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Old 01-07-2019, 09:54 AM   #1
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Update to my 800W solar install

For starters it ended up being 900W (nine 100W panels) with 7 that tilt and 2 that are fixed...pictures in the 800 installation posts. Unfounded concerns about the tilting ones lifting up but the roof of my Navigator is unusual...sunken with raised side rails and front and rear caps higher than the roof which protects the panels from the wind. Did put small test strips of paper under the ends of the mounts that move and they were still there after a 85 mph affective wind speed.

The 9 panels were unusual too...thin film sandwiched between two plates of glass and 80V each so wired them in parallel. Fortunately Monaco prewired it for solar so once found it was easy to feed them into a Outback 60amp mppt controller mounted next to the inverter.

Today I had as good as it’s going to get sun conditions in our snowbird location...clear skies and cool temps. Without much of a load on the 12V system I was getting 32 amps at 14.2V. Shut the power off into the coach and with the inverter increasing the draw to 25 amps, the solar charging increased to 46 amps. In the afternoon I get a fair amount of shading so 46A changing will be the max I’ll get in this location.
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Old 01-07-2019, 11:28 AM   #2
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Sounds like it worked out well for you. I've been kicking around the idea of putting 800-1000 watts on mine, but I've yet to take the leap
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Old 01-07-2019, 01:12 PM   #3
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. I've been kicking around the idea of putting 800-1000 watts on mine, but I've yet to take the leap
Do you have a large battery bank? I was on the fence too until I found solar panels 2’ X 4’ (100W) for 55 cents/watt ...the shape was important because of the narrow, non shaded area on my roof. The raised rails along the sides of the roof mandated that I tilt them and made it fairly easy to tilt them. Bigger panels (300+\-W) are better because they are normally higher voltage and you have fewer to attach to the roof if you have the non shaded area.

My cost/watt was $1.25... $550 for 10 panels, $450 for the controller, and $150 in cables, fuses, and miscellaneous. Even at only $10/hour for my labor that would add $400...$1.72/watt. Hiring this installation done could easily double the cost.
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Old 01-10-2019, 01:45 PM   #4
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Do you have a large battery bank? I was on the fence too until I found solar panels 2 X 4 (100W) for 55 cents/watt ...the shape was important because of the narrow, non shaded area on my roof. The raised rails along the sides of the roof mandated that I tilt them and made it fairly easy to tilt them. Bigger panels (300+\-W) are better because they are normally higher voltage and you have fewer to attach to the roof if you have the non shaded area.

My cost/watt was $1.25... $550 for 10 panels, $450 for the controller, and $150 in cables, fuses, and miscellaneous. Even at only $10/hour for my labor that would add $400...$1.72/watt. Hiring this installation done could easily double the cost.


Where did you get the panels for that cost? I would love the info when we add solar.
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Old 01-11-2019, 08:24 AM   #5
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Where did you get the panels for that cost? I would love the info when we add solar.
Found them on Atlanta Craigslist and the 100 he had were gone in a couple weeks. Had to go 90 miles to pickup.
Wholesale Solar has 310W panels for $209 delivered...68 cents. Do not know anything about the panels.
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Old 01-29-2019, 01:58 PM   #6
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Had 50 amps at 14.2V (710W) out of my 900W of solar today...the most I’ve seen to date with clear skies and cool temperatures. Had a little shading on one panel at noon and the angle to the sun is not at a right angle...rig is not parked E-W. Later in the day, I have a lot more shading. Overall I’m happy with the results, especially at $1.25/Watt plus my labor.
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Old 08-14-2019, 11:40 AM   #7
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Update to the update. Currently parked in what I'd call a normal situation...some good sun and some shading in a USFS CG dry camping. With the good sun I'm getting 60 amps but only 10 later in the day.

With the solar I've had to change my generator run times as before solar I ran it more in the evening, but now longer in the morning... bulk charging (200+amps) where in the evening it's only absorption charging (50 amps). How do I get 200+ amps charging???, I added a 100 amp charger which I can control with my block heater outlet.

Will post my daily KW amounts once I average it over several days.

Here is my original post on my install: http://www.irv2.com/forums/f56/800w-...ll-414235.html and after 4,000 miles the panels have not flown off the roof.
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Old 08-14-2019, 12:05 PM   #8
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Hit the lottery with a lucky scratch off and get rid of the L16 batteries and replace with lfp and just about be done with generator.
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Old 08-15-2019, 10:58 AM   #9
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I'll be interested to see how my 660W system performs when installed? 2-330W panels wired in series! Good Luck
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Old 08-15-2019, 04:21 PM   #10
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Hit the lottery with a lucky scratch off and get rid of the L16 batteries and replace with lfp and just about be done with generator.
The L16 are gone replaced with 8 Interstate AGMs...880AH for $560. 5 Battle Born for $4200 or $560... 1/7 the price???
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Old 08-24-2019, 11:28 AM   #11
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We are dry camping in the Tetons parked N-S so I raised the 7 tilting panels to level. With a partly cloudy day I got 4 KW of solar power. At home that would be 4X13= $0.52 cost. I would have to run the generator a half hour using less than 1/3rd gallon diesel so $1 in fuel would replace the solar. I only have $1200 in panels, a 80A mppt controller, and misc cables...no $s for my time installing the system. At 60 days/year dry camping my payback is only 20 years as I still have to run the generator in the morning for aprox 1 hour of bulk charging the batteries.
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Old 08-25-2019, 07:44 PM   #12
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Still parked in the Tetons with the all the panels level. Got 4.6KW yesterday with very few clouds and 4.5 today. Hopefully I’ll be able to park E-W next week and till the panels. Should be able to get 6KW.
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Old 09-13-2019, 03:04 PM   #13
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I actually got 72 amps at 12.1V (870W)) out of my 936W (9X104W) of panels while running the microwave...high noon, 7 panels tilted, and fairly cool. Never thought I’d see that many watts. Without the high load it dropped back to 50A at 13.0V...650W.
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Old 09-24-2019, 02:30 PM   #14
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We are back from a 7 week trip out West dry camping 2/3 of the time. In post 11 above my 20 year payback is probably optimistic...only 32 days dry camping this year, not 60. Unless you are FT and spend the winters out in the sun...not in the shade during the summer so you do not need AC there is not any payback for the cost (even DIY) of solar.
It does look cool with the panels tilted up.
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