$7 Panel Update
Curt wants to cover a motorhome shed with these modules. Great idea! I have suggestions on implementing that and an update on performance. Here’s a hint…they’re great!
They are not too fussy about leaves and clouds, giving the great potential for a carport cover. They won’t seal out the rain completely, but I think you can get pretty close to it.
A material Courtney and I used on his Solar Pergola project in 2016 (above) would be ideal for Curt’s carport: greenhouse channel. Bet you never heard of it! Think of the capital letter H, but with two crossbars. Now turn it sideways and stretch it very long. OK, maybe that isn’t working for you, but the stuff is an H-channel extrusion of clear polycarbonate or LEXAN(tm). Courtney’s panels were laminates, without the aluminum frames, much like these $7 panels made by first solar. (These laminates are pictured in the image above, not the $7 panels) Just slip the panels into the channels. In the area between the double crossbars, a no-man’s land between the channels, the occasional screw and fender washer will keep things secured to the purlins.
These 70 watt panels are a bit larger per watt that the framed panels you usually see, so one pallet of 50 should be plenty for a carport, leaving a few extras in case you should get careless.
The output is around 90 volts, so you’ll end up with a number of daisy-chained strings. For a battery system, you will do well to simply connect them all in parallel.
I know that I have promised some comparative data for the ones I installed at the Solar Shed, but “stuff happens.” I have taken data sporadically and can assure you that they perform very well, exceeding the performance of similarly rated poly panels.
A carport is just one of the many things you can do with these. At a dime a watt, they are good cheap fun for all manner of projects. You will find them listed on the sunelec.com home page. Last I checked, John had enough of them to cover a small town.–Neal