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Old 04-25-2018, 02:36 PM   #1
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Flexible Solar Panels

Cost Aside
Is there any reason not to use flexible solar?
I am installing these all on a crown. Which has a lot of curves and I think the flat panels are an eyesore. The way I figure, given the shapes, I could fit ~4000w of solar covering most of the roof. Is the only thing preventing people from using them the price?
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Old 04-25-2018, 02:42 PM   #2
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I've been thinking of the same, but I only see them installed with that super tape. I wouldn't want to lose my panels to the highway.

Also on a crown more curves = more shade on your panels
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Old 04-25-2018, 02:43 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whatthefak View Post
I've been thinking of the same, but I only see them installed with that super tape. I wouldn't want to lose my panels to the highway.

Also on a crown more curves = more shade on your panels


True
But if I can load up with 4000+ Watts,
Who cares right?
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Old 04-25-2018, 02:46 PM   #4
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A little shade on each panel along one side can stop each shaded (even a little) from producing any power. Place correctly I think it'd be fine. I'm more worried about the mounting
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Old 04-25-2018, 02:49 PM   #5
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Well I was thinking using some type of super adhesive and glue them to a 1/8 pvc sheet. Then fastening this to the roof.
This could also act as a thermal barrier between the hot roof and the panel.
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Old 04-25-2018, 04:58 PM   #6
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Doesn't sound like a bad plan, I'm very interested in seeing how it goes.

I'm not to that point yet but I'll get there and I like your idea so please keep me posted
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Old 04-25-2018, 05:14 PM   #7
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I can agree on the great curves . I would not want to dress that up to much .
May you can find a way to follow the curves but leave an inch or 1.5 " to ventilate the panels. Looks hotter . Better for the panels and better for the temperature in the bus. The use of multiple small mppt controllers can reduce the shadow effect.

Good luck
Later J
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Old 04-25-2018, 09:24 PM   #8
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No evidence but "heard" that applying flex panels directly to a metal body was a bad idea. Supposedly the heat from the steel impairs the panels ability to produce juice. Anyone???
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Old 04-25-2018, 11:06 PM   #9
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No evidence but "heard" that applying flex panels directly to a metal body was a bad idea. Supposedly the heat from the steel impairs the panels ability to produce juice. Anyone???
Absolutely correct. All PV panels, including the flexible ones, are derated according to temperature - when they get hotter they produce less power. That's why I have a healthy air gap under my panels, plus they shade my roof very well to lower the interior ceiling temperature.

What should be of more concern to you is the long-term durability of flexible panels. There's good reason that they don't have a 25-year power warranty, like all good-quality rigid panels have. Some folk on the NAWS forum have reported problems with their flexible panels after only a few years, including total premature failure in some cases. Not good. I suggest you rethink the whole flex thing and consider using "proper" panels instead. (What sort of panels do the large commercial installations and solar farms use? If flex were better, they would use them.)

The very curved roof of Crowns is actually a benefit if you want to do what I did with my eight Sharp 255W poly panels. I first made a walkway between my two roof hatches that's about 5 inches above the roof, and from this walkway I've hinged each of my panels - when stowed down against the roof for travel they are at 21 degrees below horizontal, and I can raise them to horizontal or to 21, 33 or 45 degrees up. If parked with the sun to the left I keep the left four panels down and raise the right four panels to whichever angle produces the best harvest depending on the season; if the sun's on the right side I just do the opposite. This way I have half my panels at 21 degrees (guess what the year-round optimum angle is for fixed panels in Southern California? Yup, 21 degrees!), and the other half at what works best for the sun's angle above the horizon. It's only slightly less efficient than having all the panels fully tiltable, but that's almost impossible on a bus, and a whole load more efficient than the usual flat setup on most RVs. Angled panels also keep themselves cleaner than flat ones because rain will wash dirt off them; I do however have a pair of quick-connect water outlets on my walkway so I can easily and safely wash down all my panels without needing to lug heavy buckets of water or hoses up to the roof. Yeah!

If you watch the YouTube video of Buses Gone Wild VII you can see my bus with the panels' hinged support frames in place but before I put the panels themselves into the frames.

John
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Old 04-26-2018, 04:11 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iceni John View Post
Absolutely correct. All PV panels, including the flexible ones, are derated according to temperature - when they get hotter they produce less power. That's why I have a healthy air gap under my panels, plus they shade my roof very well to lower the interior ceiling temperature.

What should be of more concern to you is the long-term durability of flexible panels. There's good reason that they don't have a 25-year power warranty, like all good-quality rigid panels have. Some folk on the NAWS forum have reported problems with their flexible panels after only a few years, including total premature failure in some cases. Not good. I suggest you rethink the whole flex thing and consider using "proper" panels instead. (What sort of panels do the large commercial installations and solar farms use? If flex were better, they would use them.)

The very curved roof of Crowns is actually a benefit if you want to do what I did with my eight Sharp 255W poly panels. I first made a walkway between my two roof hatches that's about 5 inches above the roof, and from this walkway I've hinged each of my panels - when stowed down against the roof for travel they are at 21 degrees below horizontal, and I can raise them to horizontal or to 21, 33 or 45 degrees up. If parked with the sun to the left I keep the left four panels down and raise the right four panels to whichever angle produces the best harvest depending on the season; if the sun's on the right side I just do the opposite. This way I have half my panels at 21 degrees (guess what the year-round optimum angle is for fixed panels in Southern California? Yup, 21 degrees!), and the other half at what works best for the sun's angle above the horizon. It's only slightly less efficient than having all the panels fully tiltable, but that's almost impossible on a bus, and a whole load more efficient than the usual flat setup on most RVs. Angled panels also keep themselves cleaner than flat ones because rain will wash dirt off them; I do however have a pair of quick-connect water outlets on my walkway so I can easily and safely wash down all my panels without needing to lug heavy buckets of water or hoses up to the roof. Yeah!

If you watch the YouTube video of Buses Gone Wild VII you can see my bus with the panels' hinged support frames in place but before I put the panels themselves into the frames.

John
Buses Gone Wild VII...? No other pics to share?
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