Solar Panels

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by jenelicam, Apr 10, 2012.

  1. jenelicam

    jenelicam Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2012
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Fareham
    Folks,

    I've decided Solar Panels are the way ahead for my motorhome.... but where do I start? I'm thinking an 80w panel and currently have a 75amp battery. It would be to power the water pump, lights and a 12v tv as well as charging mobile phones....

    advice greatly appreciated......

    Jen
     
  2. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2008
    Messages:
    26,462
    Likes Received:
    25,155
    Location:
    Macclesfield
    Perfect.

    As long as you have sun. Which depends a lot where you want that power.
     
  3. jenelicam

    jenelicam Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2012
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Fareham
    Basically, it would be mostly Summer time and if totally honest, its just because i don't think i'll get to the camp site at Silverstone in time in July for an electric hook up so thought a little bit of solar panel would assist our weekend....
     
  4. slobadoberbob

    slobadoberbob Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2009
    Messages:
    6,159
    Likes Received:
    1,970
    Location:
    Kent, garden of England
    think you need to go to a bigger size

    I do not think 80 watts will give you a lot of power.. might be worth increasing your battery size or add a battery as 75 amps is not a lot of domestic power, especially when you should not deplete a battery more than 50% of it's available power...Solar is alright if you are in europe where you get a lot of sun.

    Bob
     
  5. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2008
    Messages:
    26,462
    Likes Received:
    25,155
    Location:
    Macclesfield
    That will work.

    We're booked in for WSB in August ( again ). With a 100Ah battery we will last the 5 days without hookup and without solar. The hookup prices are obscene. Great convenient campsite.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. AmperorAssociates

    AmperorAssociates Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2012
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Irvine
    Maybe upgrade to a battery with a bigger capacity say, 110aH, along with a 70 or 80 watt panel, also remember you’ll need a MPPT regulator to go from the panel to the battery, if its only for small appliances as mentioned that should be suffice!!
     
  7. Reallyretired

    Reallyretired Funster

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2008
    Messages:
    5,706
    Likes Received:
    3,211
    Location:
    Eastbourne East Sussex
    An 80w panel would probably be adaquate for what you say you will be using, in the summer. However increasing your battery capacity would be a big plus, perhaps adding a second battery. Changing your lights to LEDs is a very big plus too. If you want to run your heater blower, then you will not find your panel adequate.
     
  8. jenelicam

    jenelicam Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2012
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Fareham
    Thought that would be the case with the batteries so best to get 1 bigger capacity or 2 running parallel and is it worth increasing the panel capacity too?

    Don't want to spend a fortune but would rather spend a little extra now that allows me some flex if say I wanted additional power...forgot to mention charging mobile phones and camera battery!

    Also any recomendations on which type of solar panel and leisure batteries??

    I really don't have a clue but am looking forward to a diy job next month!
     
  9. jenelicam

    jenelicam Read Only Funster

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2012
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Fareham
  10. Reallyretired

    Reallyretired Funster

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2008
    Messages:
    5,706
    Likes Received:
    3,211
    Location:
    Eastbourne East Sussex
    Once you start increasing the number of panels it is hard to stoip. I have 4 and at a pinch I think I've room for another one.

    Type of solar panel, ensure it is Monocrystalline or Polycrystalline, avoid at all costs the amorphous panels sold cheap by such as Maplins. They are OK for a shed roof but are very big and heavy and of low efficiency, totally unsuitable for a motorhome.

    Otherwise just go for the best price, but when purchasing check whats included as mounting brackets etc if you buy them separately are quite expensive. Some different suppliers panels of the same wattage are different shapes, some are long and thin some squarer, and so may fit whatever space you have available better.

    Make sure the panel is not shaded by TV aerial, roof vents or whatever, as even a small part of the panel shaded knocks down the output by a lot.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  11. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2007
    Messages:
    27,255
    Likes Received:
    34,509
    Location:
    Acklam, Teesside, originally Glossop
    An 80W panel should be perfectly adequate for the usage you mention.

    See my post (#13) on This Thread for our usage of an 80W panel with 80Ah battery.

    As regards shading, I was party to a discussion at Chester on Thursday night. Apparently the better panels are less affected by shade than others. Always a good idea to avoid shade as much as possible though.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Messages:
    7,941
    Likes Received:
    14,016
    Location:
    UK
    There are no hard and fast rules on what is best but I work on the following principles.

    Try and get enough solar (w) to match Battery (AH)
    For example 80AH battery 80Watts of solar.

    If you are under 110Ah of battery upgrade battery first.

    If you are only going away for long weekends a second battery is likely to be more use than a solar panel. (upgrade to 2 x 110AH).

    Then get solar panels to match if money and roof space allows.

    I have 500AH of battery and 3 x 80watt solar panels. I could do with 2 more solar panels tbh :cry:
     
  13. JJ

    JJ Funster

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    14,563
    Likes Received:
    25,744
    Location:
    Quinta Majay, Pinheiro Bordalo, Portugal
    Solar panels are great...

    I lived in the UK full-time with a 80/90 watt panel for several years very successfully for me...

    If it hadn't been a sunny day I didn't have as much electricity as I did on a sunny one but no problem for me... always had plenty for lights and water pump and if the dvd player didn't run I went to bed...

    Then I bought more... Solar panels are like beers in the fridge... I want to have as many as I can afford and have room for...

    But an 80 watt solar panel definitely helps anyone who wants to do off site parking...

    Independence is freedom...

    I have never bothered with this amps, watts battery capacity stuff... if you switch it on and it works, all is well... if you run out too often for your lifestyle add something or stop using so much... :Wink:

    JJ :Cool:

     
    • Like Like x 8
  14. jezport

    jezport Funster

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2008
    Messages:
    1,640
    Likes Received:
    1,077
    Location:
    West Yorkshire
    I would go with what is mentioned earlier, upgrade battery to at least 110AH before buying solar panels
     
  15. JJ

    JJ Funster

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    14,563
    Likes Received:
    25,744
    Location:
    Quinta Majay, Pinheiro Bordalo, Portugal
    In my motorhoming life it wouldn't matter how many batteries I have... if I couldn't fill them up with electricity they would be useless...

    There is no point in having a huge swimming pool if it has only got two inches of water in the bottom...

    I would rather have a smaller pool and a tap capable of a bigger flow of water...

    JJ :Cool:
     
    • Like Like x 3
  16. ShiftZZ

    ShiftZZ Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Messages:
    19,821
    Likes Received:
    35,895
    Location:
    Leicestershire
    On the Autosleepr we had an 85A battery and an 80w solar and for 3 years we never had a problem, never had to start the engine, very rarely went onto hookup and never ran out of power.

    My suggestion is that you look at what you can save i.e. LED bulbs, I changed mine in the old van and in the current van we have changed all the bulbs to LED, big savings.

    Current van 80w x 2 solar 110A x 2 battery, even watching tv, charging mobile phones/kindle/laptops and running warm air heater all night gave us no issues, we would get up in the morning battery 90% full..

    I suspect that what you are suggesting will be fine, I would although consider changing the battery to a bigger capacity.

    If you end up with big gennies etc then you have partialy lost what you were looking for.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  17. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2008
    Messages:
    26,462
    Likes Received:
    25,155
    Location:
    Macclesfield
    I think history will record that on April 11th 2012 Confucius lost the battle to JJ.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Messages:
    7,941
    Likes Received:
    14,016
    Location:
    UK
    For fulltimers you are absolutely correct JJ :BigGrin:... However for people who go away for weekends and maybe weeks. 2 x 110AH batteries are more helpful than a 75ah battery and a solarpanel.
     
  19. TheDogMan

    TheDogMan Funster

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    Messages:
    655
    Likes Received:
    362
    Location:
    Rugby UK
    I have 2 x 120 watt panels and 2 x 225 amp batteries and its brilliant, even like last weekend when there was next to no sun my batteries stayed well up even after the wife used the inverter for the hairdryer, microwave and hours of TV when the weather was crap

    Dave
     
Loading...

Share This Page