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Old 12-01-2010, 04:03 PM   #1
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Solar panel owners: Would you do it again?

Some questions for those of you who have either factory or aftermarket solar panels permanently installed on your trailer.

What benefits of the solar system have actually come true for you (longer boondocking times, less noise, less conservation, can camp in colder weather, etc.)?

Which of those matter to you most?

Do you carry a generator anyway?

If you had it to do over, would you get solar panels again?
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Old 12-01-2010, 04:12 PM   #2
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I have aftermarket panels on three of my AS's. I will put on the fourth as well. I haven't carried my gen for over a year. I haven't missed it. I love not having the noise and not dealing with the fuel for it. As you can tell I will do it again.
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Old 12-01-2010, 05:46 PM   #3
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I have put after market solar panels on 2 Airstreams and an Avion. I enjoy all the benefits mentioned above plus one more. The Avion is parked where it never sees a shore power hookup. The solar panel is the only thing that keeps the batteries from eventually discharging and freezing.
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Old 12-01-2010, 06:35 PM   #4
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I added a 120 watt solar panel several years ago and I love it. Pretty much limitless boondocking.... to me it's the way to go. I have no quarrel with people whose electrical needs require a generator (as long as it's quiet!) but we keep things simple and find the solar panel, with two group 24 batteries, does the job.
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Old 12-01-2010, 06:54 PM   #5
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Storage benefit

I'll second Airstream 25. Our trailer is now stored for the winter. No shore power. We occasionally turn the lights (LEDs) and furnace on to show it to people. Even though the battery monitor has occasionally dropped to 75% after use, the single factory solar panel has done its job of pumping the batteries back up to 100% very quickly.
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Old 12-01-2010, 06:56 PM   #6
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We have 250 watts worth of panels and they take care off all our power needs. During the winter we will occasionally supplement with a generator,(old 600 watt Honda) but even then only when parked in some shaded spots in the national forests of Florida
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Old 12-01-2010, 07:19 PM   #7
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Have 1 130 watt panel. Love being able to go anywhere. Would do it again.
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:04 PM   #8
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yep, yes, and again yep.

We added two 100w panels ourselves.

All benefits of the solar system have actually come true are longer boondocking times, less noise, less conservation, can camp in colder weather pretty much hits it on the head.

Non Power options for sites matters most to us.

Still carry a generator anyway, a 1000w Yamaha, very quiet. JIK...

Will again get solar panels for the 1970 Safari we're working on...

Once the awning charging fabric is developed...we'll be well on our way!
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
Some questions for those of you who have either factory or aftermarket solar panels permanently installed on your trailer.

What benefits of the solar system have actually come true for you (longer boondocking times, less noise, less conservation, can camp in colder weather, etc.)?

If you had it to do over, would you get solar panels again?
I would do it again. I have 4 panels for a total of 300W. I still carry a generator. You can have enough cloudy days to drain the batteries.
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:24 PM   #10
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I have three solar panels (300w?) on the stream that were install by my grandfather by solarmetrics. Its great to be able to watch TV or listen to the radio during the day without draining the batteries. I dont do much boondocking and dont own a genni that i would carry with me but its nice to know that i could if needed.

Chris
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Old 12-01-2010, 09:14 PM   #11
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I have 400 watts on my service van coupled to a 2000 watt
Magnum sine wave inverter. The inverter draws from 4
Lifeline 300 amp/hr golf cart batteries. This arrangement
Was used as a mobile 'power post' for my 19CCD by simply
plugging the trailer into the inverter 120VAC plug below the
bumper. Worked very well and I never ran out of power.

I am putting 900 watts of solar on the roof of the new motor
home with 900 amp/hours of Lifelines and a new 2800 watt
Magnum sine wave inverter.

Keep in mind that the MoHo also has an 8000 watt diesel
generator. I much prefer the solar!!!
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Old 12-01-2010, 10:12 PM   #12
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Approximately what does a panel and installation cost?
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Old 12-01-2010, 11:11 PM   #13
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We have factory solar and like it a lot...If we were doing it ourselves we'd put a higher-output panel in...but this works well for us. We also carry a generator and between the two we can go forever...or as long as we need to, anyway. It's great to be able to take a non-electric site when you need or want to ... or when they are nicer than the electric sites...yes, we have opted for a non-electric site in parks that offer electricity... nice to have the choice.
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Old 12-01-2010, 11:26 PM   #14
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53 watts, factory solar panel. Doesn't seem like much, but gets the Lifeline AGM batteries back up to 100% in a few hours on a sunny day. Glad we have it. We also pack a Honda EU2000i generator for extended stays. Very quiet and dependable.
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