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Old 04-03-2011, 10:13 AM   #1
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Solar Power Quandary for my '58

I installed a solar charging system in my '72 Sovereign and absolutely love it. It works better than I ever imagined. Now it's time to start planning for the '58 Overlander.

The first big decision relates to the mounting of the solar panels. Should I mount two solar panels on my roof and further modify the look of an old classic Airstream body (I'm thinking about removing the A/C up there for this very reason) or should I go for a ground mount? Uwe was using a ground mount at the 2009 Dead Horse Rally and it worked very well. As you know a ground mount can easily be adjusted to optimize angle to the sun but it can also be easily stolen. The inverse is true for a roof mount.

So that's the question: roof or ground mount solar for a 50s classic? I'm curious to know what others think about this topic.
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Old 04-03-2011, 11:04 AM   #2
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Hey Mike,

We were unplugged on our sailboat for eight years and managed our power with solar and wind. Some folks had solar mounts that tilted and pivoted and they were certainly more efficient than our flat mounts. But, I liked ours better because we weren't slaves to the solar panels. We didn't mess with them and they just worked.

I'm of the same thinking with my '57. I will have 2 50 watt and 2 60 watt panels on the roof. One of each is up there now and I really don't see them at all. For sure, they don't foul up the lines like an airconditioner and I don't have one of those up there. The panels take up the full length between my two roof vents, but are only a total of around 40" wide, so from ground level they don't show up much to me.

Efficiency wise, you cannot beat a ground mount, but at least for me, a pretty passive person, a passive solar system works the best.

cheers,
steve
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Old 04-03-2011, 12:09 PM   #3
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Sounds like a purely aesthetic issue as you put it. As such, you are really the only one who can answer the question. Speaking for me, I don't think panels diminish the look and like Steve I wouldn't want the fuss of the second method. You pays your money and takes your chances....
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Old 04-06-2011, 06:22 PM   #4
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Roof Mount Panels

We chose to use rigid roof mounts to mount our two panels on the top of our 62 Flying Cloud. We have been fulltiming for over a year and a half and run all of our electrical devices from our solar system. Through rain snow sleet and hail, we have never run out of power and always seem to have enough surface area getting sun to keep the batteries topped off.

As far as aesthetics go, people often completely fail to notice the two panels on the roof until we point them out, and I personally think they are kind of a cool combination of retro and modern!
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Old 04-06-2011, 06:37 PM   #5
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Just to add a little info for your consideration, AM Solar has just come out with a new, more efficient 100 watt panel that will yield up to 7.5 amps in ideal conditions. These new GS-100 panels are smaller (21" X 41") and lighter (14.5 lbs.) that the previous panels.

I would mount them on the roof and not worry about them once they are up there. No drilling using AM Solar's VHB taped mounting feet either.
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Old 04-06-2011, 07:32 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by lewster View Post
Just to add a little info for your consideration, AM Solar has just come out with a new, more efficient 100 watt panel that will yield up to 7.5 amps in ideal conditions. These new GS-100 panels are smaller (21" X 41") and lighter (14.5 lbs.) that the previous panels.

I would mount them on the roof and not worry about them once they are up there. No drilling using AM Solar's VHB taped mounting feet either.
Our panels are the previous generation AM Solar (the BEST!) panels and are attached using the tape, which is truly amazing! The new panels should be even better!
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Old 04-06-2011, 08:21 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by FLYNCLD View Post
As far as aesthetics go, people often completely fail to notice the two panels on the roof until we point them out, and I personally think they are kind of a cool combination of retro and modern!
Thanks, I appreciate your response. Your panels do look good. What are the panel measurements and what wattage are they?
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Old 04-06-2011, 09:05 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by mello mike View Post
Thanks, I appreciate your response. Your panels do look good. What are the panel measurements and what wattage are they?
They are the previous version of the AM Solar panels and are just slightly larger than the new ones. Also rated at 100W each. The new AM Solar Panels should be sweet!
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