cheap solar panels from Canadian Tire

paulns(NS zone 6a)August 7, 2004

Canadian Tire is a little like Home Depot. They are offering:

5W panel for $69.99

15W panel for 149.99

Nothing about the dimensions of the panels.

A little insert blurb in the ad says "As seen on TV!" which makes me suspicious. Are these junk, do you think?

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Pooh Bear

A 5W panel for $70 is not cheap.
That's $14 per watt.
You can get them a lot cheaper.
I have seen them for around $5 per watt.

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   August 7, 2004 at 10:29PM
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paulns(NS zone 6a)

Have you seen them for cheaper in Canada though? lol People in the States are often surprised by what we pay for stuff here. That said, I'll look around for cheaper.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2004 at 8:15AM
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Eric_in_Japan(z7 Japan)

$14 Canadian is $10 US. So it is a bit expensive, but only double, not triple US prices.

I want to have as much solar power as possible, so I would definitely look for a larger system. What do you plan to use them for Paul?

Eric in Japan

    Bookmark   August 10, 2004 at 11:36PM
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paulns(NS zone 6a)

Eric sorry to take so long answering - I've been over on the "I want that water" thread which is addressing the same questions I have. When we bought our house it came with two piston pumps (1/4 hp, 115 V motor). This is how we pump water from our shallow well. Last month our neighbour was getting rid of the junk in her basement and gave us two more piston pumps. I'm very fond of these pumps - they are valuable, they're work horses, and can be run manually when the power goes out. If we could somehow configure solar, wind and these pumps...lots to learn obviously.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2004 at 8:09AM
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hotzcatz(Hamakua, Hawaii)

Well, one horsepower is about 750 watts (745.699). You have a quarter horsepower motor which would need about 186 watts. (1.6 amps at 115volts) Or thirteen of the fifteen watt panels if you were going to run the pump directly from solar panels. Is the pump going to run all the time? If not, then perhaps a battery bank and inverter would be a good choice.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2005 at 10:19PM
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Pooh Bear

Don't forget efficientcies and losses.
Add some watts for these.

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   April 2, 2005 at 1:01AM
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There is a major shortage of solar panels right now. It is making panels more expensive. But 150 bucks for 15 watts is crazy. There has to be a reputable solar retailer in canada but if not check out Backwoods Solar or Real Goods on the internet. I have to be honest here, my husband is a solar contractor (it's not my business) he doesn't buy from these guys but they are the only retailers I can think of off hand.
But kudos to the Germans! They are giving anyone something like 20 grand to install a grid tye system. So everyone is going bananas over there and buying up all the panels. Why cant we do something like that over here?

    Bookmark   April 5, 2005 at 2:17PM
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sunsi(z5 NY)

sunshinelovegirl quote:
But kudos to the Germans! They are giving anyone something like 20 grand to install a grid tye system. So everyone is going bananas over there and buying up all the panels. Why cant we do something like that over here?

Excellent question, sunshinelovegirl...this question could probably support another thread and I would LOVE to see some of the answers a country with SUV's and 65 mph speed limits it doesn't appear many people are worried enough about energy...but then "the fish rots from the head" *ahem* 'nuff said:P

    Bookmark   April 21, 2005 at 2:24AM
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alcina(South East UK)

In the UK you can get a grant which will pay for half the cost of having a solar roof installed. As a solar roof here costs about twice as much as an ordinary roof (for which there are no grants!), you just end up paying the normal cost of a new roof, but get a solar roof! Saddly my roof was just a couple of years old when I moved in and I can't warrant spending out a new roof when I don't need to...yet..!

But I fear I've hijacked a thread here...sorry!


    Bookmark   April 22, 2005 at 8:54AM
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Electric still is cheap compared to many other forms of energy here in the S/E US. Thats is one of the main reasons we don't have that drive towards conservation. Heck if we can't get the masses to use fuel efficent autos how can you expect 'em to go through the trouble of going solar. We all love the electric driven toys too much to think of using less when we need (yes most people I speak to need that dvd, big screen tv, 2 fridges and a freezer, computers, and on and on) those toys to live in a 'modern world'. After all conversion to solar would require an effort on our part and its sooooo easy just to call the local electric company and say "Hook me up.".
Plus its hard to convince an industry that is making a profit from that electric to give up its cash cow; coal, nuclear, natural gas and such. If the big boys don't want the government to do something than it simply isn't going to get done. The 'green' revolution is over or haven't you heard? Sure we vote 'em in but the political folks know who really puts the money in the coffers and of course there is that sweet job when the political career is over.
Ha! Try to talk to someone about conservation and watch how fast their eyes glaze over. "Why should I conserve when Joe down the street is not?" Thats what I tend to hear back. "Oh we'll have plenty of oil and all for years and years and years to come.""Science will come up with a solution." Other arguements I hear often. Well I will live what I believe to be morally proper and maybe just maybe one day something will break bad enough (like the economy that is oil dependent) that the government will act in some way other than going to war against those that have what we want.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2005 at 3:26PM
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Can someone please tell me where I can find some solar panels that will fit over my aqurium so I can put a desk lamp on it and generate photosynthesis, and make my plants grow!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2005 at 10:13PM
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syleanddesign- where on earth did you get this idea? I've never heard of anything like that. Could you explain to me how this would work?

    Bookmark   May 4, 2005 at 3:25PM
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Well, the way oil prices are going it looks like it won't be long before people start thinking about alternatives. I just bought my first house two years ago and I'm still stuck on the grid but my dream would be to eventually get all my energy from solar and wind power.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2005 at 1:48PM
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Do the math. The life expectancy of a solar panel is about 20 years. On average, you recieve 3 peak hours of sunlight per day in southern Ontario. That mean a one watt cell will generate approximately 22 kW/hr over its life. If you pay $5 per watt, that is effectively paying 23 cents per kW/hr. That is just for the solar panel. Ontop of that you will have to buy an inverter and probably a storage system.

The average Ontario resident pays 12 cents per kW/hr. This means it makes no sense from an economic standpoint to switch to solar at this time. However, you might apply enviromental considerations to make it worth the higher cost for solar energy.

Still, it would be absurd to wire a house using solar cells that costs $15 per kW/hr. The only case where that makes sense is a cottage or such that is not on the grid.


    Bookmark   November 9, 2005 at 2:24PM
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paulns(NS zone 6a)

So over a year has passed and we're still in the research phase as far as buying into solar. Somehow I lost track of this thread and am just catching up - thanks for all these ideas. Since I posted the price of oil has soared.

Has anybody heard of or seen these? Flexible solar panels. The company is based in Cambridge Ontario

Here is a link that might be useful: new solar panels

    Bookmark   November 11, 2005 at 10:06AM
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paulns(NS zone 6a)

I'll look into that

do not know what you'd do with a 5W panel.

A new idea for this summer: we're building a 'luxury tent' to rent to tourists, in a spot in the woods, with a solar shower, and a solar panel just to run a light bulb.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 10:32AM
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The smaller panels from Crappy Tire, ( less than 15W) are good for trickle charging a battery, or for occasional use small appliances. As such they are good for maintaining a battery on a piece of equiptment that lies fallow for a while, or supplimenting the battery power in things like cars, campers, RVs, trailers, boats, etc where the major recharging is done by an alternator.

For example, a couple of 5W panels on the back of a boat will recharge the fishfinder battery through out the day, so that in bright sunlight, you may never have to pull the battery and hook it up to a charger until the fall.

The folding panels are the same, but useful for camping, if your idea of camping is with a laptop, cell phone, CD player, Playstaion, etc.

The 15W and 30W panels are useful for small stand alone systems, where you are willing to pay a premium to drive into town and pick the parts up, rather than order the parts on line or by phone, arrange Customs, duty, delivery and wait a couple weeks, then go into town and pick the parts up.

For example, I have one of their polycrystalline 15W panels, on a pole by the pond. It charges a deep cycle Optima battery via their charge controller, which powers a Shurflo 12V RV water pressure pump, which provides water for the garden. In early fall, the system gets drained, the battery pulled and everything goes in the root cellar until spring. As the garden grows, the system will get plumbed to a 500 gallon cistern on the hill, equipted with a float switch and there will be gravity fed drip irrigation system.

I may do something similar to solve the problem of cell phone service. Hook a 30W panel up via a charge controller to 2 Optima deep cycle batteries, then to a 12V 800-1900MHZ Wilson Repeater Amplifier and Yagi antenna, so that I dont have to hold my cell phone up high, antenna parallel to the ground, pointed at Mile High just to get a signal.

Im not ready yet for Household power, but know what I want for a system, (10 100W or 120W panels, 24 batteries, 1 Whispergen 80W Wind genertator, MPP charger, 2 inverters in series for 240V).

There are no Canadian suppliers with the type of Catalog inventory like the States, but there are Canadian suppliers like Carmanah. I will be getting quotes on the components from everybody, and will probably wind up getting parts from all over.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2006 at 12:51PM
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Seems no way around it, Solar and Wind systems still cost if you want to run everything you can run on hydro. Wish they'd just come up with something the average joe can afford to set up and CAN set up and more folks would be inclined to do it. If the motivation is there...its just to bad the motivation has to be pushed on us with fuel prices. Around here we're off grid and I don't know anyone on Solar who doesn't have to run their generator to supplement it (especially in winter up here) and who has spent less than $20, 000 on set up costs. Its the initial cost that kills.

jaybc, I'm going to start a thread on getting water to my garden 'off-grid'. I'd be glad of hearing more about your system...what works and doesn't, what you'd do differently next time.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2006 at 12:14AM
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There's some rumbling about new technologies coming out. Nano-Solar is one company that's involved. Some new process that will make them cheaper to manufacture. You might google around and find out about it. I understand it's significant enough for them to shut down and sell out their old stock, while they revamp the whole production process. Who knows, could be worth the wait in terms of money saved.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 11:22PM
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As far as I know, the cheapest solar solar panels are $3.00 US/ watt (before shipping) from Aten Solar. They are very low efficiency, though, so you would have to cover your entire roof, and possibly garage... maybe make some awnings, or a shade for your deck. You get the idea.
If you had a generous incentive, you may get this down to 2.5 or even $2 US/watt.

While many people complain that incentives are actually taxpayer money, and that someone has to pay, they need to realize that conventional power sources have been heavily funded for over half a century. They are also still heavily subsidized and given a great deal of tax breaks. By supporting alternative forms of energy when they cost more, we can develop the industry and achieve economies of scale to help lower the price without subsidies... the same as has been done with older sources of energy.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 5:25PM
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Hope I am not intuding, but have you considered just making your own panels? We are 100% off grid here and have to haul water right now due to costs of well drilling here. I just finished making 300 watts of power by building 4 solar panels my self. It is not dificult,it is far less expensive then buying the small panels and it can be done a little at a time so that you can grow the system to meet your needs. I am just your average jane so if I can do it , most people can. The cells can be purchased inexpensily from ebay and most of the sellers are happy to ship to Canada.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 12:59PM
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