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Harbor Freight Solar Panel System – How Buying Cheap Can Be More Expensive

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Harbor Freight Solar Panel System – How Buying Cheap Can Be More Expensive

Getting Solar Panels? Don’t make these easy mistakes!

You’ve probably seen at least one of these solar products recommended by DIY enthusiasts pretty much everywhere. But is it really a bargain?

For LDSPrepper it was an “$800 mistake”. Not because it was necessarily low quality, but because in terms of minimizing space and dollar per watt, you can easily do much better by shopping around. For example, comparing Solar Panels at Costco.

Lesson: Yeah, I shop at Harbor Freight, too. They have awesome bargains. But a few of their items are totally not, so it’s good to check at few places before getting too excited when you see something cool like solar panels there.

Do you want to know the best way to really save a lot on solar panels?

What about making your own DIY Solar Panels?

If you’re handy with a soldering iron (or you’re willing to learn), it’s possible to make panels for less that $1/watt. I recently added a 65W panel to my camper roof with a total cost of $50. My next one will cost even less. I’ve just uploaded a few videos from my own first DIY Solar Panel build onto my new YouTube channel. Here’s the playlist:

You should also check out my article on making your own DIY solar panels.


DIY harbor freight solar panel watts

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Comments

  • Chris Van Meter
    May 19, 2015

    Their panels are too much for the wattage you actually get. Plus the rigid panels are more susceptible to damage. I went the semi-flexible solar panel route. I lucked out on eBay. Spend $40 for a 90watt panel shipped to my door. It’s a name brand and it comes with an adhesive backing. So it’s just a big sticker that happens to charge my batteries. Not worried about hail or walking on it. So far so good.

    • Mobile Rik - Living Off The Grid In A DIY Camper

      Wow great deal! Do you have a link?

    • Chris Van Meter
      May 19, 2015

      It was a one off from a private seller. The ones that are for sale from the mfg are around $200.

    • Chris Van Meter
      May 19, 2015

      Just type in semi-flexible solar panel on eBay.

    • Mobile Rik - Living Off The Grid In A DIY Camper

      Yeah I’d searched all of those before and never found a price in that range. (Which is why I DIY my panel!) I was hoping you were implying that the price has come down. 🙂

    • Chris Van Meter
      May 19, 2015

      I wish they would. I want to get a few more for my truckcamper build. Plan on having around four type 31 batteries to power all my crap.

    • Chris Van Meter
      May 19, 2015

      I have a small generator for extra power when needed. But I would prefer to rely completed on solar. I recently bought a 1500 watt inverter and plan on using that instead of a generator when I can. Been doing a bit of research on those split heat pumps for my air conditioning. They’re much more efficient and have a lower start up power draw since they don’t run wide open whenever they’re on.

    • Chris Van Meter
      May 19, 2015

      Only other stuff that will need power would be the vent fan, projector, jacks, water pump, and led lights.

    • Chris Van Meter
      May 19, 2015

      I would just say to check eBay daily when able to find those deals. Every now and then I’ll luck out when people don’t bid.

    • Chris Van Meter
      May 19, 2015

      This isn’t a bad deal.

  • Jim Petersen
    September 23, 2015

    Seen this, good post! Thanks

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