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Old 08-29-2017, 10:45 AM   #1
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Solar panel direction

We have 640 watts of solar on tilting panels, we boondock January and February in the S.W. of our beautiful country. My question is this: Is there a phone app that we can use to point the coach in the most efficient direction to maximize our panels output? We usually stay in one spot for a couple of weeks then find a new spot.
Thanks in advance for your input!
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Old 08-29-2017, 11:17 AM   #2
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A Compass app maybe?
I've always heard to have your solar panels facing south for max sun.
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Old 08-29-2017, 12:17 PM   #3
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Try Sun Surveyor. Not free, but available for iPad or iPhone.
Have not used it personally so......
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Old 08-29-2017, 04:36 PM   #4
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aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/AltAz.php

Not an app, but gives detail sun position for location and time.
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Old 08-29-2017, 05:21 PM   #5
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South... The sun travels in an arc east to west. The sun is much lower in the sky in January.

If you want to model different directions and panel tilts, etc. PVWatts is very comprehensive.
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Old 08-29-2017, 06:08 PM   #6
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Solar panel direction

No app except a compass .. I face the front of the mh east and have flat panels not tiltable but most (800 watts ) are in the clear on the passenger side without shading . The east face means the front windows and worse insulation get morning sun and the heat or the day and afternoon shade the front. I choose not to tilt and add 10% more panels no climbing on the roof! I still have room for 4 100 watt panels .
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Old 08-29-2017, 06:10 PM   #7
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I use this web based calculator...

https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/grad/solcalc/
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Old 08-29-2017, 06:18 PM   #8
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I'm guessing that fine tuning the perfect angle is probably more work than it's worth. The tiny gains aren't going to add up to all that much and if you really need the extra power, mounting an additional panel or two would be easier. Most of those calculators, I'm guessing, are for permanently mounted panel arrays.

Other than that, a $2 compass will do the trick
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Old 08-29-2017, 07:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Droski View Post
We have 640 watts of solar on tilting panels, we boondock January and February in the S.W. of our beautiful country. My question is this: Is there a phone app that we can use to point the coach in the most efficient direction to maximize our panels output? We usually stay in one spot for a couple of weeks then find a new spot.

Thanks in advance for your input!


Most smartphones have a compass app. As along as the array is facing south +\- 20 degrees you'll get the maximum output.
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Old 08-30-2017, 07:16 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C.Martin View Post
I use this web based calculator...

https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/grad/solcalc/

Thank You C.Martin......exactly what I was looking for.
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Old 11-22-2017, 10:10 PM   #11
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Once you know someone who has fallen off the RV roof, which can happen as one returns the panels to flat during high wind storm that can frequent the desert SW, you will likely appreciate the option of a few more panels and leaving them flat. I have know two gentlemen that fell. One spent 3 months in the hospital and still suffers from the accident several years later.
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Old 11-23-2017, 12:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ByeTheWay View Post
Once you know someone who has fallen off the RV roof, which can happen as one returns the panels to flat during high wind storm that can frequent the desert SW, you will likely appreciate the option of a few more panels and leaving them flat. I have know two gentlemen that fell. One spent 3 months in the hospital and still suffers from the accident several years later.
Good point. Walking around up there when it's nice outside is one thing but when it's windy/stormy/dark that's another story. Wind and rain aren't always predictable allowing you to be proactive.

Again, tilting four panels might get you a 10% boost in power. Adding another panel will get you twice that without the hassle and risk.
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Old 11-23-2017, 10:55 PM   #13
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Not an app, but this should get you close Optimum Tilt of Solar Panels
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Old 11-26-2017, 01:52 PM   #14
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Trimetric 20/20 or 20/30 home - Bogart Engineering

I have seen the above meters connected to show amps out of the solar array. You would need a meter and a shunt. With a long cord or someone on the other end, you could get the proper panel tilt at each location, by watching the meter as you tilt the panel.
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