Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Seven years with my gear: SolarWorld 270W solar panel



This is the beginning of a new series where I review the Rolling Steel Tent’s long-serving equipment. Don’t worry, the “food” reviews will continue.

I had watched a bunch of videos and read a lot of articles about solar power and felt I knew just enough to put together a system. According to my calculations, I needed somewhere between 200 and 300 Watts. I preferred to get one large panel instead of two or more smaller ones so mounting and wiring would be simpler. All the experts said to go with monocrystalline cells. So I shopped around and chose this 270W panel made by SolarWorld. The price was about a dollar per Watt.

I turns out the panel was intended for large stationary arrays, not mobile applications, but that hasn’t been a problem. What I didn’t understand when I clicked buy was the 38 Volts the panel could pump out would require a fancy, very expensive charge controller (which I’ll cover in another post).

Despite a few hail storms, and accidentally driving 25 miles on the Interstate with the panel tilted up, there have been no problems. It keeps on generating electricity just like it should. Couldn’t ask for more.

8 comments:

  1. I chose 3 panels in parallel for mine so I could get a breakage in a panel ( tree limb, rock, ??? ) and not shut down the rest of the panels. It is just a choice every solar user gets to make.

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  2. We are so happy with our solar panels - 2 Kyoceras bought 25 years ago and 1 Kyocera bought 11 years ago. They're all pumping out power just as they did when they were new. Over the years they have saved us a lot of money and made our lives so much more convenient - couldn't ask for a better investment even though it was expensive at the time. New nomads can buy a good system fairly cheaply now that the prices have come down.

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  3. would love to see some closeup of the hinge, tilt bars and clips that secure the panel when down or when tilted. Pretty please :)

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    Replies
    1. I don't have the panel mounted that way anymore, so I can't take new pictures.

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  4. Okay, okay, I'll bite. What the heck are you folks running that you use solar for?

    I've been out here ten years with a 150 watt inverter that plugs into the cigarette-lighter socket. I use it, when I have company, to run to the Hitachi Magic Wand (made famous by Betty Dodson in the 1970s).

    See: https://www.healthyandactive.com/hitachi-magic-wand/

    A Romoss inverter that (also) plugs into the lighter socket refuels my phone & laptop.

    What're you powering? Two Hitachis?!

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    Replies
    1. Mostly a refrigerator, plus lights and various electronics.

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  5. > would require a fancy, very expensive charge controller

    7 years ago mppt was prettty expensive. These days a $100 20A mppt would handled charging duties nicely.

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