Comparing Solar Power In Summer And Winter ..........

SquirrellCook

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357
How many watts of panel do you have?
I have six 100watt panels, but since adding the last two each side of a roof hatch it’s become very directional. They are connected in series down each side then paralleled. So if one is in shadow I loose the string. Another charge controller would sort it out, but Murky is destined for sale. The Betty build has six panels in pairs, each pair having their own controller.
 

Full Member

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Any recommendations on solar panels? Or, of course, brands to avoid?

I installed a 300W Panasonic solar panel with Victron control and display equipment about two years ago and am delighted with the performance.
It's not cheap but my view is that I only want to do this once and I want the installation to be 'fit and forget' - and that's what it's been.

Colin :):):)
 

hubberlugs

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3
Fascinating. Yet to get any panels, which we never did when we lived on a narrowboat either. This whole conversation has been most useful & I will follow it up.

Ian
 

wildebus

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Any recommendations on solar panels? Or, of course, brands to avoid?
The general recommedation I would make is unless you have an overwhelming reason to fit flexible panels, don't! Stay with glass panels.
After that point, work out what size (physically) you want/can install and then see what is available in that size. For example, in the sizes that will fit on my roof where I want to install, I have found Victron Panels the only ones that will maximize the roof space in my particular case (800mm x 2000mm)
 

chas142

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200
I have a flexible 140watt. I chose that as it was lighter and at the time of fitting not that much more than a glass version. I also thought I could remove it and use it on the side of the M/H if I wanted. It gave me an easy option to move around, It was before tilting them became the fashion.
 
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SquirrellCook

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357
I’m going to get a couple of 100 watt semi flexible panels to mount on the side with suction cups. These will have their own mppt controller.
 

Davebav50

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Simply put, there are more hours of sunlight in mid summer than in mid winter, so more energy is captured and transformed to electricity in summer. Secondly the angle of light through the atmosphere means it suffers less loss in summer as it's more overhead, so again more energy captured as brighter light means more power out. Simples.
 

Phantom

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367
I think the main thing here is about trying to get the most out of solar in winter? Tilting panels could be beneficial but not worth tracking unless in summer. Maybe best to just increase your battery bank and get the most charge whilst driving? Personally I will likely fit a larger tilting solar panel and make sure that I have a good reserve of power. (We just seem to be limping along on minimals at present).
 

SquirrellCook

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357
Simply put, there are more hours of sunlight in mid summer than in mid winter, so more energy is captured and transformed to electricity in summer. Secondly the angle of light through the atmosphere means it suffers less loss in summer as it's more overhead, so again more energy captured as brighter light means more power out. Simples.
No it's not simple. You need to have somewhere to put your "Captured" energy. Clouds have an effect too. When the sun is low in the sky geography can make a big difference. Hard to move a hill! The vegetation, someone may have placed trees where you intend to stop. And NO! a chainsaw is not the answer.
 

chas142

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200
No it's not simple. You need to have somewhere to put your "Captured" energy. Clouds have an effect too. When the sun is low in the sky geography can make a big difference. Hard to move a hill! The vegetation, someone may have placed trees where you intend to stop. And NO! a chainsaw is not the answer.
Yes, you can move the flexible panels around and they are safe to put under your bed mattress. I have never done this with mine as never needed to, yet. We move around and don't stay static. All options are much better than cutting down a tree, especially if it's not yours, lol.
 

SquirrellCook

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Yes, you can move the flexible panels around and they are safe to put under your bed mattress. I have never done this with mine as never needed to, yet. We move around and don't stay static. All options are much better than cutting down a tree, especially if it's not yours, lol.
I worry about the ruggedness of these semiflexible panels. I have had a few fail due to handling/mounting errors. That said I believed what the manufacture claimed. I've had cells fail for no apparent reason, once burning my roof! So as for moving and storing semiflexible panels that is my worry. Remember most have a crystal wafer in each cell, you don't want to crack one. Not only that worry, but what about the connections to the cell? There are other technologies that are less prone to handling damage. If I do get the opportunity to spend some time out in Murky this winter I'll put some money where my fingers are and test my ideas.
 
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Molly 3

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959
I have a semi flexible and the output is very poor proberbly damaged during fitting , new semi flexible panels are now much better such as etfe and fibre glass but are more expensive, flexible solar panels are easily damaged by bending
 

wildebus

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I have a semi flexible and the output is very poor proberbly damaged during fitting , new semi flexible panels are now much better such as etfe and fibre glass but are more expensive, flexible solar panels are easily damaged by bending
I think the term "semi-flexible" can be very misleading! As an example, the Lensun ETFE backed panel is very good, but needs careful handing while being installed and despite being officially a "semi-flexible" panel, has a warning saying that that it should be flexed more than 5 degrees! don't really call that "flexible" at all.
(and it is shipped in a box that is put in another box which is put in another box, so clearly they don't want it flexed in transit :) )
 

SquirrellCook

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357
I think the term "semi-flexible" can be very misleading! As an example, the Lensun ETFE backed panel is very good, but needs careful handing while being installed and despite being officially a "semi-flexible" panel, has a warning saying that that it should be flexed more than 5 degrees! don't really call that "flexible" at all.
(and it is shipped in a box that is put in another box which is put in another box, so clearly they don't want it flexed in transit :) )
My early experiences with semi flexible panels were with lensun. Even though the performance of the panels has better than claimed, the early ones were very fragile. To start with they replaced the panels quickly, though the mounting points and panels sizes changed. So a lot of work was required to fit the replacements. Each time I purchased another to expand my system the price kept climbing. As they were now insisting that I pay carriage for a replacement panels, I decided I'd jump ship. You can buy similar performing panels for nearly half the price. If it has a short life less tears are shed. On the Betty build I have 4 miasol panels, they are not used in anger. Just maintaining the engine start batteries at the moment.
 

CriftinsCampers

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56
Do you have to climb up to adjust your panel ?
Yes, mines a two way tilt and I have a flat strong roof so I also use it as a deck.
I wanted to make a very safe simple and secure system, 90% of the time it going to remain flat but when it is raised the panel needs to remain rigidly supported in either direction as the effect from wind shouldn’t be underestimated so it’s not a problem climbing up to raise it

 

CriftinsCampers

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56
Well that's just it, but handy to have the option available if it is needed.
Exactly there’s often times when they simply don’t need to be raised or remain raised either because the soc is at float so there’s nothing to be gained or because it’s a driving day.
I don’t raise mine except when needed, if the suns not out it’s not usually worth bothering and on those days more is better if I had room to add another identical panel I would
 
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