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Old 06-25-2020, 07:14 PM   #1
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Tilting panels. What makes more sense???

Hello all and thanks for looking....

Have a large array on top of bus.
400 watt jinkoís from San tan solar x8

I am going to tilt them one way.

The main reason is maintenance access.
I can tilt them manually one by one allowing access to back of panels and providing a walk way to clean the panels.
Secondarily is to harvest as much of olísol when heís feeling lazy in the winter OR when my demands are greatest in the summer

For the last few months during the on going conversion the bus has been facing SSE and I have observed how warm the front gets because of all the sun entering through the windshield and door (Good in winter/bad in summer Iím guessing.)

So my thinking is in hot weather face the bus north to prevent all that sun coming in the windshield. With hot weather comes the most electrical demands of the hvac (2 mini splits) So I am thinking tilt panels to gather under the highest demand in summer...

HOWEVER, The winter offers lowest harvest of sun but way less electrical demand. (The mini splits are also heat pumps ofc, but I donít have any delusions of using electricity to heat on solar)

Man, I ramble.

So, To you experienced solar farmers...
What makes more sense:
Tilt for summer or tilt for winter?

Iím not even sure Iíll NEED to tilt for summer because of the 3.2k on the roof

Maybe Iím overthinking this and the obvious answer is not presenting itself to my brain.

Thanks in advance!
-Shay
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Old 06-25-2020, 07:58 PM   #2
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How many Whs are you collecting now? Does it make sense to worry about it?
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Old 06-25-2020, 10:42 PM   #3
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Would they be permanently tilted? Or just while parked? If just in camp, hinge them at both ends so they can be tilted away from a center walk-way to either the left or right. Then you can tilt slightly for summer or almost vertical for winter.

Edit: I missed the part where you're going to be parking the bus facing north... In that case, you'd have to tilt the panels toward the back of the bus. That would obviously have to be only when parked, and wouldn't give you the walkway you're after. Tilting left and right wouldn't get you anything (unless your demands are more than batteries can handle at certain times).

Another edit: I'm curious how you liked your experience with SanTan Solar. I was looking at a few of their deals, and it seems almost too good to be true. Did you get what you expected?
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Old 06-26-2020, 06:53 AM   #4
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Interesting question Shay!

I've said it a hundred times but just in case you missed it... With flat mounted panels, I get about 80% rated panel output during the summer (in the mountain west between AZ/NM and MT) and about 60% during the winter (in the SW). I do not know how much that would increase with tilted panels but I suspect a significant increase.

As FatBoySTL stated, a flexible 'tilting' system would be most efficient. I've spent some time trying to design such a system and it always ends up being more complicated than I like (read on). I had always considered left or right (side to side??) tilting vs front to back but that is probably a function of panel size (mine are huge). My setup looks like this:



One of the factors with front to back tilting is avoiding one panel shading the next.

Random observations (meaning I could be very wrong about this) indicate to me that the tilt of the panels would likely need to change twice each day to be most efficient - unless parked at just the right angle. I do not care for that amount of "management" and that always leads me to thinking of using linear actuators to streamline the task (as in flipping a switch instead of climbing up on the roof). That amount of effort and cost just isn't worth it to me, yet - maybe someday (or in some location). However; every situation is different so I'm not suggesting there is a right or wrong answer here. For example, someone at a high latitude and minimal roof space may require tilting to harvest necessary power - I'm just not in that situation. Or a rig that has very easy access to the roof - climbing up there often might be fun for the right person. Mine isn't so easy or fun (for me).
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Old 06-26-2020, 09:58 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FatBoySTL View Post

Another edit: I'm curious how you liked your experience with SanTan Solar. I was looking at a few of their deals, and it seems almost too good to be true. Did you get what you expected?
They are fantastic. They shipped my 8 panels from AZ-TX for $185 and they were packed well and took less than a week! 10/10 Will do business again.
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Old 06-26-2020, 10:01 AM   #6
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Probably should have mentioned that the panels will tilt L/R not FWD/AFT
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Old 06-26-2020, 11:18 AM   #7
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Adjustable tilt, might double production.

Travel flat.
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Old 06-28-2020, 06:33 AM   #8
Skoolie
 
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After some more research and pondering, I have concluded that the bus (best case senario) should face east/west. NOT north south. Duh. Thanks for your input.

BTW, The Lumos app is pretty cool for solar tracking.
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