Harbor Freight Panels

Classy, huh? ;-)

These are the panels that started it all... A Harbor Freight 45W kit, and these are pretty much all that's left of the kit.

They never produced anywhere near 45W, brand new out of the box and carefully aimed at the noonday July sun I saw 32W. More consistently they would average 20-22W.

The frame supplied wasn't useful to me, and I wasn't going to buy a fancy mount for these panels ("real" mounts tend to cost more than these are worth) so I chopped up the frame and screwed the horizontal pieces to a couple of 2x4s. Once the panels were clipped to the crosspieces, the assembly was decently rigid. I set them up on the roof in a reasonably secure place, and there they sat for a couple of years! I occasionally pull them down for experiments on the patio, or if I want to take them somewhere for portable use.

I do still get good use from them. When I had a company vehicle, my own truck was seldom used and the battery was dying quickly due to sulfation. I then fed these panels down to the garage where a Morningstar SunKeeper 6 would keep the truck battery topped up each day it sat. I also use it to recharge my collection of smaller AGMs.

I have heard these use non-tempered glass, so probably won't hold up in a hailstorm. I haven't had to find that out yet! They've seen some small pea-sized stuff but nothing substantial.