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Renogy Eclipse panels?
#1
I'm currently a weekend warrior hoping to go full-time in about 9 months.

My power consumption seems pretty mild, and by that I mean I ran my 2 x 100Ah AGMs down from 12.9v to 12.5v over 5 days running my fridge, fan, pump, and lights. I know that isn't the most informative data, but it's the data I have. As you can see, for short trips I don't need solar. But to go full-time I will.

I'm leaning towards an MPPT kit (I know there are disagreements on this topic, let's not debate MPPT/PWM here please).

My thought is to start with 200W and increase to 300-400W only if necessary. I know I can put two panels on my roof without any concern, and I'm pretty sure I can mount three-wide (but I haven't mounted my cross bars yet so that's a little TBD). I could probably get creative with a fourth if I had to but my roof fan is in the middle of the van and I plan to use the rear for a cargo rack. 

My question for this thread is: panel selection

I've been looking primarily at Renogy panels. I've searched here for information about the Eclipse line, but I don't see too much mention of it. For those who have the Eclipse, do you feel they were worth the extra money? Has anybody had experience with both the standard and Eclipse Renogy panels to compare?

Below is information from Renogy's site regarding their 100W panel options (I've rounded some values slightly for simplicity):

100W 12v polycrystalline panel - $120 - 40" x 27" - 14.56% efficiency
100W 12v monocrystalline panel - $140 - 47" x 21" - 15.47% efficiency 
Eclipse 100W 12v monocrystalline panel - $220 - 41" x 21" - 18.35% efficiency 

By my calculations, using the poly panel's cost and efficiency as a "100%" baseline:
  - the mono panel adds 6.25% more efficiency for 16.7% higher cost

  - the Eclipse panel adds 26.03% more efficiency for 83.3% higher cost

I'm not sure how real these efficiency numbers are, so this comparison may not make sense.

Aaron 

Aspiring full-timer
2004 Extended E-350 SuperDuty build in progress 
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#2
Increased efficiency is definitely worth it if you are constrained by space (ie, can't get in that 4th panel otherwise). if you have room for 400w at either efficiency I'd go with the cheapest per watt, all other things being equal.

[Just thought of somthing else: it is conceivable that a higher-efficiency panel could be the same cost if the size/weight means it costs less to ship.]
frater/jason @ RTR 1000ft E of main camp on "dark blue" road
blog | Promaster van | offtopic answers
"I would unite with anybody to do right; and with nobody to do wrong" F. Douglass
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#3
ughhh, double post.
frater/jason @ RTR 1000ft E of main camp on "dark blue" road
blog | Promaster van | offtopic answers
"I would unite with anybody to do right; and with nobody to do wrong" F. Douglass
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#4
    I bought 3 of the 100 watt Renogy Eclipes panels in June on Amazon.  I paid $130 a piece for them.  They was $199 when I first looked at them and they had a big sell on them later on.  I just saved it in my wish list until they was at a cheaper price.  I can't help you on how well they work.  I don't have my van yet so they are stored away in their box.  I just couldn't pass up on the price.  I wanted the smaller size of the Eclipes panels.  So if you have time to wait you might get them at a cheaper price.  And yes they are new.
Lonewolf Vanner

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#5
I use two of them as portable solar panels and I'm extremely pleased with them. At 17 lbs a piece they are light enough for me to handle easily.

I had a 100 W Renogy suitcase but it was heavy and the controller was on the suitcase so it wasn't particularly weather resistant. I needed 200 W minimum, didn't have room for a second suitcase and wanted a controller that was permanently installed in my 'electrical room' so that only the panels were out in the rain.

IMO, the added efficiency is well worth the extra bucks but I got them primarily because the 2 - 100 watt panels combined weigh less than the 100 lb suitcase so they don't take up any more space and are easy for me to handle.
Worry is a misuse of imagination!
 
Build link: http://www.cheaprvliving.com/forums/Thre...g-Arabella
Full-timer again as of November 24, 2015 - 14 glorious years on the road before that!



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#6
(11-22-2017, 12:09 PM)HumbleBeginnings Wrote: For those who have the Eclipse, do you feel they were worth the extra money?

I have the suitcase with Eclipse panels.  While I loathe the weight of the suitcase, they work magnificently.  I can't compare to "standard" panels, but they do deliver to specs.  Renogy is advertising a sale coming this week...
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HumbleBeginnings (11-24-2017)
#7
(11-22-2017, 12:09 PM)HumbleBeginnings Wrote:  I ran my 2 x 100Ah AGMs down from 12.9v to 12.5v over 5 days running my fridge, fan, pump, and light

 make sense.

First, it doesn't sound like you need lots of watts- probably one of any of those panels would more than do you.

Second, you're right about making sense- if you think sometime in future you might lose it and decide you just have to have gluttonous appliances, then you'd never have enough, LoL

Last, we all know the latest hyped up cell phone, computer or gadget we paid a premium for a few months ago is just old news now. Same with some solar panel- in a few months that'll be the standard- or- even yesterday's news*.

But, it's very difficult to resist the upsell- 


*Not to get a Solar geek discussion going, but isn't even the Eclipse's efficiency number low- relative high efficiency panels??
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#8
Sunpower cells are around 21%

many brands use them, and they also assemble whole panels and I believe sell direct
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HumbleBeginnings (11-24-2017)
#9
And, very next article that pops up:

New coating steps up solar cell efficiency by 20%, Russian researchers find
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HumbleBeginnings (11-24-2017)
#10
I have heard good things from owners of the eclipse panels and would love to get a set to test. I do agree that for a percent or two you have to decide if that efficiency is not only something that benefits you but is worthy of the extra expense. In a space limited situation it may be but with out that restriction you could get a third panel for not just a few percent difference but a lot more power.
Sparky created, (Sparkles on some Saturday nights)  Max the Wonder puppy approved

2011 Ameri-lite 25 ft bunkhouse with 750w of solar and a 675 Ah bank
2003 Ford Expedition with 435w of tilting solar.
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