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Old 10-02-2013, 09:26 PM   #1
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2014 25' FB Eddie Bauer
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Solar Panels

I am in the process of buying a 2014 Eddie Bauer 25FB and asked the dealer about the possibility of adding solar panel(s) to my roof deck. He got back to me today and said that after installing my Winegard satellite dome, there was no room for a large solar panel. I was a little shocked to hear that, but he said that with the AC, fantastic fans and the satellite dome, I was out of real estate. I am a Newbie and don't have any working knowledge of Airstreams, but I wanted to get some opinions on this from Airstreamers who have installed solar panels. I was trying to get as close to 500W as possible, but all I need is enough to run lights and fans. I have a 1000W inverter installed from the factory. Your comments are appreciated.
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Old 10-02-2013, 09:39 PM   #2
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I'd have to see it to believe that there is NO room for solar on a 25'. Here's a shot of my 28' Intl. Since this photo was taken I had the 2d A/C installed at JC. I have FOUR 100W panels. Check out AM Solar's website and get panel dimensions. They do come in different sizes....the bigger the panel the high the output. Also, if you are even moderately handy with a screwdriver, pliers, and basic tools you can do this install yourself with the super kits these folks put together that include EVERYTHING (and I mean including cable ties), to install solar. Beautifully packed, bagged and labelled. Good luck!
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Old 10-02-2013, 09:42 PM   #3
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Solar

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Old 10-02-2013, 09:50 PM   #4
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It is very possible the TV antenna installation did wipe out the spot for the proposed solar panel. I have a single 150 watt solar panel on our 25FB. Limited roof space is why I went with the Dish Tailgator.
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Old 11-01-2013, 10:52 AM   #5
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Luckyman,
Consider smaller panels. I have two 85w panels atop my FC23FB and room for a third. 170 watts is sufficient for our needs. I did remove my TV antenna as we never used it. Even with it I could have fit 2 panels. Multiple separated smaller panels yield the benefit of one panel providing output when another is shaded by a tree in a GC.
My Airstream dealer did my installation to my specified layout with the panels, controller and wiring that I purchased separately.
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Old 11-01-2013, 11:14 AM   #6
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My experience with the dealers is that they are (close to) clueless about how solar can be accommodated. Call the folks at AM Solar in Oregon. Send them a pic of what's up there and they can recommend a package for you. The AM guys will ship a package to you and then the challenge is finding a good person to install them (but those folks are out there!).

It could be a stretch to get to 500W, but as JamuJoe points out smaller panels are an option. They are increasingly more available, at better price points, and greater efficiency. We ended up with 2-170's which do great. I've got space for one more without the roof looking like a space station.

Good luck!
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Old 11-01-2013, 11:31 AM   #7
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Call Paul Mayeux over at AP Vintage Trailer Works. He is in Paradise, TX. Might be able to advise you. Home Page. He is one of the installers associated that uses the AMSolar parts.
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Old 11-01-2013, 11:43 AM   #8
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I paid JC the $500. to delete both my skylights on my '13 EB. Looking for room for my "solar system".
I'm assuming that your '14 hasn't been built yet?
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Old 11-01-2013, 12:06 PM   #9
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You would be very surprised at how many high efficiency 100 watt GS-100 panels from AM Solar you can fit on an Airstreams roof.

My current record is 8 on a 28 Classic, but you should get 4 on a 25 no problem. I even placed 3 on a 22 Sport (THAT was a challenge!).
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Old 11-01-2013, 01:53 PM   #10
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You may also want to consider a portable kit. One of the great advantages of the portable kits is that you can direct the panels towards the sun to increase their efficiency while you could keep the airstream in the shade. Because you can angle them and point them in any direction you can start generating electricity from these way before you can with panels that are fixed in a horizontal orientation on your airstreams roof.

These may not be as efficient as an installed system, but with good conservation practices a good portable panel should keep your batteries topped off.

Of course there are some drawbacks, like the potential for theft, or something to carry around, but these can be had for very reasonable prices.

I am going to be purchasing one from GoPower or someone similar come next spring.

Portable Solar Kits (120, 80 & 40 watts) | GPElectric

Hope that helps.

-J
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Old 11-01-2013, 02:11 PM   #11
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The portable 130 watt system I have been using might be more efficient than a similarly-sized rooftop system, as the azimuth can be corrected as the day progresses, whereas the rooftop systems are usually stationary.

Mine is a Solarland from rvsolarnow.com, and am very pleased the performance it offers. That said, I am looking to sell in favor of an AM Solar rooftop system due to limited boon docking in areas where placement to avoid shade is a problem. Once we are in Arizona, I do not expect a significant advantage of the portable over a rooftop type.

In the Northeast, or frequent camping at shaded sites, I believe the portable is the way to go.
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