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Buy Zedfactory solar kit at 'cost price'.

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Joined: 01 Sep 2006
Posts: 2707

PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 2:23 pm    Post subject: Buy Zedfactory solar kit at 'cost price'. Reply with quote

The people who designed ZedBed in south London have branched out into supplying renewables kit.

I met one of their people at our farmers' market a couple of weeks ago and got chatting about solar panels (the way you do Smile ). They are trying to get a consortium together to order a full container-load of kit from China. Their 'consortium' prices seem pretty competitive. They require full payment up front and there are minimum order quantities for the PV panels of 4 or 5 units. I think they'd expect the buyer to collect them from south London.

The technical spec and the normal retail prices are here (pdf).

The 180W "Zedfabric" panels cost ?475 + VAT through the consortium compared with ?630+VAT normally. To get a pdf of the full list and express an interest (without committing), contact Tash Coull (tash@zedfactory.com).

I went to "Grand Designs Live" at Excel in London over the weekend, where a very slick sales guy from one of the many renewables companies was telling me he could beat these prices but other than that, the prices offered here seem to undercut other suppliers.

The inverters are also quite a bit cheaper, e.g. a 3kW ZEDfabric inverter costs ?990 + VAT, instead of ?1385 + VAT; unfortunately, they don't seem to be suitable for off-grid use.

The questions/comments I have are:

1) what is the difference between mono- and poly-crystalline?
2) do these prices include mounting frames and cables
3) what is the difference in build quality between these 'own brand' panels and the equivalent Sharp panel
4) will prices drop & availability increase or will they shoot up and availability decrease

Any thoughts or advice?
"The greatest shortcoming of the human race (still) is our inability to understand the exponential function."
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Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 2729
Location: Newquay

PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've already bought a solar panel from Bedzed @ ?290 for the 83W panel. It's been giving me 4.5-5.5 amps at 12v in direct midday sunlight for 20-25Ah over a whole (sunny) day.

It's been interesting to watch how the power output changes through the day. A couple of clouds over the sun and 5 amps quickly becomes 1.5. And aside from 2-3 hours either side of midday, I'm lucky to see more than 0.5amps.

Anyway, I can attest to the friendliness of the staff. Sue Dunster (wife of Bill Dunster the architect) even gave me a lift back to the station to make sure I didnt miss my train - then drove back again when we realised I'd left behind one of my cables.

They are currently selling the 83W panels on ebay for a small discount.

The panels come in a frame with small eyeholes but otherwise you're on your own as far as installing them goes. Each panel has (what appear to me to be) proprietary connectors for attaching to an adjacent panel, but you also get (for free) a pair of additional cables which end in bare wires for connection to a solar controller.

Monocrystalline panels are more efficient but more expensive and have a more wasteful manufacture process than polycrystalline panels. But I'm sure Mike is more of an expert on the exact numbers involved.
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