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Author Topic: Solar panels  (Read 2442 times)

1132dave

  • Posts: 2
Solar panels
« on: September 12, 2013, 06:47:57 PM »
Wondering if cost for a solar panel is worth doing.I plan to travel and not use campgrounds very often so I am thinking it may b worth it but I am a newbee

JiminDenver

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  • Posts: 507
Re: Solar panels
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2013, 09:36:15 PM »
Hi Dave

Solar can be wonderful and has never been cheaper. It just depends on how much power you need, how much room you have to mount it , room to store it if portable and how much sun you get.

We are low power users with basic trailer functions with our biggest draw being the furnace usually at night. We do use LED lights to reduce the load but other than that you would think we had a power cord up with us and we do, it's connected to our 230w solar system. It is way more power than we need but gives us the ability to do more if we want.
You can get 100w kits for around $200 and you could assemble the parts for around the same. The parts for 200w would be a bit less than $400. Unless you are running a inverter a lot, 200w can be a considerable amount.

Our battery is always charged at night fall and barely looses anything over night. When the sun comes up the battery goes into float fairly fast and the panel actually runs the trailer through out the day, The most I have been able to run so far is a 200w 12v coffee maker without affecting the battery.

Speaking of battery, once you know how long your battery/s will last you, you should have enough to last a few days if it gets cloudy.  Having a back up plan is also good. We also have a generator that will run our AC if needed and as a last resort we have used jumper cables to charge up the battery before we had anything else.

Our panel is portable and while it's more of a hassle to store and move, it can also be pointed right at the sun all day producing the most power possible. Mounted is easier but you get much less peak time and you have to park in the sun.

Before you buy anything make sure you understand the different panels and the different controllers they use. Smaller panels are usually 12v and use a inexpensive PWM controller. My panel is 24v and is cheaper per watt but the controller has to be MPPT and they are more expensive. Either way the price of the system is close to the same.

Hope it helps


1132dave

  • Posts: 2
Re: Solar panels
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2013, 06:40:49 PM »
Thak you for the info and I am. Newbie and haven't got my camper yet it is on order and should be in around mid oct. I am learning a lot and maybe I will go on maiden voyage before I buy extra and find I don't need it!

corgilady

  • Posts: 2
Re: Solar panels
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2013, 01:50:47 PM »
We've had solar panels for 19 years. We ran a 15 watt solar for 15 years on our truck camper, did add a second one.  It powered the lights, water pump and furance. It worked when we camped at -16 degrees.  It allowed us to go to Alaska for 4 1/2 months with only going into a full hook-up camp three times. I still love my old truck camper as it gets us to the wild places. You haven't lived until you wake up to a horrible smell coming in your bedroom window and realize a grizzly walked by. There were tracks in the mud by the camper.  We now have a fifth wheel and the  first thing we added was a  100 watt solar panel. I call running a generator "going to the dark side".  I camp to enjoy the outdoors not watch tv etc. The fifth wheel is till on trial..if I can'tsee the wild places it goes bye-bye.

gc1966

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  • Posts: 179
Re: Solar panels
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2013, 02:19:35 PM »
We've had solar panels for 19 years. We ran a 15 watt solar for 15 years on our truck camper, did add a second one.  It powered the lights, water pump and furance. It worked when we camped at -16 degrees.  It allowed us to go to Alaska for 4 1/2 months with only going into a full hook-up camp three times. I still love my old truck camper as it gets us to the wild places. You haven't lived until you wake up to a horrible smell coming in your bedroom window and realize a grizzly walked by. There were tracks in the mud by the camper.  We now have a fifth wheel and the  first thing we added was a  100 watt solar panel. I call running a generator "going to the dark side".  I camp to enjoy the outdoors not watch tv etc. The fifth wheel is till on trial..if I can'tsee the wild places it goes bye-bye.

Thats Hardcore..... I Likey!!
1999 Winnebago 33b

Jeff

  • Forum Staff
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  • Posts: 8966
Re: Solar panels
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2013, 04:37:18 PM »
Dave


What kind of camper and how many batteries? If all you need is something to keep up one battery for frig and lights a 120 watt panel will probably do you fine. If you are into tech and run stuff to all hours a system to do that gets a little more involved.


You are on the right track to go try it and see what you need.

Shadow Catcher

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  • Posts: 63
Re: Solar panels
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2013, 09:04:03 PM »
Our 185W 66 cell high voltage panel tied into a Morningstar MPPT controller and 150AH AGM battery works well enough to keep us charging even in well shaded camp sites. Everything in the trailer was chosen to use as little electricity as possible.
One place to start is http://handybobsolar.wordpress.com/ long but LOTS of information.

oldme

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  • Posts: 521
Re: Solar panels
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2013, 07:21:04 PM »
Below is an interesting series of articles on new solar panels
that are made in the USA and their testing.

http://www.thewanderman.com/2013/10/new-solar-better-than-old-solar-part-1.html

Solar is both new and interesting to me so I read as much on it as I can.

 

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