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I'm planning a 136 wb high roof camper van and I'd like to put as much solar as possible on the roof. Grape solar makes a 180watt panel that measures LxWxT (58.27” x 26.57” x 1.38”) and I was hoping someone could measure the width of the roof. I was hoping to install them without any overhang with simple L brackets on the factory mounting points like I've seen others use on one side and the fiamma mounts on the other (with a custom bracket). Do you think a panel that's 58.27 fit across the width of the van? And do you think I could fit three of them on the roof plus a max fan for a total of 540 watts?

Thanks!

 

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Matt,

We're not sure what you mean by factory mount points, but it would seem that the panels you are considering would fit without overhang. We mounted 3 Kyocera panels that are 65.5" 'long' (mounted 'widthwise') with slightly too much overhang: http://www.promasterforum.com/forum/showpost.php?p=401154&postcount=43. But ours are 7" longer than yours.

Winston
 

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Check out pages 6-8 on my build ( a few others contributed to the size and what worked for them) . I still don't have mine installed, but really leaning towards grape solar panels as well. In fact I have two from HD sitting in my garage, but I really need to decide on what to do for A/C before I install any panels.

If I don't install a roof A/C then yes, I plan to use three Grape Solar panels, and I am 98% certain they will fit, based on the input/feedback and help from others (Winston being one of them - Dave Not Home the other one for solar panel size and planning. Thanks!)

http://www.promasterforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=59202&page=6
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Matt,

We're not sure what you mean by factory mount points, but it would seem that the panels you are considering would fit without overhang. We mounted 3 Kyocera panels that are 65.5" 'long' (mounted 'widthwise') with slightly too much overhang: http://www.promasterforum.com/forum/showpost.php?p=401154&postcount=43. But ours are 7" longer than yours.

Winston
Hey Winston,

I'm referring to these:



I was going to have someone make an l-bracket to attach to those points and then attach the panels to it.

And it's good to know that they will fit! Thanks for your input!
 

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According to the Ram Body Builder Guide the distance from the roof mount point to the center line of the roof is 740mm. So double this to get the total width between the roof mounts is 1480mm or 58.26 inches. To confirm, I measured the width across between the mounts and got 58.25 inches. There is also about 3 inches on each side from the mount to where the roof starts to drop along the sides.
 

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Maybe I can ask that question in this thread, as I was struggling to figure out where to post it :)

Can these be used straight up inline with other solar panels? I have 2 of the 100W Renogy panels right now. I have them hooked together with one of those Y adapters, and I was hoping that I could just get another Y adapter and hook everything together that way.

The Renogy panels are 47" x 21". I was planning on adding a third and putting it side ways (I only have about 32" of room lengthwise) for 300W total. BUT, since this 180W panel also fits sideways, it seems that I could mount a 180W panel there and have 380W instead of 300W for not much more money.
 

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I'm planning a 136 wb high roof camper van and I'd like to put as much solar as possible on the roof. Grape solar makes a 180watt panel that measures LxWxT (58.27” x 26.57” x 1.38”) and I was hoping someone could measure the width of the roof. I was hoping to install them without any overhang with simple L brackets on the factory mounting points like I've seen others use on one side and the fiamma mounts on the other (with a custom bracket). Do you think a panel that's 58.27 fit across the width of the van? And do you think I could fit three of them on the roof plus a max fan for a total of 540 watts?

Thanks!
Hi,
The width between the mounting studs on the roof of my 2014 PM is 59 inches (plus/minus a half inch).

My 136 PM has about 87 inches between the end of the MaxxFan roof vent and the rear end of the roof.

It seems like the 47 inch Renology panel is going to be awkward to mount to the roof studs, because its narrower than the distance between the roof studs?

You could think about a panel something like this one: http://www.dmsolar.com/hy24mosomope.html
Its 270 watts and 64.8 inch by 38.7 inch. So, two of them would fit sideways for a total of 540 watts.
The 65 inches would span the width 59 inch width between the roof studs, but not stick out over the side of the van, as there is 4 or 5 inches of roof outboard of each stud.
There are a lot size choices on the site above (and elsewhere).

I did a single 315 watt panel mounted lengthwise, and its too long to fit sidways without hanging out.
http://www.buildagreenrv.com/our-co...romaster-van-conversion-solar-panel-mounting/
I've been quite happy with the simple L brackets I used -- they keep the panel low to the roof and are solid as a rock -- but they do require a hole in the roof for each bracket.

If you went with the 270 ish watt panels, the output voltage is higher and it requires a charge controller that can handle the higher voltage (from more cells). But, there would be only two to wire and the wire gauge may be less because the voltage is higher.

There are some single panels now that get over 400 watts -- http://www.solarah.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/SunPower-SPR-435NE-WHT-D.pdf
Maybe one of those would be enough? But, finding a charge controller that takes the probably higher voltage may be an issue.

Gary

Gary
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hi,
The width between the mounting studs on the roof of my 2014 PM is 59 inches (plus/minus a half inch).

My 136 PM has about 87 inches between the end of the MaxxFan roof vent and the rear end of the roof.
That looks like the Grape Solar 180 Panel should fit fine. Only thing is I don't know how the mounting will work if I use a fiamma awning on the one side. Not sure how I would attach the panel to the stock fiamma bracket:



@z120pi just purchased extra fiamma mounts (his thread here), but he said they were pretty pricey. As long as I know the panel can fit, I'm sure I can find a way to make them fit.
 

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I picked up a couple of the new US made 180 Grape Solar panels last month when Home Depot was running a sale. I have not yet mounted them, but I was thinking about bolting them together and running the 58" side parallel with the van. That would make the width right around 53" and one could easily add a spacer between them to adjust the width so they would line up perfectly with the mounts.
 

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Home Depot Grape Solar on Sale (thru 9APR17)

Home Depot has the Grape Solar panels on sale again...

180watts for $199 (Save $59.00 (23%) through 04/09/2017) - better deal than what I got back in Feb. I'll be returning the ones I ordered in Feb and buying these "again". I'll save $45 bucks...cool.

http://www.homedepot.com/s/grape%20solar?NCNI-5
 

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I used the 100 watt panels as they are small enough to mount 4 up top and leave room on the passenger side to mount an awning in the future.

I'm impressed with those Home Depot panels! Great price! My 100 watters were about $120 each last year.
 

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Are these panels set up for highest efficiency in 48 Volt systems?

hi,
I think they are most used in grid tie PV systems where several of them would be wired in series and go into a string inverter that takes several hundred volts DC input and puts out 240 VAC for the grid.

But, as long as you can find a charge controller that takes the voltage that these panels put out, I don't see any reason that they could not be used on an RV to charge a 12 volt battery system.

My system uses a single 315 watt PV connected to a Midnight Solar Kid charge controller . This charge controller will take DC input voltage from the PV panel up to 150 volts, and input power up to 1700 watts, so it would likely handle a couple of these 400 watt panels with no problems.

They have a sizing tool here: http://www.midnitesolar.com/sizingTool_kid/index.php that lets you plug in the parameters for your pv panel and it tells you if the charge controller can handle them.
The output can be set to charge 12, 24, 36 or 48 volt battery banks.
The only downside on the Kid charge controller is that they have raised the price a lot since I bought mine.

Gary
 
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