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best prices for solar panels...?

 
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Hi
I'm new here, just read the To Catch The Sun, and I'm starting to think of DIY Solar.  Costs are an obvious first consideration, and I'd like to know if anybody knows where one can buy panels at good prices in Southern California.  I've read that one can buy panels as low as $.25/watt, where I've only found $1 or a bit less...  Of course there are other components one would like to find at good prices, racking and inverters especially.  If there is anyone in the San Diego area who knows a competent installer who works independently (probably a rare creature!) that would also be good to know.  I'm quite practical, so I don't feel it should be difficult to do.
I'm looking forward to hearing great ideas!
Thanks,
Tom
 
pollinator
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Welcome! I just purchased a couple lithium ion batteries through Backwoods Solar, which is southern CA based as I understand. They have good support staff as far as I’ve found.
 
Tom Kottmeier
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Thanks Ben, will look them up
Tom
 
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See if you can find a local place and pick them up yourself, when I bought 4 panels a couple years ago from altestore.com the panels were about $700 for 1200w, plus $350-400 for a pallet to be drop shipped. Prices have probably bounced around as there were tariffs in response to China supposedly selling below cost. A part of me is always wondering how long the latest batch of panels will last compared to the old school panels too. Some manufacturers come and go often enough that the warranty is effectively gone.
 
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Here's a seller in the San Diego area that has panels right now today.
https://sandiego.craigslist.org/esd/tro/d/santee-solar-panels-250-watt/7407447401.html
I now routinely buy only used panels with local pickup.  What I've found is the used quality panels produce better output than second-rate new panels.  Bring a voltmeter with you so you can reassure yourself you aren't getting a dud.
 
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Michael Qulek wrote:I now routinely buy only used panels with local pickup.  What I've found is the used quality panels produce better output than second-rate new panels.  Bring a voltmeter with you so you can reassure yourself you aren't getting a dud.


I agree with Michael.  You get what you pay for.  About a dollar a watt is right.  My research shows that most PV cells are now made in China and the panels are made in the shown countries of origin.  As for batteries, it is horses for courses.  Don't be locked into the lithium hype.  Again do your own research and read reviews.  We have moved from lead acid flat plate to sealed tubular lead so our batteries are now in the "Pump Room" attached to the house and not in a shed away from the house.  They have a good profile for us.  We get down to minus 5 C and up to 45C (23 - 113 F).
 
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Howdy,
Backwoods Solar is based up around Sandpoint Idaho.

Looking for used panels is a good way to go and you can find them on Craigslist. Here in southern Oregon you have to jump on those ads as they sell pretty quick. I have also seen new panels sold that just didn't get hooked up into a private home owner system. Some of the bigger solar installers sometimes have older models that they didn't/won't use because they are not the current model.

$1.00 a watt is a good going price. It does take some investigation/research. There is a lot of cheap junk out there.  I am still using lead acid batteries and they are user friendly, but I have to maintain them, care for them, keep my eye on them. I also have an alternative power supplier in Grants Pass, and have known Jerry going on 25 years.    Alternative Power and Machine  Grants Pass Oregon.  I have posted his wed site in some other post here on permies. It took about 18 years for me to finally get comfortable about living off grid, going on 41 years off grid.  My main system is a hydro electric, pretty much 24/7/365, but the few panels I have make it so I can be away from home and my system takes care of itself, spring and summer.
Staff note (Paul Fookes) :

Great point Randal Going completely off grid is a learning and learned experience and some people cannot transition. Having been off the grid for so long and very comfortable with it, it is something I had forgotten about, Thanks for reminding me

 
randal cranor
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Howdy,
There are solar panels made in USA.

https://news.energysage.com/u-s-solar-panel-manufacturers-list-american-made-solar-panels/

https://sunwatts.com/solar-panels-made-in-the-usa/
 
Paul Fookes
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Following on from my last post, have a look at: https://www.solarenergyworld.com/install-process/products/
It is a US company but sources its pv wafers from LONGi Green Energy which is a huge company looking to expand into various countries including the USA.  Its principal manufacturing base is China from where it exports the wafers for companies to make their panels up. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LONGi_Green_Energy_Technology.

Companies often buy components from overseas and manufacture or construct and pack.  It can then show up as made in the country in which it is sold.  Some countries have "Truth in Labeling" legislation so companies have to list how much is made from local components and how much is made from imported components.

 
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Prices all seem pretty close to me.  Around a buck a watt.  I'm not very well versed in solar energy but determined to get there.  I just bought some solar panels to go with my ecoflow battery pack from newpowa.com    I got a 100 watt panel for 89 dollars delivered.  From California to Maine. But more importantly they were very responsive in answering my questions.  One question that I sent Sunday morning was answered that afternoon.  

Good Luck
 
randal cranor
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Howdy,

Paul, that is a good point and has been my understanding of the manufacture of panels.  Silicon discs from else where and panels are assembled here in US or where ever. I did hear of a solar panel manufacture that employed US Vets, don't remember the name, used to hear an ad on the radio.
 
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