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Old 06-08-2009, 10:32 PM   #1
Bus Nut
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: downriver, detroit mi
Posts: 794
Re: Solar panel, power gathering experiences

their is some solar info here, but you will probably find more people/info on the escapees website that have experience with rv solar power, some of them either full time or chase the sun in the winter and like to spend time on/in unimproved blm land areas and are pretty much self contained for 2 or more weeks at a time. you might also search for cruising sailboat people.

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Old 06-08-2009, 11:15 PM   #2
Bus Nut
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 524
Year: 1993
Coachwork: AmTran
Chassis: IHC
Engine: Dt360
Rated Cap: 19
Re: Solar panel, power gathering experiences

My system has performed as expected for nearly three years, all original parts, no problems or faults at all. Unless there is shade of some kind, I can live off-grid for as long as needed. I added a wind turbine, and it worked as expected, but it's not really necessary.

Available power, via sunshine, is predictable for the most part. The amount of sun-hours per day is known for most of the U.S....multiply that times the amp rating for your panels, times the number of panels, and you have an idea of how much electricity you can get from the sun. There are other factors: time of year and tilt of your array, battery charger efficiency, etc. But the concepts that apply to a home/stationary solar setup are exactly the same as those used to size a mobile setup. You just have to take into account that the whole setup can & will move at 65+mph, bounce & vibrate, and may be parked at any given orientation.

To learn about sizing, I recommend the Solar Energy International book titled Design & Installation of Photovoltaics. It was the textbook for a solar class I took a few years ago, so it should be available used & not too expensive.

Some modern solar panels have a 25 year warranty for (I think) 95% of their output. They are made to live outside in the weather. There are also other components (cable/wire, boxes, etc) that are designed & rated for outdoor use. Just use good-quality system components, installed in a sane manner (i.e., grommets where anything passes through a wall, proper wire size, fuses, etc.), along with periodic inspection and regular maintenance (battery water levels, checking connections, etc) and your system should last a long time.

Bus conversion/info here
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