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Old 04-26-2018, 09:03 PM   #41
DawnLuvsPossums
 
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2016 16' Sport
Gainesville , Florida
Join Date: Dec 2017
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Hi Sandy,

Your thoughts on the flex panels after a year? Just keeping my eyes on solar over the years, while they seem so appealing an a great solution to not having to drill into the structure and risk damage to the roof, plastic tends to cloud (yours are too new maybe to see that yet) and the most recent downside I've read is since they are direct mount, there's no place for heat to escape. In San Diego, maybe not a problem (and if I were in CO...so hi fellow Steamboat Person if you check in, I lived there as a kid and know darned well that CO, not FL, is the real sunshine state) where you are, but here in FL where it is so hot we can just put a ladder on our airstreams and put our food up there to cook, I'm sure this if all places is the last place that's going to do well with anything that has a drawback relating to heat...still, very interested to hear what people's experiences have been and ultimately with my needs for flexibility here in a hurricane state, I'm very interested in going with some kind of a hybrid system where I either use flex but off surface so heat isn't an issue, or if I go glass, that it's very portable, so figure a way to roof mount while driving/storing, but if a need arises elsewhere, that I can easily pull them off and take them to where my energy needs are. So goal zero replies would be appreciated as well!
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Old 05-01-2018, 07:22 AM   #42
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San Diego and Julian , California
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Dear LuvsPossums,

It has been a year since the upgrades including the Flexi solar panels. Within the year we have experienced quite a lot of time dry camping. The longest bout was 7 days in Yellowstone under mixed clouds and some occasional drizzle. Other times we were out dry camping for three days in the direct sun of Joshua Tree. In all situations the solar performed like a dream. We had power every day, the panels topped off the battery by the time we would need more power in the evenings. The performance is so good that I do not stress out about whether the battery has been charged up and turn my attention to other matters. It may be a false sense of security, but the consistent performance has trained me to be confident that we will have enough power for our needs.

The adhesive we used to mount the solar panels were another worry upon installation. One of the panel corners seemed loose. We did not have to worry about that either. A year later and over 3,500 miles and the panels are solid.

I hope this information helps with your decision making. Your concerns are about intense heat exposure over time. Southern California is a good test case area, but indeed, Florida is something else.

Good luck on what you decide and let us know,
Sandy
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Old 05-02-2018, 09:14 AM   #43
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2006 16' International CCD
Steamboat Springs , Colorado
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Sandy,

Thanks for the report. Your lithium install was the inspiration for ours (and our subsequent solar upgrade too). I really like the aesthetics of your flex panels on the curved Airstream roof.

LuvsPossums,

I also had a concern about heat lowering the solar conversion efficiency when using flex panels. Sandy's report indicates this may not be a major concern. Perhaps the days that the conversion efficiency is lowered (hot and sunny) are also the days that have the best sunshine and minimum use of high current devices like the furnace blower. I can vouch that putting 200 watts of solar on top has essentially eliminated us worrying about the charge level anymore, just as in Sandy's case.

In our own case, the flex panels didn't work out due to mechanical reasons. Our Bambi is 2006 and has the Weingard antenna on the passenger side. This precludes putting a panel on that side of the trailer, allowing only a single 100 w flex panel on the driver side. Not enough, since we wanted to max out on solar. So instead, we put two SP100 rigid panels from AM Solar on the driver side, head to tail. We didn't do any drilling either, as the feet that hold the panels are held down by VHB tape and Sikaflex. This is a standard mounting method for rigid panels. The panels extended onto the two caps beyond the roof, but the "flat" portion of the cap that follows the shape of the roof. Some mounting feet were placed on these cap portions, some on the roof proper. Again, all without drilling.
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