: Why are Solara solar panels so expensive

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I also want to be able to walk on mine, so that really jacks the cost.
I would love to get some that I can walk on. What brand or model hold up well for that?

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post #15 of 58 Old 03-08-2019
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Re: Why are Solara solar panels so expensive

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Would be interested to learn what brand of cheap panel you purchased that failed in one month and three months. I purchased a couple of cheap panels from Grape Solar, one that has been on the boat several years and both are working perfectly.
I also have a cheap 50-watt panel from Grape Solar and it's held up great.

I beat it around quite a bit too. I usually throw it in the v-berth when I'm sailing, so it's gets moved around a lot.

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post #16 of 58 Old 03-08-2019
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Re: Why are Solara solar panels so expensive

It was a no name 50 watt panel (fiberglass panel) for 350$ (Compass24), the cable detached from the panel after a short time (was all refunded I just did throw the panel into the next bin). So for a flexible panel of 110 watt about three times the cost seemed OK for me (Solara Power M 110 watt). And I did need a panel which would fit on top of my binimi (100 x 66 x 0.3 cm)
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Re: Why are Solara solar panels so expensive

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Originally Posted by Minnesail View Post
I would love to get some that I can walk on. What brand or model hold up well for that?
Solara, Im told.

To be fair, I cant believe they hold up as well, if beaten on. I would like them on my cabin top. I rarely walk up there, but cant have it blocked either, in the event I need to get to the boom.


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post #18 of 58 Old 03-08-2019
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Re: Why are Solara solar panels so expensive

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
Solara, Im told.

To be fair, I cant believe they hold up as well, if beaten on. I would like them on my cabin top. I rarely walk up there, but cant have it blocked either, in the event I need to get to the boom.
Holy crap. At $800 for a 55 watt panel I'd better be able to dance the tango on it.
SOLARA Standard M Series Marine Walk-On Panels

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post #19 of 58 Old 03-08-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: Why are Solara solar panels so expensive

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Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
I'm sure you're exaggerating what you believe to be the differential. Nevertheless, read the rest of my point. For many, there is value beyond the incremental power. If you are just 10% below being able to make up your daily amp usage, that can be all the difference needed.
You've hit on my point exactly. I have no quantifyable information on what the difference is. The salesperson won't give me figures to back up the claim of "better". The research I've done online has demonstrated no quantifiable advantage to the Solara panels. For every claim I get that they're more durable, I get 5 claims that other brands last just as long. The warranties are nearly identical.

*shrug* At this point my theory is that Solara is this generation's Netware. Meaning they used to make a product that was worth a ton of money, then a lot of competition came along and undercut their price and their response is vague claims of superiority because they can't figure out what else to do to save their business. It's an unfortunate but common problem that businesses have. Fell prey to it once myself.
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post #20 of 58 Old 03-08-2019
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Re: Why are Solara solar panels so expensive

Put in top-notch wiring, flexible controller(s), and a mounting arrangement that will work for a variety of sizes.

Start out with Chinese cheap as chips set.

If they don't last long, see how you feel and what's then available.

Things can change pretty quick.

Or who knows you might get lucky.
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