I guess that bit of advice applies in a lot of areas, doesn’t it? Here’s a quick example of what can go wrong if you don’t.
Mike came up with some nifty (that’s a 1960’s term, meaning awesome) adjustable solar panel racks. 2 rows of 5 each. He had several and talked me out of the one I had. Originally they held panels in the neighborhood of 250 watts, but some folks were hopping them up with panels up to around 330 watts. 60 cell vs 72 cell. The extra length of the 72 cell modules was not a problem as 60s and 72s are the same width, about a meter. Or metre, if y’all ain’t from around here. You do have to watch the series voltage, though, to keep the charge controllers happy. 72 cell panels are going to put out around an extra dozen volts. So, see? Pay attention.
Well, Mike decided that if a 330w panel was good, the one that puts out 440w is bound to be better, right? The 440s had the voltages in the right range so he ordered a bunch of them. The problem is, he didn’t pay attention to the physical size. They are longer, which could be awkward, but he could deal with that. The real problem is that they are about 3 inches wider than the panels to which he was accustomed. Therefore, the rack is only wide enough for rows of 4 panels instead of 5. Oops.
Well, don’t feel sorry for Mike. He can always find uses for extra solar panels. He also has a couple of pallets of 330w panels, so he can get right to work on the project.
It looks like the Solarever 440 is the panel Mike bought, but I see John has some in the 530 watt range, too! Check those out at sunelec.com‘s home page. Also note that next to most listings there is a PDF symbol. That’s the data sheet so you can get the volts, amps, watts, size and weight specs. If the PDF is missing, give Roberto a call and he can get you the info. Pay attention to the details and the project will go smoother.–Neal