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DIYforFun

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Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #1 
Hi Everyone, 

Completely new here and  first post/thread.  I'm an  avid DIY'er and  have  worked with 12 volt panels and  batteries.. I  use these  for  my camper and  a  small back up solar  battery system. I understand the  basics  here at least   on 12 volt systems. 

While  Browsing Craigslist  as I  regularly do looking  for  this or that I can  use in a  project I came across a  deal for   12   solar panels  for  $100.  They  were  not  typically what I work being thin film (cadmium Telluride)  tech panels, sandwiched in  Glass and  definitely not 12 volt. The specs  on the back of the panels are a  bit different in format from my  12 v panels.  These are  from an out of business  mfg...  "Abound Solar"     I could not  pass  them up.  I figured theres  got to be a    bunch  of projects I  can  use them for.  I have a   few ideas  I was planning  for  12 volt , but now I want to  try and  use these  since I   have a  pile of them.[smile]

Here  are  the  specs..

Abound Solar Type AB1-65B
Nominal Peak Power   65 w
Open  circuit voltage  46.7 V
Short circuit current     2.21 A
Max system voltage (600VUL)  1000v
Fuse Rating   4A
Peak power voltage 35.9V
Peak power current  1.84 amps
Fire rating Class c

Mc4 connectors
size is  24" X 48" and   heavy!!

Thats  about all   I know,  can  someone  first off  confirm if these are   36 volt panels or  48 volts panels? 

  I know its  generally a   good idea  to  plan your projects  first and then  buy what   you need specifically, but I like  to repurpose  and  reuse things  that are cheap or free, and these   definitely  qualify as  cheap.

Thanks  in Advance.
Al

Rick H Parker

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Reply with quote  #2 
They are 24V panels. If you could find the full specs you would see the Nominal Voltage listed as 24V. Take a look at your charge controller specs., see if it can do 36V peak. 
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Rick H Parker
Kansas, USA
Electronics Engineering Technologist
DIYforFun

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Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #3 
Thanks  Rick, 

I have looked  everywhere  for the complete specs,  but  have not  had any luck.. I found one site  that  had  some  specs  but  listed the nominal Voltage as    N/A which doesn't make sense  to me.

nominal.png 


If these  are  24  volt panels then I  am  really happy,  That makes  things  alot easier  for me ! 

al


Rick H Parker

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Reply with quote  #4 
Look at the spec sheets for other 24 volt panels, your see what I mean.  The nominal Voltage is kind of a N/A because what is importation is, if the charge controller can handle the output voltage range of the panel(s).
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Rick H Parker
Kansas, USA
Electronics Engineering Technologist
stmbtwle

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Reply with quote  #5 
I think charge controllers need to be able to accommodate the open circuit voltage (46v).  It might be better to connect them in series-parallel for an even higher voltage and use an MPPT controller. 

I suspect the nominal voltage is "not applicable" as these panels were intended to be connected in series for high voltage applications such as grid-tie. 

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Willie, Tampa Bay
Rick H Parker

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Reply with quote  #6 
"I think charge controllers need to be able to accommodate the open circuit voltage (46v)."

No current draw is "open circuit" electrically whether it physically connected or not.

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Rick H Parker
Kansas, USA
Electronics Engineering Technologist
colinmcc

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Posts: 139
Reply with quote  #7 
Be careful of those panels, I'm sure your search for info on the company threw up the fact that in 2013 when  Abound Solar declared bankruptcy they were ordered to bury all their unsold product in cement! If the panels are intact and unbroken it seems they are safe, but if/when they reach EOL then you'll need a plan.[frown]

"Colorado-based Abound Solar has been ordered to remove and bury in cement thousands of leftover solar panels “deemed unsellable” by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). The company must also clean up other hazardous waste at a number of facilities statewide, according to the Northern Colorado Business Report (NCBR).

The cleanup is expected to cost at least $2.2 million.

The company, a recipient of a $400 million Department of Energy loan guarantee, received approximately $70 million before it shuttered its operation. The bankruptcy will cost taxpayers $40 million to $60 million.

State health officials pointed to the carcinogenic metal cadmium in the panels as the source of concern. “At the time of the inspection these 2,000 pallets of solar panels were deemed unsellable and a viable agreement for reclamation of the solar panels was not evident,” the inspector’s report says. “Therefore, the department views these 2,000 pallets of solar panels as a characteristic hazardous waste for cadmium.

DIYforFun

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Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by colinmcc
Be careful of those panels, I'm sure your search for info on the company threw up the fact that in 2013 when  Abound Solar declared bankruptcy they were ordered to bury all their unsold product in cement! If the panels are intact and unbroken it seems they are safe, but if/when they reach EOL then you'll need a plan.[frown]

"Colorado-based Abound Solar has been ordered to remove and bury in cement thousands of leftover solar panels “deemed unsellable” by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). The company must also clean up other hazardous waste at a number of facilities statewide, according to the Northern Colorado Business Report (NCBR).

The cleanup is expected to cost at least $2.2 million.

The company, a recipient of a $400 million Department of Energy loan guarantee, received approximately $70 million before it shuttered its operation. The bankruptcy will cost taxpayers $40 million to $60 million.

State health officials pointed to the carcinogenic metal cadmium in the panels as the source of concern. “At the time of the inspection these 2,000 pallets of solar panels were deemed unsellable and a viable agreement for reclamation of the solar panels was not evident,” the inspector’s report says. “Therefore, the department views these 2,000 pallets of solar panels as a characteristic hazardous waste for cadmium.



Hi ,  yes I have  researched them.  Thanks  for the warning.  If I had  researched  a  little    more   before  the  purchase I   probably  would have   passed  them up, maybe. But  where I  live, you  snooze on craigslist , you lose.

It seems this  technology is  pretty  widespread being the  next  alternative to  the  Silicon  ones,  and   used  mostly in big  projects.   First Solar is the  only US  maker now,  after Abound  went bottom up and GE's group was  bought by  First Solar ( I think).    

There   seems to be some   potential  for this technology over  Silicon...
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/600922/first-solars-cells-break-efficiency-record/

I  can only  hope that  by the  time  I need to  retire these there is a  better   recycle  flow than  current.  Apparently recycling  solar  panels  is going to  be a  multi-billion dollar industry in the  next  10-20 years.  Thats   solar panels in  general.   Its a shame that  as it stands  many  panels  wind up in the  trash.  Even a   cracked  solar panel is  usable in many cases .. I   have  a  100 watt  12 v one  use as  a battery  charger  that looks like a  softball  hit it.  I sealed  the  surface and  it works   fine and has the last year. It was a  craigslist  freebie.


From what I read  90+ % of these  Cadium Telluride cells are  recoverable if recycled, and the  Telluride  is   a very  rare   element so maybe if the  panels  become  common, there will be an  incentive to  recycle.  I guess  we  will see  what  happens. As for the  toxicity , they should be  relatively  safe...even if  cracked.


My first project with these  panels is  a  simple one.. I keep  chickens and  breed  tropical  fish, To   breed the  fish I use  an  Ro water  filter.. it split out  pure softwater   and  mineral hard waste water.  I currently water  plants  with the waste  water... but I will be  using one  of these  panels/maybe 2 to charge a  12v battery that will   pump the  waste  water  from a   storage  barrel to  the chickens  coop.   That  mineral rich water will be    great  for them.    The pump  literallly will  need to  run  a  minute 3X a  day by timer.. 

After that , my wife  just gave me  a request  for   outside   christmas lights .... I should be  able to  use these as well  with a battery  system.


I could easily do  these  things with AC  from  the house.. but what  fun is that?[smile]

Thanks again,
al






Rick H Parker

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Reply with quote  #9 
There have been reports of Abound Solar panels catching fire.

From a U.S. Department of Energy audit report.

"the Program learned that Abound's technical problems included the potential for fires from sparks generated by panel materials,

You can read the full report here.

I would think twice before mounting them on a roof. A ground mount at a respectable distance maybe.

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Rick H Parker
Kansas, USA
Electronics Engineering Technologist
DIYforFun

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Posts: 8
Reply with quote  #10 
Thanks  Rick,
I read that  whole  article and   there was  nothing about this  issue except  what  you  quoted...   ..

Quote:

Resolved the conflicting opinions of its advisors regarding Abound's ability to overcome

technical issues. In January 2011, 1 month after issuing the loan, the Program learned

that Abound's solar panels were underperforming by as much as 15 percent. As a result,

Abound reported that its second largest customer returned $2.2 million of product and

cancelled other orders in December 2010, the same month the loan was issued. While

the Program's Independent Engineer believed that Abound's plans to address the issues

were achievable and the project funding should continue, the Program's internal solar

expert recommended that the Program not approve additional disbursements at that time

based on the number, severity, and frequency of Abound's product and quality control

issues. One of the most significant of these issues was the potential for panels to spark

or catch fire. Despite the technical shortfalls and the solar expert's concerns regarding

Abound's quality control, the Program allowed the project to continue without

reconciling the conflicting opinions of the Independent Engineer and the solar expert. In

particular, the Program had not verified the proposed engineering solutions or the

sufficiency of Abound's long-term quality control and testing programs.

 




In my  net searches today I  did find  references to   a   defect in the  Buss  bar,
source...http://resourcefulearth.org/2012/10/04/solar-panels-that-catch-fire-when-exposed-to-the-sun/
Quote:
one part of the solar panel called the buss bar, a piece of mechanical tape that conducts electricity, did not have the proper adhesion properties which caused it to crack out in the field, causing the panels to catch fire.

“That went on for three years,” another source familiar with the buss bars said. “That should have been everybody, hands on deck, fix this problem, but it wasn’t handled that way.”

A video obtained by The DC News Foundation shows a solar panel catching fire, which multiple sources identified as being one of Abound’s panels. In fact, the video was taken by one of Abound’s customers.

  I have not  found the  reported video though.

another  site..
http://dailycaller.com/2012/10/02/sources-documents-suggest-government-subsidized-abound-solar-was-selling-faulty-product/
says the  buss bar issue was   fixed  in latter  models.. but the  article  lists a  sombering  number/ stats on  defects and  replacements.

Quote:

This, however, was just the tip of the iceberg as internal Abound documents obtained by The DC News Foundation show tens of thousands of solar panel replacement approvals for 2012, many of these panels were installed in 2011 or earlier.

One replacement approval from April  2012 was for BP Solar in California to replace 14,700 of the 15,000 solar modules sold to BP at an estimated cost of more than $1 million.

n another case, two replacements of 18,150 solar modules for GP Joule PV Gmbh — out of more than 57,000 sold to the company — were signed in March for a project in Germany.

Another German customer, Wirsol Solar AG, had replacement approvals signed in April to replace 18,350 solar modules out of about 34,000 sold to the company.

Their customers in India were not faring much better, as an approval was signed in February 2012 for Vivaswan Technologies to replace 7600 modules at a cost of about $465,000. Another replacement of 25,050 panels for Vivaswan was signed in April with an estimated cost of $1.3 million, citing a “catastrophic buss bar failure and “degraded” performance.

Another Indian customer, Punj Lloyd had an approval signed in February 2012 to replace 7,800 solar modules, and another one in April to replace 22,650 modules, and both times Punj cited catastrophic buss bar failure and degraded performance.

More documents show that Abound also had high expected failure rates. For example, solar modules in India using a Chomerics-made buss bar had a predictive failure rate as high as 55 percent in five years. For European customers using panels with a buss bar built by 3M, the expected failure rate was nearly as high as 77 percent in five years.

Furthermore, when it comes to known failures, internal Abound documents show more than 38,000 solar module replacements in the first quarter of2012 alone. The second quarter saw 53,500 replacements, and the third saw 45,300.

Because Abound filed for bankruptcy before the conclusion of 2012, the total known and estimated failures for the whole year was put at 156,983.

Abound only sold 620,106 solar modules, and one source said that “the first million panels built” by Abound were bound to fail.

In total, one Abound financial spreadsheet shows that Abound had an estimated $45 million in total warranty obligations over 25 years, which is how long the warranty on their panels lasted for.

thats  quite a list.

  At this point I will be cautious definitely and  Thank  you again for the warning.  I  was not planning on using these on  my house or  other  structures so thats at least a  positive.  I only have  $100  in these  panels, thats  the other positive.   

Time to make  Lemonade I  guess.


al
al
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