Solar panel size recommendations sought.

Discussion in 'Motorhome Accessories' started by Trikeman, Dec 17, 2013.

  1. Trikeman

    Trikeman Read Only Funster

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    Hi All,
    made the decision and we are going for it with a solar panel(s). We have a pair of 110ah leisure batteries and generally use led interior lights, pumps and occasional TV. I have a belief that the bigger the better as far as power generation is concerned, also length/width is not too much of an issue as the roof is not too cluttered.

    Anyone with a similar set-up/usage and what wattage do you use/recommend? I would like to have the panel(s) charging, predominantly the leisure batteries, however with the ability to charge the main and possibly the toad if ever needed.

    Suppliers and possibly fitting companies recommendations also appreciated.

    Regards,

    Trikeman. :Wink:
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2013
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  2. simbadog

    simbadog Funster

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    We have a 100W panel & have done a week parked up with no ehu, using TV & LED lights etc. Seems fine :Smile:
     
  3. Xabia

    Xabia Funster

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    I fitted a 120 watt panel to charge my battery bank with the same amperage as yours, works well so far.

    As far as suppliers are concerned you won't get better advice or products than from http://www.aandncaravanservices.co.uk. Speak to Alan and he will give you all the advice you need.

    Fitted mine myself, it was quite easy.

    Mike
     
  4. seanoo

    seanoo Funster

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    hi trikeman, i have 2 x 125 a/hour batts and 210 watts of panels on the roof. one 130 watt and one 80 watt panel. the 130 watt tilts up to get the best from the low sun in winter. my advice is make sure the cable sizes are correct for the distance they have to travel to regulator and then the batteries. positioning the panels is very important, do not put them near anything that can cast a shadow (heki , sat dish ect) on any part of a panel as if you do you will be lucky to get any useable power from them at all.
     
  5. Trikeman

    Trikeman Read Only Funster

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    Hi Xabia, thanks for the post and recommendation, unfortunately they no longer supply or fit solar panels any longer according to their website.

    Thanks though for recommendation.

    Regards,

    Trikeman. :Wink:
     
  6. Sheddy

    Sheddy Funster

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    Solar Panel Size

    Hi,
    Had a 120w panel fitted earlier this year with two 110ah batteries by the nice folks at Vanplus in South Wales.
    The longest we have been off the juice was 10 nights in the French Alps for Le Tour.
    The gas fridge didn't work because of the slope, so we were running a large 30L 12v cooler, also a mains inverter for the Sky Box, and all the normal stuff as well.
    The system was more than adequate.
    Cheers
     
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  7. cmcardle75

    cmcardle75 Read Only Funster

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    I have similar usage to you and a single 180Ah leisure battery. With 2x100W semi flexibles, the batteries have always been fully charged by 10am and, in the height of summer, by 8am.

    At the beginning of December, I got a call from the storage farm. The owner had been walking around and noticed I'd left the interior lights on (10W of LEDs). They had actually been on for a month. I went in the next morning just as the sun would have been rising had it not been raining for a week. Still 12.2V on the battery.
     
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  8. Xabia

    Xabia Funster

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    Sorry about that, didn't realise that they had stopped selling the panels. Shame because they were first class when I dealt with them a few months ago.

    Mike
     
  9. Allanm

    Allanm Funster

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    Well we have 2 x 105ah batteries and a paltry 30 watt solar panel on the roof. All lights are led, but we managed the best part of a week in one spot and the batteries were pretty well full when we left.
    We may be getting a bigger panel fitted next year, but roof space is limited with all the roof vents and stuff on top, hopefully, technology will have improved a bit more and a 100w panel may be only a bit bigger than the one we have.
    At home we have 12 x 200w solar panels on the roof, they are almost half the size of our neighbours 195w panels. Mind you, they were twice the cost!....

    Allan
     
  10. MikeandCarolyn

    MikeandCarolyn Read Only Funster

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    Hi Trikeman-we have 2 x 80w cos that's all I could fit on roof.
    Don't know a supplier etc near you-but will need to find out who can do work for me when we move to Clevedon in New yr,where abouts are you ?
    Mike
     
  11. Reallyretired

    Reallyretired Funster

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    I have 4x100w panels, but except in the darker months this is really more than I need. In the summer we do use electric kettle, toaster, hairdryer etc through an inverter, and even then the batteries 2x125Ah + the vehicle battery are always pretty fully charged.:Smile:
     
  12. Trikeman

    Trikeman Read Only Funster

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    Hi Mike,
    small world - we moved from Pencoed to WSM, next junction on M/Way from Clevedon. We are about 10 mins from you and we have a lot of friends in Clevedon, its a nice place too.
    :thumb:
    Regards,

    Trikeman. :Wink:
     
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  13. Clive

    Clive Funster Life Member

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    I have very much the same set up and use 100w. Good wiring and a good regulator are very important to maximise the charge. In the summer I don't even think about power, it's just always there. The only time I get low is over New Year when all my sons friends seem to use my van as the TV lounge.

    Clive :Eeek:
     
  14. Larby

    Larby Funster

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    I use 165w set up which I installed myself.

    http://www.bimblesolar.com/offgrid/12v USE THE MPPT controller, dearer but better

    Stuck to roof sitting on 4 corner mounts.

    Kept battery topped up for 2 weeks with inverter powering 240v TV and Freesat box. As well as laptops, phones, ipads etc for others.

    It is currently sitting there passing a 1 amp trickle to the vehicle battery (see pic) as leisure battery is full. Nothing wasted and no maintenance.
    The little box is from Van Bitz and is called a battery master
     

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  15. Trikeman

    Trikeman Read Only Funster

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    Hi Larby,
    thanks for your post and recommendation - cracking stuff.

    I am considering fitting myself too, more for getting 'into' the self confined power side of things and understanding of the systems. I would be interested in hearing how you went about it, when you get time of course.

    I spoke to a guy in the SW show who was quite knowledgeable (he should have been too - he owned the company and travelled around fitting solar kit). He was quoting around £500 all in fitted at my driveway for a 120w system with a guarantee etc - unfortunately lost all his details. My research so far has revealed there are varying qualities (outputs too) and as usual over research has started to confuse me as to which I want - hence this thread.
    My van had a panel fitted before I had it (I think) as there is a large frame on the roof, but the ones I saw at the show were bond on frames which were nice and low to keep the panel snug to the body.

    I am still toying whether to have it all fitted or do it myself though.

    Regards,

    Trikeman. :Wink:
     
  16. PhilandMena

    PhilandMena Funster

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    I too have 2x110 AH leisure batteries and saved a small fortune by fitting a solar panel (120 W) myself.

    My Autotrail already had the solar panel controller fitted as standard and yours may be the same depending on build year.

    I spoke directly with Autotrail who advised where to place solar panel and Sargent provided me with snap connecting leads to join between panel and controller.

    The complete job from start to finish took less than an hour and was straight forward.

    I was quoted £700.00 to have an 80 W solar panel fitted by a dealer. I paid under £250.00 to install my own 120 W solar panel.
     
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  17. Trikeman

    Trikeman Read Only Funster

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    Hi Phil,
    many, many thanks for your recommendation, never thought about the already fitted Sargent unit
    :Doh:
    there's a potential that the unit may well be already fitted then - Wow.
    I will contact both AT and Sargent for advice on this, and if it does in fact connect in to the Sargent unit additional charge wiring may not necessarily be needed, what an idea??????? Excellent, THANKS.
    :thumb:

    Regards,

    Trikeman. :Wink:
     
  18. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    The fitter could well have been CLS who are members here, panels are raised off the roof to prevent heat buildup.
     
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  19. cliffandger

    cliffandger Funster Life Member

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    We are also thinking of solar panels, so have read this thread with interest. We have seen the Bosch panels advertised, and they look good to us - has anyone got any thoughts on them

    They are on Ebay: 200W (100W+100W) solar charging kit with advanced LCD controller 12V/24V system.

    I apologise for butting in on Trikeman's thread, but wasn't sure if I should start a new thread when there is already one on the go.

    Geraldine
     
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  20. Trikeman

    Trikeman Read Only Funster

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    Hi Geraldine,
    no apologies needed, your question is exactly the type of question that we have and the more advice/recommendations sought, the more information comes to the surface. On the Bosch panels, many of the suppliers I have spoken to (whether they sell them or not) do sing the praises of the Bosch panels/systems so should be a safe bet.

    Hope you get what you need from this thread - the more the merrier :thumb:

    Regards,

    Trikeman. :Wink:
     
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