Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Solar Panels Arrived

The solar panels arrived yesterday 9-30-13 by UPS, 10 days after ordering. The boxes were beat up and looked like I’d have some broken glass inside but they were fine. Panel size: 40.8 x 20.7 x 1.38, Weight: 16.3 lbs. each. First impression is these are a good quality panel and well worth the price of $149.00 each, delivered free.

The protective cardboard shipping sheet that was on top of the glass.

An edge view of the cardboard shows it is ½ inch thick honeycomb structure.

Here’s what the cells look like. They are actually black but the flash of the camera makes them show up blue.

The rear side of the panels.

Panel Label.

Panel connection box and pig tails. Users have no access to the panels connection box just the pig tail connector.

I wanted to test the voltage of the panels because if they were bad I could send them back right away. So I leaned them against the windshield to get some sun on them. Don’t make fun of my paint job, typical of GM. A new paint job will happen after the panels are installed. My must do list is getting too large and just trying to keep up is wearing me out!

The open circuit voltage spec’s are 22.0 volts.
My reading was 20.6 volts however it was a hazy sky and the panels were not angle optimized towards the sun. I have no doubt they will perform to their specifications.

I had to order the mating “MC4” power cable connectors from Amazon ($24.00).
Now I need to figure out how to mount the panels to the roof…

More to come!


  1. Looks great Mike, can't wait to see the final complete setup.

    I always worry about items being shipped because the item is usually thrown around by the shipper.

  2. Sandy
    I know what you mean. When I saw the UPS truck pull up and the driver carrying the boxes I thought for sure the glass would be broken!

  3. I'll be following this with interest. I did solar power ten years ago but it was a bust. Mostly because of topographic considerations associated with living on a mountain top.

  4. Harry,
    Glad you’re going to follow the project.
    Sorry to hear you first go at solar didn’t work out well. Hopefully the next time you’ll have a better location to work with.
    What I am doing this time is replacing my Harbor Freight 15 watt (45 watt total) panels with these 100 watt panels. The current system is going on 6 years old with no issues at all, just need more power. For this upgrade I must pick the best of three possible new locations for the panels because at the most I have sun only until 1:00 in the afternoon then the trees block the sun.

  5. Once again, a post that we're most interested in following. We've only put up those Harbor Freight $149 jobbers on top of the chicken house for coop lights (two years ago I think), and those have been working fine for that, but we're wanting something that we can get more power from for lighting little stuff in the house.

  6. Carolyn,
    Good to hear you’re already using solar on the farm and yes you should start putting a system together for the house that after starting will allow expansion to a system that can handle future needs.
    You may want to keep an eye on The Stay@Home-Gardener blog for some tips as he has a 2,000 watt system running.
    I’m planning on posting a fairly detailed account of the installation so those who are not familiar with solar systems can clearly see how simple and relatively inexpensive it can be, like my system is. I like simple.

  7. Stay@Home,
    Yes, solar is exciting and my small system for the last 6 years makes me smile everyday! Now with the prices as low as they are just about everyone can have at least a small system running guaranteeing they will not be living in the dark should a major long term power outage become reality.