Good deal or wait: Kyocera KS10 panels

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by kckndrgn, Feb 17, 2014.

  1. kckndrgn

    kckndrgn Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I know that this model of panel is discontinued, but I feel like I could get 2 or 4 of these to use at my hunting cabin /BOL.
    Kyocera KS10 10W 12V Solar Panel

    I currently have 2 of these:
    NPower Amorphous Solar Panel Battery Charger Kit — 20 Watts | Amorphous Solar Panels| Northern Tool + Equipment

    So 2 of the KS10 approx equal one of the NT panels (based on numbers), would there be advantages to the KS10 over the NT panels?

    Panels would be used in parallel (to maintain 12V) for the charging/mainting of either a deep cycle marine battery or a set of GC-2's.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Why Pussyfoot around with these tiny panels? Why NOT just go buy one 120Watt Panel and be done with it.... Solar can be had for $1-$2 a Watt, these days, so it isn't a BIG Investment, like it used to be, when they were $3-$4 a Watt. One Panel, One set of connections, one Charge Controller, One Battery, and your done, for a small System. ..... YMMV.....
    Tevin and VisuTrac like this.
  3. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++

    There are a lot of small wattage solar panels out there and lots of hype in the marketing of them. I suggest one actually assess what your needs are in terms of amp-hours or watt-hours before dropping bucks on these small panels. Figure some inefficiency in charging the batteries and in in getting the power back out. Figure the days are not 14-16 hours of sunlight but are shorter than that in winter.

    If you are using a deep discharge marine battery, those are often in the range of 80-100 amp-hours at 13.4 volts. That is roughly 1070 to 1340 watt-hours of capacity. Assume you only discharge it half way (recommended not more to get better life) then that is 535-670 watt-hours. If you get something good like 90% efficiency in charging the battery, then you will need in the realm of 594 to 744 watt-hours of energy from the solar panel to recharge a half discharged battery. At 10 watts for say 10 hours per day of good strong sunshine, that is only 100 watt-hours so it will take 6-8 days to recharge one battery. One can couple a few of these panels to reduce that. Fine. But if this is for cabin and doesn't need to be easily transportable, then you can buy a full size panel that is 200 watts for 200 bucks instead of 3 $70 panels with a fraction of the output and recharge the battery in just one day, during the winter when you only 5-6 hours of good strong sunlight.

    If you need something portable to recharge a radio or GPS or flashlights, the small panels are worthy of consideration, but for a cabin, I'd think bigger myself.

    kellory, Cruisin Sloth and BTPost like this.
  4. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    These small panels I use for power when I need my solar heat collector to transfer the collected heat. Only work well when in good sun & they are matched with a pump. I pay in the 29.00 to 32.00 range shipped to me. I also have a few with small charge controls to charge a garden tractor battery for a electric fence in the fields . they have a very small output , so to even charge your flashlights to cell phone , they need a cc & a garden tractor battery that gets charged every day to charge your phone from , because your normally charging your stuff at night ..
  5. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    OR, If you are like Me, run your Outfit on the " Two is One, and One is none" Principal, then buy two of everything, and have redundancy, and twice the Power.....
  6. Tevin

    Tevin Monkey+++

    The big thing that immediately jumps out at me is Kyocera is an excellent brand that has been around pretty much as long as solar power itself. You will get decades of reliable service out of them. I use them myself and swear by them.

    The Northern Tool panel...who knows who really made it, but being that it's from NT, I'm going to guess it's some low-end off brand. I assure you, if you put that NT panel outside, it will not still be pushing out electrons twenty years from now. It might not even make it five years.

    I'm not a fan of sticking teeny little panels together, but given your question this is a no-brainer: Two Kyoceras are waayyy better than one NT unit.

    As far as "good deals" go, $55 for ten watts is ok. Not great, but ok. Here is a ten watter for a few bucks less. It's made by Solartech, which is also a very well regarded brand:

    Solartech 10 Watt Multicrystalline Solar Module

    By the way, Northern Arizona Wind & Sun is a stellar operation that treats customers exceptionally well. I've bought thousands of dollars worth of stuff from them and they are A++. They also have a Solartech 20 watt panel that is only a few bucks more than what NT wants for their version.

    Keep in mind no matter which way you go, you will never see 20 watts from your setup. I don't want to hijack your topic with a long explanation, but suffice to say that you should buy twice as many watts as you think you will need. Twenty watts would keep a lightly-used deep cycle battery topped off. It would not be adequate if the battery is used a lot.

    Hope this is helpful.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2014
  7. Altoidfishfins

    Altoidfishfins Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    Monocrystalline panels are a little more efficient and these days seem to cost little more than the polycrystalline jobs. But which ever way you go, forget the small panels for a cabin. And as the previous posters have pointed out, the prices have dropped to a buck a watt or even less. Don't forget the properly sized charge controller or you'll have a mess and a ruined battery(s) when you get back to your cabin.

    I have used 20 watt jobs that I obtained some years ago for a good price that I power a portable LED flood light with. But the batteries are small and easily recharged the following morning in three or four hours and that's all they're used for. Small panels are good for single purpose, portable stuff.
  8. kckndrgn

    kckndrgn Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Thanks all for the info
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