RAISING THE STANDARD IN SOLAR SiTï ANALYSIS
equipment reviews? It is nice to read about somebody's personal experiences in setting up a system, especially when it's similar to what I have set up. And seeing that they used some new item that makes the system more efficient is helpful. But those articles, useful as they may be in motivating newbies, do little to help those who are already sold on the idea and need more specific info to aid buying decisions. Or, like me, already have a system and may want to upgrade. We need to know that "X" piece of equipment performs as well as it is advertised, or not. And that among the best-selling brands in a particular category, "A" stands out in one regard and "B" in some other regard...
An example: Several years ago, I decided to upgrade my system, adding 50% to my PV array capacity. I knew I would have to increase the controller capacity over the Trace C-40 I had. So I took a look at MPPT controllers. I was able to get enough information in Home Power and elsewhere to determine that this type of controller would increase my system's efficiency. But as to which brand of MPPT controller to use, I found little hard data. Yes, there was some word-of-mouth info, which helped a little. But I needed an outright review with some hard data. I did not find any. I finally selected an OutBack MX60 and have been happy with it. But I may have just been lucky.
Looking at the past prompted me to think of the future: Do you think it is at all likely that you will be doing more equipment reviews?
Much of the new technology I run into comes from the dealers' ads. If it's something I might find useful, I do a Web search for reviews, comparisons, etc., and I usually find very little. And even now, a search for MX60 reviews brings up nothing of substance.
Why am I concerned at this juncture? Well, my system is just over ten years
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