Where to buy small solar panels

scrynMarch 8, 2006

I am building a greenhouse and the greenhouse company has solar powered fans and accessories. They are selling small solar panels for about 200-300 dollars and batteries for 200 dollars. I am sure they must be cheaper through a company that sells these special products only.

The greenhouse supply place is selling PV panels. Not sure if that information is important to you guys or not.

Mainly I want to run a ventilation fan, when warm and sunny and hopefully also have some battery power saved up for lights when needed. Our back roof (and greenhouse) are south facing so we have room to place some solar panels on our roof. I would like to be able to remove them during the winter so they are not damaged. During the winter I will not need ventilation. This is also a lean-to home attached greenhouse so I am hoping it will function as a solar collector during the winter.



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The first thing you NEED to know . . is how much wattage the stuff you want to run will use. THEN you can begin to look at panels etc. At first look, the stuff is not "cheap" . . but also know that any REAL panel will have a warranty of 20 or 25 years. If you buy something "cheap" . . it will bite you in longevity.

Define your loads better; then you can figure out what you'll need in terms of panel capacity, battery storage capacity etc . . .


    Bookmark   March 8, 2006 at 6:48PM
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The fan I am insterested in requires a 20 watt solar panel. The fan runs directly off this panel and as the sun increases the fan increases speed. It would be hooked up to a thermostat so that it wouldn't start running untill the greenhouse is a certain temperature. The fan is .7 amps when 12vdc is used.

A light would be like 130 watts 2.1 amps 12vdc
This is just a normal light, so I can work in the evening. It is not for the plants. I am sure I can find suitable lighting elsewhere because the greenhouse place only offers this light.

I would like the battery to store power for the lights and maybe something else like a small fan.

I understand that the solar panels are NOT cheap however I just think that buying them from a company that specializes in solar products, rather than greenhouse products, would be smarter. Then I can buy the fan and other special stuff from the greenhouse place. I really only want a simple setup and right now my main concern is ventilation so starting with the simple battery-less system is fine with me. I can always upgrade later. Ventilation is a necessity as other things, like lighting, are not right now.

I have always wanted a greenhouse however I don't want to use more power for it. I am trying to build a greenhouse so I can get rid of some of my light stands and save energy.
I think that also building the greenhouse with a smaller projection from the house would also save money (less air space to heat by the sun)
I haven't fully determined what to do for winter heating yet though. We use a pellot stove mainly and will be buying a second one this summer hopefully. Our current one doesn't have a battery backup. I think the heating situation really depends on how much it does actually cost to heat. The "greenhouse heating cost" calculators don't predict it will cost too much to heat but I really don't believe them that much.


    Bookmark   March 9, 2006 at 8:47AM
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I found this:


(sorry for the long link)

this is VERY similar to what the greenhouse place is offering however it is nearly half the price.
Has anyone dealt with the company before? Of course I would have to call to see if the fan works in a humid area.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2006 at 8:58AM
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You might look at eBay. There are many sizes of PV solar panels available there and you can learn quite a bit just by poking around. I would not bid on anything until I was sure of exactly what I needed and what price I would expect to pay for it. Finally, read the auction descriptions very carefully. -JR

    Bookmark   March 11, 2006 at 10:26PM
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The fan you mention is about 8.5 watts . . that's not gonna move a lot of air . . if that's just blowing on you to keep comfy; then fine. If you think it's gonna cool your greenhouse then I think you're mistaken. You gotta know how many CFM's ( Cubic Feet per Minute ) that you need to move to keep it cool or whatever. THEN you can pick a fan of proper size, THEN panels, battery etc.

You mentioned a light too, using 130 watts. I hope you're talking about CFL ( Compact Fluorescent Light ) . . since you're gonna run from PV / battery. If you're talking standard incandescent, you're wasting 80 % of the energy to run it; to produce heat. CFL's use ~ 20% of the electricity to run, to produce the same amount of light. You can get CFL's in 12 vdc.

I applaud what you're trying to do; but you'll be MUCH happier with the whole thing if you make sure you get the ventilation / lighting requirements met up front; and size the rest of what you need TO those requirements.

I'll also suggest do NOT consider standard automobile batteries including RV or deep-cycle types, or the "gel cell" types for what you want to do. You will NOT be happy with their performance. You should use golf-cart types; or types specifically intended or PV systems. All uses have different needs and will not do well in other types of applications.

I'll ditto Ebay as a possible source for panel(s) and perhaps other parts as well. Good luck . . .


    Bookmark   March 13, 2006 at 6:04AM
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That is the max the fan goes and that is what is suggested for a greenhouse my size.
the fan blows out and then air comes in through a vent. You don't want to position the fan blowing in because, like you mentioned, it will be alot of force.
Greenhouses can get VERY hot during sunny days and this is why it is necessary to change the air so quickly.
As far as the light, It is a unit that it put together already so I don't know what it is. it was just something in the greenhouse magazine for solar use.


    Bookmark   March 13, 2006 at 8:28AM
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Don't know if this will help you, but bought solar panels for our boat at this place

However, this was some time ago, so I am unsure of current pricing.

Here is a link that might be useful: emarine

    Bookmark   November 15, 2008 at 9:38AM
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There are lots of solar panels providers offering their service which I think may be negotiable depending on the size of the project.

There are many websites as well which list numerous solar panel professional in various cities of US.

You can find numerous service providers offering their service in various US cities, if you just type in 'Solar Panel Installers' or 'Solar Installers'
in Google.com you will find a lot of them.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2009 at 8:44AM
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What kind of wattage and price range for 3500 Sq ft roof.for solar panels alone?

    Bookmark   January 15, 2009 at 8:12PM
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I've tried to buy singular and small solar panels before and I've had a lot of trouble figuring out the exact wattage required and the type of panel needed. As others have mentioned, you also have to know the power requirements of your lights and fans. I would recommend hiring a local energy consultant to take a look at your greenhouse to get a setup that will work well for your needs. It may not save you money but it will probably save a bunch of time and hassle.

Here is a link that might be useful: Solar Panel Installers

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 4:01PM
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I am about to purchase a greenhouse. My plan is to locate purchase a ?size solar panel to run unknown size heater and light system for next winter. These purchases can be delayed closer to winter here for budgetary reasons. Greenhouse is 9'wide,12 ' long and 61/2 'high. Anyone w/ experience/knowledge in this open to guide a neophyte here in Kansas?? I'm NOT the brightest bulb in the chandelier and am a disabled veteran on a pension,so physical disablities are present. But I love to learn and want to pick my 'maters and peppers in the winter... Thanks in advance? Bob Hayes,Topeka,Ks...

    Bookmark   February 12, 2009 at 1:29PM
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just to chime in here, as i'm new, but we're going off
grid in a matter of weeks, and we used "parts on sale
dot com" for EVERYTHING

great service, great prices!

try sams club for deep cycle golf cart type batteries

trust me, i just spend 3 months calculating loading,
looking at pv arrays, and inverters, and such

ask me anything, LOL

i know more about watts, and amp hours than i ever
thought possible


    Bookmark   February 13, 2009 at 3:00PM
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You can find good information on solar energy and solar panels at National Solar Panels

Here is a link that might be useful: Solar Panels

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 9:28PM
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