100w Solar - is it worth it?

 
 
 
 
 
 
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100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 21.01.2021  ·  #1
Hi folks,

Since we can't go anywhere, I've been keeping busy with projects around the house and MH and one of the things I always wanted to get is a solar panel setup.

Looking around online I see that they're pretty accessible options now these days and gluing the panels with the plastic brackets seems to be the way to go in order to only need one hole on the roof.

Now, since I do use my roof to carry surfboards and a kayak I do have limited space and I could only fit a single 100w panel.

Our usage? Water pump, an hour or two of blown air heating if it's very chilly, lights and charging phones and tablet.

We can normally go 2 days without moving with our single leisure battery so hoping that with the 100w panel we can either go longer or top up the battery enough to keep it level?

What's your experience, is it worth it?

Thanks
Rami


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Re: 100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 21.01.2021  ·  #2
Rami is your leisure battery running a heater


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Re: 100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 21.01.2021  ·  #3
I have 100w but I'm upgrading to 200w, the 100w is fine in good sunshine but struggles in long periods of cloudy weather and if we had to use heating ( winter) it really can't keep up, measure up the space you have and search for the biggest panel you can fit with an mppt controller,

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Re: 100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 21.01.2021  ·  #4
Not a heater per say, just the fan on the blown air... heating portion of it is by gas.

Like I said, we only use it for an hour or two if it's very cold.

We would normally won't go more than 2 or 3 days without moving.


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Re: 100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 21.01.2021  ·  #5
Rami....You can get a single monochrystaline 315 watt panel for just under 150 euro....Just sayin :up:


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Re: 100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 21.01.2021  ·  #6
Quote by RTV

Not a heater per say, just the fan on the blown air... heating portion of it is by gas.

Like I said, we only use it for an hour or two if it's very cold.

We would normally won't go more than 2 or 3 days without moving.


That's the heating system I was talking about, in winter you'll only get an overnight, November to March you'll really get nothing much from a 100w, I'm getting 0.6A in the sun now


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Re: 100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 21.01.2021  ·  #7
100w will certainly help. Have you got a second leisure battery? If you move a lot a second battery maybe more viable than 1 panel.
I have a solar suitcase panel with an external plug in point to supplement the roof top panels. 90 watt suitcase panel can be better than a 150 watt rooftop panel as you can point it at the sun.

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Re: 100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 21.01.2021  ·  #8
Any level of solar will always help, see if you can get a bigger output one for a similar size but why not put a controller in which will handle more and then if you find 100w needs increasing you only have to look at a panel and not a controller as well

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Re: 100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 21.01.2021  ·  #9
I have a 100 watt panel. In my experience it can put about 20 to 30 Ah back into my battery during summer months. That would allow me another night away. That might be all you need. But as mentioned above, if you are only going away for a few nights at a time, adding an extra battery might be the best way to extend your trip. Double your battery power and you double your stay.

Even if a 100 watt panel doesn’t give you the complete freedom to stay away for weeks at a time, it’s a great battery maintainer. I never need to worry about charging up the battery when landing home.

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Re: 100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 21.01.2021  ·  #10
Quote by panda

Rami....You can get a single monochrystaline 315 watt panel for just under 150 euro....Just sayin :up:


Can you send me a link? Normally anything above 150 involves two panels. I need to see if I can put the panel in the middle between the hatches if not, where I was planning to place it has a little bit of a slope so it basically cuts my area into two portions 200x40 and 200x60cm

Most panels I've seen are wider than 60cm, especially anything above 100w. The ones I'm looking at the moment are 50 something to should be enough to accommodate the panel and the brackets.

I'll look at the second leisure option as well, that's certainly an easier option for about the same price. Not sure if I have enough room to put the second battery under the seat though, but should be easy enough to find room for it.

Solar panel for me was interesting to forget about plugging the van in, mostly during winter and specially during lockdown where I'm not able to use the van.

We do move around but not always enough for a good charge, that's the thing. Sometimes we might do 20' or 30' rides between places.

Thank you folks, very useful info!!


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Re: 100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 21.01.2021  ·  #11
Quote by RTV

Quote by panda

Rami....You can get a single monochrystaline 315 watt panel for just under 150 euro....Just sayin :up:


Can you send me a link? Normally anything above 150 involves two panels. I need to see if I can put the panel in the middle between the hatches if not, where I was planning to place it has a little bit of a slope so it basically cuts my area into two portions 200x40 and 200x60cm

Most panels I've seen are wider than 60cm, especially anything above 100w. The ones I'm looking at the moment are 50 something to should be enough to accommodate the panel and the brackets.

I'll look at the second leisure option as well, that's certainly an easier option for about the same price. Not sure if I have enough room to put the second battery under the seat though, but should be easy enough to find room for it.

Solar panel for me was interesting to forget about plugging the van in, mostly during winter and specially during lockdown where I'm not able to use the van.

We do move around but not always enough for a good charge, that's the thing. Sometimes we might do 20' or 30' rides between places.

Thank you folks, very useful info!!


2 of my friends bought them only this in Wexford. Im going to install it for them. I can get the dimensions for you. If you are going to the bother of fitting Solar...Might as well fit the largest you can in available space.

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Re: 100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 21.01.2021  ·  #12
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Re: 100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 21.01.2021  ·  #13
Quote by panda

2 of my friends bought them only this in Wexford. Im going to install it for them. I can get the dimensions for you. If you are going to the bother of fitting Solar...Might as well fit the largest you can in available space.


100% agree with you, I would certainly prefer to get the most out of it. But it almost sounds too good to be true? Don't see too many options only for that kind of rating.

I just measured on the roof and it'll be a better fit to put it between the two hatches that gives me a little more than 100cm width and then the 200cm length across the roof with the caveat that when I have the kayaks and the boards, that'll only leave me with about 130cm of room, so I'll lose about 20% of its surface... but arguably that'll still be about 250w (in ideal conditions) might bake sense.

According to Donedeal, these are the dimensions

Width: 1,000mm
Height: 1,685mm


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Re: 100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 21.01.2021  ·  #14
I fitted one already on a mates rapido and it's the business....works perfectly into 30 amp mppt controller and 2 110 leisures.....130euro is a great price

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Re: 100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 21.01.2021  ·  #15
Quote by panda

I fitted one already on a mates rapido and it's the business....works perfectly into 30 amp mppt controller and 2 110 leisures.....130euro is a great price


What kind of readings where you getting on the controller?

I'm now certainly on the fence if I should go with the panel or the 2nd leisure or at least which one to do first.


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Re: 100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 21.01.2021  ·  #16
From reading elsewhere if you have an older 1st leisure battery and you fit a 2nd it’ll be pulled down by the older battery so in theory you may need to fit two new batteries.
I may be wrong but worth researching


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Re: 100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 21.01.2021  ·  #17
@RTV This is a video by the owner of the wildcamping, the motorhomer and the motorhomebuilder websites and an expert in all things electrical (I think that is his trade). He has developed an expertise in solar and also lithium batteries. You have already said you are aware of the loss of power generation caused by shading. Phil demonstrates the power loss caused by one cell being covered, although it is a pity he didn’t demonstrate multiple shading.



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Re: 100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 21.01.2021  ·  #18
I have 2x100 ah batteries under my seat in a Ducato based van


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Re: 100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 21.01.2021  ·  #19
Yes Davy. Big Phil likes his gadgets. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many solar panels on a roof before!


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Re: 100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 21.01.2021  ·  #20
Quote by Davy

@RTV This is a video by the owner of the wildcamping, the motorhomer and the motorhomebuilder websites and an expert in all things electrical (I think that is his trade). He has developed an expertise in solar and also lithium batteries. You have already said you are aware of the loss of power generation caused by shading. Phil demonstrates the power loss caused by one cell being covered, although it is a pity he didn’t demonstrate multiple shading.



Davy


Which is why multiple smaller panels, 2 X 100 instead of a single 200, for example, is a better option. I'd never go for one big single 315 watts, which I think is what's used on house roofs.
On one big panel, the who lot can be compromised by a bit of a shadow, whereas if it's multiple panels only the one in the shadow is compromised and the others continue with max output.


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Re: 100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 21.01.2021  ·  #21
Great info there folks, much appreciated!

So big panel is definitely not a go as it will get shade from the kayak and boards. I'll have a look at smaller panels options, that might give me a better way to configure the array.

For now I think I'll go with the second leisure route for now and see how that works, hopefully my existing battery is not that old. It's definitely performing great, so I wouldn't have any concerns with it.

Thank you lads, really appreciate it!


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Re: 100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 21.01.2021  ·  #22
Which is why multiple smaller panels, 2 X 100 instead of a single 200, for example, is a better option. I'd never go for one big single 315 watts, which I think is what's used on house roofs.
On one big panel, the who lot can be compromised by a bit of a shadow, whereas if it's multiple panels only the one in the shadow is compromised and the others continue with max output.
[/quote]



Shade on your panels is a silly argument :D . Never have that issue with my single 300 panel and if I did... simple remedy is to move a few feet.

So my basic maths tells me that a 315 watt panel is better at harnessing Sunshine than 200 watts.


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Re: 100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 21.01.2021  ·  #23
I think shade is or can be a big problem. It is not always, or even usually practical to be moving a van a few feet to avoid shade. Most of the time when you are parked up that's it, you're there for the night. And most of the time you will not know that your panel is shaded, not unless you have CCTV monitoring your roof. Or unless you are watching your solar controller output all day long. And when you move, you would have no idea if you have moved out of the shade a lot of the time.

Given a clear sunny day, the biggest impediment to getting good solar power is shade, and angle to the sun possibly a close second.


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Re: 100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 21.01.2021  ·  #24
Quote by baguette

Quote by Davy

@RTV This is a video by the owner of the wildcamping, the motorhomer and the motorhomebuilder websites and an expert in all things electrical (I think that is his trade). He has developed an expertise in solar and also lithium batteries. You have already said you are aware of the loss of power generation caused by shading. Phil demonstrates the power loss caused by one cell being covered, although it is a pity he didn’t demonstrate multiple shading.



Davy


Which is why multiple smaller panels, 2 X 100 instead of a single 200, for example, is a better option. I'd never go for one big single 315 watts, which I think is what's used on house roofs.
On one big panel, the who lot can be compromised by a bit of a shadow, whereas if it's multiple panels only the one in the shadow is compromised and the others continue with max output.


Only if they are wired in parallel. If they are wired in series, one will bring the lot down.


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Re: 100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 21.01.2021  ·  #25
Quote by The Rambler

I think shade is or can be a big problem. It is not always, or even usually practical to be moving a van a few feet to avoid shade. Most of the time when you are parked up that's it, you're there for the night. And most of the time you will not know that your panel is shaded, not unless you have CCTV monitoring your roof. Or unless you are watching your solar controller output all day long. And when you move, you would have no idea if you have moved out of the shade a lot of the time.

Given a clear sunny day, the biggest impediment to getting good solar power is shade, and angle to the sun possibly a close second.

If you have a large panel, angle to the sun will not be a big issue. You will still get plenty of power. Even if a 300 dropped to 200 due to angle, it would still be as good as 200 aligned perfectly. Imo.


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Re: 100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 21.01.2021  ·  #26
Quote by Daffysparks

Quote by baguette

Quote by Davy

@RTV This is a video by the owner of the wildcamping, the motorhomer and the motorhomebuilder websites and an expert in all things electrical (I think that is his trade). He has developed an expertise in solar and also lithium batteries. You have already said you are aware of the loss of power generation caused by shading. Phil demonstrates the power loss caused by one cell being covered, although it is a pity he didn’t demonstrate multiple shading.



Davy


Which is why multiple smaller panels, 2 X 100 instead of a single 200, for example, is a better option. I'd never go for one big single 315 watts, which I think is what's used on house roofs.
On one big panel, the who lot can be compromised by a bit of a shadow, whereas if it's multiple panels only the one in the shadow is compromised and the others continue with max output.


Only if they are wired in parallel. If they are wired in series, one will bring the lot down.


OMG did you really just go there?


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Re: 100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 21.01.2021  ·  #27
Quote by Daffysparks

Quote by The Rambler

I think shade is or can be a big problem. It is not always, or even usually practical to be moving a van a few feet to avoid shade. Most of the time when you are parked up that's it, you're there for the night. And most of the time you will not know that your panel is shaded, not unless you have CCTV monitoring your roof. Or unless you are watching your solar controller output all day long. And when you move, you would have no idea if you have moved out of the shade a lot of the time.

Given a clear sunny day, the biggest impediment to getting good solar power is shade, and angle to the sun possibly a close second.

If you have a large panel, angle to the sun will not be a big issue. You will still get plenty of power. Even if a 300 dropped to 200 due to angle, it would still be as good as 200 aligned perfectly. Imo.


Well I wouldn’t criticize anyone for getting a bigger panel. Why wouldn’t you choose a bigger one over a smaller one if your budget permits? But I would say shade is a big issue regardless.


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Re: 100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 21.01.2021  ·  #28
Quote by The Rambler

Quote by Daffysparks

Quote by baguette

Quote by Davy

@RTV This is a video by the owner of the wildcamping, the motorhomer and the motorhomebuilder websites and an expert in all things electrical (I think that is his trade). He has developed an expertise in solar and also lithium batteries. You have already said you are aware of the loss of power generation caused by shading. Phil demonstrates the power loss caused by one cell being covered, although it is a pity he didn’t demonstrate multiple shading.



Davy


Which is why multiple smaller panels, 2 X 100 instead of a single 200, for example, is a better option. I'd never go for one big single 315 watts, which I think is what's used on house roofs.
On one big panel, the who lot can be compromised by a bit of a shadow, whereas if it's multiple panels only the one in the shadow is compromised and the others continue with max output.


Only if they are wired in parallel. If they are wired in series, one will bring the lot down.


OMG did you really just go there?


Yep.... but I’m right 😳😂🤯


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Re: 100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 21.01.2021  ·  #29
Quote by The Rambler

Quote by Daffysparks

Quote by The Rambler

I think shade is or can be a big problem. It is not always, or even usually practical to be moving a van a few feet to avoid shade. Most of the time when you are parked up that's it, you're there for the night. And most of the time you will not know that your panel is shaded, not unless you have CCTV monitoring your roof. Or unless you are watching your solar controller output all day long. And when you move, you would have no idea if you have moved out of the shade a lot of the time.

Given a clear sunny day, the biggest impediment to getting good solar power is shade, and angle to the sun possibly a close second.

If you have a large panel, angle to the sun will not be a big issue. You will still get plenty of power. Even if a 300 dropped to 200 due to angle, it would still be as good as 200 aligned perfectly. Imo.


Well I wouldn’t criticize anyone for getting a bigger panel. Why wouldn’t you choose a bigger one over a smaller one if your budget permits? But I would say shade is a big issue regardless.


Bigger IS generally better😇😇


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Re: 100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 21.01.2021  ·  #30
Why not have 4 x 50 watt panels???.... Much better than 2 no?......Or 10 x 20 watt panels....better again.


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Re: 100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 21.01.2021  ·  #31
Quote by panda

Why not have 4 x 50 watt panels???.... Much better than 2 no?......Or 10 x 20 watt panels....better again.


😳😳🤪


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Re: 100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 21.01.2021  ·  #32
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- is it worth it?

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Posted: 21.01.2021  ·  #33
Quote by RTV

Great info there folks, much appreciated!

So big panel is definitely not a go as it will get shade from the kayak and boards. I'll have a look at smaller panels options, that might give me a better way to configure the array.

For now I think I'll go with the second leisure route for now and see how that works, hopefully my existing battery is not that old. It's definitely performing great, so I wouldn't have any concerns with it.

Thank you lads, really appreciate it!


Have you room for 1700mm x995 360watt. from Solartricity in Dublin.


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Re: 100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 22.01.2021  ·  #34
Quote by sprinter

Quote by RTV

Great info there folks, much appreciated!

So big panel is definitely not a go as it will get shade from the kayak and boards. I'll have a look at smaller panels options, that might give me a better way to configure the array.

For now I think I'll go with the second leisure route for now and see how that works, hopefully my existing battery is not that old. It's definitely performing great, so I wouldn't have any concerns with it.

Thank you lads, really appreciate it!


Have you room for 1700mm x995 320watt. from Solartricity in Dublin.


Great prices from Solartricity there Martin.....Like that 360 watt panel :up:

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Re: 100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 22.01.2021  ·  #35
The clue to the good price per watt of a 315w house panel is in the intended market. The clue to the price per watt of a smaller version for a motorhome is also in the intended market.
No matter what you need, if it's purchased via a seller supplying into the leisure vehicle market it will probably be multiple times the price of the same or similar item from a seller into trade/DIY market.
A few years ago I got a pair of high spec. 110ah deep cycle batteries for about €115 each from a seller into the market for standby batteries and batteries for industrial floor sweepers etc.
My recent purchase of a 1500W pure sine inverter for one third of the price asked by a supplier to the leisure vehicle market was from a supplier into the home/general solar market.


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Subject:

100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 22.01.2021  ·  #36
Quote by panda

Quote by sprinter

Quote by RTV

Great info there folks, much appreciated!

So big panel is definitely not a go as it will get shade from the kayak and boards. I'll have a look at smaller panels options, that might give me a better way to configure the array.

For now I think I'll go with the second leisure route for now and see how that works, hopefully my existing battery is not that old. It's definitely performing great, so I wouldn't have any concerns with it.

Thank you lads, really appreciate it!


Have you room for 1700mm x995 320watt. from Solartricity in Dublin.


Great prices from Solartricity there Martin.....Like that 360 watt panel :up:

I fitted one with a vitron MPPT 75 1 15 bluetooth controller, on our Daughters van, in November, Ill ask for a screen shot of the readings.
I recond fit the largest you can, and like you if your concerned about shade or angle move and park on a hill.

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Re: 100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 22.01.2021  ·  #37
The problem of shade in my case is that a big panel like that will have guaranteed shade between the roof rails, kayak and surfboards.

I've been reading more and it seems like no matter what you do, there's always a "but". If I add the second battery then it'll be brought down but the older battery (have no clue how old it is), alternator on my van could not be up to spec to charge 3 batteries in total, as I believe my older van only has a 110A alternator (need to confirm).

So yeah, I'll have to do a bit more research on my own van to see if the extra battery is suitable and if not, I'll be back to a smaller panel up the front where it's not covered by anything but then again for the size I doubt I can fit anything bigger than a 100W panel.

Wifey would rather go with the second battery as she doesn't like the idea of whole on the roof, even if it's just 1 to run the cables.

Anyways, definitely not as easy or straight forward if I'm to believe or follow the advice going around.

I either just do it and see what happens or not do anything at all and just keep an eye on battery levels and move around when needed.


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Subject:

Re: 100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 22.01.2021  ·  #38
Well it sounds like you’re teasing out the pros and cons Rami so you’re on the right track. A solar panel could be operating at only 10% of its rated power, and all because 10% of its area is being shaded. That is something we all are willing to put up with from time to time, because there will always be a tree or a roof top that can cast a shadow. But if there is always a kayak , roof bars, or a skylight casting a shadow every time, then that is money down the drain.

Another thing to consider if uprating your battery capacity, I personally wouldn’t be relying on the alternator to keep them fully charged. Grand if it does, but I would be looking at it from the point of view that if you can leave home with a fully charged battery and get 2 days away, then you can leave with 2 charged batteries and get 4 days away. These can be charged up at home and any charge from alternator or solar will only help. And that is fine if you are not going off for weeks at a time. And of coarse, only install a matched pair bought together.


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Subject:

100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 22.01.2021  ·  #39
I totally agree that batteries should be matched pairs. but it should be possible to wire two batteries with manual change over, so you you only use one at a time and have solar charge the one not in use, at the same time the alternator, while driving will only have to charge Hab, connected after it deals with the engine one.
Of course you could do it electronically
it would be a project to come up with the circuit board, but simple can sometimes be best.

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Re: 100w Solar - is it worth it?

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Posted: 22.01.2021  ·  #40
This is what I have.
https://www.batteriesandsolar….el-stfp90/
I do have roof panels as well.
This company based in Plymouth, Devon also fitted an external socket so I don’t have to use crocodile clips.
I saw one in use about 5/6 years ago on a campsite in Spain and I got talking to the owner as I couldn’t understand why he was using solar on a site with electric, he was on the site for a lengthy period and his electric use was metered by the campsite he explained that by maximising the solar use he significantly reduced his electric hook up costs.
For me in Spain and Portugal I stay on Aires quite a bit without a hook up so solar is ideal. I haven’t really tested this panel yet as I haven’t been away to use it.
But if you don’t want a hole in the roof and you are (rightly) concerned about shade this type of panel could be a solution.


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