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Old 09-05-2017, 09:56 PM   #1
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Roof mount or portable solar

Rethinking the roof mount solar panels. We currently have portable panels with our tent trailer. I can camp under the trees and set my panels out in the sun in the am. Would like to hear the pros and cons of the roof mount versus the portable option. Looking at ordering a 19
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Old 09-05-2017, 10:00 PM   #2
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An anchored down solar panel is harder to steal. A portable panel can sit in the sun while your trailer is in the shade but you need a place to stow it. The anchored down panel is already stowed.
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Old 09-05-2017, 10:07 PM   #3
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we have a portable panel with our old trailer and in the new 19 we opt to have a roof installed panel plus a port to plug in our portable panel when we need to.. but we haven't figure out where to store the portable panel yet... also we haven't run into the situation when roof top solar isn't enough yet.. (we dont use a lot of power)
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Old 09-05-2017, 10:08 PM   #4
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I love the convenience of having roof mounted solar. I also carry a portable that I have not had to use yet this year, but nice to have should I need it. I am not worried at all about deploying the portable, on previous trailers this was all I had.
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Old 09-05-2017, 10:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caddoster View Post
.. but we haven't figure out where to store the portable panel yet...
In our 19 I put it in the back of the wardrobe standing up. Plenty of room there. I made a catch to hold it in place, but a bungee would work too.
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Old 09-05-2017, 10:19 PM   #6
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We had portable with the 17B and now rooftop with the 21 and I love the ease and convenience of having them up there all the time without extra setup to do when we get somewhere. With the portables I found myself constantly moving them to the best sun angle whenever we are around. The rooftops are less efficient due to not being at optimum angles and directions, but they sure are easy.
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Old 09-05-2017, 10:36 PM   #7
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We have both. 160 watts on the roof and a 100 watt portable. On bright sunny days in summer the roof mounted one will do the job but a little cloudiness or haze or low sun angle makes the portable a valuable addition. I store it in the back of the pickup.
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Old 09-05-2017, 10:54 PM   #8
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I have rooftop panels and have been in situations where they have been nearly useless due to a forest canopy overhead. But there was usually a spot of sun available to park a portable panel, if I had only had one.

So my suggestion is to have rooftop panels installed, with wiring included for a portable panel as well. You'll find that the portable panel aimed at the sun will be more useful in some situations, especially from October - March. I intend to buy one to complement my fixed panels.
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Old 09-05-2017, 11:07 PM   #9
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For my 17' , I had 2, 55W panels that folded together (ie portable) and placed on the bed when towing. I never had an issue with someone messing with them in the 6 years that I used them. For my new trailer, I opted for 200W on the roof and 100W portable. My reasoning:
1. On a few trips (rainy Washington and another rainy Yellowstone), I was running low on power after 4-5 days even if I tried to optimize panel placement. There's no way the roof panels would have provided enough power due to the bad weather AND shaded location.
2. I no longer need to keep the trailer plugged into the house with the roof panels. Plus the solar controller is better than the one in the trailer and periodically provides an equalizing charge to the battery. I believe my batteries will will be better care for by the solar charger that with the trailer one.

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Old 09-05-2017, 11:33 PM   #10
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I have both fixed and portable. Normally the roof panel is enough, but there are occasions when the portable is needed to supplement the roof panel. (Forest canopy, early spring or late fall camping, cloudy, rainy days, etc.) Since you already have the portable, get the fixed and add a port to plug in your portable to the system.
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