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Old 05-21-2019, 04:43 PM   #1
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Updating Solar Panel Installtion

I originally mounted my flexible panels directly to the fiberglass roof using Eternabond because it was quick, worked and did not require a lot of additional cost. One of the things I thought about but decided to look past was what I would need to do if I had to replace a panel. With a 10 Year warranty I was expecting that the panels would last until I sold the RV but as luck wound have it, one of the panels starting failing after only several months of use. So before the winter I removed that panel and just used a single 100W panel as a battery maintainer and to power the remote camera/alarm and cell phone.

So during the spring I took a day here and there and removed the old eternabond tape, which was harder than what I was hoping it would be. Then finally this past weekend, we had three days of sun which is what I needed to mount the new panel. This time I decided to use a 6mm poly carbonate panel as a subsurface to help with cooling and provide a good surface for the solar panel to rest on. I also used some 8mm poly carbonate panel aluminum rails to provide a frame. The combination of the poly and solar panels together fits nicely inside the rail. It's fairly snug with just enough space so that if another panel fails I can slide the bad panel out and a new panel in very quickly. I mounted the long rails to the roof with some 1" 3M VHB tape.

I'm going to make sure over a month or two that there are no problems and then when I have time I will remount the older panel as well.
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Old 05-23-2019, 07:58 AM   #2
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Very nice. Confirm you secured the rails themselves with tape only? I ask only because I am not familiar with the new products. I would have been screwing things down. 68 y/o with no idea what is possible. I am looking to add some solar but have no idea how (till now).
Thanks rch
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Old 05-23-2019, 08:40 AM   #3
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Very clean looking. I guess the panels don't get that hot and need a gap underneath. I was concerned if I would have to remove a panel, so I bought regular panels and mounts that had side bolts enabling removal. After 18 months, 2 panels developed microcracks. Renogy replaced them for free. I then added another panel and made my own mounts. Very secure as I used 3M VHB tape plus drilled one hole per mount for expanded wall mounts and covered with 3M Marine adhesive and covered again with Dicor. The third panel with home made mounts used same procedure but this time I used well nuts, As you can see, it looks messy compared to yours. That 3M VHB tape does wonders!
One advantage of this mount is it can be tilted to shed water. But boy these panels sure get dirty just sitting around in the sun. I have to go up on a ladder before every trip and clean them. NewRVer, do you have any concerns or issues cleaning them?
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Old 05-23-2019, 01:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RHOUSER View Post
Very nice. Confirm you secured the rails themselves with tape only? I ask only because I am not familiar with the new products. I would have been screwing things down. 68 y/o with no idea what is possible. I am looking to add some solar but have no idea how (till now).
Thanks rch
Yes. The rails are secured with 3M 5952 VHB Tape only. I believe this will be sufficient because of the low profile but I am also going to add a safety wire to the rails in case the tape should fail.
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Old 05-23-2019, 01:26 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Sagecoachdriver View Post
Very clean looking. I guess the panels don't get that hot and need a gap underneath. I was concerned if I would have to remove a panel, so I bought regular panels and mounts that had side bolts enabling removal. After 18 months, 2 panels developed microcracks. Renogy replaced them for free. I then added another panel and made my own mounts. Very secure as I used 3M VHB tape plus drilled one hole per mount for expanded wall mounts and covered with 3M Marine adhesive and covered again with Dicor. The third panel with home made mounts used same procedure but this time I used well nuts, As you can see, it looks messy compared to yours. That 3M VHB tape does wonders!
One advantage of this mount is it can be tilted to shed water. But boy these panels sure get dirty just sitting around in the sun. I have to go up on a ladder before every trip and clean them. NewRVer, do you have any concerns or issues cleaning them?
Sage,

The panels will warm up just like any other panel but the manufacturers do not provide any recommendations relative to mounting and/or to adding space underneath for cooling. I did find a solar company that specializes in marine installations and they recommended using polycarbonate panels underneath to provide a more rigid platform for the panels to sit on and also to provide cooling for the panel. One of the the typical uses for these panels are for green house enclosures. These are very heat resistant, lightweight and uv resistant. Additionally because they are built with air channels (see attached pic) that should help with dissipating heat. I would have used a 10MM panel but it would not have been as easy to secure as the 6MM panel so I am giving this a try first.
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Old 05-23-2019, 04:12 PM   #6
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New RVer, got it!. When I started looking at panels a few years ago, Renogy had them and then pulled them. Not sure of the reason so I went with the standard panels. Big difference in weight. Renogy has them back I see. I found Renogy top rate both product and tech support and they are a 70 minute drive away when needed.
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Old 05-24-2019, 07:37 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Sagecoachdriver View Post
New RVer, got it!. When I started looking at panels a few years ago, Renogy had them and then pulled them. Not sure of the reason so I went with the standard panels. Big difference in weight. Renogy has them back I see. I found Renogy top rate both product and tech support and they are a 70 minute drive away when needed.
Then it sounds like maybe Renogy has figured it out. I would not have bought the PET panels that where first generation as there where a lot of issues across all manufacturers. The second generation uses ETFE which for now seems to be working as expected. The one panel that is still secured by eternbond has not required any cleaning or maintenance at all while retaining full output. However my RV sits in a downhill position in storage (sloping front to back) that might help with keeping the panels clean when it rains.
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Old 05-27-2019, 06:38 AM   #8
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Nice
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