Solar panels small or large panels

Discussion in 'Solar Power' started by Bart, Jul 1, 2016.

  1. Bart

    Bart Funster

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    Hi we have a Bessacarr E560 and will be looking to put solar panels onto it.
    My plans have sort of been thrown a curve ball as i have realized that part of why i fell in love with the motorhome was due to all the light gained via the roof, however i have also now realized that all them sunroofs have minimized the space available to me for solar panels.
    my plan was to get as large a panels as possible , but now i think ill have to go for smaller ones.
    or can you mix n match ? as in a 200w larger panel linked with a smaller 100w panel ?
    or must they all be kept the same size / make ?
     
  2. Lenny HB

    Lenny HB Funster

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    No problem you can mix panel sizes.
     
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  3. Minxy Girl

    Minxy Girl Funster Life Member

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    Before you buy any work out how much 'power' you actually need - it could be a lot less than you expect.
     
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  4. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

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    i prefer not to go too large with the individual panels , 80-100wt is ok . that way should one get damaged you only lose a bit of power . have enormous panels and you could lose all your power .
    mind these days there are some cheap big panels around , its swings and roundabouts sometimes .
     
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  5. Bart

    Bart Funster

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    in the Bessacarr E /560 there is a full size fridge , is it possible to run that from solar / batteries / invertor or would that just take a very large / expensive set up as i know power useage wise that would be the most due to it running 24/7
     
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  6. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

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    i run a 240v house fridge in mine . sometimes i fit a house fridge freezer and can run that.
    but if yours is a 3way they do seem to use more power .
    mind i do have 6x80wts on the roof and a 1kw inverter pure sine wave .
    i am parked next to the house at moment and run a lead from inverter into the house to run the house fridge and on sunny days a full size freezer , very often power other items as well.
    was better when i had a 2kw inverter but the new fridge in the trailer doesnt like modified sine . so i do have a modified sine wave inverter as well for powering some items .
     
  7. Bart

    Bart Funster

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    The Fridge is a Thetford LCD N180 and from the fridge manual it says "input (kWh/24h) is 3.7" does that mean on average it will use 3.7 KW of power per 24hrs cycle ?
    That sounds like its a thirsty bugger <>
     
  8. autorouter

    autorouter Funster

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    It means that in 24hrs it will use about 3.7kW-hours of energy. So on average that is 3700/24 = 154 watts. That sounds about right. It probably has a 200 watt element turned on and off by the thermostat.

    Translated into 12V leisure battery speak, it will require 3700/12 = 308 amp-hours of energy per day.

    A 100 watt solar panel typically will supply 40 to 70 amp-hours per sunny day depending on how near you are to John O'Groats or Gibraltar. So you're looking at over 500 watts of panel, and that's just for the fridge. That's why most people use gas.

    Having said that, I believe there are solar controllers that will, once the batteries are charged, divert excess solar electricity to the fridge to cut down on gas usage.
     
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  9. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    Running your fridge off solar isn't really practical, as well explained above. You can run fridges off solar but you would need to change it to a compressor model, which will use much less electricity as they are very much more efficient. This is the type @vwalan has.
     
  10. Bart

    Bart Funster

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    +

    Looks like it will be gas for the fridge then :)
    lol sort of thought it would be impractical to run it on solar , i just never knew how much that would translate in the Amp-Hours .... @308 amp hrs id need a trailer for the batteries :)
     
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  11. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    The fridge uses very little gas anyway but if you have enough solar and enough battery back up and enough sun it is possible but not at the expense of anything else
    My fridge can draw over 15 amps
    image.jpeg
    But on good days I can maintain that without loss
    image.jpeg This relay tricks my control panel into thinking the engine is running
    image.jpeg
    My battery voltage under load while supplying fridge
    image.jpeg
     
  12. Bart

    Bart Funster

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    @Techno thanks for the pics :)
    how much watts of solar panels do you have , and is your fridge a full size fridge like my Thetford LCD N180.

    edit : actually just seen you have 232w input from your panels :) . does that mean 300w panels and that is the amount you are getting in charge?
     
  13. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    yes.yes.
    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Bart

    Bart Funster

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    @Techno sweet pic :) and panels nicely positioned ^^
     
  15. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    When you've mapped your roof properly and have specific dimensions to play with you can then order panels to fit. You cannot have too much solar BUT you can have too much weight!
    You can save space by making your own brackets and turning them inwards
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  16. Bart

    Bart Funster

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    Nice , ive still to venture up onto our roof since buying the MH last week . prio 1 is getting a gas it system sorted for it , its a special order canister as its gonna be a 18kg cylinder. so 2-3 weeks ive been told , solar most likely will not get installed till after the summer. but when i do it i wanna make sure its done as best as i can, to make the most out of the space.
    Are some solar panels better than others as in wattage per sq inch ? or is it always more watts = bigger panels.
     
  17. Techno

    Techno Funster Life Member

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    There's not much rubbish about to be honest. Yes power is relative to size not so much price. Certainly no more than £1 per watt
     
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  18. Minxy Girl

    Minxy Girl Funster Life Member

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    Just word of caution ref the gas-it 18kg cylinder ... if/when you change your MH you may not be able to get it into the compartment as not all will take that size ... just a though for the future!
     
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  19. Bart

    Bart Funster

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    Good point MEL but dont think i will be changing it for a while , well thats the plan unless i win the lottery , or sell the house :) ,, mind u the latter could happen :D
    but yar who knows i might go away in it and realize what i thought was the perfect payout ,, sucks for us ^^
     
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  20. WillH

    WillH Funster

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    We have a Bessacarr E560 with a solar panel. The panel is 100w and certainly in the summer is more than adequate for continual use with only the original battery. The fridge runs on gas and a 6Kg cylinder can last for 3 weeks just on the fridge. With all the rooflights etc you'll find it difficult to get a larger single panel on though you may get 2x100 on. We don't always go off grid but mix and match, the panel means we never worry about power anymore, and importantly, for most of the year, never have to plug the van in at home to keep both batteries fully charged.
     
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