Recently we looked at a new solar panel golf cart roof from SolarCarts and we decided to have a look to see what other solar panels are available for electric golf carts. It turns out that there are several different manufacturers of golf cart solar panels, but before we have a look at them here are a few benefits to solar power for golf carts.
- Go Green and reduce environmental impact of electricity generation.
- Lower electricity bills. Reduce the cost of charging batteries by at least 50%.
- Increase the mileage/range on your golf cart by at least 8 miles per day.
- Increase battery life by a minimum of 25% (as continual charging actual improves battery life), and benefit from faster recharging.
- Solar panels fit most golf cart makes and models, including the Club Car Precedent, E-Z-GO RXV, Yamaha Drive, and most custom golf carts.
- 30% of the purchase price can be applied as a Federal tax credit. In some states, such as Florida, state sales taxes do not apply to this solar purchase.
As we can see there are some impressive cost savings that can be achieved throughout the lifetime of use of golf cart solar panels, against just the initial up front cost of the solar panel and fitting. To further sweeten the deal there is a 30% Federal tax credit against the cost of the solar panels. For a single golf cart owner this makes it worthwhile, even more so for a fleet manager at a golf course where the cost savings can be significant.
The SolarCarts Sun Eagle is a solar panel roof that is a replacement for your stock cart top that is made from aircraft-grade aluminum. Offered with a universal fitting kit it can be transferred to your new cart so that the solar roof can keep saving you money indefinitely.
Offering 190W of power, this highly efficient solar panel coupled to an intelligent control module, it can automatically optimize itself to produce the maximum amount of energy possible whatever the weather conditions.
The Sun Eagle can be custom ordered in different colored finishes to match your golf cart, and is currently available for the bargain price of $999.99 through July 2011 subject to a few conditions.
The SunCatcher solar panels are made in Canada and is a replacement for your golf cart's roof and gives an almost stock look. At 55 pounds the SunCatcher is lightweight and mounts to your existing framework without any modifications.
The SunCatcher was developed to be ultra reliable, easy to install, and maintenance-free and will offer cost savings throughout the life of the golf cart. It will fit all major brands of golf and utility cars and are available in 10 different colors which are offered by golf cart manufacturers.
The SunCatcher solar panels start at around $975, and 90W - 350W panels are available to cover most electric golf cart applications.
Helios Solar Power
The Helios solar roof panel kit and smart controller are made by Helios Solar Systems and is one of the most efficient combinations available. The crystalline photovoltaic panel produces around 30% more power to the golf cart than the closest competitor using standard photovoltaic panels, and three to four times the output over panels using thin film technologies.
The Helios solar panel replaces the actual canopy top of the golf cart and is connected to the batteries via charging cables. The golf cart solar panel charging kit is designed by researchers from the University of Florida and is manufactured in the USA.
It features an integrated LED light bar gauge to monitor battery status, is lightweight at 60lbs and can be fitted to 2 or 4 passenger golf carts, with multiple panels fitted to 6 or 8 passenger carts to provide more power.
The Helios solar panel charges 36 volt or 48 volt golf carts and prices start from $1,195 for a 100W version all the way up to $1,496 for the top of the range 270W model.
Earth Care Solar
Unlike the other solar panels listed above which are complete replacement canopy tops , the Earth Care Solar golf cart panel is a "Peel and Stick" kit which attaches to your existing cart roof. The Solar Cell Thin Film Peel and Stick is an almost non breakable panel, which tends to be a lot cheaper that the other panel types.
The package consists of a Charge Controller, which regulates voltage and prevents over charging. A pre-wired wiring harness, a peel and stick solar golf cart top. There are no modifications needed to your cart, the solar panel just rolls out and sticks to your existing canopy top.
Although this is the easiest to fit and the cheapest option, unlike to other options the solar panel is permanently attached to the roof of your cart so you can't remove the panel for installation on a new cart. The panel will only output around 90W of power, but this will be more than adequate for most owners.
The Future of Golf Cart Solar Panels
There's no doubt than solar panels for electric golf carts will become more popular amongst owners, which will drive down prices for the consumer. The cost savings are so great that it's likely that golf cart fleet managers will increasingly specify solar panels for their golf carts.
It will then be only a matter of time before the major golf cart manufacturers themselves offer solar panel charging as an option, and eventually this technology will become a standard feature of all new golf carts.