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Old 11-28-2020, 07:32 PM   #1
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Need help with solar system/questions on flexible panels. SOS

So my brain has melted after a hours of trying to figure some solar-related things out, so I figured I would just ask here to get some direct replies (hopefully, lol).

I purchased this 4kW solar system (the complete bundle).

I am now worried about the weight and the center of gravity should I mount these. We were planning on mounting some on the sides of the bus as well, because 20 195W panels aren't going to fit on the roof of our 30 footer.

In our manic search for answers on this, we have come across some flexible panels such as these and these.

We are now considering selling the panels in the system we bought to replace with these, and keeping everything else. Quite frankly, they seem too good to be true, but I cannot quite grasp whether or not they would even be compatible with our current system. I think they may be too weak to serve the same function as the panels we currently have, but I can't tell. Maybe I'm staring at the same information for too long, but we are having a hard time grasping all of this.

Even these panels which seem more legit, give me pause, as I am terrified of making an ill-informed decision regarding this.

Please help! We are drowning in a sea of information and none of it seems to be giving us what we are looking for. Thanks folks.
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Old 11-28-2020, 09:04 PM   #2
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Location: Orange County, CA
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Chassis: Crown Supercoach II (rear engine)
Engine: Detroit 6V92TAC, DDEC 2, Jake brake, Allison HT740
Rated Cap: 37,400 lbs GVWR
1. Flexible or semi-flexible PV panels don't last long. Look at their warranty, assuming they even have one: a few years for a flex is normal, versus the industry-standard 25-year warranty for reguler panels. 'Nuf said.
2. Unless you're in Alaska in mid-winter, vertical panels will do tiddly-squat to make usable power. Panels should be oriented towards the sun for maximum solar harvest, and even a few degrees deviation from that significantly affects power output. There's plenty of factual data in the WWW to corroborate this.
3. I don't understand why folk want to stick flexible panels straight onto the roof. All panels require an airgap under them to stop them getting too hot, and sticking a panel onto a metal roof is the worst thing to do in this regard. There is an appreciable thermal derating for PV panels - the hotter they get, the less power they produce. Realistically, what's more important here - a pretty roof, or maximum power production?
4. It's all well and good to carpet every sqinch of the roof with panels, but how would you clean them safely if you can't get up onto the roof to do so? Dirty panels produce appreciably less power than clean ones, so cleaning them isn't just a fanciful notion, but something that needs to be designed into the system from the start. (I have a central walkway on my roof, onto which the eight 255W panels are hinged so that they can be raised up to 45 degrees for maximum insolation, and this walkway has two quick-connect water outlets so I can easily and safely clean my panels in just a few minutes with any risk of A) falling off the roof, or B) stepping on the panels and breaking them, or C) getting soaked by the water!)

4kW is a lot of power. Why do you need so much?

John
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Old 11-29-2020, 10:28 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Orange County, CA
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Year: 1990
Coachwork: integral
Chassis: Crown Supercoach II (rear engine)
Engine: Detroit 6V92TAC, DDEC 2, Jake brake, Allison HT740
Rated Cap: 37,400 lbs GVWR
Oops, last sentence in italics should say "without any risk of . . ."!

John
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Old 11-29-2020, 01:00 PM   #4
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$6,000 on this solar kit? How much was the bus??
Yeah those glass framed panels are very heavy, and will add 500 lbs to the top of an already very top heavy bus. We discussed this just recently, so I won't repeat myself..
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