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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
1. Who Has Solar Panels Fitted?
2. What do you have fitted (size & how many)?
3. Do you find they are worth the expense?
4. Were they fitted by Professionals (?) or self fitted?
 

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I do :D

1 x 100w Monocrystaline Panel mounted flat on roof

Charges 2 x 110AH Leisure Batteries and 1 x 80AH Vehicle Battery by charge cycle controlled by a Fox 350A regulator.

Fox 350 Regulator info - click here

Are they worth the expense ? - Its a loaded question really, they are an expensive way of producing power, but they are a very convenient way of keeping your batteries in top shape, if used with a decent regulator.

In the summer a 100w panel can produce up to 7 amps of power at daytime peak, so its virtually running anything 12v you may be using. We have an invertor as well and have ran the TV, fridge on 240v, various chargers and kids playstation at the same time with little or no loss to the charge in the batteries.

I think they are worth the expense for the convenience and the "fit and forget" factor. At the moment my Van is parked outside and the batteries are getting a little bit of charge. I don't have to leave the vehicle charger on at all this time of year, and only in the winter, mainly to do with where the van is parked (the sun doesn't see the van) do i have to use the vehicle charger.

I had my setup fitted professionally by AB Butt in Leicester. They always have a deal at the shows, and this is the second van they have kitted out for me.

A B Butt LTD - Click Here

Fitting is a no brainer for me really as the vehicle is a company vehicle, but self fitting wouldn't be that difficult, especially if the panel is fitted directly above the battery bank. That makes the cable run a lot easier.

What think you John ?

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
:D Very good Road_Runner_644. :D

:D On my old Coachmen Classic I had:-

4x110ah Leisure Batteries (originally had 2x85ah - changed for 110ah & fitted extra 2 myself)
2x110 Watt Solar Panels and 1 x 50 Watt (1x 110 Watt fitted professionally the other 2 myself)
2x300 Watt Invertors and 1x 800 Watt Invertor (all fitted by myself).

I transferred 1x110 watt and the 50 watt over to my Gulfstream Crown Regis along with the 800 Watt Invertor.
 

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John,

With that personal experience I'm not sure I understand the purpose of the original question. But anyway:

1. Who Has Solar Panels Fitted?
Me

2. What do you have fitted (size & how many)?
One Shell Powermax Ultra 80/85-P
http://www.shell.com/static/shellsolar/downloads/products/pil_offgrid_12v_uk.pdf

3. Do you find they are worth the expense?
Yes, for fit-and-forget convenience. Lead Acids like to be kept topped up.

4. Were they fitted by Professionals (?) or self fitted?
Professionals

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
:D The reason for the post Dave is it is something that crops up now and again in various posts. On the old site it was a pretty active thread. I just thought I would resurrect it. It's as good a thread as 'What you like about etc ' - 'What do you hate about etc '.
 

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Having studied it, I decided against solar as a means of power supply



looking at these you can see that you actually get far less power than you imagine from a panel (and they are Australian sun Hours, not UK ones)

In a well designed system (and as long as you dont want to use much power at all) they are OK, If you want any serious power it will cost you £000's, Totally reliable add 000's more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
:D Good post George, but I bought my panels (along with the batteries) mainly for use in Spain where they get lot's of Sun for most of the year. As I mentioned. We boiled kettles all day long and still had plenty to watch 4 hours of TV if we felt like it. When Moto GP is on I can watch for it several hours on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday. During the daytime, the power is free.
 

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We have a 75w solar panel this time fitted by the dealer but in past by Solar Solution. We also have a battery master/mate so that it also keeps the dase vehicle battery topped up. It means we can wild camp/stay on rally sites without hook-up for longer. We also have 2x85amp batteries (though they needed replacing recently, not sure if it was a battery fault or the use of satellite tv with inverter?) Would have preferred a 12 satellite receiver really. I would say on balance it is worth having.
 

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Hi John I have 2 x 75 watt BP solar panels that where brought back from Morocco second hand so cost not so critical . one was self fitted the other is left loose to position in direct sunlight secured with a lock and chain I have 2 x 110 amp leisure batteries. The last outing i had 15 amps going into the batteries at the prime time for the sun . Must say I am highly delighted with them .

Chris
 

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We have three solar panels on the roof don't what wattage they are because they where on the van when we got it, they are wired to a regulator which is wied to two 110ah batteries, I know they work because the regulator light comes on when its sunny and I have never had the lisure batteries go flat.

chris :lol: :lol: :lol:
 

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I have a 75W that came with the van. It's worth having, but I'm not sure I'd pay for a new one.

The problem with solar is that it produces most power when you least need it - great in the middle of summer, but pretty useless parked in a valley in January.

I think the best electrical bang-per-buck you will get is one of the alternator charge controllers as sold by Sterling Power for about £100. These make much more effective use of the vehicle's alternator to charge the battery. Having said that it's about the only bit of 12v charging kit I've never owned and the grass is always greener...

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
8O Running the engine with a super duper Alternator is not an option with a 7 to 8 mpg engine. :roll:
 

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hwo has solar panel fitted

we have.
2 x 110 watts selfbuilt ,and fitted morning star Prostar 30 solar regulator, fitted ourself 1. X 255amp hour Gell battery 1X 2500 inverter fitted ourself and a solar divertor which means when the liesure battery is fully charged it diverts into the main engine battery
Total cost approx £700.
Was it worth it,
We had a generator Honda EM2200 cost £1100 carried it for thre years use it for an hour

We find solar clean, quiet, less space its great.
 

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1. Who Has Solar Panels Fitted?
We Do
2. What do you have fitted (size & how many)?
2 X 120 watts Multicrystalline Silicone solar Modules, 4 X 85AH Leisure Batteries
3. Do you find they are worth the expense?
Already fitted when I purchased the 'van, not sure if they are worth the bother in this country, the thinner type I have fitted are supposed to work in cloudy conditions according to the 'bumpf'
4. Were they fitted by Professionals (?) or self fitted?
Work carried out professionally by Solar solutions, a Van Bitz Battery master installed at same time.

M&D
 
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