PV Solar Panels

I want to charge my Solo EV from Sun rather than using Manitoba Hydro. Hydro works. It’s reliable. It’s renewable. However it costs a bit of money, perhaps $300 per annum to charge my Solo (15000 miles X 2 per mile). I can do a little better by charging from Sun, plus I get some shade.

A major expense is the solar panels each about 1m X 2m in size giving nearly 300W each in peak insolation. They do deteriorate a bit over time but can be replaced as needed. Many manufacturers guarantee 80% of the rated output for 25 years. Good. My Solo might not last as long. Me neither.

Solar panels are made from small modules about 72 in each panel in a rectangular array 6 X 12 in shape. Each module delivers about 0.6V, the silicon band-gap energy making about 48V output at ~8A, less under shade or failed modules or less than normal incidence. By connecting panels in series with standard weatherproof connectors a high DC voltage can be obtained to charge batteries through a charge controller or to run an inverter. The circuitry is isolated from the frame up to about 1000 volts. Fuses and diodes protect the system by opening circuits and jumping failed modules. Panels weigh about 23kg.

By pointing the panels to Sun, one can get closer to peak performance for much of the day. Where I live, clouds are absent for ~2300h on average and the usual cloud is a high cirrus, allowing lots of light through. In “cloudy” weather, light is cut back quite a bit and it can get nearly twilight under an eclipse or a cumulonimbus cloud. We get those only a few times a year. So, a PV array charging a battery and running an inverter is quite a reliable source of power for a day or so. Typically, Solo will need only a partial charge after some errand so a matching battery might actually last several days of charging. Even cloudy days might keep up.

Prices for panels in China are about 50 USD per watt or a bit less in quantity. About 26 panels fit on a pallet which is far more than I need for my project. I could store the surplus for spare parts or to shade TLW’s patio in the future… or get like-minded DIY types to share in the purchase. I could store them on the roof of our house to generate even more power but that would be much more complicated than a shade over my picnic table… and TLW has stated she is against such a move…

The advantages of using solar panels to run my car are obvious:

  • I get to save a bit more money,
  • I get some shade instantly,
  • I get to make something, which I enjoy, and
  • I can show the neighbours possibilities…

The costs are obvious too:

  • I get to spend $thousands which might take a decade or more to recover,
  • I get some “eye-sore” in the backyard,
  • I have to put in a lot of effort to avoid adding even more cost for fabrication and installation, and
  • I have to keep explaining myself to doubters… 😉

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
This entry was posted in family, technology, weather and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to PV Solar Panels

  1. oiaohm says:

    Grece try again the one robert quoted as a 20 percent loss over 25 years but it does have 25 year warranty the one you found only has 10 years.

    Do note its a transferable warranty meaning who ever you sell the panel on to gets the warranty until it expires.

    Grece you have 4 major grades of solar panels.

    Good new panels from the likes of sunpower highish efficiency slow degrade rates of less than 10 percent every 25 years with a 25 year warranty transferable. These warranties are on the complete thing.

    The then there is another level of not so good what are brands that do 25 years non transferable warranties on the complete thing with a 20% decline over 25 years. These are reasonable quality.

    Not so good like Robert image that has 20% loss every 25 years but still comes with a 25 year output warranty transferable so are good solar modules. Problem is the 12 months construction warranty is a nightmare. So the Cells are fine for 25 years but the construction might not be.

    Then you have what Grece found questionable construction yes might contain the same picture but there is a issue in the description. The description years 10 years warranty the good version of a must solar panel is 25 years with 1 year construction warranty not limited to only 1 year construction and 10 year output warranty.. A new must solar panel with only a 10 year output warranty is from the reject bin.

    The bottom stack are the fly by nights. Where the company has no track record and you might have a warranty on paper but most of the time it not worth anything.

    Now this explains how come Grece would be saying solar panels only last 10-20 years. Not being careful enough on purchase you end up buying solar panels from the reject bin and they do not last very long because from the factory they have a known problem. Basically panels with only 10 year warranties are duds.

    http://www.mustpower.com/sp660-series-poly-crystalline-silicon-solar-panel-230-250w/
    By the way Grece the Must poly panels that last out to 25 years have efficiency number of only 15.7%. 16.8%~18.25% is a new production process Must has tried and by the warranty it has not worked too well.

    Efficiency: 16.8%~18.25% high efficiencysJust be aware these panels are no more efficient then a internal combustion engine.
    Not really comparable this is apples with oranges. The CO2 cost in production is covered by a 10% percent efficiency solar panel in 500 hours. So well and truly inside a year. Internal combustion generator will spit out the CO2 to make a solar panel in ~100 hours yet a properly made solar panel will be going for 25 years+. So solar panels have very high efficiency when you compare CO2 and materials required to volume of power generated if you are using quality panels.

    There are three key numbers to solar panels is Efficiency, Degeneration rate and Expected functional life. Short warranty is short functional life. 25 years should be the min warranty people accept on solar panels.

    If you only focus on one of the numbers like idiot grece does you buy crap versions of solar panels and have a lot more waste and cost to deal with.

  2. kurkosdr says:

    Oh wait, Robert’s LW supports Trump?
    It would be fun if she did. You know, with her being the man of the house and such…

    Also, don’t use the “TLW” or “LW” acronym. Pog’s wife is “little” in the sense she is not fat. She is a woman, she doesn’t have to be 5″8.

  3. Grece says:

    Oh wait, Robert’s LW supports Trump?

  4. Grece says:

    Robert, knowing how cheap you are, the main question picking away at me, is if you are planning on using a single inverter or a set of microinverters?

    In my opinion, I feel that you may decide to build your own inverter? If so, would you go with solid-state or would you prefer an analog type deal?

  5. Deaf Spy says:

    Whats gotten into you?

    Well, you said it, Greece:

    he is ready for the old folks home for his own safety

    Thank Goodness Robert has his LW. She’ll not allow any of the stupidities Robert imagines. And supports Trump as well.

  6. Kurkosdr says:

    @Grece

    That said, a Solar panel with the efficiency of an internal combustion engine is a good deal because it doesn’t require fuel. Maybe it’s worth it if you have high electricity bills and don’t have to go into debt to get them.

    It’s Pog’s plan to use panels to charge his non-existent for the next 4 years Solo I don’t get.

  7. Grece says:

    I don’t care. The solar energy is $free. I can afford to waste a small percentage of it….I was interested in the warranty, not the efficiency.

    Robert, you don’t care about efficiency? Since when did you take this stance?? Just a few months ago you were raving about the Solo’s efficiency and now YOU DON’T CARE? Whats gotten into you?

    http://mrpogson.com/2017/04/17/by-the-numbers-electra-meccanica-solo-wins-on-efficiency/

  8. Grece says:

    Get this through your thick skull….There will be no “carbon tax” on Manitoba Hydro.

    Well lets see Robert. I never did mention Manitoba Hydro did I? However, since you brought that up, Manitoba Hydro doesn’t need to do anything, nor does the Manitoba province. A federal (Canadian) minimum carbon price, or equivalent cap-and-trade system, is set to be imposed on provinces that don’t create their own by the end of 2018. So in effect, you WILL SEE CARBON TAXES on your electric bill in the very near future.

    By the way, Manitoba Hydro plans to raise rates 46.25%, just FYI.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/manitoba-hydro-rates-increase-1.4101568

    And, when are you going to answer my questions?

  9. Kurkosdr wrote, “EMV’s own estimates and promises clearly put your Solo’s delivery date to 4 years from now. “

    No, that’s not true. On their site they show delivery dates of Q4 2018 for new orders. Mine’s not new. I did it in February 2017. They had promised Q1 2018 but that has slipped, thanks to certification. I think they have that in hand and at least one three wheeled vehicle has been certified in the past few months. Solo is definitely competitive in makeup to that one.

  10. Grece wrote, “you are anticipating carbon tax surcharges being placed on your electric bill. That may explain your reasoning, but you have not done this”.

    Get this through your thick skull. Manitoba Hydro uses very little fossil fuel for generation. There used to be some for remote communities in the North where I worked but when they put in roads and transmission lines that goes away. There will be no “carbon tax” on Manitoba Hydro. There may well be an adjustment made to compensate for less collection of road taxes on fuel in the future if EVs make a big dent in transportation. That is not likely for several years yet but it could happen. Someone has to pay for the roads. It may as well be the drivers of things that roll on the roads. It could also come to be to just dip into general revenue as everyone benefits from roads these days. I just don’t know the future. However, I do know that Sun will continue to shine for a while. I may as well use it and lock in my own capital and operating costs.

  11. Grece wrote, “Just be aware these panels are no more efficient then a internal combustion engine.”

    I don’t care. The solar energy is $free. I can afford to waste a small percentage of it.

    Further, I did not crop the image. The maker makes several styles and capacities. I was interested in the warranty, not the efficiency.

  12. Grece says:

    Why did you crop the picture of the solar panel website?

    https://mustpower.en.alibaba.com/product/60535990547-803012532/10_Year_warranty_solar_panel_200W_250w_300w.html

    Gee, it wouldn’t be because of this would it?

    Efficiency: 16.8%~18.25% high efficiencysJust be aware these panels are no more efficient then a internal combustion engine.

  13. Grece says:

    Let’s get this straight, you allegedly would spend $300 in electric to charge your Solo, but you want to theoretically spend thousands to save yourself an imaginary $50? That does not make a lick of sense Robert.

    Unless, you are anticipating carbon tax surcharges being placed on your electric bill. That may explain your reasoning, but you have not done this. In fact, you refuse to answer my questions I have asked you twice now already. Which leads me to believe, you have not thought or planned this thoroughly through and at best, this is just another one of those Pogson pipe-dreams that never come to fruition.

  14. kurkosdr says:

    wanting to build an solar array before even obtaining said EV

    I think the purchase of his PV panel plans have been pushed beyond the Solo EV delivery date. Everything Pog plans to do which has to do with offsetting his SUV-related CO2 sins has been pushed beyond the Solo EV delivery date, so he won’t really have to buy anything for a long time.

    Nope. I figure EMV will get their act together/get tired of piddling around and ship lots of units even from a single assembly line like they have and get to my car in 2018. That line could run 3 shifts a day and have another crew work 12h days on weekends to produce up to about 24 per day. They would reach my car in a few months of such production.

    That’s wishful thinking. EMV has made no relevant promises, it’s just you saying that.

    EMV’s own estimates and promises clearly put your Solo’s delivery date to 4 years from now.

    Which means that for the next 4 years you get to piggyback on your wife’s SUV while still being able to brag about “your Solo” (like you just did above). Which is what you really want, let’s be honest here.

    Imaginary carbon offsets and imaginary Solos sitting on the driveway. Pog’s resolutions for 2018.

    PS: Did beast got replaced by an ARM board yet? Maybe take on that first. Evil Intel and such, remember?

  15. Grece says:

    Robert has lost his mind. The amount of doubling-down on this Solo, his babbling over Trump, wanting to build an solar array before even obtaining said EV leads me to believe that he is ready for the old folks home for his own safety.

  16. Kurkosdr wrote, “There is no Solo for you for the next 4 years.”

    Nope. I figure EMV will get their act together/get tired of piddling around and ship lots of units even from a single assembly line like they have and get to my car in 2018. That line could run 3 shifts a day and have another crew work 12h days on weekends to produce up to about 24 per day. They would reach my car in a few months of such production. It could even happen sooner if they do get new capital investment going. There are several ways that could happen so I’m not counting any out. Certainly if they ship X units to X happy customers this summer and get a National Safety Mark number in Canada, investment should be easy to obtain as well as new orders and dealerships.

    On a related matter, another company has received NSM registration. They also build a “three wheeled vehicle” but it’s gas-powered and a two-seater. They have stayed small, having just 23 employees, so I guess they are not into mass-production either. EMV’s plan is better, more efficient and easier to assemble by far. Anyway, it’s interesting to see a three-wheeler be certified in Canada. If the thing they produce can do it EMV’s Solo should be easy.

  17. Kurkosdr says:

    Pog, please focus. There is no Solo for you for the next 4 years.

    So, you and your wife either have to endure the SUV costs you mentioned for those 4 years, or buy a Leaf and use the SUV much less both of you.

    Have you included this in your cost-benefit analysis?

  18. Kurkosdr wrote, “Oh please elaborate.”

    TLW paid cash for the SUV. She figures making payment for another car is greater than the cost of feeding and maintaining the SUV. She’s wrong, but that doesn’t matter. She’s who she is. The cost of maintaining the SUV is easily $3-4K per annum. This year it needs 4 new tires. I figure we’d be better off buying 3 new tires attached to a Solo. This year the SUV needs two oil-changes costing nearly $200. The Solo would not need any. TLW doesn’t consider that a new wheel-bearing cost us about $400 installed and that a new headlight cost about $400 installed (not just the bulb but the mechanism that steers around corners…), and the dealership wants $thousands to change the rear wiper motor and the hatch lift motor and …

    TLW’s concept is that one gets the greatest value from a car by running it into the ground. What she doesn’t figure is that keeping it years past its best-before date means we have to spend more on repairing it than a new vehicle would cost. I kid you not. Owning a Solo would cost less over the next five years than owning the already paid SUV for the next five years.

    ie. We could buy a new Solo every five years and be ahead of the game with fresh vehicles and low maintenance and low operating costs, even less insurance. Insurance on her monstrosity is probably $500 more per annum than Solo. We don’t know for sure what insuring the Solo will cost but if it’s like motorcycles here, $500 less than the SUV. It just costs less to replace/repair a smaller/cheaper vehicle.

  19. Kurkosdr says:

    Yes.

    Oh please elaborate.

  20. Kurkosdr wrote, “Have you calculated in that cost-benefit analysis of yours the cost of not getting a Solo for the next 4 years (or more) and piggybacking on your wife’s gas guzzling during that period of time, versus getting a Leaf today and not piggybacking on your wife’s SUV and even giving her rides?”

    Yes.

  21. Kurkosdr wrote, “There is no Solo for you for the next 4 years.”

    Nonsense. I have a place in the queue and EMV will ramp up production enough to deliver my car much sooner than 4 years, almost certainly one year. I read that 8 more chassis arrived at the assembly line this week.

  22. Kurkosdr says:

    I want to charge my Solo EV

    Your what?

    Now you are trolling for sure. There is no Solo for you for the next 4 years. And how many vehicles has EMV delivered so far anyway?

    Have you calculated in that cost-benefit analysis of yours the cost of not getting a Solo for the next 4 years (or more) and piggybacking on your wife’s gas guzzling during that period of time, versus getting a Leaf today and not piggybacking on your wife’s SUV and even giving her rides? Plus all the safety benefits of a car that is rated 5 stars in EuroNCAP versus the Solo big wheel.

    Of course, we all know you don’t really want to buy anything. You just want to feel like you are going to. The kind of person who is thinking of using a media center board as a server and is clinging on his old “beast” PC isn’t the kind of person that will drop upwards of 13K on an electric vehicle when he already has some kind of transportation. The preorder money was your feel-good shot (to compensate for your habit of riding on your wife’s SUV). For $250 and a promise to yourself of buying the Solo when you can buy it (aka a long time for now) you feel as if your CO2 sin’s have been forgiven. Imaginary carbon offsets!

  23. Grece says:

    How many panels are you planning for Robert?

    Have you calculated you weight and design loads for wind?

    Have you picked a microinverter supplier yet, or are you using a single inverter?

    What about connectivity back to your home? Will this array be off-grid possibly?

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