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Old 10-08-2013, 12:24 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Montreat, NC
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Solar panel from harbor Freight

Do any of you know anything about this 45 watt solar panel from Harbor Freight?
At $149. it is in my budget. Thanks for looking and your help. ... 68751.html

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Old 10-08-2013, 01:12 PM   #2
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Re: Solar panel from harbor Freight

I would pass. I've got an 85 watt panel and in my opinion that is the minimum size to make it worth your while (unless you are just looking for a battery tender).

Are you looking for a remote mount or a hard mount? I think you should be able to find a simple 10A charge controller and an 85W panel for under $200.

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Old 10-08-2013, 07:40 PM   #3
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Re: Solar panel from harbor Freight

I bought one of these at their parking lot sale for $139. At full direct sun it puts out just a shade under 15v. The included controller shuts out at 14.5v so at full direct sun it kinda doesn't do anything until the voltage from the panels drop below 14.5v.

Having said that it takes awhile to charge up a depleted group 27 deep cycle battery. By depleted I mean the battery was run down by my Edgestar45 fridge set to 38 degrees until the unit shutdown because the battery voltage became too low.

I currently have the panels lying flat on the ground so it gets decent sunlight until the house begins to cast a shadow over it. Even in shade there's decent voltage coming from the panels. I am seeing roughly a .12v net gain per day using the panels.

I think if you want to use these to charge up a battery then you will be disappointed at the rate of charge. If you want to use them to maintain/trickle a battery then I think they're okay for that.

For me I'll probably go with a 200 watt setup and quality controller when I can find the time to research it.

Hope this help,
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Old 10-09-2013, 12:05 PM   #4
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Re: Solar panel from harbor Freight

Yeah, I got one of those sets on sale with coupon, etc as well.

But you don't get much wattage per sq inch with those puppies. Fine if you've got tons of room, but on recommendation of folks here I got one of those Grape Solar 100w panels at Costco. I use mine externally (i.e. not mounted on the van, but on it's own stand) and it works far better than wrestling three panels of similar size for 45w. YMMV. You can currently (ha!) get one at Home Depot for $150; doesn't include the controller like with HF's but that's over twice the power in a smaller package.
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Old 10-09-2013, 08:30 PM   #5
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Re: Solar panel from harbor Freight

I don't know anything about the HF panels but I can tell you there are better deals available out there. PV shouldn't be much more than $1/w and controllers are not expensive, particularly not if they come from HF. For less than that I got a 100w panel, controller and all connectors. If you try a search you should find the details.
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