Solar panel on a lift up roof.

Discussion in 'Solar Power' started by Charlie - Minton, Jan 31, 2015.

  1. Charlie - Minton

    Charlie - Minton Funster

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    Would it be feasible to fit a 100 - 120watt solar panel onto a Riemo style pop top roof? ( With Sikaflex)
    I've been looking online at the light weight semi flexible ones approx 2.5kg.
    The kits cost about 200 -300 pounds.
    The only other option would be to fit an A frame above the cab but I feel stones could be an issue.
    I am limited on space so probably will only have the one leisure battery. IMG_5515.JPG
    Was thinking of mounting the panel at the back with the wires running down the inside of the r/h body kit
    & through the body behind the light cluster into the battery box.

    Does this sound ok ? Any recommendation or advice please.
     
  2. gozomike

    gozomike Funster Life Member Life Member

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    Hi. It should work OK but you will have to be careful with the angle you park at to get the maximum out of the panel with the roof up. I have used a portable one which was great when I angled it to face the sun but once the sun moved I had to move the panel to get the maximum out of it. That is fine with a portable one but may be a disadvantage on a angled roof.
     
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  3. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    I assume the roof is GRP so I wouldn't use a semi-flexible panel, they are not recommended for GRP roofs , heat build up under them can very very high when producing maximum output and it will break up the gel coat.
    I would fit a conventional panel, others have mentioned the angle and the sun, I don't see a problem as your van is small enough to turn around to get max benefit and when you go out for the day put the roof down (you probably do that anyway).

    As well as the connectors on the panel I would put some inline just inside the van so if the cables get caught or damaged it would be easier to replace a short length of cable.
     
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  4. Charlie - Minton

    Charlie - Minton Funster

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    Thanks gozomike,
    Thought about the portable type but storage will be a problem:(
    The panel on the roof will be a bit hit & miss regarding facing the sun but hoped it might get enough
    to top up the leisure battery a bit.
     
  5. gozomike

    gozomike Funster Life Member Life Member

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    The one I have came in a padded bag and fitted behind the drivers seat of the AS Mezan I had. It is a 40w & folds in half so is not that big. On a good day it gives 2.5 amps. The biggest issue with portable ones is security if you leave the van, although I did put a lock onto the van. I must decide on what I am going to do with it now I have a different van with a 120w one fixed on the roof.:LOL:
     
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  6. Charlie - Minton

    Charlie - Minton Funster

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    Thanks Lennyhb.
    Didn't realise the heat build up would be a problem(y)
    I think the conventional panels weigh in about 8.5kg but this would be spread over approx 120cm x 60cm
    so should be ok.

    Perhaps I could fit aluminium sheet to reflect the heat & use stand off brackets for the conventional panel? maybe I would need a wind deflector.
     
  7. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    Hi Panels are usually fitted on brackets that hold it off the roof so it should be no problem -a spoiler is always a good option to deflect any wind (y)
    terry
     
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  8. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    Heat will not be a problem with standard panels as they are spaced of the roof, as your roof probably has a bit of flex in I woul use 6 or 8 brackets, you could use the long plastic type that fit along the end of the panel together with the side support plastic brackets. Don't think you would need a wind deflector.
     
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  9. Charlie - Minton

    Charlie - Minton Funster

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    Thanks Terry.
    In your opinion would I get enough of a fix with the standard brackets + Sikaflex or perhaps look at a bespoke cradle / rack sorry if this seems daft:unsure:
     
  10. Charlie - Minton

    Charlie - Minton Funster

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    Thanks,
    excellent I seem to be getting lots of great advice so it seems that its achievable:cool:
    Any thought on kits to buy or avoid.
     
  11. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    Hi Standard should be OK just make sure you rough them up (both brackets and roof) before sticking them (y) Don't forget to leave enough spare wire / cable to allow roof to lift :Dsounds a daft thing to do but I know someone who did not :)
    terry
     
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  12. Ranger

    Ranger Funster

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    We have a semi flexible panel stuck to a GRP roof and was a bit concerned about heat build up. Only last summer to compare but when I measured the temperature of the roof inside the van at various points it was pretty much constant under the panel or other areas. As I say only one summer and in the UK.
     
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  13. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    I would have thought you could not get a proper reading without stripping the roof lining and insulation out.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2015
  14. Wicketter

    Wicketter Funster

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    Our brother in law Harry has a solar panel on his Africa truck on top of a roof tent. IMG_0735.JPG IMG_0670.JPG
     
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  15. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    That far south I though it would perform better flat.:D
     
  16. LaMB

    LaMB Funster

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    I was just wondering if the extra weight would be a problem with the pop up if it relies on gas struts?

    Martin
     
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  17. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    took the words out of my mouth.. was thinking exactly the same..

    the gas struts are normally adjusted to just hold the weight of the roof.. so when you pull on it comes down easily.. if that has already been done, then

    any extra weight would need to be taken into account and new struts fitted to suit the load.
     
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  18. Ranger

    Ranger Funster

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    That is correct but as the heat from the roof can be felt and measured from inside the van on a hot day it would be reasonable to assume if the area immediately under the panel was significantly hotter than the rest of the roof it would evident from below as the insulation would not completely stop it coming through.
     
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  19. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    If it does cause a problem easy to get the struts re-gassed to a higher pressure by SGS.
     
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  20. Trikeman

    Trikeman Read Only Funster

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    Hi,
    I helped a fellow camper fit a rigid panel (system) to his VW which had a similar lift roof to yours. We used a pair of 'spoiler' type front and rear panel mounts and a 100w panel. We bonded the panel closer to the rear (hinge end) and although it appeared not to affect the gas rams at the front, he did change them for higher pressure ones as precautionary. Fitting the panel closer to the hinge end does reduce the leverage on the opposite end gas rams. He has had little problem with solar charging whether being flat or up. The system incorporates an MPPT and a 110ah battery and he's chuffed as Larry. He doesn't use EHU now and runs the normal things without problems.(y)

    Hope it helps.

    Regards,

    Trikeman.;)
     
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