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Old 07-07-2016, 12:02 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Kenny kustom View Post
So, the panels are stationary. You placed them where they would have full sun, no shadows.

The only point to this thread, is that no matter how many panels someone has, a bit of shade can knock them down to big ol zero.

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I don't understand your point of shade and down to the big ol zero?

If you install the panels in parallel you can have shading and still the other panels will work. Yes in series one part of a panel shaded the whole array goes down. Usually panels in series are for high voltage setup and a grid tied system.

I also have a battery bank that will last almost two days without any solar but that will never happen. 4ea 6 volt agm batts 450AH of power.


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Old 07-07-2016, 12:17 AM   #12
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I have 4 100 watt panels wired in parallel. Our last trip we had trees on 3 sides of the camper. Solar did a good job keeping things topped off. We have 664 amp-hours of battery capacity and use about 10-15% of it each night where our biggest draw is running the heater all night. Yes, its summer and where we camp it gets down to high 30's low 40's each night at 10,000 ft ASL

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Old 07-07-2016, 05:09 AM   #13
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What this video really shows is the need for a well planned and executed solar system.

I have a 39' Coachmen (now Forest River). I replaced the coach batteries with 4 LS-16 AGM batteries (800 amp total capacity) and installed 6 Kyocera 140 Watt panels, all in parallel. Parallel was chosen specifically to minimize shading losses. I have a morningstar 60 AMP MPPT controller. All wiring was 8 gauge to minimize losses.

I hate to stay in commercial campgrounds and nearly always stay in state or national campgrounds that are dry. We have now been on the road, on a trip to Alaska, for 7 weeks. I was last plugged in 5 weeks ago. I just came out of Denali, 5 days of dry camping in Teklanika. It pretty much rained every day and was overcast about 60% of the time. Nonetheless, I never went below 35% down, and was fully topped up the day I left. My system produced about 10 amps an hour even when it was raining.

We are relatively heavy users of power. Our daily average is about 150 amps. I won't get a residential refrigerator because I don't want to be plugged in all the time. We watch TV most nights, usually some DVDs (Game of Thrones, season 5, currently on deck). I make coffee in the morning and use the microwave as needed. I have replaced most of the lighting with LED. That, along with cutting off the inverter when its not needed, dropped our draw from about 250 amps a day to 150. This includes my CPAP and also my heated electric blanket which runs off the 12 volt system.

Today, it rained all day and was totally overcast. We are in a state park outside of Anchorage, with trees on both sides, but some open areas. I still made 1800 watts of power today, more than enough to meet my needs.

So, yes, the video is correct. If you get shading on a single panel, and all panels are in series, you will kill your power production. The advantage to series is that you have less voltage loss and can use smaller wiring. However, the bigger advantage goes to parallel since shading will only kill the shaded panel. Use heavier wiring, go parallel, keep your runs short, and add as many panels as you can stuff on your roof.

For me, this is not about the economics of solar versus my generator. I don't want to be sitting in a campground listening to my generator, and especially don't want to listen to yours.


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Old 07-07-2016, 12:32 PM   #14
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well there sure are a lot of farmers installing solor panels these days in the midwest had the neighbor put them on his machine shed, and he said he sells back about 2 times more than he use's on average
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Old 07-07-2016, 12:40 PM   #15
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It is very well known in the solar community that series panels are very susceptible to any matter how small. As others have said, that is why parallel installations are preferable. Solar obviously isn't worthless but bad solar design and installation clearly is.

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Old 07-07-2016, 01:06 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Kenny kustom View Post
Unless you camp in the desert.

Interesting video, with a surprising outcome.

( alternate title.. How shading actually kills your output)
Well it is our intention to use it, plus we are going to be installing a wind generator for those day it is cloudy or shady and it will work at night. Last time I was at a marina with a lot of sail boats, the majority of then was running with wind gens and smaller solar panels. Unless you have a super sized boat, those panels are just to large. Apples and Oranges
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Old 07-07-2016, 01:22 PM   #17
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As we say solar not for everyone. In my case would be far to expensive to buy and cheaper to use Gen which is allowed in my dry camping situations. Later RJD
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Old 07-07-2016, 01:59 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by NMWildcat View Post
I guess, $5k worth of lithium batteries and a $3k inverter had something to do with them being able to run the ac
I would love to add solar but so far the initial cost for a good system outweighs the benefits. Maybe our next rig will come with one from the factory. Until then I'll just run my Hondas on about 5 gallons of gas a week when boondocking.[/QUOTE]

We are on our second toy hauler. One good reason,. The onboard generator is so much easier than dragging out the Hondas like our friends, and Hondas get stolen . Ours does not.

Then came solar. Spoiled me rotten. Gen is now just for the AC. Put them on the roof like ours and stay away from all day shade, but all we need most days is 3-4 hours of sun and the batteries stay up.

Cost need not be a big factor. Look at or full 200 watt system can be had for under $360 delivered. Install can be intimidating but turned out to be easy. If the shade worries you -- set them up with some legs and a long wire. That works great too and we found that 100 watts moved at intervals to keep it directly perpendicular to the Sun gives almost as much daily output as 200 watts laid flat on the rooftop.
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Old 07-07-2016, 03:49 PM   #19
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It is a little high to start. I don't have it at all on the camper just the off grid cabin. We mostly camp at state parts with the camper so no solar is needed.

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Old 07-07-2016, 07:12 PM   #20
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I thought that a PV panel needs sun (sun = solar) was wide knowledge... and can't tolerate a "close in" shadow. But still works at low capacity on a cloudy day. Don't you just hate nature's laws? But I was shocked to find out a gas generator has to have gas and (wait for it.... ) it is only quiet when its not running ... I know, right!!

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