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Old 02-27-2019, 09:57 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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solar panel angles and rail fabrication

Hey all,

I知 using 8 pieces of 8 ft aluminum angle to create solar rail for my 6 100 panels but I知 having trouble with my curved bus roof. I have curved renogy z bracket feet so mounting the rail on a curved surface is not the problem- the issue is that mounting the panels on the sides of the bus results in an angle due to the height difference, and i知 guessing I want my panels as close to flat as possible. In the attached pic I have a panel flat in the middle of the roof, but I壇 prefer to put 3 on each side of the roof to conserve space for a deck/fantastifan locations/give some space to my wood stove chimney.

Currently one side of the rail/panels is lower due to the curvature of the bus. Is this a very bad thing? I知 considering using blocking to elevate the lower side of the rail, but I知 not sure what material to use. Someone suggested bolting through wood and I suppose I could just put a treated 2x4 under there for an 1 1/2 raise. I saw that some people use adjustable mounts so that they can adjust the angle as needed throughout the year, but those things run like $40 a pop and I知 likely to park in all sorts of different directions during my travels.

Any advice or suggestions would be much appreciated!

Sam&Jasmine
Inst: @bedbusandbeyond
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Old 02-27-2019, 11:25 AM   #2
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What are your concerns with an angled to match the roof panel. Flat is not the ideal angle for collecting sun rays. I'm running mine down the sides of the roof, 2 rows of 3. That keeps the center walkway open.
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Old 02-27-2019, 11:30 AM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Oh hey that’s our proposed orientation! I was under the impression that flat (or close to flat anyway) would be more efficient, but I am now realizing that I have no evidence to back this up. Would angled panels work alright? That would certainly be easier for us!
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Old 02-27-2019, 11:34 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by neuronmisfires View Post
Oh hey that痴 our proposed orientation! I was under the impression that flat (or close to flat anyway) would be more efficient, but I am now realizing that I have no evidence to back this up. Would angled panels work alright? That would certainly be easier for us!
You want your panels to face the sun to be most effective. The angle of the sun changes depending on where in the world you are, the time of year and time of day. So ultimately you want your panels to tilt to face the sun in the spot you are in. I'm setting mine up with an arrangement that allows tilting both directions, so you don't have to turn the bus around to get the proper angle.
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Old 02-27-2019, 11:39 AM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Ahh so I figure that we won’t often have the option to park facing south. How are you setting up tilting in multiple directions? That’s sounds ideal.
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Old 02-27-2019, 12:01 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
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i Suppose i can always add tilting capabilities down the line if we need more juice. Leaning toward the 3 on each side idea...
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Old 02-27-2019, 12:27 PM   #7
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Ahh so I figure that we won’t often have the option to park facing south. How are you setting up tilting in multiple directions? That’s sounds ideal.
I'm using a couple of cabinet lifts to tilt to angle. Each corner of the panel will be secured with a wing head Dzus fastener. Depending on which side, top or bottom, you release, the panel will automatically tilt to 22.5ー
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Old 02-27-2019, 12:34 PM   #8
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Ohh very cool! I’ll have to look into this...
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Old 02-27-2019, 12:37 PM   #9
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Ohh very cool! I値l have to look into this...
It was a lot of work figuring out what length prop rod to use, how much pressure, and where to mount them for the correct angle.
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