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skip that and do this
1600 watts
That's insanely huge. While I am drooling over all that power, I note that for full marks, the owner needed to cook up a mechanism to raise the outboard extendible panels to be level with the middle one. Or maybe extend them further like the little ones. Even in this show-off video, there's enough shade on the right rear panel from the centre one that all of its output is killed. Thus while nominally 1600W, the system is only providing 1250 at that moment.

And that's not factoring in those 2 white antenna things. Even those little things may kill off some or all of any panel they shade. In some orientations of the sun, the owner could only be getting 900W only. "Only"... :)
 

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Thanks, Harry. I will call you when I need that panel installed. :D No way will I install anything on the roof myself.

Based on something I saw recently (which may or may not be right but it was a guy who installs van systems all the time) if I'm going to need a 3k inverter (which, if I need any solar at all, I think I will need/should get), I should have that much wattage on the roof. This build will take quite a while so there is time to figure all this out .. this is just my current thought/hope.

Btw .. I will have one fan at the front (in the flat sunroof panel area) and one at the very back .. so the room I have left will be all in the middle.
I am not able to deal with a single large panel at my shop. I only work with the ones that are ~ 26 x58 inch.

It is too risky for both me and for the customer's van for me to help with installing a large panel on a van.

I am not sure where you are located, but if within driving distance of Livermore, CA, you can rent time at the shop for any DIY electrical related work.

 

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I am not able to deal with a single large panel at my shop. I only work with the ones that are ~ 26 x58 inch.

It is too risky for both me and for the customer's van for me to help with installing a large panel on a van.

I am not sure where you are located, but if within driving distance of Livermore, CA, you can rent time at the shop for any DIY electrical related work.

Thanks. I was just kidding about calling you. I am a 70 year old woman .. not in the strongest or nimblest shape any more so I am not going to install any solar panels by myself - I will get someone to do that for me. And I'm in NC so not exactly just a hop skip or jump from you.

The panel dimension is approximately 44"x63" I believe - and 46 lbs. When I get around to buying it .. if I do .. I will probably have to go to the northwest to both buy and have it installed I think. Solaria 360W Solar Panel 60 cell PowerXT-360R-PD Monocrystalline Black - A1 Solar Store
 

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Thanks. I was just kidding about calling you. I am a 70 year old woman .. not in the strongest or nimblest shape any more so I am not going to install any solar panels by myself - I will get someone to do that for me. And I'm in NC so not exactly just a hop skip or jump from you.

The panel dimension is approximately 44"x63" I believe - and 46 lbs. When I get around to buying it .. if I do .. I will probably have to go to the northwest to both buy and have it installed I think. Solaria 360W Solar Panel 60 cell PowerXT-360R-PD Monocrystalline Black - A1 Solar Store
It is a nice panel, but might not be optimal for van use.

I have installed 63 inch wide panels with the 63 inch end the width of the van. It is ok for me, but some people would think that it sticks out too far for their taste. You can test this by getting some cardboard the size of that panel and having someone put in on top for you.

If you have it mounted the 44 inch width, then it is wasting roof space. Instead of getting 360 watts from (2 panels) x (26 inches front to back) = 54 inches, it now takes up 63 inches.

Since it isn't wide enough to span the roof rail location, then it would require additional frame work to support it.

I have some card board cut outs the size of various panels and move them around until the customer is happy. It doesn't sound scientific but it works really well.

There are people all over that install solar panels. No need to cross the country.

FYI - a lot of the 26 x 58 inch size panels include free shipping.
 

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I use a single BougeRV 175W panel and will add another to give me some additional capacity. Right now it is enough to run my miscellaneous communicstions and other electronics without support from the truck battery. When I drive, I do switch in the alternator, but often the solar panel takes the charging load instead. I use a West Mountain Radio Epic PWRGate which includes an MPPT charge controller configurable for a variety of battery types.
73,
Gordon W2TTT
 

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Dunno that I would call it "super" if you won't use their controller, we got BougeRV 170w mono panels on amazon for $145 each earlier this year. Looks like they're $170 now, but I imagine there are several other brand options in the ~$150 range.

I used this panel and love it. I will buy a second in the Fall.
I added two posts to this conversation with photos.
 
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