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Old 07-05-2017, 05:55 PM   #1
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Solar installation on a Tiffin Breeze Questions

Hi, I am trying to help a friend put solar panels on his 2017 Tiffin Breeze and looking for some help planning it out.

The primary driving force is to help off set the load from the 10.7 cuft Whirlpool refrigerator, but of course solar + storage is a good idea for the other loads as well. I have not yet found the daily consumption of this particular refrigerator, but there are some posts for the larger GE Profile 21 used in the Phaeton model that indicate 3 - 3.5 kW-hrs per day. (200 - 300 amp-hrs per day assuming 12 volt battery pack)

We are still thinking through the details, but will most likely add as many panels as will fit then wire them to minimize shading. We understand the parallel / series aspects and pro / cons of the various approaches in that area.

We have not finalized which compartment will hold the extra batteries, but this will be chosen based on what is practical.

For people who have installed solar on their Breeze:

1) Did you find some good locations to run the wire from the roof to the storage compartment area?

2) As far as mounting the panels on the roof, is there a drawing of where the ribs are under the roof so that we can screw directly into those?

3) It looks like the roof is fiberglass. Is that correct or something else?

I read the owners manual that is on the Tiffin site, but it doesn't give many details. In fact, it was remarkably absent of information and didn't show any wiring diagrams, sizes, etc.

Is there an source of more detailed information?

Thank you for the help.

Harry
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Old 07-05-2017, 06:05 PM   #2
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Harry, believe or not, I used 3m VHB tape to hold my panels on my 36LA fiberglass roof. I did clean surfaces well with alcohol, and sealed with dicor just in case. I have driven thou SS and of miles with no problems.
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Old 07-05-2017, 06:34 PM   #3
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Don't need to mount to the roof ribbing. If fiberglass roof, stainless screws or VHB tape. If not fiberglass roof, screws.
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Old 07-05-2017, 06:42 PM   #4
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As to PV system sizing, I am in the camp of go big. I had 600w on previous Coach and now 1500w on current coach. With flat panel mounting the output is reduced by ~15-50% depending on lattitude and time of year. Go big helps to mitigates shading, overcast days, low winter sun, etc.

My 1500w of panels are wired in three strings - three pair of #10 wire to a combiner box with circuit breakers for each string located near the controller and battery bank. Midnight Solar Classic 150 controller and Midnight Solar six slot combiner box with 15a DC breakers. Short #4 wire from controller to batteries, with a 150a breaker/disconnect in the battery compartment.
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Old 07-05-2017, 11:55 PM   #5
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Brian and Vince, thanks for the information.

I have gone back and read through your related posts about solar installs on your coaches.

Have you attempted to replace the existing solar pre-wire or install new wiring for this run? I tend to over do the solar wiring related runs to make sure the losses are minimized, usually 4 awg for lower power stuff and 1/0 for the heavier loads.

Just trying to guess at the size of the effort.

Thanks

Harry
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Old 07-06-2017, 12:41 AM   #6
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I am not a fan of factory prewire. Often does not meet the design of your PV system - too small wire, not enough pairs, not routed as desired, etc.

As you saw from the synopsis of my current system design I opted to forgo the often implemented roof mounted combiner box and single large gauge pair of wire coming down from the roof. Instead I used multiple pairs of smaller gauge wire carrying higher voltage (five physically small 100w panels per string, providing ~100v) and lower current, to a combiner/breaker/disconnect box mounted near the controller. This allows for proper circuit protection for multiple strings of multiple panels. Also gets best use of a MPPT controller.
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Old 07-06-2017, 07:08 AM   #7
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If the roof has the space, have you considered 24v nominal residential panels to reduce the write gauge needed to run from three panels to the charge controller. The cost per watt is much better.
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Old 07-06-2017, 07:47 AM   #8
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During the planning stage, get a Kill-A-Watt meter and find actual energy use of your high energy use items. It will help in design.

I used 675 watts of 36 volt panels, in my first solar setup, 7 years ago. Still going strong and we fulltime, off grid, 4 winter months, a year.
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Old 07-06-2017, 03:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allen_C View Post
If the roof has the space, have you considered 24v nominal residential panels to reduce the write gauge needed to run from three panels to the charge controller. The cost per watt is much better.
Thanks, yes we are thinking about them. We are also thinking that we are both in our late 50s and panels in the 150-200 watt size are about our handling limit. $1 / watt is pretty reasonable for RV / 12 volt panels so it isn't a huge concern. In the past it was a bigger deal than now.
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Old 07-06-2017, 03:45 PM   #10
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- 3.5

Quote:
Originally Posted by twinboat View Post
During the planning stage, get a Kill-A-Watt meter and find actual energy use of your high energy use items. It will help in design.

I used 675 watts of 36 volt panels, in my first solar setup, 7 years ago. Still going strong and we fulltime, off grid, 4 winter months, a year.
Thanks, he isn't full timing, just some weekends on the road. The primary driver is the residential refrigerator, as noted in the first post. I have a clamp meter, so that takes care of load measurements.

It appears that 2.5 - 3.5 kw-hrs of actual power generation per day is sufficient.
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Old 07-06-2017, 03:46 PM   #11
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Is there a place to obtain an actual wiring diagram?
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Old 07-07-2017, 05:23 PM   #12
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I have had one 85w panel mounted on my fiberglass roof with VHB tape only for over 11 years and have not has a problem.

George
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Old 07-08-2017, 10:18 AM   #13
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I am in the same boat--same 2017 Breeze, same refrigerator, etc.

My research has lead me to two panel choices:
1. The light, small (20"x40") Renogy Eclipse panels or the similar ones sold by AM Solar; or
2. The new ETFE coated panels as seen below or sold by Lesun. The ETFE coating is supposed to be very strong. The panels can be walked on so you don't need to be as concerned about having a footpath on the roof. I think that Lensun may give discounts for 10 or more. The price should be around the same as the Eclipse. You can do it a lot cheaper with the rigid panels, though.
No need to get the aluminum backed ETFE panels -- no need to dissipate heat through a metal roof (for example). They are really light, which matters to me. You would save 100lbs plus on the roof and they would be easy to handle (which matters to me). There is a lot of negative stuff online about flexible panels, buy technology moves forward fast. I am sorely tempted.

https://www.amazon.com/GreeSonic-Fib...e+solar+panels

Lensun Solar Energy Store

I would be interested in a group buy with perhaps the Lensun panels.

As far as installation, Titos RV has reviews of the ETFE panels and using Eternabond tape.

Tito also reviews ETFE panels on Youtube.

I will be following this thread with great interest.
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Old 07-08-2017, 11:13 PM   #14
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I can understand the attraction of flexible panels, and I am not particularly concerned about that portion. What is missing is a thermal (heat) path.

When sunlight falls onto a 100 watt solar panel (any type), 100 watts turns into electricity, and approximately 500 watts turns into heat.

Similar to all semiconducting devices, as they heat up:
- The efficiency declines
- The output drops
- Eventually it will burn out / fail

If I were putting these onto my RV, I would first mount them onto a 1/8th inch thick sheet of aluminum at least 3X the size of the panel to help dissipate heat.

I use a different supplier in my area for panels which are essentially the same thing as these flexible panels, but mounted in a frame. That way there is way for heat to escape from both the front and back.

The ones I use are 165 watt and are pretty light compared to the glass backed ones.
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