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Old 07-27-2021, 05:48 PM   #1
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Does size (solar panel) matter?

I'm getting ready to order a tamarack roof mounting system for 4 ea of 415W Trina panels. They are 79.33 x 39.21 x 1.38in, and weigh in under 50 lbs. I know Will Prouse recommends 100W units max, but perhaps because he would not use help to install. Any other good reason not to mount those on my shuttle bus?

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Old 07-27-2021, 06:04 PM   #2
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We've got 4 280w panels mounted on the roof. I don't think they're quite 79" (maybe 65"?) but I see no reason why you shouldn't be able to use them. You might have to mount them so the 39" goes across the bus and the 79" side goes the length of the bus. I see no reason do limit things to 100w either, makes no sense to me.
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Old 07-27-2021, 06:19 PM   #3
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Watts are watts, but I've heard higher watt panels are not as efficient as lower ones on the MPPT.
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Old 07-27-2021, 06:21 PM   #4
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I think Will Prouse was more concerned with mass (weight) and awkward size, than with power. I'll be happy to have the 1660w (minus various losses) as I try to run my mini-split in the Florida heat.
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Old 07-28-2021, 12:48 AM   #5
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Will Prouse is not the fount of wisdom he thinks he is.
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Old 07-28-2021, 11:07 AM   #6
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I have many 79" long panels mounted.
Only issue really is aerodynamics.
Be sure to bolt through the roof not to the roof.
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Old 07-28-2021, 11:14 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by shaymcquaid View Post
I have many 79" long panels mounted.
Only issue really is aerodynamics.
Be sure to bolt through the roof not to the roof.
Does your statement mean, nuts and bolts not sheet metal screws? Did you limit your attaching points to ribs? Did you use a rail system? If I continue with my build I'll be installing the panels within a month so inquiring minds want to know.
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Old 07-28-2021, 12:22 PM   #8
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Not sure the rationale behind Prowse's comments on >100W panels. I would take his comments in the context of his use cases, not universally for everyone. I use 300W panels that frequently perform beyond their rating... the one problem I have is wind being able to get underneath the panels, which I'm currently trying to fix.
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Old 07-28-2021, 01:18 PM   #9
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Does your statement mean, nuts and bolts not sheet metal screws? Did you limit your attaching points to ribs? Did you use a rail system? If I continue with my build I'll be installing the panels within a month so inquiring minds want to know.

Yes. Bolts through the structure.
I used a Unistrut frame which ended up rather (too?) beefy...
And, yes, I went through the ribs wherever I could.

...and,IF I were to do it again, I would build an remote tilt system...
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Old 07-28-2021, 01:51 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
Will Prouse is not the fount of wisdom he thinks he is.
Will Prowse is a veritable fount of wisdom for newbies. His videos are crisp, easy to follow, and he focuses on the practical. I always recommend him as a first watch to newcomers.

What's your beef with him?
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Old 07-28-2021, 01:55 PM   #11
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Bigger panels are more easily damaged than small ones, so tree branches or rocks can be costly damage for a big panel.
However, once you get that much solar, smaller panels have their own downsides,
so I'd say you are fine with 4 panels.
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Old 07-28-2021, 02:40 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Rucker View Post
Will Prowse is a veritable fount of wisdom for newbies. His videos are crisp, easy to follow, and he focuses on the practical. I always recommend him as a first watch to newcomers.

What's your beef with him?
What videos?
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Old 07-28-2021, 03:58 PM   #13
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Unistrut seems like the obvious choice for function and security. Bolt through the ribs. I used stainless carriage bolts with 1 1/2 neoprene backed stainless fender washers, stainless nylock nuts, and UV-grade Sikaflex. Those saddle-shaped washers were found at McMaster-Carr
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Old 08-04-2021, 11:23 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Danjo View Post
Unistrut seems like the obvious choice for function and security. Bolt through the ribs. I used stainless carriage bolts with 1 1/2 neoprene backed stainless fender washers, stainless nylock nuts, and UV-grade Sikaflex. Those saddle-shaped washers were found at McMaster-Carr
Do you have something under the unistrut that compensates for the curvature of your roof line? Or do you mount the unistrut channels flat and your z brackets bend slightly?
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Old 08-05-2021, 12:06 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Danjo View Post
Unistrut seems like the obvious choice for function and security. Bolt through the ribs. I used stainless carriage bolts with 1 1/2 neoprene backed stainless fender washers, stainless nylock nuts, and UV-grade Sikaflex. Those saddle-shaped washers were found at McMaster-Carr
I'm planning to use the Superstruts from Home Despot. I've been thinking about how to connect the panels to the struts and am leaning toward the right angle brackets available for the Superstruts but I"m not entirely comfortable with a single bolt through the panel's aluminum frame. I can"t tell what you've done in your picture, would you describe what you used and how are the panels attaching?
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