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Quick question: Do you buy brand solar panels or noname products from ebay and such? Currently looking to buy 200-400 W worth of panels for camper van roof mount.


I'm on a similar search, from what I've seen, if you are going with a 12v system, people just suggest purchasing renology off of amazon due to the free 2 day shipping. My next question is whether or not I should get the more expensive flexible solar panels as they seem more durable and have a thinner profile, or to go with the cheaper aluminum framed ones.


Hm, interesting. Haven't heard about those yet, and they are not in German Amazon. Also they are just as expensive as other brand panels.

I'm also thinking about how to tilt the panels on top the van roof, because in winter the sun gets real low up here and with flat panels you don't have much yield. I have an idea but I need to check wether that works.


@dominic did you go for a brand panel or some cheap one?

Voted this

My apologies, in the US, Renogy (I spelled it incorrectly the first time), is just a generic amazon seller. The key point, is you purchase the cheapest one with free shipping.

I'm curious if there is any benefit for paying for the flexible ones, or even single crystal, over the cheaper amorphous solar panels.


@keks cheap. You definitely want angleable panels living in a high latitude, I'm only at 36 degrees! and it makes a big difference in the winter. You can start getting good amps soon aften dawn.

standard house panels a pretty heavy with all that glass, but flexible are so expensive I'd probably only that way if I weight was a significant concern


@nanomonkey ah thanks for the clarification.

From what I found it seems polycrystalline panels are around 16% efficiency and monocrystaline around 18% or 19%. So if you have limited space and find a good offer, monocrystalline seems worthwhile.

@Dominic Oh wow I though NZ would be further south. Yeah I think I have a decent variable angle construction now. Yeah glass is heavy but I think it's fine in this case.

I guess I'll just use generic panels then...Now I'll have to decide whether I go for the Victron brand MPPT (with UART) or again something generic. I planned on installing monitoring infrastructure as well so UART would be nice, but I'm not whether that's realistic.


Beware of fake MPPT chargers! Usually identified by small size and low weight.

Victron are nice, but most (genuine) generic MPPT chargers have some sort of data connection. There are repos on GH for connecting to those cheap Tracer MPPT chargers, IIRC.


@neftaly thanks for the heads-up! Yeah I found the repos. The 20A Tracer charger is about the same price as the 15A Victron charger. I guess it depends on the project whether it makes more sense to have some space for upgrades or go for higher efficiency, not sure which one is better in my case...

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