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120 Watt Solar Panel Kit - $200

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  • Jan 29th, 2022 12:39 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Jul 19, 2021
75 posts
401 upvotes

[Costco] 120 Watt Solar Panel Kit - $200

Costco has these kits back in for $199.99 with free shipping (they used to have only the 200 watt kits for $600).
They have the panel stands, charge controller and a 300 watt modified inverter.

Can you get them cheaper in the warehouse?
Beats me, I think they were $189 last summer in the warehouse, so $199 delivered to your door is a-ok.

Pick up tow sets of kits, two golf cart batteries here at Costco for $170 each, and a 400watt pure sine inverter here at Canadian Tire for $140.

Boom!
For under $1k you have a solar backup-system to run your lights, computers, tv's, etc. during an outage.
or run a line to a dedicated plug in the house and use it at will.
You have the power!

Image
154 replies
Newbie
Aug 6, 2018
62 posts
125 upvotes
Thanks op for the effort. Opvoted.

So 200$ but then 1000$ to actually use it.
Deal Addict
Dec 6, 2008
1292 posts
438 upvotes
So why do I need the inverter from Canadian Tire when the panel already includes a 300W inverter
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Jul 21, 2016
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itemsale2003 wrote: So why do I need the inverter from Canadian Tire when the panel already includes a 300W inverter
I did not verify but I assume the one bundled with the solar panel is cheap and likely not pure-sine wave (so it could damage expensive equipment)
Last edited by Admin on Jul 32th, 2027 9:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Addict
Dec 6, 2008
1292 posts
438 upvotes
InvaIid wrote: I did not verify but I assume the one bundled with the solar panel is cheap and likely not pure-sine wave (so it could damage expensive equipment)
Thanks. Any idea if I need to run a microwave would a 1500w inverter work with this setup. I guess all the solar panel is doing is charging the 12v battery
Sr. Member
Mar 4, 2008
600 posts
114 upvotes
BC
I have a Coleman Saluspa soft tub that runs from a 110V plug. Would I be able to buy this and plug in the soft tub in the inverter? Or overall wondering if theres a way I can solar power the soft tub?
[OP]
Newbie
Jul 19, 2021
75 posts
401 upvotes
you can get the kit and buy a single 27m battery from costco for $165 and be up and running,
but the modified inverter may adversely affect sensitive electronic equipment over the long run (i'll test mine on my led lights/laptop and report back)
this might be all you need

you are paying $1.67/watt for the solar panel alone, which is a pretty good deal nowadays (for anything not in the 300+ watt range)

it seems strange to need to spend that much to run a few items, but as a backup with a woodstove for heat, you would be comfortable without a gennie running
plus you have to look at this a starter system that can be added to (those panels will be there in 20+ years still pumping out the dc)

microwave is only feasible in a large whole-home system, you will be looking at $15k plus
you must really like microwaving things, or adapt to a non-microwavable existence (should you choose the path to energy independence)

here are some things to ponder:
- your battery bank with the 2 golf cart batteries is 210 amphr at 12v, this equals a capacity of 2520 watts
your inverter and line loss will cost you ~10%, leaving you 2268 watts, of this you should try not to use over 50%, leaving you 1134 watts to play with
don't forget that while the sun is out and your battery bank is filling/full you have that power from the panels to play with
- that 1134 watts can be broken down like below:
~~ 30 watts/ hour for a laptop + 12 watts/hour for led lighting + 55 watts/hour for a 32" led/lcd tv + 10 watts/hour for a wifi router = 107 watts/hour
so around 10 hours of continuous usage after the sun has gone down

- now let's say you will probably only use 5 hours of continuous usage (esp. in the summer), that means you have almost 600 watts left over, can you run a decent efficient fridge/freezer?
yes you could, BUT, if you have cloudy weather the next day your battery bank will be dropped to about 10-20% (not good, they will have needed a charge before this point)
a better idea is to run the fridge during the day and turn it off in the evening, not ideal, but a power outage is an emergency
if you want to be able to run a fridge/freezer and maybe a small freezer for any amount of time you have to beef up the system (add onto the starter system, or start with a better system)

you could buy 3 of these kits (or 2 larger panels from a solar supplier), larger battery bank, etc and run your fridge for an extended time, pick up a tri-fuel gennie and a propane tank and tell the power company to take a hike
but this little system from costco is not to run your household, it is to give you some comfort for power outages, for an rv, or for a cabin

i was just going to pick up some panels today, until i saw this at costco, and i was going to pay $2.75/watt for a couple of panels from a dealer without a charge controller

one last note on batteries, the peukert effect
a large hit on your batteries is worse for them than the same power drain from smaller hits (would you prefer 100 pillow smacks or 1 lead pipe to the side of your head?)
Deal Fanatic
Dec 19, 2005
7682 posts
969 upvotes
Waterloo
JimboD wrote: I have a Coleman Saluspa soft tub that runs from a 110V plug. Would I be able to buy this and plug in the soft tub in the inverter? Or overall wondering if theres a way I can solar power the soft tub?
I’d love to know the same thing! Just bought one and wanna see if we can run solar
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Nov 18, 2008
8728 posts
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Mont-Royal
dont u think its a little bit too green?
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Sr. Member
Jan 20, 2013
506 posts
104 upvotes
Woodbridge
L4cky wrote: dont u think its a little bit too green?
Agree!!!!
Decide what are you looking for and how often you would/may need it. IMO, nothing is beating the generator. Lower cost, more power. The only case your solar panel may win - maybe a cottage, with a lot of power outages FOR A LONG TIME and you are not there. but you would like to see your camera. Even then, you would need either switch or "on-grid" inverter
Without being green do your match - $ per watt.
The solar panel is still too expensive, especially with our limited amount of sun. Unless you are under "Thunberg" influence
Deal Fanatic
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Jan 25, 2004
6346 posts
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Ottawa
Debating grabbing a couple to throw on my powerless shed just for some lights etc.

How easy are these to mount (roof or wall).
Newbie
Nov 26, 2021
64 posts
180 upvotes
I have one small solar panel Mounted for lights only. Problem is in winter they simply don't get enough sunlight to fully charge the battery. So I would not count it as an emergency use. And for regular use, definitely no. The price perbkw is toooooo high and by using a battery I'm not doing much favor to environment. I would rather get a small generator
Member
Nov 3, 2011
348 posts
164 upvotes
Unless you have a RV and can mount this panel on the top and use it in the summer, this panel won't work well in the freezing areas. The reason is the batteries won't perform well in frozen temperature. You can't charge your battery at home because the harmful gas it leaks during the charging. I tried a 100W panel outside during the winter, it can't even work well for some led Christmas lights.
Jr. Member
Dec 2, 2007
169 posts
313 upvotes
Thanks OP!

Question for any RV or battery experts... I have an RV with a dual 6V battery setup. It has a roof mounted 100W panel, but I'm interested in this for those shady campsites. The specs say this works with a 12V battery only. Will this work with my dual 6V setup?
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Jun 6, 2010
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Toronto, Ontario
itemsale2003 wrote: Thanks. Any idea if I need to run a microwave would a 1500w inverter work with this setup. I guess all the solar panel is doing is charging the 12v battery
For 1500w with 12v battery, you need to run 125A. What wire you think you need to carry 125A?
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Member
Jun 19, 2007
263 posts
111 upvotes
Mississauga
Kafer wrote: Thanks OP!

Question for any RV or battery experts... I have an RV with a dual 6V battery setup. It has a roof mounted 100W panel, but I'm interested in this for those shady campsites. The specs say this works with a 12V battery only. Will this work with my dual 6V setup?
Your setup is 2x6 v=12V , there are no 6 V controls in RV control circuits. The output of this panel will be equivalent to your system with independent controller. If you want to add this on the rood , it is just an ungodly mess . The only feasible option is to use it with a small extension and manually place it in the sun. All and all , its a mess. For shady campsites I recommend to use a nice 450 watt panel, they are really cheap these days and have an upgraded charge controller. It will be sufficient unless the shade is really thick. Thats my setup.

On the other hand this is a steal if you just need portable power tp keep your mobile and other small things going , last year, in killbear, I saw a guy with a small wheeled cart , size of a stroller, it had an automotive battery , extension reel and adjustable arm to hold panel on an angle. If you have an RV and not planning to do anything fully sustainable , this is also a nice setup. Again, do not plan to do anything fancy. Mobile devices , some small stuff. With 180A/h battery This will last for one day boondocking in all favorable conditions, direct sunlight etc and no converter use. Just lights, chargers for kids, fridge solenoid. Not more.
Sr. Member
Dec 11, 2008
974 posts
570 upvotes
Toronto
theflyingsquirrel wrote: For 1500w with 12v battery, you need to run 125A. What wire you think you need to carry 125A?
You're mixing up DC (Direct Current) and AC (Alternating Current). The microwave runs on AC.
First, you would need an inverter to convert the DV power to AC. Then you can plug in the microwave.

The inverter will generate heat, therefore there should be room for it to radiate the heat and keep cool.
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
4183 posts
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Toronto
Are people seriously asking about running microwaves and hot tubs off a $200 solar setup? Or is the sarcasm just not translating through the posts?
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Nov 17, 2012
4183 posts
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Toronto
Konowl wrote: Debating grabbing a couple to throw on my powerless shed just for some lights etc.

How easy are these to mount (roof or wall).
Buy a long extension cord. Or get a 12v battery, a small inverter and a couple LED bulbs/lights. Charge the battery once a year and enjoy your lights whenever you need them.

Before I did my full solar setup at my off grid cabin, I would use a 12v boat battery the previous owners left behind and a $20 inverter from Canadian Tire. I plugged a floor lamp into that setup and we had all the light we needed in the evening without having to run the generator.

No need to spend hundreds to light up a shed. Like I say I'd buy as long an extension cord as you need to get power out there and be done with it.
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Jun 6, 2010
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Canuck_TO wrote: You're mixing up DC (Direct Current) and AC (Alternating Current). The microwave runs on AC.
First, you would need an inverter to convert the DV power to AC. Then you can plug in the microwave.

The inverter will generate heat, therefore there should be room for it to radiate the heat and keep cool.
DC or AC, in order to get to 1500W, you still need 125A on the DC end. You cannot create power from nothing.
And it is not including the loss from inverter. If it is 80% efficient, you need 1875W.
So 156A to be safe.
torontotim wrote: Are people seriously asking about running microwaves and hot tubs off a $200 solar setup? Or is the sarcasm just not translating through the posts?
I have difficulty powering a small esp8266 device with 12V solar panel in winter. Solar is just a gimmick in Canada. It is utterly useless if you want something reliable.
If I buy something that is not in deep discounted, my father will punish me; everyone will laugh at me. I will be the strange kid who doesn't fit in.
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How to setup PAP in Tangerine

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