Solar panels vs generators.

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Gromett, Apr 28, 2012.

  1. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Messages:
    7,941
    Likes Received:
    14,003
    Location:
    UK
    I was expecting to have to drag my generator out today. Just checked the nasa meter and I am only down 140AH after 4 days off hookup. The panels are putting in 2.5amp even in this weather....

    On current usage rates I reckon I can go till tuesday. But I will be driving on monday which should put a chunk back in.

    It's the first time since I have had all the solar panels on that I have been off hookup for any length of time as the last six months I was at mothers looking after her after her op... I have been a little bit more careful than usual for example I switch the laptop off when I go out :Eek!: but other than that business as usual. Heating on 24/7, lights on as needed and compressor fridge doing it's thing....

    I think come the nicer weather the solar panels will hold their own.

    I have come to the conclusion that solar panels are brilliant but they are a stay extender nothing more... They will probably reduce my generator usage from on average two hours or so a day to 3 hours every 4 to 5 days in this weather.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  2. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2009
    Messages:
    10,141
    Likes Received:
    16,392
    Location:
    Liverpool.
    Give over Gromet. Have not had hookup or started a genny in anger for years. The last trip was 4 months long using just solar and was never short of lecky. You being a fulltimer should know better than wind the genny owners up. :RollEyes:
     
    • Like Like x 2
  3. Bryan

    Bryan Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2007
    Messages:
    2,096
    Likes Received:
    342
    What heating do you use 24/7 Karl?
     
  4. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2009
    Messages:
    10,141
    Likes Received:
    16,392
    Location:
    Liverpool.
    3 Bar electric fire.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2008
    Messages:
    7,594
    Likes Received:
    3,853
    Location:
    roche cornwall
    if i need heating in mine i use a catalytic heater . works fine .
    lights= gas ,cooker= gas . fridge 240v through inverter. water =instantanious gas boiler.
    solar works . but doesnt work a welder so big genny needed there.
     
  6. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2007
    Messages:
    28,934
    Likes Received:
    25,574
    Location:
    .
    Duvet
     
    • Like Like x 2
  7. CHRI$

    CHRI$ Funster

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2009
    Messages:
    5,595
    Likes Received:
    7,096
    Location:
    england
    Good try gromet:Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1::Rofl1:
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Drew

    Drew Funster

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2010
    Messages:
    434
    Likes Received:
    214
    Location:
    Hebden Bridge
    Lecy doing finee,run out is water!!!:Doh:
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. louwil

    louwil Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2011
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    mansfield
    Quiestion

    What size panels have you got has I am looking to fit one or two 65watt on the roof but don,t know what amps I will get in winter
     
  10. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Messages:
    7,941
    Likes Received:
    14,003
    Location:
    UK
    Not a wind up. It's my first time off hookup as a full timer trying to rely on solar panels. I was genuinely surprised by how much difference it made in these conditions...

    Heating is a Truma C4002 boiler/heater. The fridge pulls 5amps when it is active the laptop pulls up to 6amps. I saw the meter indicating a 14amp drain last night with everything running....

    I use my laptop a lot as it is how I make a living so 12v power for me is essential...

    Just went to get one of those small tents for my genny and they had run out:Angry:
     
  11. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Messages:
    7,941
    Likes Received:
    14,003
    Location:
    UK
    I have 3 x 80watt panels. you will get nowt out of them in winter....

    80 watt panels are the best price per watt at the moment at around £100 each.
     
  12. Reallyretired

    Reallyretired Funster

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2008
    Messages:
    5,706
    Likes Received:
    3,211
    Location:
    Eastbourne East Sussex
    I have 4x80w panels. Very lucky to get 5A in the winter unless it is a very sunny day but enough to keep the batteries up to the mark when the vans in storage. Spring and Autumn up to 15A on a reasonable day and 20A plus in the summer in the middle part of the day.

    Of course the problem with solar is that you get most power when you need it least, but fine for 3 seasons and just need EHU or genny for the 4th. Even so in winter I can easily survive a long weekend on solar only (2x125Ah batteries), and the batteries can then recharge on solar over the next week or so while not using the van. (not helpful to fulltimers though)
     
  13. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2008
    Messages:
    7,594
    Likes Received:
    3,853
    Location:
    roche cornwall
    strange i find winter is when i get the most out of my panels
    its the uk summer i find that as the short days and clouds .hee hee.
    usually i never have hook up in winter.
    must be different in spain or morocco, ha ha .
     
  14. Reallyretired

    Reallyretired Funster

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2008
    Messages:
    5,706
    Likes Received:
    3,211
    Location:
    Eastbourne East Sussex
    Ah yes. I was thinking of the UK in winter. I suppose the answer with solar is just to go where the sun is shining, problem solved.:Cool:
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Snowbird

    Snowbird Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2009
    Messages:
    10,141
    Likes Received:
    16,392
    Location:
    Liverpool.
    Am not sure what make of solar panels those of you that have problems with not keeping your batteries charged have, but have always used BP with no problem. These charging wet cell batteries seem to do the trick for me. I did once try a cheaper panel on my VW but it did not do as well as the BP ones. Maybe its another case of you get what you pay for.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Messages:
    7,941
    Likes Received:
    14,003
    Location:
    UK
    Sorry but I disagree with this:Sad:, 80watt is 80watt. The efficiency may be a bit lower on the cheaper panels but these panels will be slightly bigger and give 80 watts still.

    The construction of a solar panel is pretty much standardised now.
    Its simply a layer of EVA on the glass, then the strings of solar cells, then another layer of EVA then a layer of Tedlar. This is then vacuum pressed in an oven to set it. The silicon wafers are produced to a standard as well.

    BP don't actually make solar panels anymore as far as I know...
     
  17. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2008
    Messages:
    7,594
    Likes Received:
    3,853
    Location:
    roche cornwall
    bp make panels
    they are made by tata bp .solar india.ltd.
    in bangalore. had some from them only two years ago.
    i have three of them on my trailer roof.
    the other 3 are solarelec .made in italy .
    can say the new ones are just a bit more efficient but it could also be down to the age of the first 3.
     
  18. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Messages:
    7,941
    Likes Received:
    14,003
    Location:
    UK
  19. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2008
    Messages:
    7,594
    Likes Received:
    3,853
    Location:
    roche cornwall
    thats interesting .might have to give them a ring in the week and find out if india is still making them. a friend brought in a couple of pallet loads in 2010 . took a while to sell them and as prices have dropped he deemed it not worth it. its ok if you are bringing in a container load the transport cost is minimal on each panel then.
     
  20. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Messages:
    7,941
    Likes Received:
    14,003
    Location:
    UK
    170AH down. will be 200AH down by the time I get up I reckon...

    Tomorrow is definately a genny day as I don't like it going below 70%... 60% is the lowest I will let it go at an absolute minimum.

    Not looking forward to doing that as it is lacing it down and the wind is pushing it sideways:Doh: Should have done it today whilst the weather was still almost tolerable:Rofl1::Rofl1:
     
Loading...

Share This Page