A complete review of Grape Solar panels
Individual panel prices
Prices of DIY kits
Installed system prices
Grape Solar is a Eugene, Oregon-based solar panel manufacturer offering a new brand of solar power solutions, DIY installation kits, and portable solar panels.
While Grape Solar has only been in the building applied photovoltaics (BAPV) market since 2009, the company has established a solid reputation for producing affordable, durable solar panel kits in the United States.
The company offers both polycrystalline and monocrystalline solar panels and installation services through its professional network of contractors. Grape Solar also sells kits directly to the public through major retailers like Costco, Amazon, and Home Depot.
In this blog, we will take a look at Grape Solar and review their solar energy solutions. We’ll also break down what makes this company different and where you can buy Grape Solar panels and kits.
Grape Solar panels are unique in that consumers can buy them directly from retailers like Home Depot and Costco, unlike traditional solar panel manufacturers. Instead, those companies sell their products through third-party distributors and installers.
The kits themselves are similar to others on the market, such as Renogy Solar. However, Grape Solar’s kits aren’t limited to RVs and trailers - they can retrofit your entire house, as well. Most of the competition only sells small-scale kits for off-grid, nomadic lifestyles.
Grape Solar offers DIY kit options that include solar panels, solar inverters, and racking systems. Most kits include the solar panels, a charge controller, extension cables, and a manual, as well.
Grape solar offers quality, high efficiency panels at a price point that makes sense for most consumers.
When you install solar panels using grid-tied Grape Solar panel kits, you will be eligible for local rebates and incentives, so be sure to check what options your state or town offer.
|Model||Best use||Cost (as of February 2022)||Where to buy|
|Grape Solar Polycrystalline Solar Panel GS-Star-100W||Providing backup power for RV and boat use||$113.95||Amazon|
|Grape Solar 300-Watt Off-Grid Solar Panel Kit||Powering small electronics like LED lights and fans||$725.00||Home Depot|
|Grape Solar 400-Watt Off-Grid Solar Panel Kit||Providing more power to small electronics like power tools||$527.49||Lowes|
|Grape Solar 600W Off-Grid Solar Panel Kit||Powering larger electronics like mini-fridges and TVs||$1,149.99||Costco|
Grape Solar kits are a good choice:
Although generally considered more affordable compared to getting solar panels professionally installed, make sure you do your research ahead of time before taking advantage of Grape Solar's pricing. If you end up needing help during the installation process, system upgrades and contractor fees can raise the price quickly, and the pros and cons of your investment must be weighed in the long-term.
Comparing solar panel brands is best done by looking at the product warranties and the panels’ efficiencies. Let's take a closer look at Grape Solar.
Grape Solar offers several warranties for their solar panels. While specific warranties may vary based on products, customers can expect the following:
Generally speaking, the Grape Solar warranties are not the best coverage within the solar industry. The product warranty is short at only 5 years, so if your panels break on Year 6, you are out of luck. But the power output warranties are slightly better, ensuring that your panels will produce at least 80% of their original power after 25 years.
Like all solar panels, efficiency and overall performance will be influenced by your local weather conditions.
Solar panels operate at maximum efficiency under specific temperature ranges. Most panels are tested at 77°F, and any temperature variance will change the panel's power output. This is known as the temperature coefficient. Say a panel has a temperature coefficient of -0.25%, it means that for every 1.8°F increase in temperature, the maximum power of the solar panel will decrease by 0.25%. The lower the coefficient, the less variance you'll see in your system.
Let's look at one of Grape Solar's panels for a better example. The solar panel model, Grape Solar GS-STAR-100W claims a temperature coefficient of -0.32%. This means that for every degree above 77°F the panel efficiency will decrease by 0.32%. So if a daytime temperature reaches 104°F on a hot day, the module's power output decreases by 8.62% because solar cells absorb less energy.
Grape Solar's solar panels have temperature coefficients that are higher than most panel brands, meaning they have slightly more power loss at high temperatures.
Consumers are well within their rights to install Grape Solar panels for their own home improvements without a contractor's help.
If you choose to go the DIY route, keep a few things in mind:
While the DIY approach may be appealing to some, we recommend you consider your choice carefully. Certified solar installers can handle all of these details for you, such as proper permits and help you maintain your system over time.
Grape Solar is one of the few solar panel manufacturers selling products to the public. They offer an affordable, durable selection of mid-range solar panel options that may appeal more to the DIY-minded person.
While it is possible to install Grape Solar kits on your house, we recommend just sticking with Grape Solar panels for use on a smaller scale, like camping and RVing. Buying the kits straight from Home Depot and Lowes is a feasible option; in fact, you can find how much you save when you buy a solar panel kit here.
You can purchase and install Grape Solar panels on your home by yourself but it might make more sense, both financially and for ease, to have professionals install them. If your goal is to power your home with solar, it usually makes sense to work with a licensed contractor that can fill out all the paperwork, determine how many panels you need, and install everything for you.