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Old 03-24-2019, 01:03 AM   #1
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Mounting solar panels to roof

Does anyone have experience with, or knowledge about, secure attachment of solar panels to the roof of a motorhome? I plan to install a couple of large(ish) panels later this year, and don't want to lose them on the highway or in a big blow.

I've seen a couple of DIY installs on other forums it looks like they just use Dicor lap sealant and short (1/2 or 3/4") sheet metal screws to fasten the panel mounts to the thin fiberglass roof sheet. Is that a solid attachment? Perhaps the roof panel is thicker than I suspect, or Dicor is stronger?

Is ultra high bond (UHB) two-sided tape or a permanent waterproof glue like 3M 5200 polyurethane adhesive/sealant up to this sort of task? These would avoid risk of water entry around the screws.

Is there danger of screws going into cables run inside the roof?
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Old 03-24-2019, 01:16 AM   #2
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Location: SoCal
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VHB tape can be used with fiberglass roof. Stainless screws can be used with any type roof.

VHB needs to be prepped and installed properly to ensure adhesion.

For screws, make a puddle of Dicor, set the mount foot in the puddle, drive the screw, cover the screw with additional Dicor.

With large panels use 6 mounts vs 4 for smaller panels.

I have 15 panels mounted with screws on current coach. Had eight panels mounted with screws on previous coach.
Vince and Susan
2011 Tiffin Phaeton 40QTH (Cummins ISC/Freightliner)
Flat towing a modified 2005 Jeep (Rubicon Wrangler)
Previously a 2002 Fleetwood Pace Arrow 37A and a 1995 Safari Trek 2830.
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Old 03-24-2019, 05:52 AM   #3
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I didn't use screws, I didn't want more roof holes. I went with Renogy panels and used their Z brackets. I made mounting plates for the Z brackets to make it easier to remove the panels if needed. I used 4952 VHB tape to secure the mounting brackets to the roof and covered them with Eternabond tape. The VHB tape probably has all the strength you need to secure the panels to the roof but I wanted redundancy just to be sure the panels don't move. So I know used the VHB tape and then covered the mounts with Dicor. Dicor is very strong but make sure you wait about 5 days for it to fully cure and set. I attached a pdf with more details. You might think about using the Renogy tilt mounts, You wouldn't need to make any mounting plates, just put VHB on the rails and stick in place. I would still cover with 2" Eternabond tape just to seal it in place and add a redundant layer of adhesion. The tilt mounts let's you get easy access under the panels for when you are hooking up the system and them after everything is installed, they let you raise the panels to clean the roof or do any maintenance. I also like that you can tilt them to better a better sun angle, like in the winter when the sun is much lower on the horizon. They didn't have them when I did my install, to bad I would have liked to use them.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Sandy's 200 watt Solar Install.pdf (2.43 MB, 105 views)
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Old 03-25-2019, 06:45 AM   #4
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I used 3M VHB tape 2 years ago when I installed my 150w renology panels. They have stayed strong. I am amazed how such a small amount of tape has held up. Be sure to clean surface area with alcohol before. No drilling necessary.
2019 Tiffin 40IH
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Old 03-30-2019, 07:16 PM   #5
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VHB Tape

I only have one large panel that I mounted 6 years ago. I used 3M VHB tape and additional layer of Eternabond tape. Check several times a year and still tight as the day installed.
2004 Allegro 32BA
2005 Honda CRV
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Old 11-07-2019, 09:54 PM   #6
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Do any of you who used vhb recall the past number of the tape used? I was researching 5952 but a 3M engineer get suggested I consider using 4941 with a primer to prep the surface (after he told me twice that 3m does not endorse this use for their product).

These tapes are available at good prices from Amazon but those have very dodgy reviews (too many 1 star reviews) so I suspect the Amazon products are expired shelf life (2 years recommended to put into use) or factory seconds to justify the bargain price.
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