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Old 12-27-2015, 09:48 AM   #1
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Solar film or mat

We are getting a 21 in December 2016 (someone canceled)! We would like solar but do not want the holes in our roof. Has anyone had experience with the flexible solar mats or stick down cells? Would the heat affect the fiberglass? Has anyone had a product like that and later removed it? Any advice will be appreciated.

Mitzi
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Old 12-27-2015, 11:09 AM   #2
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Mitzi - interesting idea. The last I read, the film and mats were still quite a bit less efficient than conventional panels. Have you found a good source of either that would produce enough charge to be practical on the roof? Simplest way to avoid roof holes is to go with portable panels, but maybe that is an idea that you have already considered and decided against.

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Old 12-27-2015, 11:24 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Playdog View Post
We are getting a 21 in December 2016 (someone canceled)! We would like solar but do not want the holes in our roof. Has anyone had experience with the flexible solar mats or stick down cells? Would the heat affect the fiberglass? Has anyone had a product like that and later removed it? Any advice will be appreciated.

Mitzi
If you're adamant about not wanting holes in the roof, realize that there will be a number of them anyway for the roof vents, etc. A few more, properly sealed, won't cause any issues. If that's still an issue, I would go with the portable panels and nix the roof installation.
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Old 12-27-2015, 12:10 PM   #4
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I don't recall exactly, but I counted the fasteners on the roof of my 17B. I think there were 16, just for the awning.
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Old 12-27-2015, 12:22 PM   #5
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Glenn I know how you love to drill holes.....
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Old 12-27-2015, 01:15 PM   #6
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Flexible panels are now routinely used on yachts without any negative effects to the fiberglass. You could get 150 watts with 3x50w panels and the total size would be about 23" x 66" and there's enough room up top to do that.

Personally, having drilled countless holes through decks and other devices subject to heavy moisture, I wouldn't worry about holes for mounting brackets. As has been said, if you saw how many holes the roof has already, 4 more aren't of any significance, as long as there're properly sealed. Having said that, I wouldn't want the ends of the bolts to show in the ceiling, I'd want them in the cabinets.

I went a different route. For several reasons I mounted mine at the front over the box. There are a couple of benefits to that location. When I want maximum solar I can raise and tilt it to get the maximum input. But not everyone is as fanatical as I am about maximum output.

The standard roof mount works well for many people. You may find that after reviewing all the options for other panels that it may turn out to be most suitable.

Ron
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Old 12-27-2015, 02:40 PM   #7
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I take it you made your own very nice box. Wow, what a deal! That is very clever with the panel. Yes, you are slightly more particular.

I thought panels needed air under them. I am supposing that the flexible ones do not since it seems that I have seen them directly on a trailer.

Mitzi, if you really don't want holes, go with a portable. Many do but you need to set it up. Congrats on getting that spot!
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Old 12-27-2015, 02:59 PM   #8
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Yes, you are slightly more particular.
I think that's the politest thing anyone's ever said about my way of doing things.

Yes, made my own box, it suits my needs.

I can use my panel as a portable panel also and there's a lot to be said for using them. However, at the end of the day there's also lots to be said for a panel that just sits on the roof, day after day, and does a pretty good job of keeping the batteries charged.

Flexible panels have evolved and are being developed continuously. They're no doubt viable to use but more research would be required.

Ron
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Old 12-27-2015, 03:11 PM   #9
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Thanks to all for the input. I was looking at the Solbian flexible panels Eric. Ron what size is your panel? That looks like a great set up. Does the panel stay there when in route? I wonder if it could be mounted independently between the Escape provided box and the gas tanks by welding mounts to the tounge of the trailer.

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Old 12-27-2015, 03:36 PM   #10
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There was a couple folks looking into the flexible a while back on the fiberglass trailer forum, might ask over there.

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Old 12-27-2015, 04:10 PM   #11
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It's a 100 watt panel. I didn't want to get greedy because I wasn't sure about my ability to lift it higher on the pole. It's not for everyone, it does take a bit of a quick juggling act to put it to the high position. However it works for me.

Yes, I travel with it in the down position and it can charge underway depending on where the sun is. It's easy to lift off and use as a portable panel. That's one of the reasons I went with this design. I found getting portable panels out and set-up was a bit of a nuisance when they were stored in the back of the truck with other stuff.

I didn't weld the lower support to the frame. Welding a cross support and vertical tube to act as a socket would certainly be a strong way of doing it.

Ron
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Old 12-27-2015, 05:39 PM   #12
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Nice work on your front storage box Ron
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Old 12-27-2015, 07:03 PM   #13
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David B at the Fiberglass Forum has a pair of flexible panels mounted on the curved front of his Lil' Snoozy. A sweet looking installation. You might try contacting him for what he thinks of them...
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Old 12-27-2015, 07:29 PM   #14
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On the same forum, Honda 03842 had poor results with mounting flexible panels directly to his Scamp roof. After about one year they stopped working and he surmised it was the installation causing too high of heat build up.
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