Consumer Solar Kit Gets Cheaper


Spotted in my local hardware supermarket today was a surprisingly cheap 12v solar kit.

The 15w solid panel was packaged with a regulator / converter that had various output voltages, two led lighting solutions and a 7ah 12v battery. The 220v inverter shown in the image was not included in the kit.

The price? A reasonable €149

While the build quality didn’t look that great, this would still be a good purchase for emergency use.

The price also indicates that some mass manufacturing is starting for the consumer market now. Certainly the Summer 2011 edition of a local electronics catalogue shows way more solutions and products than just a few years ago.

Have you seen more consumer solar equipment for sale this year?

  • aftermath

    In America, there is a hardware store chain called Harbor Freight with many locations. The tools are terrifyingly cheap in every sense, and the company is sometimes referred to as Harbor Fright for this very reason. Still, if you need a tool that you’re not going to use too often and neither your life nor your income relies on it, then it’s good enough for many people. Their solar kits are very popular amongst DIY off-grid types, and the 45W kit is only $200 now. Neither battery nor inverter is included, but since most people are buying and installing multiple such panels, that’s probably a good thing. The real problem with solar for Average Americans right now is that their electricity consumption is substantial compared to what solar can reasonably generate, and the cost associated is quite high. Actually, the real problem with America is that nobody cares about anything unless it’s got a brand on it that’s been beaten into them since childhood or the price is so low that they’ll buy it even if they don’t know what they’ll do with it, but that’s another conversation…(and solar may never get into either of these arenas, of course until Google “gives” you solar panels for your house provided that you send a share of the electricity back to Google, and of course I mean “gives” in the sense of “installs on your property and although you might get some use out of you will neither get to own nor control it”.)

    • chippy

      $200 for a 45w panel isn’t bad!

      For many of US in developed countries, only a large solar installation makes any real sense and to be honest, the larger the better. Small-scale solar operations are expensive and are only any use for experiments and education. For emergency use, small scale solar isn’t enough. Even for traveling, there aren’t many places we, the general public, go without power being available once per day.
      As for saving money, we can forget that with small-scale solar.

      In terms of computing we can do it within a 4w profile now. Charging up a few external power bricks would keep that computing experience going for a week or more!

      I guess I’m saying that there are very few uses for small-scale solar-powered computing!