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Old 09-23-2013, 03:55 PM   #1
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Cheap Solar

Stopped by Harbor Freight today. They have a 45 watt solar charging system on sale for $180. It has 3 15 watt panels and all the electronics. Looks like a good candidate for a roof mount. With the 25% off any one item coupon you are looking at about $135.
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Old 09-23-2013, 04:09 PM   #2
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Maybe okay for a trickle charge in storage, but you may need all day in full summer sun to get back a typical nights usage. I recently installed a 400 watt system (8.9 times larger) that didn't cost me 8.9 times as much as the Harbor Freight system from AM Solar. It takes the batteries from 60% to full in three hours. It also qualifies for the federal 30% tax credit.
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Old 09-23-2013, 04:48 PM   #3
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The HF system is overpriced by today's standards. For $140 at Costco.com you can get a 100 watt solar panel, delivered to your home. I got two, plus a Blue Sky MPPT charge controller for another $200 and have a pretty darn good system now.
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Old 09-23-2013, 04:58 PM   #4
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45 watts won't give you much. Panel prices have really come down over the past few years. Check out AM Solar's web site. Tons of info and some great turnkey system options. They have a series of articles on the site that give you a good idea of what you need to meet your expectations. They also are very helpful over the phone.

If you're going to attach stuff to your A/S roof my humble advice is to get a system that will meet your needs and install once. I made the mistake of undersizing my last system and ended up with spending more $$ and more labor fixing it.

Good luck!
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Old 09-23-2013, 05:03 PM   #5
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Mine came with the factory installed 72 watt system. I think it was over $5k on the invoice. Just thought someone might be interested.
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Old 09-23-2013, 06:59 PM   #6
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Good solar ain't cheap solar. You get what you pay for.
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