portable vs fixed solar panels

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by BigManStraker, May 30, 2012.

  1. BigManStraker

    BigManStraker Read Only Funster

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    I've recently bought a Euramobil 500 Sport, and me and my girlfriend are going off fulltiming around the UK and Europe for a year.

    I was planning on staying at aires and wild camping a bit as well as visiting campsites and want to get some solar panels to keep the leisure battery topped up.

    I'm currently debating getting either an 80 watt solar panel and fitting it to the roof with Silkaflex and spoiler mounts, or otherwise buying a portable 120 or 160 watt fold-out solar panel and just putting it outside aimed at the Sun for a few hours each day.

    I can see pros and cons to both options, and I was just wondeing what other more experienced motorhomers do, and which option you'd recommend.

    Are solar panels easy to fit to the motorhome roof yourself and link up to the leisure battery? Will Silkaflex hold a solar panel securely to the roof, even at 60 mph on a motorway? Has anyone ever had a solar panel stolen off their roof? And will I get a lot more electricity from an 80 watt roof mounted horizontal solar panel than from a 160 watt portable that I can aim directly at the Sun for a few hours each day?

    Thanks, I'm sure you'll be able to point me in the right direction as to which option I should take
     
  2. wivvy's dad

    wivvy's dad Read Only Funster

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    Where would you store the fold-out 160 watt panel(s) when not in use? That's a mighty big panel or two
     
  3. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    You will get more out of a portable than fixed panel so long as you can move it round during the day. With our previous van we used a 50w portable but had an 80w panel fixed to our current one. 80w fixed is approx equivalent to 50w portable but more convenient as no storage on the move and no need to reposition.
     
  4. tonka

    tonka Funster Life Member

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    I think you know the answer !! Fixed on the roof.
    If your going to be travelling a lot and staying wild or on aires, will you really want to keep getting out a portable panel, positioning it and then sit all day to keep moving it to follow the sun. Imagine as well, you cant leave it out if you want to go walkabout ( soon be nicked).
    Read up on some of the threads here on Fun, You can do a DIY 80w solar for sub £150.
    Yes Sikaflex does hold and roadtested at 80 (cough).. 3 yeads since fitting and it's still keeping my battery topped and held down as firm as ever...
     
  5. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

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    Fixed on the roof.... More reasons than I can list but a big one.

    With a standalone one you would need to stay with the van. You couldn't leave it and go for a wander around the place you are visiting. Chances are the only places you would feel secure to use it would be on sites where you probably have hookup anyway....

    On the roof is fit and forget.
     
  6. Reallyretired

    Reallyretired Funster

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    Absolutely agree. Fixed panel on the roof is difficult to nick and is out of sight. You can also fit bigger panels if you have room.
    Portable panel may be more efficient, but you'd have to be there to guard it.:thumb:
     
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