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Getting started with solar - Page 4

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Posted by Jim Wilkins on August 4, 2018, 12:03 pm
 
<ads> wrote in message  

Solar isn't as popular or practical here in New England and the  
dealers I called didn't want DIY competition or potential liability  
problems.

At a ham radio flea market I bought several backpack loads of small  
used panels which the seller said had been salvaged from parking meter  
kiosks. The day was sunny enough to test them for open circuit voltage  
and short circuit current.to weed out the worst ones, but the best  
still varied enough to make combining then into a balanced  
series+parallel array tricky. A DC Wattmeter and large rotary rheostat  
like this is can find each panel's maximum power point.
https://www.amazon.com/SODIAL-Ceramic-Variable-Resistor-Rheostat/dp/B00ZT9UDTK  

Tubular variable resistors quickly become too hot to adjust. My  
rheostat is an old Ohmite from the same flea market, but they are  
scarce, and I don't know how good the imports are, or if they handle  
brief overloads as well as the Ohmite.

Overall the salvaged panels and new connectors cost me $ per Watt,  
the same as the HD Grape panels. I hung them from a handrail so the  
odd size didn't increase the installed cost.

-jsw



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