I am, at best, lukewarm on the 45 watt Harbor Fright Solar panel kit, but it is
on sale for 169.99, the cheapest price I have seen in a long time. (Regular
price 249.99) If you live near a store, you save shipping. Shipping can be a
real deal breaker with PV panels.
The trouble is that you still end up with a pretty useless product
unless you are looking for an educational toy for a under ten year old.
My friend has one of those HF sets, and I ran some tests in full
summer sun with the 3 amorphous panels, and the max I got was around
30+ watts. We used a 50 watt 12 volt bulb for a load, and tried
several resistive loads and I can't remember what we got for short
circuit current, but my probably faulty calculations never came near
I did not know what the max V point was for max I. My tests were not
very scientific as we did them in his back yard just to get ballpark
figures. After seeing his panels I bought a Kyocera 55 watt panel and
then ended up buying another Kyocera 65 watt panel, both work just
fine, but that was before I realized there were cheaper places to buy
some panels. I also wanted to use the cheaper Morningstar Sun Guard
controllers. That was before I knew anything at all... he he...
Future plans will use at least 200 watt panels since I don't have
space to mount many of them, and to go guerilla grid tie. One fly in
this ointment is that there are rumors our utility is going to the
so-called "smart meters" and I am thinking they cannot be run
backwards like the standard rotating disc meter. If anyone knows
anything about these "smart meters" that allow control of appliances
and remote reading, pass it along to the rest of us. (There is a site
on YOU TUBE that shows running one of the new digital meters
backwards, although the reverse current into the grid did not register
on the meter, it shows that the current is actually going into the
grid, but I don't remember if he got credit for the energy he pumped
into the grid, which would make the effort worthless).
Otherwise, you could devote the panels just to recharging the VOLT
battery with either the 120V or optional 220V chargers, possibly
having to include a few batteries in the system for temporary storage
for nighttime charging.
THe beauty of the HF kit is that it folds up nice and neat and you
can put them in your vehicle if you have to leave in a hurry.