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  #1  
Old 08-15-2013
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biobug biobug is offline
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Default New Flexible RV solar panels

1 1/2 years ago I purchased 2 138 watt peel and stick panels for the roof of our GulfStream. I was very happy with the results in that they pull a lot of power even in the shade which is naturally where we would try to be. I bought a dual battery bank controller and they would keep our 2- chassis, 3 coach battery systems charged when boon docking fully charged without the need for the generator.I liked them too because they could be walked on if you needed to. (I took my shoes off.) The disadvantage was they took up more space than a glass panel. Unisolar was the brand.
Now I am looking again for the Bird and see that flexible panels from China have hit Ebay and they look very good.. I am concerned about service but perhaps soon there will be dealers in the states. These just make sense for an RV roof. I do not put down the glass ones however but our use steers us into lots of trees and branches so some panels that are "forgiving" are a good choice for us. I will wait to see some results on them first but they are pretty compact for their output and I thought I would share .
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Old 08-15-2013
konehd konehd is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biobug View Post

Now I am looking again for the Bird and see that flexible panels from China have hit Ebay and they look very good..
Can you post a link to those panels??


Thanks, Joe
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Old 08-15-2013
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MarkYuma MarkYuma is offline
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I have been using 4ea 135W glass panels for dry camping... using the generator (normally) only for the microwave (once and a wile) and to heat water if it is not cold out, if cold I use my Primus system....

The Bird will need a little more wattage than what you had... but it sounds like you can figure that out yourself....

I run every thing of of DC, I never use my inverter for anything. (it is still there but it is the old Heart... Not worth replacing for the use it gets.

We dry camped 4 months of our 5 month summer trip last year.

This year will be just the opposite as it is going now...

I would like to see how you mount the stick on panels????
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Old 08-15-2013
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There was a flexible solar panel demonstration at Quartzsite a couple of years ago. A number of people bought those panels and had them installed. I hope they will respond as I would be curious how they worked out.

I have two large panels on my BMC and they are very handy at minimizing the generator run time when boondocking. I currently use 3 4D AGM batteries as house batteries and they have proven adequate for my use. However, some BlueBirds have much bigger battery banks and would need more solar power.
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Old 08-15-2013
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www.eco-worthy.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=71_60

This is their catalog and page 2 shows 100 watt panels.
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Last edited by biobug; 08-15-2013 at 09:12 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 08-20-2013
1derer 1derer is offline
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"Forgiving" is nice considering how easy it is to park under the occasional low branch.

Any problem with mounting panels on the sides instead of the top? Aren't some panels supposed to pick up "ambient" light, not requiring a direct hit by rays? Though maybe one could park with the solar side to the sun ... Side could also be nice for easier monitoring of panel condition, and for igniting conversation around the parking lot.
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Old 08-20-2013
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I just had a thought... Never mind it's gone now...
Could some panels be mounted to the side of the coach off the goat rails facing the sun to also act as awnings? They would have to be light and portable but that way you could get them directly in to the sun... I thought about having them over the air conditioners also on a track of some sort...
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Last edited by pairodice; 08-25-2013 at 10:33 PM.
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Old 08-20-2013
1derer 1derer is offline
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Thank you big time pairodice for that idea.

Up to now I’d been thinking the way to deal with awnings was to substitute solar fabric for the existing material a la
http://specialtyfabricsreview.com/articles/0212_f2_photovoltaic_fabrics.html and
http://www.civicsolar.com/product/unisolar-e-pvl-68-68watt-solar-panel
but of course this helps only when you’re at rest and after having gone to the trouble of unfurling your awnings.

Your idea could be realized in a stiff (typical) panel hinged to just under the roof gutter and (if desired) extending all the way to the bottom edge of the vehicle (even covering extraneous bath and kitchen windows if desired) such that you’d get solar benefit at all times plus have the option of swinging it up to be an awning, and allowing it to get the direct solar hit of the moment via the angle of the awning. Could be on the rear end for that matter.

PS - What's Sid ?
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Old 08-21-2013
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Side! Stupid iPad... :-) what about making them attach to the goat rails on a hinge, then you could just swing them up onto the roof for traveling?
Wouldn't the tall panels block the side windows going down the road? Maybe hinged panels that unfurled would work...
This might be marketable ... Solar Awnings
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Old 08-21-2013
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When we attended the last Life On Wheels program in Idaho, I had a solar specialist that installs panels from AM Solar in Springfield, Oregon check our coach.

The problem was with the 6 4Ds and 3 start batteries, the panels would cover half the roof (space not blocked with 3 air conditions, fans, etc.) with a 12" space to walk and the total cost equaled years of gen run time.

We do some Wally Worlds and no hook up free camp sites, but don't spend days of dry camping.
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