Cheap 180 Watt solar power panel

26 Oct 2010
Posted by Laptop Junction

While hunting for solar panels in Europe, here’s an impression of a cheap solar power panel made in China. Produced by Raggie Power Co LTD or Kai electronics 180 Watt solar panels are on auction on German E-bay for an average of US$ 2.22 per Watt (€ 1.61) in October 2010. Have a look.
 

Cheap 180 Watt electric solar power panel

The 180 Watt  PV (PhotoVoltaic) solar panel comes with a dimension of 52.36 x 38.97 Inch (1330mm x 990mm). It’s certainly not the PV panel for those with little space on the roof of a Campervan, Mobile home or RV. The panel weighs 33 lbs (15 Kg) including frame and is marked as model TBP12180M.

Raggie Power 180 Watt cheap solar power panel from KAI electronics.
Raggie Power 180 Watt cheap solar power panel from KAI electronics

On the back of the panel sits a black junction box from which 2 leads appear connected to cheap battery clips.
 

Cheap PV solar panel junction box

There are no bypass diode preventing hot spots due to partial solar cell shading. The 4 soldering clamps in the junction box allow bypass diodes – an essential item to prevent damage to solar cells. Measuring each soldering joint showed 1/3, 2/3 and full panel voltage.

Junction box Raggie Power 180 Watt cheap solar power panel from KAI electronics.
Junction Box on a Raggie Power 180 Watt cheap solar power panel from KAI electronics

Remains of soldering and a small metal strip fell out of the black junction box when opened. Clearly remnants of a cheap manual production process. The 180 Watt solar panel works though.

Open Circuit voltage on a cloudy day jumped to 49 Volts DC. When the panel is turned up-side down to the ground the voltage drops to about 18 volts. Apparently the cells are somewhat sensitive to sunlight at the backside.

The aluminum frame is minimal compared to panels produced by more expensive companies.
 

Tiny defects in single solar panel PV cells

Inspecting each panel closely shows tiny defects on several PV solar panel cells. Below a small crack in the edge of a PV solar cell.

Tiny defects in cheap PV solar panel cells
Tiny defects in cheap PV solar panel cells


Probably the effect of these defects is minimal - several solar panel cells had similar defects on the edges.
 

Cheap solar power panel specification

The 180 Watt panel is made of monocrystalline silicon. The PV solar panel contains 6 x 12 =  72 cells each supplying about 2.5 Watt.

Raggie Power 180 Watt cheap solar power panel specifications
Raggie Power 180 Watt cheap solar power panel specifications

 

Cheap Solar panels mounted on motorhome roof

Two Raggie Power Solar panels mounted in parallel on the roof of a motorhome, campervan, RV.

Raggie Power 180 Watt cheap solar power panel from KAI electronics mounted on motorhome roof.
Raggie Power 180 Watt cheap solar power panel mounted on campervan roof.


Solar power trend on a sunny day from 2 Raggie power panels in spring 2011 connected to a MPPT solar battery charger from IVT. Solar power panel performance is written to a SDCARD memory card, feature of the IVT solar battery charger.
 

Raggie Power 180 Watt cheap solar power panel trend in spring 2011.
Raggie Power 180 Watt cheap solar power panel power trend in spring 2011 in Northern Europe


The trend shows solar panel power and power delivered to the AGM batteries. In spring 2011 in Northern Europe the angle with the sun is considerable with roof mounted solar panels. From 2:30 Pm the solar panels sit in partial shade.

A practical example how two 180 watt solar panels power a laptop round the clock.
 

Raggie Power Solar panel specifications

The Raggie Power TBP12180M solar panel has the following specifications:

- Peak Power - Pmax – 180 Watt
- Voltage - Vmp – 34.2 Volt
- Current - Imp – 5.25 Amp
- Open Circuit Voltage - Voc – 43.5 Volt
- Short Circuit Current - Isc – 5.75 Amp

More on this panel as it's being tested with a MPPT solar power battery charger.

See the Raggie Power website.

 

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