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Friday, June 14, 2013

Antique Solar Panels



My original 8 solar panels are over 20 years old. I guess that makes them antiques. The 20 year warranty is expired, but that probably doesn't matter much. The company that made them and the company that sold them to me are both out of business.

More importantly, they pretty much look and function as well as the day they were installed. I have done nothing to them. How many things keep functioning for 20 years, day in day out, in the heat of summer and cold of winter?

As for the rest of the system, the battery bank has been chanced a couple times. That's to be expected as lead acid batteries have only so many cycles in them. The charge controller was replaced, not because it failed, but because I upgraded to better technology. The old charger has been saved as a backup.

The inverter is an old 2425 Trace. It's original. It converts 24 volt DC to AC house current. It also functions as a battery charger. This is long past its warranty date, but keeps on ticking. It works hard as I'm powering a ½ horse submersible pump and power tools with it -along with the rest of the house stuff.

The only other thing that's been replaced on the whole solar electric system is one battery cable on the battery bank. That was my fault. Once of the connections was loose and improperly corrosion protected. The connector had a lot of corrosion on it so I replaced the whole cable.

The cost of the system was paid off in energy savings in 7 years. The piece of mind from having a good power supply independent of the grid was immediate. When times were tight, it was nice to know the lights were going to stay on.

My guess is that my grandkids will one day have to figure out what to do with those old solar panels.

-Sixbears

11 comments:

  1. A question . If you were going to add say 2 more pannels would you tie into your present system or make a second backup circiut. With just lights coputer and tv or radio serviced?I know cost would be higher to put in a smaller duplicate but would it be worth it for peace of mind that the system was 2 free standing services?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I'd expand my present system, but I'm limited to where I can get decent sun exposure.

      A complete backup system would be nice, but would be hard to execute. Might put in a small system down by my beach shed one day.

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  2. I wish I had had solar panels installed when I built my house back in '95. Now I can't afford it.

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    Replies
    1. It is possible to start small and slowly expand as money allows.

      Delete
  3. Very cool story - nice to hear that its still working like it is supposed to do. I wonder with the lowering price of current solar panels, will they also enjoy the long life as well? Even they will likely last longer than the present grid system. I see and here signs of it fracturing nearly every day.

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    Replies
    1. Cost per watt is about 1/5th of what is was when I put my system in -and it made sense for me then.

      The grid is pretty creaky in a lot of places right now.

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  4. I'd sure like to see some pictures of your system someday!

    Glad everything is still working!

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    Replies
    1. There's a few pictures of my solar panels somewhere on my blog.

      Okay, here's a post and photo of snow on the panels:

      http://sixbearsinthewoods.blogspot.com/2009/12/sun-at-work.html

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  5. Replies
    1. I love something that stands up so well to neglect.

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  6. I have a 45 watt system that I put up as a test bed to see how well it solar would work. 5 years later it has been flawless powering my kitchen TV and radio. This year I am going to upgrade to 200 watts of panels.

    ReplyDelete