Why are Solara solar panels so expensive - Page 6 - SailNet Community
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post #51 of 58 Old 03-14-2019
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Re: Why are Solara solar panels so expensive

Yes, a racing owner with plenty of money will gladly pay for every possible weight / space saving improvement

while a frugal liveaboard might think it an insane proposition.

The "is it worth it"? question can't definitively be answered by anyone but the asker.

But these discussions help to tease out the various factors, help each member make better decisions for themselves.
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post #52 of 58 Old 03-15-2019
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Re: Why are Solara solar panels so expensive

yes...I find these discussions provide good data points that can lead to answers or in the least more questions.

Here's our setup in case it helps anyone.
Just bought 2 renogy rigid 100W "compact" panels for a $115 each. They replace our 20 year old 85W BP panels that still work but never put out more than about 3.5A each so I figure equate to about 50W. So the new ones will put out more W with about a 18% reduction in size. These are on fold up "wings" attached to the sides of our stern pulpit. Don't like having wings but has worked fine and the compromise we live with. This pair will join the flexible 160W renogy snapped into a canvas frame we sewed into the Bimini. The 160 was about $250 when I bought it last year. The three are in parallel feeding a 30A Victron MPPT controller.

Given our usage: (fridge, all LED lighting, water maker, alpha autopilot, new simrad nav and radar) I figure this setup provides 90-100% needs at anchor and 50-90% on a passage depending whether electric autopilot and radar is on. Given we seem to fire up the engine once in a while for some reason or another (120a alternator) I'm feeling pretty good about the setup.

I've got a year on the renogy 160W and so far so good which is why I felt comfortable buying two more from the manufacturer. I did buy them direct from renogy which I think helps keep the price down.


When I get a chance to take good measurements I'll report. or if some issue arises.
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post #53 of 58 Old 03-15-2019
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Show us how you rigged up the wings
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post #54 of 58 Old 03-15-2019
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Re: Why are Solara solar panels so expensive

hopefully the photo uploaded. pretty simple.
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post #55 of 58 Old 03-15-2019
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So youre clamping it and no strut to prop/hold.. if i see it right
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post #56 of 58 Old 03-16-2019
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Re: Why are Solara solar panels so expensive

Anyone know of a prime cell manufacturer that will make custom sized panels? I expect they would be out of touch in cost, but I'm curious. As mentioned by the OP, I too have space size issues vs. panel size availability. If I reduce individual panel footprint to fit, I have unused deck space and notably lower wattage, but the larger panels overhang slightly (a really bad idea for walk-on panels). Perhaps this customization will be the next big breakthrough.


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post #57 of 58 Old 03-16-2019
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Re: Why are Solara solar panels so expensive

Here is a link to solbian (no clue about pricing).
www.solbian.eu/en/content/29-custom-panels
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post #58 of 58 Old 03-16-2019
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Re: Why are Solara solar panels so expensive

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
Anyone know of a prime cell manufacturer that will make custom sized panels? I expect they would be out of touch in cost, but I'm curious. As mentioned by the OP, I too have space size issues vs. panel size availability. If I reduce individual panel footprint to fit, I have unused deck space and notably lower wattage, but the larger panels overhang slightly (a really bad idea for walk-on panels). Perhaps this customization will be the next big breakthrough.
I went through eBay a couple years ago messaging with a bunch of the direct-from-Schenzen semi-flex sellers.

Out of say a dozen, two were happy to arrange their cells into custom panel layouts. Just talking about a few dozen at a time, not container loads, and prices quoted were maybe 50% over the usual, maybe $3 per Watt?

I lost access to that mailbox but pretty sure it wouldn't be hard to find similar again.

Just realize quality is a question and the only useful warranty is eBays NQAMB one good for what 60 days?
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