Why not CIGS?

0rion

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I bought 6 100w hanergy/global solar cigs panels. I made a Longshot offer on ebay, and got them for 50 cents a watt. I haven't gotten around to mounting them. But I have high, perhaps misplaced hopes .
Nice find - I saw your other thread, have you settled on a way to mount them?
 

eXodus

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Thanks for this eXodus. Any information you could provide in regards to benefits vs crystalline panels? Could you speak to any of the points I mentioned earlier?
the CGIS panels have their peak production in the shoulder seasons. They don't like being hot and I got my peak production in Germany in Spring and Fall. Winter obviously the sun is only out from 8 to 4pm, so production is limited just due to daylight length.

Can't tell much about shading since I got very little on the system. The panels and frames and mounting system are all black. Have to dig through if I find some pictures.

The Thin film panels have excellent performance when it's overcast (what's is constantly in the part of Germany where I used to live - only about 1000 sunhours a year, compare that with Arizona 3200h) - I got actually the highest production number during slight cloudy days.

I also got a Mono system to compare - when you got single stray cloud casting a show on the mono system - performance drops dramatically - while the CGIS doesn't really care.
Like I said - this is my experience with CGIS Glass panels - and NOT the flexible ones you had been talking about.

I had flexible Poly and mono panels and they all had been garbage. The transparent plastic on top got milky within 2-3 years and so performance was almost nothing anymore.

From what I read CGIS has many advantages in low light performance and is comparable easy to produce. It's still as not good per unit of space - but when space is not a concern, they could be still an option.
 

0rion

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Winter obviously the sun is only out from 8 to 4pm, so production is limited just due to daylight length.
How did you find the production with the sun at a lower angle during the day?
 

eXodus

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How did you find the production with the sun at a lower angle during the day?
What angle do you mean? Sun angle or panel angle?

I honestly haven't looked at hourly data for years since the system runs flawless. It's grid tied, so I only glance over the monthly averages when the bill or usually the credit arrives. (,Yes in germany we get paid for the power we produce)
 

0rion

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What angle do you mean? Sun angle or panel angle?

My use case would be for an RV, and while I enjoy watching videos of clever creators making motorized and manual tilt mechanisms for the panels to maximize the power, it wouldn't work for us since we're explorers and like to try different parks and sites and could never guarantee that I could park the trailer in the necessary direction. So either I'd need to design a multi-directional ball mount (lol) or they're going down flat.

And this is the main reason why I am so hesitant to go with the common mono crystalline panels since I'd be giving up power potential for times when the sun wasn't at an optimal angle. I'd need more panels on my roof to compensate, which seems like an inefficient use of the panels and my money. The stars (literally, star) need to align just right to make them work optimally!

And this is one claim of CIGS cells, that they can produce more power when the sun is lower. So I was interested in knowing how your panels behave in the winter months, when there is less daylight. It sounds to me like the limiting factor has more to do with the available hours of sunlight than the sun's angle.

I was looking at other technologies like shingled cell panels and PERC, but your post brought me back to CIGS as likely the best option!
 

eXodus

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So either I'd need to design a multi-directional ball mount (lol) or they're going down flat.
you only need on hinge on one side - you can park the RV in a different orientation to account the remainder.

I'm RV with Solar for 5 + years now. And It's just a habit that I park somewhere with the windshield towards south while boondocking. Small compass on the dash makes it easy. My panels are tilted slight forward and left and right (2 panels) so I start capturing early in the day - and till later afternoon.

When you are in a campground - you usually got hookup so the solar panel direction doesn't matter.
 

TwilightZone

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Nice find - I saw your other thread, have you settled on a way to mount them?
I'm going to use the aluminum sign board, cut with a few inch boarder around the panel. I bought thermal conductive double face tape. It was cheaper than any thermal adhesive I could find. The idea is to have %100 coverage with the tape to the aluminium, with either dicor or eternabond around the edge to stop air infiltration. Then bond the sign board to the rv roof. Either with dicor or perhaps some high performance double face tape, leaving the corrigations open to breath. Hopefully this will accomplish a few things. A) Make the panels easier to remove from the rv roof without damage. B) Provide a better heat sink for the panels. C) Help keep a bit of heat out of the rv roof.
I'm no genius, I haven't even been in a holiday Inn since I bought the camper. But like someone once said 2 out of 3 ain't bad..
 

0rion

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I'm going to use the aluminum sign board, cut with a few inch boarder around the panel. I bought thermal conductive double face tape. It was cheaper than any thermal adhesive I could find. The idea is to have %100 coverage with the tape to the aluminium, with either dicor or eternabond around the edge to stop air infiltration. Then bond the sign board to the rv roof. Either with dicor or perhaps some high performance double face tape, leaving the corrigations open to breath. Hopefully this will accomplish a few things. A) Make the panels easier to remove from the rv roof without damage. B) Provide a better heat sink for the panels. C) Help keep a bit of heat out of the rv roof.
I'm no genius, I haven't even been in a holiday Inn since I bought the camper. But like someone once said 2 out of 3 ain't bad..
Sounds like a good plan. I liked the idea of the sign board but always thought some kind of metal would be wise to act like a heatsink. Didn't know there was aluminum sign board. I was also thinking along the same lines as you with point A - especially if I got a flexible panel with an adhesive backing...I'd rather adhere it to a removable mount and attach that to the roof. Hopefully you can share your experience, I look forward to seeing how it goes!
 

0rion

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you only need on hinge on one side - you can park the RV in a different orientation to account the remainder.

I'm RV with Solar for 5 + years now. And It's just a habit that I park somewhere with the windshield towards south while boondocking. Small compass on the dash makes it easy. My panels are tilted slight forward and left and right (2 panels) so I start capturing early in the day - and till later afternoon.

When you are in a campground - you usually got hookup so the solar panel direction doesn't matter.
Up here in Canada we don't have quite the same BLM land as the states - we have Crown land, some of which is available for camping. However, it seems like it's more set up for backpackers and portagers rather than boondockers. We do have plenty of amazing provincial parks but they have become quite popular post-lockdown. We'd like to have the flexibility of Wally-docking in a parking lot as we travel, and to choose unpowered sites (which can be premium spots in some parks, and are usually more available than the powered sites). I rarely get the luxury of choosing which direction I'm able to park the trailer, and can be surprised by a tree that wasn't clearly identified in the site photo.

I do have a 200w portable panel that works quite well, but I'd still like something on the roof that could be generating power full-time, and only use the portable panel when we need an extra boost. So you can probably see why we'd need something more flexible, and why I'm so hesitant to go with the mono panels - if I'm only able to produce 10%-20% of the panels power 80% of the time, it seems like a waste of the panels potential and the wrong use case for it. If I could get a panel that could get me 40%-50% under the same poor conditions, I'd consider that worth it...

I can hardly be unique in my situation, which makes me wonder why CIGS hasn't taken off more than it has, bringing me back to the title of the post.
 
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TwilightZone

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Sounds like a good plan. I liked the idea of the sign board but always thought some kind of metal would be wise to act like a heatsink. Didn't know there was aluminum sign board. I was also thinking along the same lines as you with point A - especially if I got a flexible panel with an adhesive backing...I'd rather adhere it to a removable mount and attach that to the roof. Hopefully you can share your experience, I look forward to seeing how it goes!
I've been on hold financially and mentally. Looong story. The sign board I have is 4x8 sheets of aluminum sandwiching the same plastic corrigations as the all plastic board other folks have been using. They make a 100% aluminium board, corrigations and all, they use it in airplane interiors. Very strong and light, but it will make you wallet light as well. The thermal tape I bought looks like it might be a pita to work with, but it's $20 a roll x 1 roll per panel. All the thermally conductive adhesives I found would have been something like $500 a gallon, with lots left over. Until I spring for a charge controller I'm kinda stuck anyway. I want overkill, but so far I've been too tight to spend the $$$. The battleborns and multiplus hurt worse than I expected. Then real estate taxes came due. Then our home insurance quadrupled with a cash up front requirement after all our break ins. 🤪 And now it's Christmas. So if your waiting on my project, sorry, but it's moving slow..
 

TwilightZone

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I think I'm going to swap my absorption fridge for a 12vdc dometic. If those 600w won't do anything else, if they'll just keep the fridge running 24/7 I'll be happy enough. Anything past that is just gravy.
 

Blackhat

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Yeah, if 600W won't keep a Dometic running... Then you know why they sold for $0.50 per Watt.

On the subject of the thread, CIGS are fascinating and a superior product in many respects as the OP pointed out. But the cost is approaching insane unless you very strongly NEED one or more of the key features.

I have a hardshell RTT with nothing but curved surfaces on the top, and I generally seek out shade when setting it up. Drilling the shell is not conceivable. And my loads can be kept modest (see: dometic power consumption) and excessive batteries purchased, but I need a way to top up during long trips and potentially to support higher loads if desired.

So I'm a really good candidate for CIGS. And yet... the only reason I would do that is that it's cool. Because a DC-DC charger will serve the same purpose unless I'm spending 10 days parked in a single location. And even then, those panels will buy quite a few hours of idling.

Anyway. Cool is cool. And I may decide to do the CIGS. But if my application can't justify the cost, it's not hard to see why CIGS are so niche.
 

Bvillebob

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Forget the Dometic, get a 12 volt fridge with a Danfoss compressor. One of the best upgrades I've done to my camper was getting rid of the Dometic 3 way and putting in a Truckfridge a few years ago. It keeps food at 38 degrees, period, and has a small freezer unit too. It draws 30 watts when running, and runs about 20 percent of the time, so the daily load is minimal. It was about $500 but having reliable, consistently cold food has been fantastic since I've been living in my rig for 3 months of the year.
 

TwilightZone

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Forget the Dometic, get a 12 volt fridge with a Danfoss compressor. One of the best upgrades I've done to my camper was getting rid of the Dometic 3 way and putting in a Truckfridge a few years ago. It keeps food at 38 degrees, period, and has a small freezer unit too. It draws 30 watts when running, and runs about 20 percent of the time, so the daily load is minimal. It was about $500 but having reliable, consistently cold food has been fantastic since I've been living in my rig for 3 months of the year.
I have two. 1 dometic cf18? Compressor fridge/cooler. And 1 iceco 35qt? Both sip power. The dometic lives in my back seat and runs fine on a cheapo 50w flexible panel I screwed to my truck toolbox lid. I have to use a charger over weekends in the garage, but if it's semi sunny, it keeps up fine. The dometic I was referring to in the post you quoted is the new 12v compressor only model, not a 3 way, that I haven't bought yet. https://www.dometic.com/en-us/outdo...ators/rv-refrigerators/dometic-dmc4101-242459 The plan was to use the small dometic for drinks and sandwiches while traveling. The Iceco as a small deep freeze in the camper basement. And the dometic 12v compressor model as the main fridge in the camper.. I have a problem with redundancy. It's annoying, till you need it.
 

TwilightZone

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Yeah, if 600W won't keep a Dometic running... Then you know why they sold for $0.50 per Watt.

On the subject of the thread, CIGS are fascinating and a superior product in many respects as the OP pointed out. But the cost is approaching insane unless you very strongly NEED one or more of the key features.

I have a hardshell RTT with nothing but curved surfaces on the top, and I generally seek out shade when setting it up. Drilling the shell is not conceivable. And my loads can be kept modest (see: dometic power consumption) and excessive batteries purchased, but I need a way to top up during long trips and potentially to support higher loads if desired.

So I'm a really good candidate for CIGS. And yet... the only reason I would do that is that it's cool. Because a DC-DC charger will serve the same purpose unless I'm spending 10 days parked in a single location. And even then, those panels will buy quite a few hours of idling.

Anyway. Cool is cool. And I may decide to do the CIGS. But if my application can't justify the cost, it's not hard to see why CIGS are so niche.
I have no reason to doubt they will. Just illustrating the point that I have high hopes, but reasonable expectations. I got lucky buying them so cheaply. If I can design the install around their weak points, they may be just what I needed.
 
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