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So I'm about to move into a new house soon and I was thinking about purchasing a solar panel to offset the power requirements of the fisker so I can basically drive truly with zero emissions. Lol. Anyways from what I understand it takes roughly 20kwh to fully charge a Karma. This panel below is a plug in play model and roughly generates 8.2kwh of power daily, so basically you can drive ur car 3 full charges weekly running on solar power. Anyone ever have experience with these things?? Feedback?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1-72-KW-Plu...110?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a828dd40e
 

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I'm curious to know also how durable these systems are - do they last a few years or decades?
 

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I'm curious to know also how durable these systems are - do they last a few years or decades?
The panels are typically warranted for 25 years (as this one is) and, at least in California, in order to be eligible for the rebate, you have to have that warranty. As for durability, they are fairly robust units, there are no moving parts, and not a whole lot to break or go wrong.

I am not sure about these particular units, however. I would suggest getting panels from established companies like Panasonic and SunPower rather than the Ebay house brand.
 

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Great idea! Now if only we can get it to work at night to have a charged Karma in the morning!
 

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@Fab - is there any degradation in efficiency over time (eg less efficient due to wear/change in chemistry)?
 

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Solar panels do degrade with time. I believe the requirements are that they must produce 80% of their original output capability after 25 years. This, of course, assumes that proper maintenance has been done, such as cleaning. I currently have 37 240W SunPower AC panels that each output 220V AC so they can be wired directly into my house mains.
 

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Solar panels do degrade with time. I believe the requirements are that they must produce 80% of their original output capability after 25 years. This, of course, assumes that proper maintenance has been done, such as cleaning. I currently have 37 240W SunPower AC panels that each output 220V AC so they can be wired directly into my house mains.
This web site: http://www.greenpowerlaw.com/2009/05/california-solar-law-mandatory-warranties/ claims that the California requirement is "15% in ten years" (i.e., no more than 15% degradation) on the overall system (which includes inverters) and a 25-year warranty (not described) on the panels. This is not hard to meet today. However, way back in the 1970s...

Solar PV panels were built then in pretty much the same way as today. First, you make single- or poly-crystalline silicon (i.e., highly purified sand) with a hint of phosphorous as the semiconductor dopant; or sometimes amorphous silicon, or some of the less "environmentally friendly" thin film methods, including cadmium telluride. Assuming you're using silicon, you slice it up into thin "wafers" and add your wires for collecting the PV charge. These are quite fragile, so the next step is to encase the whole thing in glass and aluminum ... but you also need something in there to hold it all together and waterproof it.

That "something" is basically a variant of clear silicone sealant.

The problem with standard silicone sealant is that if you set it out in the sun and leave it there for 20+ years, it turns yellow or brown, which blocks out a lot of the sun! The solar radiation (same as what gives you a tan, plus the light itself) gradually changes the composition of the silicone.

So they fiddled with the chemistry of the sealant, and now any properly built panel uses stuff that stays clear for 40+ years. But that's where the "degradation" really comes from. Polycrystalline silicon (which is probably the most common technology for the PV wafers) should last almost forever as there are no moving parts. The glass surface over it can become pitted (scattering the light somewhat), or of course can be destroyed by Oklahoma-style hail (or tornados or whatever), but it was the sealant that shortened the lifespan of early PV panels.
 

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I had 4.8 kWp of Sanyo solar panels installed back in August 2009, several months after I placed my deposit on my Fisker. This was the maximum amount that was eligible for the government rebate at the time. For the past year, I have been charging a Volt, Leaf, and Karma, and the panels are more than compensating for the extra power needed. My electric bill is lower now than in 2007 and 2008. I also changed my indoor and outdoor lighting to LED, which helped. I recently bought a Tesla Model S as I now have a 4th driver in the family. My power bill last month was approaching what it was in prior to the solar panels.
 

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This web site: http://www.greenpowerlaw.com/2009/05/california-solar-law-mandatory-warranties/ claims that the California requirement is "15% in ten years" (i.e., no more than 15% degradation) on the overall system (which includes inverters) and a 25-year warranty (not described) on the panels. This is not hard to meet today. However, way back in the 1970s...

Solar PV panels were built then in pretty much the same way as today. First, you make single- or poly-crystalline silicon (i.e., highly purified sand) with a hint of phosphorous as the semiconductor dopant; or sometimes amorphous silicon, or some of the less "environmentally friendly" thin film methods, including cadmium telluride. Assuming you're using silicon, you slice it up into thin "wafers" and add your wires for collecting the PV charge. These are quite fragile, so the next step is to encase the whole thing in glass and aluminum ... but you also need something in there to hold it all together and waterproof it.

That "something" is basically a variant of clear silicone sealant.

The problem with standard silicone sealant is that if you set it out in the sun and leave it there for 20+ years, it turns yellow or brown, which blocks out a lot of the sun! The solar radiation (same as what gives you a tan, plus the light itself) gradually changes the composition of the silicone.

So they fiddled with the chemistry of the sealant, and now any properly built panel uses stuff that stays clear for 40+ years. But that's where the "degradation" really comes from. Polycrystalline silicon (which is probably the most common technology for the PV wafers) should last almost forever as there are no moving parts. The glass surface over it can become pitted (scattering the light somewhat), or of course can be destroyed by Oklahoma-style hail (or tornados or whatever), but it was the sealant that shortened the lifespan of early PV panels.
Thanks CT - very informative!
 

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I had 4.8 kWp of Sanyo solar panels installed back in August 2009, several months after I placed my deposit on my Fisker. This was the maximum amount that was eligible for the government rebate at the time. For the past year, I have been charging a Volt, Leaf, and Karma, and the panels are more than compensating for the extra power needed. My electric bill is lower now than in 2007 and 2008. I also changed my indoor and outdoor lighting to LED, which helped. I recently bought a Tesla Model S as I now have a 4th driver in the family. My power bill last month was approaching what it was in prior to the solar panels.
Wow - so you now own all the electric cars on the market (the Mitsu MiEV doesn't count!) - that begs for a picture of your garage/solar units!
 

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Wow - so you now own all the electric cars on the market (the Mitsu MiEV doesn't count!) - that begs for a picture of your garage/solar units!
Below is a picture of the panels on my garage roof. The smaller panel is for a solar water heater. I have a 6 car garage with 2 240V chargers from Chargepoint. The use 110V to charge 2 of the cars, usually the Volt and Leaf.

 
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