Angled Solar Panels (with a spare room)

Wissel

Funster
Joined
Sep 16, 2013
Messages
1,095
Location
North Wales
MH
Van Conversion
Exp
Since 2006
For a week or so I've been thinking about having the ability to angle the solar panels on next build, to extend the months I'm likely to be solar dependent.

I already have 400Ah of LiFePO4 and can go 3-4 days without any charge.

This is the layout I have in mind, with 3 x 250w panels on a Boxer L4H2:

New-Roof-Plan.jpg
Initially, I was thinking of a mechanism to lift the panels on the awning side, then have them slide down the drivers side of the van a bit. I did a few designs, but they all had faults. Plus, the van is more likely to have the awning side facing the sun. So I looked at it a different way.

What about if I built a large roof tent with the solar panels on top. I'd then have a spare bed for when Nieces and Nephews want to come away for the night, plus it would be ideal for the Missus who is into night photography. I came up with this:

Roof-Tent-1.0.jpg
I've added a 90cm wide mattress, which would probably be inflatable as only for occasional use. At first I thought a ladder on the drivers side of the van to get in and out, but now thinking of an internal ladder and hatch through the roof. My panels will take a space of 3m x 1480mm, so plenty of length for a bed and a hatch. Thinking like this:

New-Roof-Plan-1.2.jpg

The large rectangle in the middle would be the mattress with the hatch in front. The other two boxes are just where a bed and the bathroom is inside. A ladder could fit against the outside of the bathroom wall.

So it could be opened/closed from inside, I could add solenoid shoot bolts to lock/unlock, then have gas struts for the lift. The tent part I'd have to have made (probably by a VW pop-top refurbisher), but the rest could be made from aluminium box section.

Anyway, a work in progress. But I do like the concept. To give a better idea, imagine this a different shape and less industrial, with solar panels on the top:


Obviously not good to have up in high winds, but if these roof-tents work then so should my idea? Anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?
 

Sundowners

LIFE MEMBER
Joined
Oct 30, 2007
Messages
2,939
Location
Suffolk/Central Portugal
MH
A class
Exp
37 years
I would be inclined to fit solar on that roof tent and just fix the lot to the roof------ very simple job without chopping the van about------- with that amount of solar you wouldn't often need to tilt the panels------- tilting on one side only would obviously mean facing the van the correct way but not an issue in most situations.
Might have to improve suspension to maintain stability
 
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