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Old 01-23-2018, 11:45 AM   #1
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Solar Panel import duty increase

The tariff on imported solar panels to go up as much as 30%.

I just bought two more panels this morning before the price increase hits. If you are in the market for solar panels, you might want to move your purchasing schedule up.

President Donald Trump Imposes 30% Tariffs on Solar Panels | Time
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Old 01-23-2018, 01:24 PM   #2
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"America First" trade policy, which aims to protect local manufacturers from foreign competition.

South Korea said it would complain to the World Trade Organization (WTO)
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Old 01-23-2018, 01:51 PM   #3
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It's going to make the solar option purchased at ETI more valuable/important...
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Old 01-23-2018, 02:18 PM   #4
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With the combination of the exchange rate & new 30% tariff, it also makes for some good savings for those close to head north across the border to purchase folding or bare panels.
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Old 01-23-2018, 02:20 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
It's going to make the solar option purchased at ETI more valuable/important...
Definitely makes it a more important consideration. Not sure if it will effect Canadian pricing as they will not be subject to these tariffs if the panels are coming to CA from manufacturer.
US doesn't really have much if any production of panels, almost all imported so it will raise prices for US buyers. If I were looking at any panel purchases, I'd do it now from existing inventory.
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Old 01-23-2018, 04:00 PM   #6
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Someone had to complain to get the tariff added.

A list of US Solar Panel Manufacturers (I don't know if they all are still active):
Itek Energy
Heliene
Solaria
Mission Solar
SunSpark
SolarWorld Americas
Suniva
Seraphim
Solartech

You might be able to add Tesla & Panasonic since they just started making them in the US in 2017.
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Old 01-23-2018, 07:08 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Vermilye View Post
Someone had to complain to get the tariff added.

A list of US Solar Panel Manufacturers (I don't know if they all are still active):
Itek Energy
Heliene
Solaria
Mission Solar
SunSpark
SolarWorld Americas
Suniva
Seraphim
Solartech

You might be able to add Tesla & Panasonic since they just started making them in the US in 2017.
Suniva complained last year but are now bankrupt. They were a US module manufacture with a Chinese majority owner! Then the US arm of Solarworld joined in the petition to seek tariffs.
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Old 01-23-2018, 07:18 PM   #8
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Just ordered my portable from Renogy- Not because of the news today though. It is a folding 100 Watt with a case. Some of their panels are made in Germany.
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Old 01-23-2018, 07:20 PM   #9
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Suniva complained last year but are now bankrupt. They were a US module manufacture with a Chinese majority owner! Then the US arm of Solarworld joined in the petition to seek tariffs.
Barry

Suniva's parent is the Chinese company Shufeng International Clean Energy Limited, while SolarWorld is owned by German and Qatari interests.
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Old 01-23-2018, 08:21 PM   #10
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Ross, can you post exactly what you got? I'm about ready to order mine. Thanks.
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Old 01-23-2018, 09:27 PM   #11
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Ross, can you post exactly what you got? I'm about ready to order mine. Thanks.
Was a little hesitant to jump for this and did not want to spend too much. The total from Renogy with tax was $271. That included:
100 Watt Eclipse Solar Suitcase(Open Box Like New) $189.99 Dimensions: 21" X 22" X 3"
MC4-SAE adapter: $24.99
2 10' Extensions: $16.99 ea.
https://www.renogy.com/renogy-100-wa.../#tab_prd-desc

Had to buy a Zamp port that plugs right into my GoPower controller that came with my ETI 160 Watt package. The ones they sell on Amazon is old stock with 12 gauge wire. You can get one with 10 gauge from Offthegridrvs for $15.49 including 2 day. One needs to be aware of polarity evidently when using a Zamp connector.

Zamp Solar Accessories

Thanks again Bill (Coolcampingkid) for the tips & advice to go with monocrystalline vs. poly for the panel as well as the source for the 10 gauge Zamp port. This won't be a difficult install by any means after seeing his.
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Old 01-25-2018, 03:34 PM   #12
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Looks like the anticipated increase in cost means I need to get on this asap.

I am having a zamp port installed by eti. (no rooftop solar) They stated i would need to buy a panel with a regulator/controller built in. They will wire the port and leave the wire coiled near battery.

So, more questions.

1) From reading in the forums I understand that it's better for the regulator to be nearest the batteries. If I order a panel WITHOUT the regulator, I assume I'd need to install some sort of regulator that the port would be connected to. Would this go in the passenger side rear bench where the port will be installed? Or maybe attached to the battery? (needs to be weather proof then, I assume.

Could you please tell me or give an example of what sort of interior regulator I would purchase? Does it require a separate monitor? (could also be installed near that port). Is it difficult and/or expensive to do that wiring?

2)Is this correct? -- If I order a panel WITH the regulator as a part of it, I will be "losing" power in proportion to the distance that the panel is placed away from the batteries/port.

3) From reading here, it appears that the gauge of wire matters when running from a portable solar panel to the trailer batteries. Do I order what wire gauge I want? Replace what comes with the panel with better?

4) Should I request that ETI use more beefy wire from the battery (the part that will be left coiled)?

Anything else I'm not thinking of? All help gratefully accepted.
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Old 01-27-2018, 08:58 AM   #13
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Since no experts have responded, thought I'd throw out my 2 cents worth ;-) I do not yet have my trailer but it's on order and will have solar installed. So, I have no actual experience but have done some research.

1. Yes, better to get panel without controller. This allows the controller to be close to the batteries to minimize power losses. Also allows additional panels to be added later if desired. Just connect them in parallel.

In terms of solar charge controller, there are many options. I will be using a Morningstar PS-30 PWM controller which will handle 30A of charge current. There is a 15A version as well PS-15. Not the cheapest but appear to be one of the better choices.

2. yes

3. Bigger is better... 10 gauge minimum.

4. What ETI will be leaving coiled is the cable that comes from the Zamp connector to the controller. Suggest 10 gauge for that. For connection to your batteries, you should use the largest wire the output connection from your controller can accommodate.

The wiring is not complicated... lots of info out there on the web and on this forum.

Hope all works out well for you!

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Originally Posted by h2owmn View Post
Looks like the anticipated increase in cost means I need to get on this asap.

I am having a zamp port installed by eti. (no rooftop solar) They stated i would need to buy a panel with a regulator/controller built in. They will wire the port and leave the wire coiled near battery.

So, more questions.

1) From reading in the forums I understand that it's better for the regulator to be nearest the batteries. If I order a panel WITHOUT the regulator, I assume I'd need to install some sort of regulator that the port would be connected to. Would this go in the passenger side rear bench where the port will be installed? Or maybe attached to the battery? (needs to be weather proof then, I assume.

Could you please tell me or give an example of what sort of interior regulator I would purchase? Does it require a separate monitor? (could also be installed near that port). Is it difficult and/or expensive to do that wiring?

2)Is this correct? -- If I order a panel WITH the regulator as a part of it, I will be "losing" power in proportion to the distance that the panel is placed away from the batteries/port.

3) From reading here, it appears that the gauge of wire matters when running from a portable solar panel to the trailer batteries. Do I order what wire gauge I want? Replace what comes with the panel with better?

4) Should I request that ETI use more beefy wire from the battery (the part that will be left coiled)?

Anything else I'm not thinking of? All help gratefully accepted.
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Old 01-27-2018, 09:54 AM   #14
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Thanks for taking the time to answer, Carl. That does help.
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Old 01-27-2018, 04:22 PM   #15
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2)Is this correct? -- If I order a panel WITH the regulator as a part of it, I will be "losing" power in proportion to the distance that the panel is placed away from the batteries/port.
There is no more power lost (due to resistance) in wiring after the controller ("regulator") than before it, and the total length from panel to battery is not changed by the controller location.

The problem with having the controller far from the battery is that it doesn't read the battery voltage correctly during charging (it reads low), so it slows down and stops charging at a lower than ideal voltage. So, you don't lose power to the wiring, you give up the opportunity to fully charge the battery.
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Old 01-27-2018, 05:57 PM   #16
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Regarding ordering a panel with or without a controller, another way to go that you may not have considered would be to order one with the controller (you need one either way), but you could then relocate the controller from the panel to wherever you would otherwise put it, somewhere near the batteries, down at the opposite end of the extension cord from your panel.
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Old 02-02-2018, 10:56 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
There is no more power lost (due to resistance) in wiring after the controller ("regulator") than before it, and the total length from panel to battery is not changed by the controller location.

The problem with having the controller far from the battery is that it doesn't read the battery voltage correctly during charging (it reads low), so it slows down and stops charging at a lower than ideal voltage. So, you don't lose power to the wiring, you give up the opportunity to fully charge the battery.
Actually, although the voltage drop is no less from controller to battery than panel to controller, the problem is that .2 or .3 voltage drop doesn’t matter as much when the panel is putting out 17 or 18 volts to the controller. It is a concern if the controller to battery voltage is reduced by .2 or .3 volts. Not the end of the world, but a waste of energy. On another note Habyman Bob has updated his blog “The RV Battery Charging Puzzle”. It seems he has a revision to his thoughts on charging voltages. He is the solar guru as far as I am concerned.
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Old 02-03-2018, 11:30 AM   #18
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On another note Habyman Bob has updated his blog “The RV Battery Charging Puzzle”. It seems he has a revision to his thoughts on charging voltages. He is the solar guru as far as I am concerned.
Thanks for the heads-up on the HandyBob update! I've been researching charging profiles and his latest info is very good to know!
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Old 02-03-2018, 01:19 PM   #19
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Actually, although the voltage drop is no less from controller to battery than panel to controller, the problem is that .2 or .3 voltage drop doesn’t matter as much when the panel is putting out 17 or 18 volts to the controller. It is a concern if the controller to battery voltage is reduced by .2 or .3 volts. Not the end of the world, but a waste of energy.
Still not a problem with energy loss. Energy lost to resistance is the product of voltage drop and current, and (with a non-MPPT controller), the difference in current in and out of the controller is not significant, so the same voltage drops costs the same amount of energy (lost as heat) on either side.

If the battery needs, for instance 14.5 volts for the final stage of charging, and gets only 14.2 volts, it won't get fully charged - that's the problem. If the controller knows the actual voltage at the battery terminals (not just at the controller output), then it can put out 14.8 volts so that the battery, and the battery still gets 14.5 volts and so gets fully charged... but most controllers do not sense the battery voltage, so they can't do this.

I suppose if by "waste of energy" you mean a missed opportunity to completely charge the battery - not electrical energy lost to resistive heating of the conductors - then we're saying the same thing.
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Old 02-03-2018, 02:52 PM   #20
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If the battery needs, for instance 14.5 volts for the final stage of charging, and gets only 14.2 volts, it won't get fully charged - that's the problem. If the controller knows the actual voltage at the battery terminals (not just at the controller output), then it can put out 14.8 volts so that the battery, and the battery still gets 14.5 volts and so gets fully charged... but most controllers do not sense the battery voltage, so they can't do this.
.
Here is a quote from “Bob”,
“From the controller to the batteries the wire size is critical. The bigger the better. If you cannot design for less than a 1% drop due to the length of run, it is possible with better controllers (Morningstar Tristar & Prostar, plus a few others) to use remote voltage sensing and the controller will boost the voltage going out, so that the correct voltage reaches the batteries. Do not be tempted to use this as a way of installing smaller wires. Voltage drop in the run between the controller and the batteries equals wattage loss in charging. Fewer watts come out of the end of the wire than go in when the voltage drops. This means that using smaller wires here will cost you watts charging every day forever. This is a foolish place to save a few dollars.”
It’s not that you can’t make it work, it’s just money and design well spent. Maybe I take Bob’s advice too seriously, but he does live completely off grid on solar, although he did buy a generator for occasional winter backup charging.
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