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View Poll Results: Are Solar Panels Worth it?
Adding solar panels is a MUST! 11 20.75%
Add only if boondocking often. 22 41.51%
Add only if the RV is already prepped. 7 13.21%
Neutral. 4 7.55%
Not enough gained to deal with it / another system to maintain. 12 22.64%
Stay away from them! 0 0%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 53. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-30-2020, 03:08 PM   #81
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Model: '17-Vegas 24.1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by howzball View Post
How do the flex style hold up if you were to walk on them? Those weren't an option when I got my old rigid style panels but I can sure see the benefit to the lower profile flex type stuck directly on the roof.

I just wondered if you damage them any if you ever needed to walk on them.
Itís a known fact that flex panels are much less durable than solid.
Flex panels generate more heat becuz thereís no ďairspaceĒ under the panel for cooling
Also, the warranty on flex panels is generally 5yrs vs solid at 25yrs.
Flex panels are more expensive too.

But, for many on this Forum, flex panels are a great way to go.
EZ install, EZ replacement if/when they do fail, very light-weight.
And with Eternabond tape...no holes drilled in the roof.

Disclaimer...I have solid panels with drill-less mounts on my rig.
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Old 11-30-2020, 03:15 PM   #82
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Anoather consideration in favor of flexible panels: no holes being drilled in the roof to mount them.
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Old 11-30-2020, 03:32 PM   #83
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Thanks for the info, I had assumed you don't walk on them but I wasn't sure. I see a lot of the flex ones on sailboats and they appear to work quite well.

BTW: There appears to be a 200 watt kit on Amazon today for $200, controller included if anyone is looking. Slightly higher than a 200 watt rigid panel set up but, way easier to install.
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Old 11-30-2020, 03:44 PM   #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by howzball View Post
Thanks for the info, I had assumed you don't walk on them but I wasn't sure. I see a lot of the flex ones on sailboats and they appear to work quite well.

BTW: There appears to be a 200 watt kit on Amazon today for $200, controller included if anyone is looking. Slightly higher than a 200 watt rigid panel set up but, way easier to install.
Wow!
That Amazon link is a great buy
Those 100 watt panels alone were $150 each not too long ago
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Old 11-30-2020, 04:51 PM   #85
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I chose a rigid panel because they seem to last longer, run cooler and have an air space under them. I saw a post on another forum where the heat from a flexible panel had discolored the roof under it. Donít know that it actually caused damage but figured that minimizing the heat load on my RV was a good thing. Also have a small concern that while panels certainly can be glued to the roof, the TPO itself is not bonded and a glued raised rigid panel could lift it. I have no reluctance drilling into my roof. I pre drill my screw holes, fill them with dicor, apply a puddle of dicor for the mounting foot and then dicor over the whole foot. I was able to drill into my aluminum rafters for all screws. There are, literally hundreds of holes in my roof anyway and a few more donít worry me. But thatís just me. In any case my 80W Renogy panel is one of the best mods Iíve done. It keeps my coach and chassis batteries full charged while in storage. 100% solution to a long standing problem Iíve had.
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Old 11-30-2020, 06:11 PM   #86
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I'm looking at a pair of 175 watt flexible panels, and a 40 amp MPPT controller.
Renogy has a kit...
The 40 amp controller should give me enough capacity to add a third panel at a later date.
And I've got a one-piece fiberglass roof...
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Old 11-30-2020, 10:26 PM   #87
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Be sure and checkout reviews of the flexible panels before dropping your money on them. They appear to have issues in some cases.
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Old 12-01-2020, 12:37 AM   #88
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I disagree with just about everyone here. I have 3 160w panels on the roof of my ACE 27.1. I have two 100 aH 12v deep cycle AGM batteries. I have a 3,500 w inverter. We normally camp in USFS campground at around 7,000í or at he local California state beach campgrounds without shore power. When on the road to far far away destinations we normally donít plug in unless itís over 90, we see 110+ often. I can solar charge at 27 Ah. We use a max of 30 to 40 amps per day - with 3 teens joining us. Thais includes inflating SUPís and inflatable pontoon boat.
My batteries are recharged in two hours and reach 95%+ by the end of the afternoon. Iím not familiar with the concept of shade but my 3 panels usually find enough sun to do the above should we be under a tree.
I normally never start the generator unless on the road and need an ac.
To us camping in a campground with full hookups is not camping. Weíve gone 3 weeks without the generator while camping.
I installed everything myself.
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Old 12-01-2020, 01:26 AM   #89
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I have 320 watts of solar on my current travel trailer and 2 150 AH AGM batteries. We haven't carried a generator in more than 10 years, and rarely camp with hookups. "We" in this case is a family of 5.

That said, shade is most definitely a thing in the midwest, and not one that solar handles well. (Deep shade, all day long, with nothing but a few rays poking through leaves here or there, enough to hit maybe 1 or 2 cells on a panel, is pretty common in state park and state forest campgrounds in the midwest.) If we're going to be staying a while, then we know we need sun and have to pick sites that are more open. Things are different out west. Sites with trees often have one or two and will get full sun for at least a couple hours. At many places in the east, south, and upper midwest it's not like that and one has to actively seek out the sites that aren't in full shade.
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Old 12-01-2020, 02:36 AM   #90
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What brand and size battery are you using?
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Old 12-01-2020, 02:57 AM   #91
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I have Yet ...to see enough solar on the roof of a RV to power 2 or 3 A/C units.
I bought our coach with a 12.5 genset...I intend to continue to use it when needed.
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Old 12-01-2020, 11:04 AM   #92
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I have used solar panels for years to operate fence chargers and maintain batteries

Also to pump water where power wasn't available

Without taxpayer assistance and intervention driving fossil fuel cost up solar isn't economical as a primary power source

Off grid, niche applications, and subsidized installment are the norm

Outdoor storage of RV'S makes a great fit for battery voltage maintainers

As with all battery dependent electrical devices, we still need cheaper and better batteries

Otherwise if it is simply convenient or location dependent to use batteries/solar

We are simply moving the carbon from one location to another
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Old 12-01-2020, 12:26 PM   #93
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Originally Posted by Bob Denman View Post
What brand and size battery are you using?
I'm using 2 VMAX SLR155 AGM:
https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DDYM1UC

I have the two batteries mounted under one of the dinette benches in my current TT, directly above the axle so that they didn't affect the weight distribution. I haven't decided yet what, if anything, I'm going to do on my new RV when I get it. It'll come with a 100 watt panel. I don't know how happy I'll be with so much less than I have now. We'll see.

In terms of solar for AC: I agree with what others here are saying... It's good for a lot of things, but isn't practical as a primary energy source for space heating or cooling in an RV or trailer. We camp without AC though, so not a big deal for us.
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Old 12-01-2020, 12:48 PM   #94
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Thanks! I'm going to look them up.
I've got room under my steps for a pair of 31s (27s came standard).
I'll see if I can get their dimensions to work doe me.
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Old 12-01-2020, 06:27 PM   #95
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I use two size 27 Lifeline AGM 100 Ah batteries. I ran 6g wires from the back closet, from the panels, under and over to the water/sewer bay where the solar controller and 3000w inverter are. Right above is the electrical bay under the L couch with pre drilled holes for the heater vent. In the electrical bay I added a sub panel and moved everything but the AC and inverter circuits to it. I also added a second transfer switch here too. Ran 00 welding wire from the inverter to the batteries which are right across I the battery bay.

Works great.
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Old 12-01-2020, 06:31 PM   #96
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Originally Posted by atreis View Post
I have 320 watts of solar on my current travel trailer and 2 150 AH AGM batteries. We haven't carried a generator in more than 10 years, and rarely camp with hookups. "We" in this case is a family of 5.

That said, shade is most definitely a thing in the midwest, and not one that solar handles well. (Deep shade, all day long, with nothing but a few rays poking through leaves here or there, enough to hit maybe 1 or 2 cells on a panel, is pretty common in state park and state forest campgrounds in the midwest.) If we're going to be staying a while, then we know we need sun and have to pick sites that are more open. Things are different out west. Sites with trees often have one or two and will get full sun for at least a couple hours. At many places in the east, south, and upper midwest it's not like that and one has to actively seek out the sites that aren't in full shade.
Thatís why I used 3 large panels hoping that at least one or 2 would see sunlight. So far partially shaded sites have not been an issue.
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Old 12-01-2020, 10:54 PM   #97
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Look

Yesterday 06:57 PM
saddlesore I have Yet ...to see enough solar on the roof of a RV to power 2 or 3 A/C units.
I bought our coach with a 12.5 genset...I intend to continue to use it when needed.

I have. Just look across the street. Oh, u mean RV, in that case mine can. Not for long though without sun. I could add more batteries but altitude works better.
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Old 12-01-2020, 11:57 PM   #98
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If it's hot enough to make me think about using the a/c: I just open up all the windows, and fire up our fan.
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Old 12-02-2020, 12:00 AM   #99
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If it's hot enough to make me think about using the a/c: I just open up all the windows, and fire up our fan.
at 113?
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Old 12-02-2020, 12:19 AM   #100
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This is from 2015 Dancing on our panels. Some haters out there have said they’d never dance on their panels…well, we were told by GoPower! to dance away and these flex panels can handle it. Granted we still wouldn’t recommend this for safety issues or the fact you may have a rock stuck in your shoe that can damage the panels, but nonetheless we installed, we tested and we danced!

OUR TAKEAWAY AFTER 1 YEAR
Even with our solar panels as dirty and beat up as they were during filming we were still able to bring in 26amps in the afternoon winter sun of central Florida. So the GIANT, burning question is: With cupping and minor surface scratches is there really any noticeable degradation of solar power coming into the batteries? Unfortunately, I think the answer will only come after a few more years of testing.

Flexible panels are great if you need them! There are loads of factors that might make flexible solar panels the best choice for your RV or motorhome but these are the few BIG advantages that come to my mind: If you are concerned about weight or aerodynamic issues, if you have a rounded roof like a vintage bus or airstream, or you just want to have the latest solar technology installed on your rig.

For installations like ours, with a huge amount of flat, unobstructed roof space and plenty of weight before we get near the GCVWR, I’d recommend people to stick with the tempered glass solar panels. Tempered glass panels are proven technology with a longer warranty and they’re about 25% less expensive. In fact we are picking up our next RV this month and we’re planning to install a huge array of Tempered Glass solar panels instead of the flex panels (join our email list and stay tuned for that article).

Remember, these are just my opinions from our experience and I am no expert. What do you think? Are flexible solar panels better for your RV? Share your thoughts in the comments below and let’s help the solar manufacturers understand our wants and needs for future products! Gone with the Wynn's website
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