Solar panel on a lift up roof. (1 Viewer)

Dec 4, 2014
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Would it be feasible to fit a 100 - 120watt solar panel onto a Riemo style pop top roof? ( With Sikaflex)
I've been looking online at the light weight semi flexible ones approx 2.5kg.
The kits cost about 200 -300 pounds.
The only other option would be to fit an A frame above the cab but I feel stones could be an issue.
I am limited on space so probably will only have the one leisure battery.
IMG_5515.JPG

Was thinking of mounting the panel at the back with the wires running down the inside of the r/h body kit
& through the body behind the light cluster into the battery box.

Does this sound ok ? Any recommendation or advice please.
 

gozomike

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Hi. It should work OK but you will have to be careful with the angle you park at to get the maximum out of the panel with the roof up. I have used a portable one which was great when I angled it to face the sun but once the sun moved I had to move the panel to get the maximum out of it. That is fine with a portable one but may be a disadvantage on a angled roof.
 

Lenny HB

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I assume the roof is GRP so I wouldn't use a semi-flexible panel, they are not recommended for GRP roofs , heat build up under them can very very high when producing maximum output and it will break up the gel coat.
I would fit a conventional panel, others have mentioned the angle and the sun, I don't see a problem as your van is small enough to turn around to get max benefit and when you go out for the day put the roof down (you probably do that anyway).

As well as the connectors on the panel I would put some inline just inside the van so if the cables get caught or damaged it would be easier to replace a short length of cable.

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John.
Dec 4, 2014
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Thanks gozomike,
Thought about the portable type but storage will be a problem:(
The panel on the roof will be a bit hit & miss regarding facing the sun but hoped it might get enough
to top up the leisure battery a bit.
 

gozomike

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The one I have came in a padded bag and fitted behind the drivers seat of the AS Mezan I had. It is a 40w & folds in half so is not that big. On a good day it gives 2.5 amps. The biggest issue with portable ones is security if you leave the van, although I did put a lock onto the van. I must decide on what I am going to do with it now I have a different van with a 120w one fixed on the roof.:LOL:
 
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John.
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Thanks Lennyhb.
Didn't realise the heat build up would be a problem(y)
I think the conventional panels weigh in about 8.5kg but this would be spread over approx 120cm x 60cm
so should be ok.

Perhaps I could fit aluminium sheet to reflect the heat & use stand off brackets for the conventional panel? maybe I would need a wind deflector.

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Terry

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Hi Panels are usually fitted on brackets that hold it off the roof so it should be no problem -a spoiler is always a good option to deflect any wind (y)
terry
 

Lenny HB

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Thanks Lennyhb.
Didn't realise the heat build up would be a problem(y)
I think the conventional panels weigh in about 8.5kg but this would be spread over approx 120cm x 60cm
so should be ok.

Perhaps I could fit aluminium sheet to reflect the heat & use stand off brackets for the conventional panel? maybe I would need a wind deflector.

Heat will not be a problem with standard panels as they are spaced of the roof, as your roof probably has a bit of flex in I woul use 6 or 8 brackets, you could use the long plastic type that fit along the end of the panel together with the side support plastic brackets. Don't think you would need a wind deflector.
 
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John.
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Thanks Terry.
In your opinion would I get enough of a fix with the standard brackets + Sikaflex or perhaps look at a bespoke cradle / rack sorry if this seems daft:unsure:

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John.
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Heat will not be a problem with standard panels as they are spaced of the roof, as your roof probably has a bit of flex in I woul use 6 or 8 brackets, you could use the long plastic type that fit along the end of the panel together with the side support plastic brackets. Don't think you would need a wind deflector.
Thanks,
excellent I seem to be getting lots of great advice so it seems that its achievable:cool:
Any thought on kits to buy or avoid.
 

Terry

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Hi Standard should be OK just make sure you rough them up (both brackets and roof) before sticking them (y) Don't forget to leave enough spare wire / cable to allow roof to lift :Dsounds a daft thing to do but I know someone who did not :)
terry
 
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We have a semi flexible panel stuck to a GRP roof and was a bit concerned about heat build up. Only last summer to compare but when I measured the temperature of the roof inside the van at various points it was pretty much constant under the panel or other areas. As I say only one summer and in the UK.

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Lenny HB

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We have a semi flexible panel stuck to a GRP roof and was a bit concerned about heat build up. Only last summer to compare but when I measured the temperature of the roof inside the van at various points it was pretty much constant under the panel or other areas. As I say only one summer and in the UK.
I would have thought you could not get a proper reading without stripping the roof lining and insulation out.
 
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LaMB

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I was just wondering if the extra weight would be a problem with the pop up if it relies on gas struts?

Martin
 

scotjimland

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I was just wondering if the extra weight would be a problem with the pop up if it relies on gas struts?

Martin

took the words out of my mouth.. was thinking exactly the same..

the gas struts are normally adjusted to just hold the weight of the roof.. so when you pull on it comes down easily.. if that has already been done, then

any extra weight would need to be taken into account and new struts fitted to suit the load.
 
Nov 2, 2008
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I would have thought you could not get a proper reading without stripping the roof lining and insulation out.
That is correct but as the heat from the roof can be felt and measured from inside the van on a hot day it would be reasonable to assume if the area immediately under the panel was significantly hotter than the rest of the roof it would evident from below as the insulation would not completely stop it coming through.

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Lenny HB

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took the words out of my mouth.. was thinking exactly the same..

the gas struts are normally adjusted to just hold the weight of the roof.. so when you pull on it comes down easily.. if that has already been done, then

any extra weight would need to be taken into account and new struts fitted to suit the load.

If it does cause a problem easy to get the struts re-gassed to a higher pressure by SGS.
 
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Hi,
I helped a fellow camper fit a rigid panel (system) to his VW which had a similar lift roof to yours. We used a pair of 'spoiler' type front and rear panel mounts and a 100w panel. We bonded the panel closer to the rear (hinge end) and although it appeared not to affect the gas rams at the front, he did change them for higher pressure ones as precautionary. Fitting the panel closer to the hinge end does reduce the leverage on the opposite end gas rams. He has had little problem with solar charging whether being flat or up. The system incorporates an MPPT and a 110ah battery and he's chuffed as Larry. He doesn't use EHU now and runs the normal things without problems.(y)

Hope it helps.

Regards,

Trikeman.;)
 
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John.
Dec 4, 2014
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Aug 22, 2012
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Thanks for the advice guys really appreciated (y)
Point taken on the gas struts worst case scenario new stronger ones ?
Any opinions on this model http://www.sunstore.co.uk/120w-12v-Solar-Battery-Charger-Vehicle-Kit-Deluxe.html
Hopefully the weight 8.6 kg should be ok spread over the back end.

Hi Charlie,
we always get our kit from there - the panels are the best quality I've seen and thump it out.
The bonding agent they send is 'OK'...... I would (and no doubt the rest who fit panels on here) would recommend the Sikaflex range (y) - that goes nowhere once cleaned properly and activator cleaned. Just my own opinion though, never had an issue with Sikaflex either bonding or seal.

Regards,

Trikeman. ;)
 
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John.
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Hi Charlie,
we always get our kit from there - the panels are the best quality I've seen and thump it out.
The bonding agent they send is 'OK'...... I would (and no doubt the rest who fit panels on here) would recommend the Sikaflex range (y) - that goes nowhere once cleaned properly and activator cleaned. Just my own opinion though, never had an issue with Sikaflex either bonding or seal.

Regards,

Trikeman. ;)
Thanks Trikeman.
Sorry about late reply I've been reading old threads etc(y)
Getting a list of do's together.

Use spoiler type brackets. (better fixing)
Sikalex adhesive.
110amp battery (already sorted)

Bit more advice please:rolleyes:
Would I be better to fit 1 larger panel or 2 smaller ones ?
My thoughts are 1 x 120 watt.
The kit comes with a controller but not the MPPT type which most seem to favour should I change this ?
Which way did you mount the panel on the VW I was thinking 60cm from front to back keeping the weight
over the rear hinges.
Off to read the link you posted now:notworthy2:

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Lenny HB

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Thanks Trikeman.
Sorry about late reply I've been reading old threads etc(y)
Getting a list of do's together.

Use spoiler type brackets. (better fixing)
Sikalex adhesive.
110amp battery (already sorted)

Bit more advice please:rolleyes:
Would I be better to fit 1 larger panel or 2 smaller ones ?
My thoughts are 1 x 120 watt.
The kit comes with a controller but not the MPPT type which most seem to favour should I change this ?
Which way did you mount the panel on the VW I was thinking 60cm from front to back keeping the weight
over the rear hinges.
Off to read the link you posted now:notworthy2:

With your type of roof I would go for 2 smaller panels, I am thinking if there is any twist in the roof when raising or lowering could possibly damage a large panel.
Only really need the MPPT regulator if you need to squeeze every last bit of energy out of the panel.
 

Harrers

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I understand the previous comments about possible heat problems but think that your situation is tailer-made for semi flexible panels . I have 3 x 100 watt panels on the roof of my A/trail Chieftain and they are so easy to fit. I can post pics if you want.

If there was a problem with excessive heat, I don't think they would recommend fitting them on a canvas roof on a boat



If you follow my link to Youtube you'll see other situations where semi-flexible panels have been used.

Obviously, I fixed my panels with Sikaflex not Velcro!

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Lenny HB

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Another point worth considering, ridged panels loose about 25% of their output over 20 years, semi- flexible panels can loose up to 50% over 5 years.
 
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John.
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With your type of roof I would go for 2 smaller panels, I am thinking if there is any twist in the roof when raising or lowering could possibly damage a large panel.
Only really need the MPPT regulator if you need to squeeze every last bit of energy out of the panel.
Thanks Lenny.
Noticed your link in another thread which made me think of 2 panels will check out the weight difference.
Camperkitban.jpg

Don't think we will need every last bit of energy but !!! I was hoping 120 watt would cover our needs ?
 
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John.
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I understand the previous comments about possible heat problems but think that your situation is tailer-made for semi flexible panels . I have 3 x 100 watt panels on the roof of my A/trail Chieftain and they are so easy to fit. I can post pics
Harrers.
If you could please.
Is your roof aluminium or grp ?

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