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Old 03-23-2021, 02:09 AM   #1
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Solar Panels install

I may have missed something here but I've wondered for a while how solar panels are attached to the roofs of motor homes. I don't have any intention of installing them on my MH- not now, anyway- but I would like to know- for future reference. I'm sure there must be more than one way to skin a cat- as the saying goes- and I'd like to hear about the range of (successful) methods. TIA. Ed.

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Old 03-23-2021, 03:10 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Seabee View Post
I may have missed something here but I've wondered for a while how solar panels are attached to the roofs of motor homes. I don't have any intention of installing them on my MH- not now, anyway- but I would like to know- for future reference. I'm sure there must be more than one way to skin a cat- as the saying goes- and I'd like to hear about the range of (successful) methods. TIA. Ed.


Lots of folks use flexible panels and just glue them down. I chose to put a single 80W rigid panel on with “Z” brackets screwed into the aluminum rafters. Rigid panels last longer and mounting this way leaves an air space underneath which aids cooling. My one panel requires no attention and is more than adequate to keep both the house and chassis batteries topped up when in storage. I consider it one of the best things I’ve added to my coach.
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Old 03-24-2021, 10:23 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Pete'sMH View Post
Lots of folks use flexible panels and just glue them down. I chose to put a single 80W rigid panel on with “Z” brackets screwed into the aluminum rafters. Rigid panels last longer and mounting this way leaves an air space underneath which aids cooling. My one panel requires no attention and is more than adequate to keep both the house and chassis batteries topped up when in storage. I consider it one of the best things I’ve added to my coach.


Try looking at Zamp portable 90 watt
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Old 03-24-2021, 10:59 PM   #4
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Use the SEARCH function

But here’s a good discussion we had in the past about Solar mounting, flex vs rigid panels, and more...

https://www.thorforums.com/forums/f2...nts-16062.html

By the way...
I have Drill-less solar mounts being used on 3 rigid panels. In fact I had to remove one panel and the mounts to provide space for a Trav’ler dish.
They removed easily with a plastic putty knife and a little persuasion. No holes left behind.
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Old 03-29-2021, 01:58 PM   #5
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Solar Mount

Thanks for the replies. I kind of figured those two ways of mounting them. I'll have to research the locations of the roof supports now so when the time comes I'll know where to look. Thanks again. Ed
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Old 03-29-2021, 02:21 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies. I kind of figured those two ways of mounting them. I'll have to research the locations of the roof supports now so when the time comes I'll know where to look. Thanks again. Ed
The panels are light weight
Solid panels are 15# vs 3# for Flex panels
So there’s no need to over-analyze

The Vegas/Axis roof is TPO rubber over 1/16” sheet metal & plywood
There’s enough “bite” to hold screws if you don’t strip it

Here’s my current solar set-up with Sika-Flex adhesive only
Along with my Winegard SK-1000 (which is screwed-in)
You can see that I use Gorilla Tape to fasten cables. Works just fine without adding holes.
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Old 03-29-2021, 03:57 PM   #7
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Are those the mounts from Renogy?
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Old 03-29-2021, 04:08 PM   #8
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Are those the mounts from Renogy?
Yes they are
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Old 03-29-2021, 05:24 PM   #9
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I think they're the ones that we'll use...
(When we buy our kit: of course!)
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Old 03-29-2021, 06:02 PM   #10
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If I was doing solar install again, I would probably really consider flex panels.
Although flex panels are said to deteriorate more quickly than solid, and there is no airspace under panel to diffuse heat, they are light weight & simple install vs solid.
Just Eternabond tape around the outside edge. No screws required.

And my rig is parked under cover so the panels are not abused in 24/7 sun.
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Old 03-29-2021, 07:01 PM   #11
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We were seriously considering the flexible panels...

...Until I saw reports of them losing about 50% of their output to heat degradation after only two years.
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Old 03-29-2021, 07:27 PM   #12
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We were seriously considering the flexible panels...

...Until I saw reports of them losing about 50% of their output to heat degradation after only two years.
Lots of years ago I bought three 35 watt flexible panels and mounted them on the bimini of my sailboat by stitching through the eyes on the corners. Five years later they were putting out half of their rated power.

I don't know if they have gotten better, but these sure lost about 10% per year.

David
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Old 03-29-2021, 07:30 PM   #13
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Does anyone have an estimate for how long a rigid panel with airflow around it should last?
(And make useable amounts of power? )
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Old 03-29-2021, 07:34 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Seabee View Post
Thanks for the replies. I kind of figured those two ways of mounting them. I'll have to research the locations of the roof supports now so when the time comes I'll know where to look. Thanks again. Ed


Ordinary stud finder located my aluminum “rafters” perfectly. Mine (SOB) were 16 inches on center.
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Old 03-29-2021, 07:35 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Bob Denman View Post
Does anyone have an estimate for how long a rigid panel with airflow around it should last?
(And make useable amounts of power? )


25 years according to Renogy.
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Old 03-29-2021, 07:46 PM   #16
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25 years according to Renogy.
So even if their "marketing engineers" came up with that number
I've got to figure that they're still good for better than a decade.
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Old 03-29-2021, 09:05 PM   #17
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So even if their "marketing engineers" came up with that number

I've got to figure that they're still good for better than a decade.


I’m certainly expecting mine to last longer than I will!!
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Old 03-29-2021, 10:01 PM   #18
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I’m certainly expecting mine to last longer than I will!!
Well I'm hoping you you out-live them..

...And I'm also hoping that they out-live any expectations you have of them!
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Old 03-29-2021, 10:07 PM   #19
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My Renogy flexible 160W panels are two years old and they are still cranking out the power.

Now I did not fasten mine directly to the roof. I mounted them to corrugated plastic sheets that allow for heat dissapation. Then I used EternaBond tape to fasten the corrugated sheets to the roof.

Renogy warranties them for 5-years and for the weight savings and ease of installation, I think they are well worth it.
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Old 03-30-2021, 05:41 PM   #20
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This is info I really appreciate. I didn't realize the sheetmetal also covered the roof . After 30 years of working on thin skinned aircraft I'm confident I can effectively screw into the roof without stripping the screws. I may be going the solar route sooner than I thought. Also, that GORILLA tape is a favorite of mine so I will be using that, too. Thanks, again. Ed
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