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Old 04-19-2018, 07:38 AM   #1
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Solar panels on Argosy

Are other Argosy owners using the standard framed solar panels with mounts or flexible solar panels on the surface? All the newer AS seem to have a flatter roof making them a bit more conducive to mounting the framed panels. The downside is the flexible panels are 3x the cost.
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Old 04-21-2018, 07:33 PM   #2
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I haven't gotten that far yet but I'm pretty sure that you can use rigid solar panels. How many watts are you planning on installing?
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Old 04-21-2018, 07:59 PM   #3
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Currently installing 2 flat solar panels (160X2) 320 watts on a wide body AS. Previously installed 2 of the same on an older AS. Difference in the installation, height of brackets. Easy install!
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Old 04-21-2018, 09:00 PM   #4
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Iím currently planning for a 400 Watt system with expansion to 600
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Old 04-22-2018, 06:25 AM   #5
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If you're concerned about fit you could cut some foam insulation material the same size as your panels and do a dry fit before you buy the panels.
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Old 04-22-2018, 06:27 AM   #6
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Some of us are fortunate to have the room up top to expand. More solar, more battery storage capacity.
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Old 04-22-2018, 08:01 AM   #7
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Would love to go all out with solar and batteries. I'm an ABYC certified marine electrician and love this stuff.

However, I'm not sure it's worth the money....

Beyond just maintaining the onboard battery how often will I need significant power while camping? And, when I can get a generator for less than $1000 and the solar set-up I'd like to build will cost 3 times that what's the return?

I guess I'll have to see how it actually works out when I'm camping more, until then I'm gonna hold out.
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Old 04-22-2018, 09:09 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matthewsx View Post
Would love to go all out with solar and batteries. I'm an ABYC certified marine electrician and love this stuff.

However, I'm not sure it's worth the money....

Beyond just maintaining the onboard battery how often will I need significant power while camping? And, when I can get a generator for less than $1000 and the solar set-up I'd like to build will cost 3 times that what's the return?

I guess I'll have to see how it actually works out when I'm camping more, until then I'm gonna hold out.
Remember that the ROI isn't just fuel saved on genny power... but rather the reduction in cost that comes with boon docking or camping in non generator campsites.

This summer the campsite I wanted in the UP did not allow generators--and it was $50/night cheaper than my second choice. In four days in that campsite I "save" $200 that can go toward the solar system that allows me to stay there.

I know that's slightly twisted logic (and pretty much assumes I could afford solar either way), but it works for me!
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Old 04-22-2018, 12:25 PM   #9
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I am not sure about the purpose of solar, but just the convenience of having power for everything but the A/C or Microwave. For lights, TV, computers and smart phones etc. to name a few, I think it is worth it. If you also want A/C and a Microwave, get a generator for those times. As for cost a 320 watt system (2-160 watt panels) with a Blue Sky controller incl. wiring etc. will run under $700. You now have to be creative and install it yourself, a friend wouldn't hurt either. Not big a job as you would think. I am doing it my 2nd time. Do it with a friend, it's easier and it's fun. BTW, you could run the A/C with an "Easy Start" add on using a 2000 watt generator as mentioned in other threads on the forum!
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Old 04-23-2018, 08:29 AM   #10
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Solar Flex vs Framed & Lithium vs AGM batteries

My Argosy has 3 roof vents (not sure if that's standard) and while I was trying not to, I think I will likely add the low profile Coleman Mach 8 15000 BTU AC/HP which will further restrict the roof area for solar. I will likely still have enough room for at least 4 panels...maybe 5-6 but it will start getting crowded and difficult to get around up there for maint/repairs.

Everything that I've read on solar (from Solar AM primarily) would suggest the flexible panels are less efficient (and possible a shorter lifespan). However using them would allow me to wrap than down the curvature of the sides a bit more than mounting the framed panels. At 3x the price of framed, I cant really justify the additional cost and will just make the framed panels work.

As for battery systems, as appealing as the Lithium batteries are, I don't think our current camping style would yield an acceptable ROI, so I am leaning toward an AGM battery system. At some time down the road, if we find ourselves full-timing or more extensive boondocking then I could see a case for Lithium batteries.
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