Cheap Bad Solar!

Cheap Bad Solar!

Posted by Dave G on 4th Jul 2020

Has anyone been caught out with cheap under performing solar panels for mobile or portable use? The solar panel in the photo is sold as a 200 watt monocrystalline on one of the online auction sites but its not even close. Non grid tied solar used for camping, caravans, Rv and the off grid market has no standard which it must comply. As such the camping and online market is full of under rated poor quality solar panels. Most people just connect up the solar panel and don't even realise they have been taken for a ride.

How do you know that a solar panel is under rated for its size, because there is a standard size for a solar panel for the power they will put out.

12V monocrystalline solar panels with a cell efficiency of around 17- 20% should be roughly 0.0064m2 per watt. If there is a substantial variance from that, you are being misled (scammed).

Here’s roughly the sizes you should be looking at for monocrystalline solar panels:

  • 80W Solar Panel = 0.512m2
  • 100W Solar Panel = 0.640m2
  • 120W Solar Panel = 0.768m2
  • 150W Solar Panel = 0.960m2
  • 160W Solar Panel = 1.024m2
  • 200W Solar Panel = 1.280m2
  • 250W Solar Panel = 1.600m2
  • 300W Solar Panel = 1.920m2

If you want to know that the panel you are looking at is actually the wattage advertised, do the math above, or jump on a reputable sellers websites like Everdrive or Redarc and compare sizes.

As an Example this 200W (haha) fixed solar panel from online is 1170mm x 510mm or 0.597m2 which equates to approx a 95W solar panel.

This scam has been going around for years. But with everyone selling them from popup websites and every man and his dog selling portable and fixed solar on the non regulated auction sites, it seems to have become an epidemic in recent years.

This post doesn't even consider poor solar cell quality or poor materials used. With solar as with a lot of product you get what you pay for, don't get caught.

If you do find a solar panel on a website or auction site that does not stack up please send them an email and tell the seller and auction site customer service about the scam. We need to stamp out this poor practice.