Mai 2012 – 470W Solar system design and installation on a RV

Solar panel system design

After a few days of thinking, I finally found my way. Not pretending it is the best, but it surely fits the bill of my requirements. First, the panel. Since I wanted 400-500W solar system, it was cheaper to go with a high voltage solar panel (36V). 235W panel sells for 350$, about the same price as 130W at 18V. The drawback, if it’s one, you need a MPPT charge controller to convert higher solar DC voltage to the RV battery system. The MPPT is more efficient anyway (10-30% depending of the conditions). Other benefits, I’ve used 10 awg cable for the 35ft PV cable run without losing more than 1%. I had connect the 2 panels in series, so there is about 72V at the input of the MPPT. 10% gain with the MPPT is another 47W free at 2$/W it’s 100$ to pay the prime MPPT.

Model used: Tri-Star 45A MPPT.

Installation of the panel

I wasn’t convinced with the design of the standard Z clip. They create a pry effect on the anchors. This means they add more loads to them, especially in the uplifting condition. A rigid connector as I did use prevent this leverage. I ve used a square aluminum tubing (1.5 x 1.5 x 1/8) cut at an angle to provide access from the top to the anchor. I was short in stock…so I did 2 angled cut.

If I was redoing, I would use this model. It has more contact surface.

In this pic, I added a 5th anchor that goes close to the edge of the RV. The side of the RV is strong, not the middle! At least on ours (Keystone Cougar 29 BHS)!

The only place I could fit both panels was in the front of the travel trailer. I dont want to have the panels sucked off the roof!! So I did install a small wind deflector using a scrap flashing trim to prevent this. Also, because of the scale of the panel (65in x 38in), I wanted rocksolid anchors.

I did scan carefully the structure of the trailer. I realized that the C shape metal roof truss are only 1in wide and are doubled ( back to back) every 4ft at the plywood edges. Because the front anchors are at a plywood edge and I wanted to assure to grip in the center, thus the spacing between front and back anchors are 32.5in instead of 32in. Be carefull!

Lastly, I don’t like to mix stainless steel and aluminum material as galvanic corrosion potential is great. I assume and hope water won’t stay too long!

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Une réponse à “Mai 2012 – 470W Solar system design and installation on a RV

  1. Wow! You have a nice english writing! Heppell is an english name? I think, you already told me about this. I recently bought a Ridgid 12" compound miter saw + 80 teeth Diablo blade. My blade is red as yours and may be the same. Mine is not recommended for non ferrous metal like aluminum. Can we still try some cuts without scraping it!? How ever I like the way you realized your project. Question: Where is the final picture?

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