The free solar panels.

Hi John,

I was thinking about the solar roof tiles we talked about.  So what’s the deal?  The guy is going to pack them into containers and ship them free?  What a deal!  How many….did you say 30,000?

Even I can’t build a shed big enough to use that many, though a thousand or so to reroof my barn might be handy, even duds.

The restrictions on them are an issue.  No house roof and no grid tie.  What about a small solar farm?  That many shingles would run 150 homes, but I am not sure they could hold up to string voltages required by the big inverters.  That almost restricts them to sheds or maybe developing nation donation.  I am going to donate some of my leftovers to our local museum to run lights in the Blacksmith Shop and to run the fountain.  Yahoos keep cutting our underground wiring!

FYI, I started testing/grading tile panels from my last load.  So far, I have set aside about a third, many of which likely work. My test is quick and simple.  I point the panel at the sun and plug in an ammeter.  Clean and pointed at the midday sun it should make around 8 amps.  I usually don’t clean them initially and prorate the amps downward.  I have kicked a few for no output. Mostly I kick them, without electrical testing, for broken glass, missing connectors or delaminations on the edge that might cause failure later.  So far, only ONE has had no cracked cells and works, meaning almost every one of them was stomped and tossed off the roof.

This was a concern of mine, but I read a paper on intentionally fracturing cells to get higher output AND another on using lots of smaller cells (same difference) to increase output.  As long as the tiny silver lines are intact they work fine.  I had intended to cherry pick my old stacks and the new ones to put up premium groups, but they are not there.  Each 60A charge controller would require parallel/serial groups of 84 panels.  Doesn’t look like that will happen, not with perfect ones.

One last day, today, before the rain returns, so I guess I’d better get out on the shed roof and hang some modules.

Oh, one last thing, have you tried Orange Goop or GoJo hand cleaner on your 26 cent panels?  The stuff is solvent and the paste would let it soak into the pores without drying out or running off.

Let me know when you are coming for a visit.


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