Help me sway the she-boss....solar panel - Ram Promaster Forum
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post #1 of 99 Old 01-03-2017, 06:37 AM Thread Starter
medicineman4040
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Help me sway the she-boss....solar panel

I've actually gotten the boss, the she-boss/better-half looking at adding solar while we're doing the initial build.
She's a bottom dollar type/ex-banker and wants to know the bottom line to add solar capability to what we're already doing.
This means a panel, the racks, a solar charge controller, and connectors.

So on a 138" wb PM using two Maxxairs, front in the logical spot, rear as far back as possible I have to figure the largest panel possible right?
So best guess we can fit a 72" 300 watt panel......that I can get a good guestimate on price.
Solar charge controller, MPPT, also easily priced.
Wire and connectors won't be an issue compared to the cost of the panel and controller.

Now the nitty-gritty, the racks. I can give her a good estimate on the above but have not a clue on the racks to price.
I'd appreciate any help on this and I just might end up with a PM initially with a photon collector on top.
Robert
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post #2 of 99 Old 01-03-2017, 06:51 AM
keeponvaning
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I spent about $500 for 300w with a 30 amp mppt controler, wires, fuses and switches from Renogy. I also easily added it a year after I completed the conversion for what it's worth.

2014, High Top/159 WB, 2500 gas Promaster fully converted for camping.
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post #3 of 99 Old 01-03-2017, 06:56 AM Thread Starter
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Keeponvaning thanks for that.
Did you already have racks?
Or, and I just thought of this, maybe the panel(s) are attached without a rack?
Seems like all panel installs I've seen pictured here at promasterforums are on racks.

Last edited by medicineman4040; 01-03-2017 at 07:00 AM.
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post #4 of 99 Old 01-03-2017, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by medicineman4040 View Post
Keeponvaning thanks for that.
Did you already have racks?
Or, and I just thought of this, maybe the panel(s) are attached without a rack?
Seems like all panel installs I've seen pictured here at promasterforums are on racks.
No racks needed or necessary!

Now, I know it seems like I'm (and others) are being a PITA when we suggest googling the archives here, BUT, there are so many complete threads on solar installation and costs that have been posted in the past 24 months I only want to shake my old, tired head

It's all out there for everyone to see and read with extreme photo documentation and costs. Not using this valuable resource only makes it more difficult on yourself.

2014, High Top/159 WB, 2500 gas Promaster fully converted for camping.

Last edited by keeponvaning; 01-03-2017 at 07:30 AM.
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post #5 of 99 Old 01-03-2017, 09:38 AM
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Here's mine: http://www.promasterforum.com/forum/...ad.php?t=35706

Remind your banker that there's a 30% tax credit for solar. Note the language that the home does not have to be your main residence. Case law says our vans qualify as long as we live in them part time, which we do.

https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i5695.pdf
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post #6 of 99 Old 01-03-2017, 09:44 AM
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KOV, MsNomer, I and many others mounted the solar (200-300 watts) on L shaped feet attached with Ultra Bond Tape from 3M to the roof directly. It helps to have 2 panels as they give flexibility and can go side by side across the van. I put a self tapping screw through each mounting bracket into the roof on each foot. I am skeptical of everything including tape and adhesives. Do what KOV suggests to see how folks got the wires into the van. Mine enter along one of the ribs as all my wiring runs inside the support ribs and my ceiling allows me to access them during revisions. Snaking the wires in the ribs as easy.

2015 136" HT Diesel Sandstone Metallic Born on 6/12/2015 Campervan build see: http://www.promasterforum.com/forum/...ad.php?t=37177
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post #7 of 99 Old 01-03-2017, 09:59 AM
keeponvaning
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MsNomer View Post
Here's mine: http://www.promasterforum.com/forum/...ad.php?t=35706

Remind your banker that there's a 30% tax credit for solar. Note the language that the home does not have to be your main residence. Case law says our vans qualify as long as we live in them part time, which we do.

https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i5695.pdf
Good to know! Thanks

2014, High Top/159 WB, 2500 gas Promaster fully converted for camping.
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post #8 of 99 Old 01-03-2017, 11:50 AM
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Hi,
If by racks you mean the means of attaching the panel to the roof, you can just use 4 short lengths of right angle bracket.
This is our installation: http://www.buildagreenrv.com/our-con...anel-mounting/

Its really simple, and it keeps the PV panel low to the roof.

There are also mounting kits that just use adhesive -- I did not quite have the courage to go that way, but apparently they work.

We ended up ordering our single 315 watt panel through the local Platt Electric -- their panel price was not the lowest, but there was no shipping charge.
Our total bill for PV panel and MPPT controller was more like $600 -- KOV always finds the better deals

Gary
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post #9 of 99 Old 01-03-2017, 12:37 PM
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https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01B3TEM1E "Renogy Eclipse* 100 Watt 12 Volt Mono-crystalline Solar Panel"

The Renogy Eclipse* is currently the highest efficiency /or smallest foot-print 100w glass panel being sold, its 40.7" x 20.7" size gains back usable roof area especially when mounting panels laterally beside roof vents, allowing for framing gaps, etc..

I did buy (5) 100w Grape solar panels for $105/each shipped, but at 27" x 40" they would have installed clumsily, and they weigh 20~ pounds vs. the Eclipse 15 pounds. I'll be selling the (5) panels come spring on Craigslist.

Honestly, I really* wanted the thin flexible panels for better aerodynamics but they have very poor life expectancy; Eclipse has a 25-year transferable power output warranty and 5-year material and workmanship warranty- the flex panels offer 1 or 2 year warranty only. Grape Solar used to sell one a fraction of an inch larger and they always commanded a premium price, Amazon's $187 w/ free shipping is a sweet deal.

The Eclipse have no visible conductors overlaying the PV cells similar to the flexible panels so efficiency is boosted. Beware online vendors that will try to sell you the larger old style cell type, make sure no conductors and dark black PV cells - return shipping is huge once they are delivered.

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post #10 of 99 Old 01-03-2017, 01:21 PM
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I also have those ^^^^^ and I am a happy and well electrified camper! 200 watts of solar, 200+AH Flooded batteries, Tracer MPPT controller, interconnect switch, meter, all wiring, solar power entry, 110V entry, RV converter w/battery charger, 1500 watt inverter, LED lights, a complete van electrical system, $841. Beat that KOV!

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