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  #11  
Old 08-21-2013
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KCSS KCSS is offline
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[QUOTE=dog2travel;221099]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.

Correct - I don't believe a lot of people consider the payback vs. cost factor over time. I would suspect by the time you break even the solar would have reached the end of its useful life. I think Bus Conversion Mag did a study on this a while back and the results were not promising. But what do I know - I'm on meds
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  #12  
Old 08-21-2013
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[QUOTE=KCSS;221178]
Quote:
Originally Posted by dog2travel View Post
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.

Correct - I don't believe a lot of people consider the payback vs. cost factor over time. I would suspect by the time you break even the solar would have reached the end of its useful life. I think Bus Conversion Mag did a study on this a while back and the results were not promising. But what do I know - I'm on meds

Just a thought...

I used hard glass panels. But mounted them over the AC units... This takes up less walking space and provides a sun cover for the AC units.
This leaves a clear walking path on the driver side of the bus.
Payback depended on how much dry camping you do. We dry camped the better part of 5 months last year and running the generator once a week maybe for an hour....
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  #13  
Old 08-25-2013
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http://www.architectmagazine.com/sol...lications.aspx
triggers the idea of solar panels as windows.
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  #14  
Old 08-25-2013
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I'm considering a modest amount of solar, and the payback calculation (for me) is not all in reduced generator usage. My coach spends at least 6 months out of every year (and most years that includes the prime summer months) facing west in my driveway. I keep it plugged in, and I like to keep the refrigerator running at lowest setting.

The effect on my power bill is noticeable, and adds up to a few hundred dollars per year. If I can eliminate that, PLUS lower generator usage during our annual Q stay and other boondocking, it is easier to justify the cost of solar.
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  #15  
Old 08-25-2013
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Apparently mounting panels on the side has some merit per:
http://www.solarpaneltalk.com/showth...unted-Vertical

Having taken a second look at the Bird, I'm thinking maybe solar as a flip-up patio roof may be difficult in my case owing to various projections on the side, some of which I added before (like an outdoor shower, drinking fountain, etc). However, the 15" band that goes around the middle, bounded on the top and bottom by the rub rails (right name for these?) is devoid of obstacles. Though I'd never name my Bird Black Belt, maybe somebody will.
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Last edited by 1derer; 08-25-2013 at 03:07 PM.
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  #16  
Old 08-25-2013
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I do not use solar but find it interesting. I did see that they make roll up solar panels. You could possible attach them to your awning and roll them up when you are done. possibly
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  #17  
Old 08-30-2013
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Biobug -
Any reason why you don't get the same brand/model solar panels you had on the Gulfstream? Are newer ones more efficient? Are you considering any that convert infrared that's supposed to do well in shade?

Have you considered mounting them on the side?

Any trick to obtaining waste veggie oil (other than being in the food trade)?
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  #18  
Old 08-31-2013
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Because of the additional battery storage capacity in the Wanderlodge I would not have enough room for 3 or four of the stick-ons I should need. I used 2 and they were 18 feet if I remember right. I will cut some cardboard cutouts this fall and see about where the placement would work . I did have to walk on the
ones on the Gulfstream but I took shoes off. It still might be the way to go but sticking them on a rubber roof was easy. On the Wanderlodge not so easy with the roof walkway . I was primarily interested in the price now compared to when I bought. Another factor is I bought a "kit" in the good ol' USA and the controller was a Chinese one with the hilarious instructions. The controller was
impressive in doing its job. Besides I need a laugh when I am installing things as I get too intense. "You have secured the most best Solar control possibly."
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  #19  
Old 08-31-2013
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I've seen videos of the flex installation. All were on motor homes with base air units and flat roof tops with nothing up there. On our rigs I don't think these would be very good due to the installation obstacles. Not only the diamond plate, vent pipes, vent fans, AC units, storage pods, and walkways but the radius as well. Also I would not walk on my "investment", just to be cautious.

WHEN I do solar it will be large 200+ watt units and probably mounted over my AC units and on my storage pod door. That way it will help the AC units be more efficient, take up less roof space, and maintain the walk way. They will also have tilt function.

Under normal situations when it is stored tilt is not needed due to no battery loads, floating only. But then under normal use when there is a load on the system the tilt would increase the efficiency to better handle my needs.

Just keeping is simple.. Real.. KISS...
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  #20  
Old 08-31-2013
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The main reason I put on the flexible panels to start with was their ability to maximize
power in the shade. We seldom parked in the direct sunlight unless there was no choice and these Unisolar panels were fantastic for that reason. The trade-off was their size vrs.
their collection ability. When in the direct sunlight they were only slightly pulling more power than in the shade. I still like that feature. Seeing the Great job done on the Wanderlodge with the roof and air conditioners covered with crystalline panels I guess you would get the same benefits as you are in the shade of the panels.
Actually one of the best benefits was that I never had a problem with my slide loosing its program after putting on the panels. Even covered on our Pad they collected enough power to maintain batteries while in storage without plugging in. I added a 50 amp. plug-in for the Lodge and can't wait to see the power bill...
We have solar on our house and this time of year just pay the billing minimum but that might change- especially using it as a guest house as we are now.
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Last edited by biobug; 08-31-2013 at 01:59 PM.
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