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Old 06-08-2014, 04:15 AM   #1
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Solar panels. What brand to buy

Hi everyone. We have a Jayco Heritage and have setup for free camping, LED lighting, 12 volt TV and Fridge will run on gas when we are not on the road. The last purchase needed is the Solar panel. Just not sure of what brand to buy. We are looking at a Waeco 120watt and a Goldray Energy 120 watt panel. There is quite a price difference here. Waeco at $499 and the Goldray at $267. Just wondering if anyone has heard of any feedback on the Goldray panels at all. I imagine all the panels are coming from a similar location as they all look the same. Any advice asap would be appreciated. Thanks Steve K.
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Old 06-08-2014, 08:23 AM   #2
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I too have been shopping for solar panels. I'm amazed how many various brands there are. The ones I've settled on are Made in the USA and they receive good reviews. You can purchase them on-line through Amazon or Home Depot. Take a look and see how they compare in the reviews to the Goldray Energy you are considering. Grape Solar out of Oregon. The options out there seem limitless. In the end I suppose it will be the support you care about. Grape Solar in my research came out on top for best product and value and I really like the idea of buying domestically. Since you are in Australia, Goldray Energy may be the best choice.
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Old 06-08-2014, 09:33 PM   #3
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I just ordered the 2-250w Grape Solar panels from Amazon. Price was 100 lower than home depot. Found some places that seemed to have a better price, but shipping can be high - amazon & hd were free.

They came by ABF and were packaged on a pallet with another wood frame banded to the top and look like any other panel I've seen before. There are 6 bypass diodes arranged in pairs to give 3 strings in each panel.
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Old 06-08-2014, 09:34 PM   #4
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I just ordered panels from dmsolar.com. Two 158W panels for $268 plus shipping (which, for me, came to about another $100). Still cheaper than most other stuff out there. I got the lead from a guy (http://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/) who has installed several of them on RVs with no problems. I also looked for negative feedback around the web and couldn't find any except for complaints about the shipping cost. Even with that they are still less expensive than most stuff out there.
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Old 06-10-2014, 03:05 AM   #5
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Thanks everyone for the quick replies. I am in Australia and have had some good replies from owners who purchased this brand and will go with the Goldray panels. Happy Holidays to all.
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Old 06-10-2014, 07:33 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by waynem View Post
I just ordered panels from dmsolar.com. Two 158W panels for $268 plus shipping (which, for me, came to about another $100). Still cheaper than most other stuff out there. I got the lead from a guy (http://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/) who has installed several of them on RVs with no problems. I also looked for negative feedback around the web and couldn't find any except for complaints about the shipping cost. Even with that they are still less expensive than most stuff out there.
Thanks for that link.

Informative read. Comes off a bit rough around the edges, but I like that he encourages people to do their own research.
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Old 06-10-2014, 08:47 AM   #7
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None. I'm not a solar guy. My thinking is simple, by the time you purchase the panels, controler, extra battery bank, and installation you could have purchased a good generator and skipped the whole solar array thing. I am a Honda 2000i owner and swear by them, but there are others that can keep batteries charged with just a 2 or 3 hours in the morning and a couple more in the evening as needed. The gen works rain or shine and you don't have to sit your rv in the sun for it to work.

I just came off the lake yesterday after spending 9 days on our houseboat. My 2000i ran for a couple hours in the morning [coffee pot and morning news] and 4 -6 hours in the evening [lights, fans, microwave, and sat tv]. Over the nine day period, I used approx. 6 gals of gas at a cost of $22. On a few days the gen ran for extended hours [dvr the nascar race on Sun] and grandkids watching movies. My point is simple, no panels to install and aim, no requirement for sun, and no need for a large multi battery pack.

Your choice, but I say a gen will top solar every time and the cost is about the same.
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Old 06-10-2014, 09:53 AM   #8
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I say a gen will top solar every time and the cost is about the same.
We too went with a generator right out of the gate when we bought our 26 BHS in 2007. We have a 3000 watt Yamaha. You can't beat having that power on demand and momma loves the Air Conditioning in the Summer heat. The issue I have with generators is that they are not allowed in some areas of the National Parks and frankly I just get tired of disturbing the peace. I enjoy listening to the creek water and birds and even the laughter of the kids. My Yamaha is a "quiet" unit, but I'd prefer solar. Cost is not my obstacle with it. There are meadows in both Glacier NP & Yellowstone NP where I'd like to go camp with the family. The animals in those areas are more abundant to see and generators are not allowed, but we need our power. Cost be damned.
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2007 Jayco Jay Flight 26BHS
2005 GMC YukonXL Denali
4 6-volt batteries - 440 AH bank
Magnum Energy MSH-3012 Tri Metric 2025
Yamaha EF3000iSEB generator
Winegard Traveler DirecTV slimline HD SK-3005
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Old 06-10-2014, 12:51 PM   #9
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We too went with a generator right out of the gate when we bought our 26 BHS in 2007. We have a 3000 watt Yamaha. You can't beat having that power on demand and momma loves the Air Conditioning in the Summer heat. The issue I have with generators is that they are not allowed in some areas of the National Parks and frankly I just get tired of disturbing the peace. I enjoy listening to the creek water and birds and even the laughter of the kids. My Yamaha is a "quiet" unit, but I'd prefer solar. Cost is not my obstacle with it. There are meadows in both Glacier NP & Yellowstone NP where I'd like to go camp with the family. The animals in those areas are more abundant to see and generators are not allowed, but we need our power. Cost be damned.
You've got a need and purpose for solar. I just don't have that need.
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Old 06-10-2014, 11:15 PM   #10
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Thanks for that link.

Informative read. Comes off a bit rough around the edges, but I like that he encourages people to do their own research.
I can't say that handy Bob is a warm and fuzzy guy, but he's pretty smart. After reading his stuff you will understand batteries, charging, and solar enough to do your own research.

We are adding solar this year as an experiment. We debated solar vs generator. It's true you can add a decent solar system or a 2000w gen for about the same amount. We chose the solar route so we don't have to deal with the noise (none is better than just a little), packing gas for the gen, and dealing with schedules of when you can run. Of course we will have to deal with clouds and rainy days (pacific northwest), unknowns as far as daily usage and actual recharge, and we won't be able to use the drip coffee maker or the microwave. But so far we like our choice. We may change our tune after a season or two.
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