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Old 02-18-2018, 06:05 PM   #1
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Attaching 2 solar panels to side of slide out

Hi everyone, have two solar panels which I like to install but being on wheelchair makes it impossible to maintain and clean them if I install them on the top so I have been using them like many, laying them against the rv. But getting the panels in and out makes it a bit difficult. I have a 2006 Winnebago sightseer 34A. I thought may be I be able to attach the two panels to side of the slide out with hinge so I be able to tilt them up as needed. But before doing anything I like to get your ideas... I know I run the danger of scratching them Click image for larger version

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Thanks for any input.
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Old 02-18-2018, 06:53 PM   #2
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I installed 4 - 100 watt panels on the roof of my Journey. They are easy for someone to install there and no worries about losing them. Your current install sloping them optimizes output but is obviously burdensome to set up. I find normal rain keeps them fairly clean although I do wipe them off a couple of times in the summer and have had to remove 12 inches of snow this winter. I would not be concerned with a roof top installation from a cleaning perspective nor would I worry about tilting them - they should get much more power on roof as they will likely have more sun than on a sidewall. Good luck
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Old 02-18-2018, 07:00 PM   #3
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Hi Bob i know top is,the ideal place to install them. as I said being on wheelchair is my main issue. Installing them on the side allows me access to them.
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Old 02-18-2018, 07:08 PM   #4
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There is a You-Tuber whose channel is named Panda Monium who has the roof and both sides of her RV covered with panels. When in one location for a while she tilts them up just like you are thinking of doing. Not the prettiest setup in the world but the solar panels are quite functional, shielding her RV from the sun while generating power. is an early video showing her setup as it was back in 2014, it seems to have changed over the years. She boondocks in lots of out of the way places so I'm sure they have some "desert pinstriping" on them.

another YouTube video of a class A with solar panels on the roof and sides.

Most of these installs are high on the coach but certainly they can be put lower to accommodate your needs.
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Old 02-18-2018, 07:16 PM   #5
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I cannot climb to the roof of my house (28 panels) or RV (15 panels). Plus I had solar on previous RV. So I have quite a bit of experience over nearly ten years of solar ownership.

I've not had a single malfunction that required roof access. As for cleaning, I have the roofs cleaned once a year by a guy - I just have him clean the panels as well.

So, while doable to mount panels to the side of the RV, I think unnessisary. Plus it adds something you have to erect, ensure the best sun positioning of the RV, and will put them much more in harms way.
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Old 02-18-2018, 07:18 PM   #6
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I understand your mobility issues and that is why I suggest you have them mounted on the roof. I would recommend you find an installer to do that and be sure to position them so more could be added if your need increases. My point is that the panels really need no care once mounted so your setup, handling and opportunity to damage them, are virtually eliminated once mounted on the roof.
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Old 02-18-2018, 07:27 PM   #7
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I was thinking to install them to side of the rv using quick release hinges with lock so I can move them in the sun on occasions I park under a tree... I understand I need to tilt them up but that's something manageable if installed on side and yes I saw her on YouTube with her class c covered with solar panels.
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Old 02-19-2018, 03:19 AM   #8
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Very few people don't have their solar panels on the roof and I doubt if man of them worry about cleaning them. Nature can do that for us.

There are companies that will do the install for you with no problem. You will save yourself a lot of work and inconvenience by getting them installed on the roof.
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Old 02-19-2018, 07:15 AM   #9
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We boondock alot. Been staying at Quartizsite Arizona past few weeks. We had few dusty days and all rvs with solar panels on top, the panels were covered in dust and they had to wash the dust off since it was so bad. panels were useless without cleaning.... that is why I'm thinking to install them on the side. And don't want to keep asking people to go on top to clean them.
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Old 02-19-2018, 11:29 AM   #10
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Maybe you could mount them on the rear
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Old 02-19-2018, 11:52 AM   #11
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I thought about it... since my power bank/batteries bank is inside the coach in the slide, attaching them to side makes it easy for wiring.. just a simple hole on the side to put the solar cable to go through...
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Old 02-19-2018, 12:42 PM   #12
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I've seen panels permanently attached to the sides of vans several times on forums over the years. With hinges and brackets to clamp them at an angle after parking.

I'd think the side of the slide of your RV would be fine for that sort of installation. The thing you might need to worry about is vandalism or theft. So if you might not want to mount them permanently.

But a semi permanent mount, with pivots on the upper edge of the panels with a ratcheting tilt mechanism might work great. Something you can leave attached for weeks at a time locked in place with a nice padlock, pulled out for the best angle, and then remove for travel. Naturally, the electrical would use quick connects. I would think U shaped AL channel would work as the hinge. Than a kitchen cabinet curved sliding hinge for the tilt angle. Mod'ed so it's easily removed when driving, but can accept a hasp lock when parked.

If you come up with something, let us know...
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Old 02-19-2018, 01:27 PM   #13
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Quote:
I've not had a single malfunction that required roof access.
Big difference between panels on a house tilted at 40 degrees and panels flat on a roof is that when sitting in one place they do get a lot of dust on them and then if it rains or even a heavy dew, the dirt gets washed onto the side that is slightly lower and sticks there and effectively shades the panel
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Old 02-19-2018, 03:49 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim_HiTek View Post
I've seen panels permanently attached to the sides of vans several times on forums over the years. With hinges and brackets to clamp them at an angle after parking.

I'd think the side of the slide of your RV would be fine for that sort of installation. The thing you might need to worry about is vandalism or theft. So if you might not want to mount them permanently.

But a semi permanent mount, with pivots on the upper edge of the panels with a ratcheting tilt mechanism might work great. Something you can leave attached for weeks at a time locked in place with a nice padlock, pulled out for the best angle, and then remove for travel. Naturally, the electrical would use quick connects. I would think U shaped AL channel would work as the hinge. Than a kitchen cabinet curved sliding hinge for the tilt angle. Mod'ed so it's easily removed when driving, but can accept a hasp lock when parked.

If you come up with something, let us know...
I was thinking of securing the top using quick release hinges (prefer with tock) and a lock at the bottom to secure the panels like pictures

Using a removable for occasions when I park in shade and have to move the panels in the sun.

Since we are full-timer we won't be away from rv too long so I'm not worried about vandalism.

But I think this will work the best. Was wondering if anyone have done the same.Click image for larger version

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