Uni-Solar panel..A word of caution.

Submitted: Saturday, Apr 26, 2003 at 18:26
ThreadID: 4577 Views:9947 Replies:8 FollowUps:2
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Hi all.

I recently purchased a 65 Watt Uni-Solar panel as from all accounts I was lead to believe that it is more efficient in partial shade.

I have used the panel on 2 trips, one to the South and one to the Central of W.A.

What they claim appears to be correct, BUT..... here is the hook that they do not tell me.

The panel surface is very soft and prone to scratching. I was told by there distributors that a "neutral cure" silastic can be used to fill in any small gouges and thus preventing the ingress of dirt and water.

What they did not tell me is that the silastic does not do a good job of adhering to the panel.

Next.

The surface of the panel is a plastic composition and the damn thing acts like a huge magnet for air borne dust which collects very readily in the rough surface. Due to an electrostatic nature of the surface, brushing it off is next to useless. Wiping it off with a damp cloth only causes it to turn to paste and makes it worse. The only real solution is to wash it off with liberal dose of water, if you can spare it.

So what is the bottom line. As I see it, the small benefit of the "More efficiency" that is claimed is well and truly out weighed by the short falls of dust collection.

I sent an email to the Australian distributors asking if there was a product that could be sprayed on much the same as on the old vinyl records that would neutralises the static action.

As yet I have had no reply.

And there you have it.

Regards
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Reply By: GaryInOz (Vic) - Saturday, Apr 26, 2003 at 20:38

Saturday, Apr 26, 2003 at 20:38
Have you tried one of those rechargable portable vacuum cleaners???
AnswerID: 18419

Reply By: William - Saturday, Apr 26, 2003 at 22:06

Saturday, Apr 26, 2003 at 22:06
Janset I have always advocated the glass panels due to all the problems and issues with the Unisolar or amphourous panels. If the place that sold it to you did not tell you all the failings and issues, and they will not give you a refund go to your local consumer affairs.
What is more with these panels if you leave them flat and the water puddles in the middle, it turns the panel into a goooey stiiiicky mess.
As for using Silastic on the panel I would seek advice from Unisolar direct. Does not sound like good advice.
If the salesman told you they put out more power when they get hot, well, that is also basically a complete lie. Yes the do put out fractionally more power when amphourous get hot over crystaline panels, but the amount is so small it is approximately 1%. What they also fail to tell you that under 25C which is the majority of the time, a crystalline panel outperforms an amphorous panel by a significant percentage. From memory I think you are looking at up to 26% as the tempreture gets into the sub-teens.

This is from the Tasman Solar website
http://www.tasmanenergy.com.au/power_for_you.htm
Quote "Lack of sun. If you are visiting a warm climate you will tend to want to park in shade wherever possible. Pity about the roof mounted panels! No matter what the panel salesman told you you will quickly discover that there is no such thing as a shadow tolerant panel!"
AnswerID: 18432

Reply By: William - Saturday, Apr 26, 2003 at 22:06

Saturday, Apr 26, 2003 at 22:06
Janset I have always advocated the glass panels due to all the problems and issues with the Unisolar or amphourous panels. If the place that sold it to you did not tell you all the failings and issues, and they will not give you a refund go to your local consumer affairs.
What is more with these panels if you leave them flat and the water puddles in the middle, it turns the panel into a goooey stiiiicky mess.
As for using Silastic on the panel I would seek advice from Unisolar direct. Does not sound like good advice.
If the salesman told you they put out more power when they get hot, well, that is also basically a complete lie. Yes the do put out fractionally more power when amphourous get hot over crystaline panels, but the amount is so small it is approximately 1%. What they also fail to tell you that under 25C which is the majority of the time, a crystalline panel outperforms an amphorous panel by a significant percentage. From memory I think you are looking at up to 26% as the tempreture gets into the sub-teens.

This is from the Tasman Solar website
http://www.tasmanenergy.com.au/power_for_you.htm
Quote "Lack of sun. If you are visiting a warm climate you will tend to want to park in shade wherever possible. Pity about the roof mounted panels! No matter what the panel salesman told you you will quickly discover that there is no such thing as a shadow tolerant panel!"
AnswerID: 18433

Reply By: Member - diamond(bendigo) - Sunday, Apr 27, 2003 at 10:46

Sunday, Apr 27, 2003 at 10:46
might help or might not we had an old wheel alignment machine where the needles used to stick caused by static and was told by repair man to spray some kind off clothes spray. cant remember what its called.its used when washing nickers ect to stop static in washing machine.it workedeaster fun at jamison
AnswerID: 18482

Reply By: David N. - Sunday, Apr 27, 2003 at 11:18

Sunday, Apr 27, 2003 at 11:18
IMHO
The other huge advantage about glass vs Unisolar is size (and weight). I have had 4 different brands/ types of panel (incl a UniSolar) and find my latest (Kyocera) very hard or impossible to beat. I have a 120w and it's the best panel I've owned- bar none.
If anyone tells you that their panel works in the shade- then "tell 'em they're dreamin' ".
There is no such thing as a free lunch- no panel puts out more than a slight trickle when shaded. Yes, Unisolar might win in that situation by a few % but it's only acedemic.
AnswerID: 18486

Reply By: Baldrick - Sunday, Apr 27, 2003 at 13:55

Sunday, Apr 27, 2003 at 13:55
My betting is that you bought it from the 12v shop?

I recently went in there with an enquiry and was treated like an idiot by a salesman who obviously didn't know what he was talking about.

Have heard of a few other examples of shoddy service from there.
AnswerID: 18496

Reply By: Mike - Sunday, Apr 27, 2003 at 17:15

Sunday, Apr 27, 2003 at 17:15
While I can't help with the tech details, you should be able to anti static it, to a large degree, by spraying it with a liquid fabric softener.
Hope this helps a little.

Happy trails, Mike.
AnswerID: 18505

Reply By: Janset - Sunday, Apr 27, 2003 at 19:47

Sunday, Apr 27, 2003 at 19:47
Hi all.

Thanks for all the responses. Yes I did buy it from the 12 Volt Shop in Perth. And yes this will be my first and last Uni-Solar because of the reasons stated.

Unfortunately I can not make overtures to return it as I have made extensive modification to the frame so that I can carry it on the roof of the van.

I will give the fabric softener a go. Vacuum cleaning does not work as the surface is too rough and static will not release the dust..a pity as I do have one of those vacuum cleaners.

The salastic patching suggestion comes from Uni-Solar Australian Distributors, Sydney from memory, they are also the ones that I am awaiting the answer from relating to the static problem.

Regards
AnswerID: 18519

Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, Apr 27, 2003 at 20:06

Sunday, Apr 27, 2003 at 20:06
Janset,

Won't comment on panel issue, but we have helicopter pilots coming here regularly, and they use MR SHEEN to clean the bubble on their machines. The material used for bubbles is a plastic or perspex, so must have some anti static quality as well. Hooroo...
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FollowupID: 11567

Follow Up By: William - Sunday, Apr 27, 2003 at 21:55

Sunday, Apr 27, 2003 at 21:55
Bob Y you should definitely not use Mr Sheen on the UniSolar panel. It is not a suitable product to be used on the surface and contains silicone.

On the helicopter polycarbonate bubbles Mr Sheen is a great product.
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FollowupID: 11580

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