Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sunforce 50044 60-Watt Solar Charging Kit

List Price: $599.99
Price: $243.25
You Save: $356.74 (59%)

The Sunforce 50044 60-Watt Solar Charging Kit lets you harness the power of the sun, the most powerful and plentiful source of energy available to us. This inexhaustible supply of power is freely available wherever the sun shines, and gives users the freedom to power their homes, RVs, boats, batteries, and electronic equipment far from civilization or right in town. Solar power can help cut your energy bills by reducing your dependence on the main electrical grid, and can also provide back-up power during outages.
Unlike nuclear and fossil fuels, solar power systems are clean and pollution-free, and they require very little maintenance to operate.

Solar Charging Kit Features
* Amorphous solar charging kit provides up to 60-Watts of clean, free, renewable power
* Designed for RVs, cabins, homes, boats, back-up and remote power use, and more
* Weatherproof, durable solar panels can withstand impacts from hailstones travelling 50 miles-per-hour
* Includes four 15-Watt solar panels with durable mounting frames, a 200-Watt power inverter, a 7-Amp solar charge controller, and a wiring kit with accessories for easy installation
* Built-in, ultra-bright blue LED charging indicator
* Product Dimensions: 54 x 12 x 42.2 inches ; 62 pounds
* Shipping Weight: 61.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
* Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S.
* Shipping Advisory: This item must be shipped separately from other items in your order. Additional shipping charges will not apply.

I never seem to be overwhelmed by the latest shipment of product from China, but this one seems to show some promise and shows signs of good cost engineering and a complete design that can be set up quickly by one person with very little effort. I'd give it 5 stars if it were well packed, but my purchase turned into a shipping fiasco.
Most ALL solar installations are rated in $/watt much like new homes are rated in $/sq ft. We'll get to the sq ft bit later. Here you are getting 60W for 320 dollars or about 5.33 $/watt. Compared to a similar wattage panel, the BP solar 365U rated at 65W and priced (street) at 399 or 6.13 $/watt the amazon package seems to be a good deal when you consider it comes complete less battery.
In fact, the amazon package deal includes a xantrex 175 watt inverter with a .15A "idle" current designed for solar systems where current consumption must be minimized. It even includes a simple diode/switch "charge regulator" with 2 leds to indicate panel voltage and battery is full but lacks the ability to tell it what type of battery you are using (full is defined at 14.2 volts give or take so it's for wet/flooded cells). Neither of these are big buck items, but they do set you up for a complete small scale solar kit minus the battery out of the box, which is impressive.

Convenient Power That Helps You Save Money and Protect the Environment
Sunforce 50044 60-Watt Solar Charging Kit

We bought this a few months ago. We live in Phoenix, so this has plenty of opportunity to work. We have it plugged into 2 marine batteries (like car batteries, but bigger), and we have an inverter connected to those. The inverter is in the house, and the batteries are outside. The wire goes through the wall. We plug things into the inverter.
This was easy to put together. You have to buy the batteries, but this came with everything else.
I can run my laptop all day, as well as recharge the cell phones and Wii remotes. My husband can also run his laptop. If we only get on the laptops after work, we can run them well into the night. I've had to switch to grid power a couple of times if I've used my laptop all day, but I've never had to switch over if I've only used it during the evening.
This is not the most efficient solar panel set, but it's very good for starting out and learning about solar power. It's inexpensive enough to set up and charge all your rechargeable stuff whenever you need it, as long as you live in a fairly sunny area.

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