anyone know of good, inexpensive solar panels? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

We're looking for solar panels that will supply enough wattage for small appliances--like breadmaker and crock pot.

Your help is appreciated.


-- Jo (, April 11, 1999


I saw some small inexpensive kits at:

-- Villain (, April 11, 1999.

Hi Jo,

Electric appliances that heat things (like a crock pot and bread maker) usually use quite a bit of power, and a solar electric system which is able to generate a lot of power is a costly investment. As you research solar electric power -- there are many good sources on the web -- one of the recommendations you'll see is to carefully work to minimize your electrical usage. One way to do that is to avoid using your electricity for heating anything. (Unless you are prepared to spend thousands of dollars for a system that can deliver the kind of power you are used to using from the electric company.) Since your question had the word "inexpensive" I'm guessing you might not want to go that direction.

As an example, I am assembling a small system to provide a bit of light at night, charge batteries, run a radio and/or cd player now and then, etc. I just spent $872 on two 75-watt panels (got a really good price) and a charge controller, and will spend nearly that much more on batteries and an inverter to convert the battery voltage into the kind of voltage we get from wall outlets. I would not consider my system big engogh to run a crock pot or bread maker. While it might be possible to use appliances like that occasionally, there would be no juice left for other things.

A solar cooker -- using the heat from sunlight directly -- would be a great substitute for the crock pot. There are many plans online showing how to make inexpensive solar cookers. A thread within the last day or so listed some good alternative energy links for all kinds of solar energy; you might want to check them out.

There have been various discussions on this forum of solar electric power and good sources of systems and components. One place you might want to visit is which is Northern Arizona Wind and Sun. I did quite a bit of checking around before ordering my panels, and was delighted with their prices, quick shipment, good packing, friendly/professional phone discussions, etc. I enthusiastically recommend them and will order again (and, no, I have no connection with them other than being a very happy customer).

One of the first things you should consider when thinking about a solar electric system is to estimate how much power you will need to do what you want. Then you can determine how big your system will need to be. A number of the companies selling alternatave energy products have worksheets on their websites that will help with that.

-- Randy Jones (, April 11, 1999.

Try these sites:

-- curtis schalek (, April 12, 1999.

Jo- I second the comments re: heating things. With an off grid system, avoiid anything that uses electricity to generate heat- ie: crock pot, breadmaker, hair dryer, iron, toaster, oven, stove, etc. I wouldn't even consider trying to run one of those for an instant on my whole system!

A wood stove works better than a crock pot for slow cooking. Just bake bread in the oven.

-- anita (, April 12, 1999.

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