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Old 03-21-2014, 01:24 PM
 
Location: West Orange, NJ
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So,

I was walking through Costco and there was a Goal Zero display set up. There were promotional prices for the "event". They weren't spectacular over normal price. the 30W solar panel was $140 (Boulder 30 Solar Panel | Solar Panels | Goal Zero)

and then they had various generators which seemed to be regular price, maybe $100 off (Portable Solar Battery Charger | Portable Solar Panels | Off-Grid Solar Generators | Goal Zero - Extreme Portable Power).

i'm curious, since i haven't really looked at systems like this, how these prices compare to a system of installed solar panels? i imagine these goal zero are far more expensive, no?
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Old 03-21-2014, 02:07 PM
 
Location: North Idaho
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I don't know, but it appears to me that Costco leases out small patches of floor space to various vendors. It isn't really Costco selling the stuff and, as a generalization, I haven't noticed that any of the prices are all that good.

Those will be a small display area with a salesman there selling that product.

It should be easy enough to find prices for all that stuff. Also, there should be customer reviews for all of it.
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Old 03-21-2014, 02:49 PM
 
Location: Volcano
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oregonwoodsmoke View Post
I don't know, but it appears to me that Costco leases out small patches of floor space to various vendors. It isn't really Costco selling the stuff and, as a generalization, I haven't noticed that any of the prices are all that good.
Yes, they have always used vendors, who pay a percentage of sales against a guarantee.

For a while Costco was selling a lot of solar panels and gear, and generally at good prices. I have no idea why they've cut back. But this apparent vendor's prices don't sound too good. I'd check around before buying those.
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Old 03-21-2014, 04:31 PM
MJ7
 
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30W isn't all that much, but then again 140$ isn't that much either. The problem with solar or wind power is the storage issue. The batteries will be a pretty penny.
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Old 03-23-2014, 07:12 PM
 
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When I was looking at solar panels, I was around a $1 a watt for the panel. Granted these are bigger panels and you had to buy a bunch of them to get it that cheap. I don't think even individually I saw them for more than $2 a rated Watt.

Curious as to what you were planning to do with a 30W panel? Just to give you an idea of power generation, it would need to make 30 watts for 333 hours to make 1 KWH, which is worth on average around 15 cents... Having said that, a small battery and a CFL or LED light in a area that doesn't have power to run to do it - it might be the ticket for that.
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Old 03-23-2014, 09:33 PM
 
Location: Volcano
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[quote=Dakster;34008580]When I was looking at solar panels, I was around a $1 a watt for the panel. Granted these are bigger panels and you had to buy a bunch of them to get it that cheap. I don't think even individually I saw them for more than $2 a rated Watt.

True that. Even allowing for paying a bit more for a single small panel and controller, a 30 watt at $140 is nearly $5 per watt. Checking the internet it doesn't seem out of line for the market, although I did find one that size for $100.

Quote:
Curious as to what you were planning to do with a 30W panel? Just to give you an idea of power generation, it would need to make 30 watts for 333 hours to make 1 KWH, which is worth on average around 15 cents... Having said that, a small battery and a CFL or LED light in a area that doesn't have power to run to do it - it might be the ticket for that.
What came to mind for me is that this could serve as a trickle charger for my laptop computer if I was camping out in the bush.
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Old 03-24-2014, 10:57 AM
 
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Heck, my buddy has a netbook that pulls 7 watts when it is running. And I have 12W-19W chargers for my laptops, so yep, it could work out that way for sure. I was even thinking of a trickle charger for my Truck's 12V Battery. But not sure 30W is enough to make a difference on those batteries either. (I have 12 HUGE batteries as it takes some juice to turn over the motor.)

Yeah, the smaller panels and if you buy ONE at retail the cost seem to always be high. I just wanted to put that into perspective with building an actual PV array that the cost isn't nearly that much. If you were going to permanently mount a panel, I would use the $140 to try and find a higher wattage panel.

BTW - Lately I don't see Costco or BJs as all that much of a "wholesale" club anymore. Certain things are still good, but it seems like years ago it was better and there were "deals" to be had for buying in bulk. Maybe it is just my imagination. It seems to be the case with the PV stuff. It isn't overpriced for the most part, but it is no "bargain" either.
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Old 03-24-2014, 04:25 PM
 
Location: Volcano
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakster View Post
Yeah, the smaller panels and if you buy ONE at retail the cost seem to always be high. I just wanted to put that into perspective with building an actual PV array that the cost isn't nearly that much. If you were going to permanently mount a panel, I would use the $140 to try and find a higher wattage panel.
Funny you should mention that. I just did a web search on "Costco Solar" and found this... a Grape 100w panel for... wait for it... $139.95!

Grape Solar 100 Watt Polycrystalline PV Solar Panel

And look, right next to it, they also have a complete 5,170 Watt Grid-Tied system for only $12,999.99 (Personally, I'd call that $13 Thousand )

Quote:
BTW - Lately I don't see Costco or BJs as all that much of a "wholesale" club anymore. Certain things are still good, but it seems like years ago it was better and there were "deals" to be had for buying in bulk. Maybe it is just my imagination. It seems to be the case with the PV stuff. It isn't overpriced for the most part, but it is no "bargain" either.
I don't think Costco has changed. I just think the market has changed, with less markup in the "Regular" price they're competing against.
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Old 03-25-2014, 10:25 PM
509
 
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Goal Zero is pretty much eye candy solar.

Your much better off buying a standard solar panel and jumper battery.

Solar works for niche products. I have a solar off-grid house, a solar fishing boat, and a ton of other uses.

Get a real solar panel and battery. A 30 watt panel is a good size to start. That will give you some charging capacity and let you decide how much further you want to go into solar.
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