Solar Panel Roof Mounting Hardware - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 09-19-2018, 11:28 AM   #1
Member
 
Name: Tony
Trailer: Bigfoot
Colorado
Posts: 64
Solar Panel Roof Mounting Hardware

OK, so I bought two 100w panels to mount on the roof of the new Bigfoot. I've looked over the mounting hardware available for rigid panels and so far have only seen that there are some available that will allow tilting panels to help maximize sun exposure, instead of mounting them flat.

Problem: the ones I so far discovered only tilt in one direction which limits parking options for orienting the trailer for maxing power generation. That in mind, is anyone familiar with a manufacturer of solar panel mounting hardware that can tilt panels in more than one direction?

As well, I have a vision of hardware that will allow cranking panels up and down from the ground in a similar fashion to that of deploying or retracting a typical awning.

Thanks in advance for your advice!
__________________

Tony O is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-20-2018, 11:14 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
Gilles's Avatar
 
Name: Gilles
Trailer: Bigfoot 15B17G, 1986.
Quebec
Posts: 641
Registry
I used the following method to install my 100 watt solar panel. Since 3 years that I installed and all is well.
I do not use winter yet, so I did not install mounts to maximize performance with the sun's angle in winter.

https://amsolar.com/rv-mounting-accessories/91m-35ms
__________________

__________________
Gilles
Bigfoot 15B17G.
Towed with Dodge RAM 1500 Echo-Diesel, 3.0 L., 8 speeds.
Gilles is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-20-2018, 02:32 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Name: K C
Trailer: 1971 Trailswest Campster
Washington
Posts: 2,112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony O View Post
OK, so I bought two 100w panels to mount on the roof of the new Bigfoot. I've looked over the mounting hardware available for rigid panels and so far have only seen that there are some available that will allow tilting panels to help maximize sun exposure, instead of mounting them flat.

Problem: the ones I so far discovered only tilt in one direction which limits parking options for orienting the trailer for maxing power generation. That in mind, is anyone familiar with a manufacturer of solar panel mounting hardware that can tilt panels in more than one direction?

As well, I have a vision of hardware that will allow cranking panels up and down from the ground in a similar fashion to that of deploying or retracting a typical awning.
Thanks in advance for your advice!

What you want does exist...for commercial panel installations
https://pvbooster.com/
k corbin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-20-2018, 03:18 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Name: Tom
Trailer: Sprinter-ing as I shop
Denver, CO
Posts: 928
Looking at the Amsolar rocker mounts linked in Gilles post #2, it looks to me like two pieces of "L" channel about two feet long are all that's needed.

Here's a link to complete brackets:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Adjustable-.../163207603177?
Tom 72 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-20-2018, 04:26 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Gilles's Avatar
 
Name: Gilles
Trailer: Bigfoot 15B17G, 1986.
Quebec
Posts: 641
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom 72 View Post
Looking at the Amsolar rocker mounts linked in Gilles post #2, it looks to me like two pieces of "L" channel about two feet long are all that's needed.

Here's a link to complete brackets:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Adjustable-.../163207603177?
With the following video, he shows us the installation with the extension arms to use in winter ...

__________________
Gilles
Bigfoot 15B17G.
Towed with Dodge RAM 1500 Echo-Diesel, 3.0 L., 8 speeds.
Gilles is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-20-2018, 07:39 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
Posts: 2,955
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gilles View Post
I used the following method to install my 100 watt solar panel. Since 3 years that I installed and all is well.
I do not use winter yet, so I did not install mounts to maximize performance with the sun's angle in winter.

https://amsolar.com/rv-mounting-accessories/91m-35ms
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom 72 View Post
Looking at the Amsolar rocker mounts linked in Gilles post #2, it looks to me like two pieces of "L" channel about two feet long are all that's needed.

Here's a link to complete brackets:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Adjustable-.../163207603177?
But these only tilt on one direction, and the OP said:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony O View Post
...
Problem: the ones I so far discovered only tilt in one direction which limits parking options for orienting the trailer for maxing power generation. That in mind, is anyone familiar with a manufacturer of solar panel mounting hardware that can tilt panels in more than one direction? ...
And the one mentioned that does point to the sun:
Quote:
Originally Posted by k corbin View Post
What you want does exist...for commercial panel installations
https://pvbooster.com/
seems totally impractical for a mobile installation.

My guess would be that by the time you factor in the cost and complexity of a mount that would tilt in multiple directions, it is just not reasonable for a small travel trailer. Portable panels do of course adjust as needed to follow the sun, and as a bonus, and can be moved a short ways to reach the rays. So a flat mount, or one that tilts on one direction for the roof, paired with a portable setup, sounds like the most reasonable option. The roof mount wont be as efficient as is theoretically possible, but it will be practical.
gordon2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-20-2018, 09:34 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Name: K C
Trailer: 1971 Trailswest Campster
Washington
Posts: 2,112
Have you considered the issue of not wanting the sun shining on the same side of the trailer as your refrigerator? Would you really want that side to be facing to the south for a little extra solar energy in the warmer months? You are going to wipe out the energy creation savings with fridge then using more energy. It is a struggle for people to keep gas fridges cold in the summer months therefore they position their trailer so that side is to the north. This means you will only have one practical direction for tilting the panel so therefore no need for a dual angle tilt mechanism. Unless you want to face it towards the tongue or the rear in which case you have 3 angles. Better get a square panel just in case
k corbin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2018, 06:27 AM   #8
Senior Member
 
Name: Tom
Trailer: Sprinter-ing as I shop
Denver, CO
Posts: 928
I'll leave the decision of whether to expose the refigerator side of the trailer to others.

I watched the video , found it useful, & it appears his rocker mounts [Linked in post #2] at the base are all identical. So it seems if he just came to the near side of the panel and faced away from us, he could reverse installation of the tilt bars, and achieve the opposite tilt.

Am I missing something?
Tom 72 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2018, 08:24 AM   #9
Member
 
Name: Tony
Trailer: Bigfoot
Colorado
Posts: 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
But these only tilt on one direction, and the OP said:



And the one mentioned that does point to the sun:

seems totally impractical for a mobile installation.

My guess would be that by the time you factor in the cost and complexity of a mount that would tilt in multiple directions, it is just not reasonable for a small travel trailer. Portable panels do of course adjust as needed to follow the sun, and as a bonus, and can be moved a short ways to reach the rays. So a flat mount, or one that tilts on one direction for the roof, paired with a portable setup, sounds like the most reasonable option. The roof mount wont be as efficient as is theoretically possible, but it will be practical.

All valid, thoughtful and appreciated comments. Thanks to everyone for their insight and guidance. As in most situations, compromise appears to be necessary, if not required for a variety of reasons.

Not sitting idle I ran across this solution which at first view seemed practical until noting that the longitudinal axis was missing and the entire assembly unjustifiably expensive. Hmm...

Gilles' solution looks to be well advised from a cost/benefit standpoint even though it has inherent limitations. After watching the video I came away wondering why the angular supports aren't made telescopic to help set latitude. That thought in mind it occurred to me that a latitude scale printed on the side of the support arms would potentially be useful, too. Hmm...
Tony O is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2018, 08:25 AM   #10
Member
 
Name: Tony
Trailer: Bigfoot
Colorado
Posts: 64
K Corbin: Point well taken.
Tony O is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2018, 08:48 AM   #11
Senior Member
 
Gilles's Avatar
 
Name: Gilles
Trailer: Bigfoot 15B17G, 1986.
Quebec
Posts: 641
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony O View Post

Gilles' solution looks to be well advised from a cost/benefit standpoint even though it has inherent limitations. After watching the video I came away wondering why the angular supports aren't made telescopic to help set latitude. That thought in mind it occurred to me that a latitude scale printed on the side of the support arms would potentially be useful, too. Hmm...
Once the material is received, nothing prevents you from modifying the equipment according to your necessity.
You already have the possibility of two opposite directions.
With a little imagination and do-it-yourself, you can add two more directions if needed !!?
__________________
Gilles
Bigfoot 15B17G.
Towed with Dodge RAM 1500 Echo-Diesel, 3.0 L., 8 speeds.
Gilles is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2018, 09:08 AM   #12
Senior Member
 
Jon Vermilye's Avatar
 
Name: Jon
Trailer: 2017 Escape 21
Oswego, NY
Posts: 1,634
Registry
I've modified the stock Escape panel mounts so that I can tip them in 3 different directions. I could tip them towards the front of the trailer, but the AC would block the rear panel. Some photos of the modifications (done in 2 steps, the first only allowed rear tilting) are on my Escape 21 Modifications page.

While practical for long stays like I do in the Arizona desert over the winter, this system is not all that practical for overnighters - you need to use a ladder to do the tilting, and move it around the trailer at least twice. Still, a 4X improvement in panel output during the low angle winter sun. I generally don't bother tilting unless I'm in a location for more than a week. I have not needed to tilt during the summer.
Jon Vermilye is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2018, 09:08 AM   #13
Senior Member
 
Name: Tom
Trailer: Sprinter-ing as I shop
Denver, CO
Posts: 928
I don't get the difficulty here. A variety of simple kits would allow you to lift the panel from either side. The one below is just $35. It captures most of the winter sun benefit for the lowest cost. Instead of spending $ thousands on motorized mounts to tweak the position, just move your vehicle every couple hours.

Better yet, buy a bit more panel wattage than needed, then go enjoy the day. Consider sizing the controller to accept an added portable panel, when desired.

If you mount the brackets at the very ends of the panels, it would allow use of tilt bars with holes drilled at multiple lengths for variable heights. Telescoping bars are an alternative.

https://www.amazon.com/Renogy-Adjust...f=pd_cp_107_2?
Tom 72 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2018, 09:27 AM   #14
Senior Member
 
Name: Francois
Trailer: Bigfoot
British Columbia
Posts: 1,095
Registry
easier...

good luck in your quest for an all-way tilt set-up for your roof mounted panels....but unless you want to run a load like a three bedroom house off it...Do you really need it???


some cost/benefit analysis has to be made....let's say you have a 100W panel....how much money and trouble will it be to make it all way tilt....it might just be less money and trouble to just buy another 100W and mount it flat as well. Playing around with my panels sort of told me that a panel perfectly angled to the sun produces double what a panel on the flat produces.....so if you double W on the flat you'll end up with the same result.....and no climbing, moving, tilting (cheaper and less trouble always wins with me)



I'm 100% with Gordon on this one: the most versatile solution is a certain amount of flat panel on the roof and a "deployable" panel stored inside trailer... with and extension cord.....it covers ALL the bases


I even carry a second controller for the "deployable" so that I could charge another or somebody else's battery if that situation ever arose
__________________

Franswa is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
solar, solar panel


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Mounting Solar Panels to Roof ? Dean & Mary Modifications, Alterations and Updates 11 06-28-2016 09:45 AM
Bolting solar panel brackets to roof ajdemo76 Electrical | Charging, Systems, Solar and Generators 16 03-21-2015 07:10 AM
New roof-mounted solar panel peterh Modifications, Alterations and Updates 13 09-13-2012 07:13 AM
Solar Panel Set up Question - Grounding the panel? Anne H Electrical | Charging, Systems, Solar and Generators 2 09-07-2012 04:48 PM
Solar panel mounted on roof Trillium 1300 je.bedard Modifications, Alterations and Updates 9 08-29-2012 03:36 PM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:15 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions Inc.