Anyone tried conformal solar panels? - Fiberglass RV
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Old 05-17-2024, 07:44 AM   #1
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Name: John
Trailer: Scamp 19
Texas
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Anyone tried conformal solar panels?

I'm seeing alot of ads for conformal (flexible) solar panels and installation kits, mainly intended for installation on truck hoods.



Has anyone tried installing one of these kits on a fiberglass RV roof?


The typical kit appears to be a piece of pre-cut vinyl (for application onto the vehicle), which the solar panel then mounts to.
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Old 05-17-2024, 08:16 AM   #2
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In reading about efficiency and solar panels, they get hot and are more efficient when not placed on a solid surface. If you can keep the temperature under a panel cooler, it in turns maximizes the panel's efficiency.
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Old 05-17-2024, 11:04 AM   #3
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I won't use flexible panels again. They don't seem to produce as much power per sq ft as the glass ones do, they don't help keep the trailer cool in the sun by having an air gap, as Donna mentioned, which makes them less efficient. And, in my case, were glued down with VHB tape. Removing them was extremely difficult. Since there is no room under them, the wiring is all exposed and must be dealt with by other than tucking it in underneath. The lightness and flexibility is nice, but I think it is outweighed by the disadvantages.
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Old 05-17-2024, 05:12 PM   #4
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My friend in WA state installed flexible panels on his trailer. They stopped working after the second winter.
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Old 05-22-2024, 10:16 AM   #5
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Name: Diana
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We got a 200W flexible panel to supplement our solar power while driving. Ours can be applied directly to a surface w/o any air gap underneath. You just need to leave air gaps in the VHB tape every few inches.

The issue we had is applying it to our Scamp's roof - which *slightly* curves on the edges of the solar panel area. The panel does flex quite a lot in one direction or the other. But try to flex it at the corners? Uh-uh. It was a bear to affix!

Good luck with whatever you decide to use!
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Old 05-22-2024, 10:29 AM   #6
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Name: Marcin
Trailer: Happier Camper
Colorado
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We have flexible solar panels that the camper came with (from the manufacturer). They have worked well since we bought this camper last November and seem to keep our 1.2kWh battery topped off. I have no reason to believe that they havent been working well the last four years since the camper was new. I am curious what happens in the hotter months when they run less efficient. I suspect the max output is somewhere around 150W.

One thing I will mention is that you can get small gaps where the roof curves in two directions. This bothers me a little but is not too unslightly.
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Old 05-22-2024, 10:57 AM   #7
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I just installed 2 of these on my 1974 Compact II. They fit nicely on either side of the top.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BJJZGP4J...t_details&th=1
I have several more items to get them connected to my 2 batteries
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BXNJBFH3...roduct_details
I'm new to the solar idea. My plan is to have land charging, solar (200 W) and a gas generator when needed.
I installed https://www.ebay.com/itm/296395844120 and am ready to charge with R134a when I get the batteries connected.

It's gong to be exciting to see if the money spent on these items add the level of usability to the trailer. Previous owner had installed a 6k but AC which was noisy and inefficient and didn't do an appropriate job in South East Texas.
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Old 05-22-2024, 10:59 AM   #8
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Name: William
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I love the idea of them but had a couple fail on me in the last 8 or so years with light use. Currently on the third. I tried to mount with better air gaps with vhb tape. If this one fails I will try normal panels.
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Old 05-22-2024, 12:12 PM   #9
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Two posters have mentioned "air gaps" in the VHB tape. That is not the same as an air gap under a glass panel. The gap under a glass panel is sufficient to tuck the wires under the panel and sufficient that air can circulate to cool the panel and keep heat off the roof of the trailer. A gap in the VHB tape is simply to prevent the panel blowing up like a bubble, not for air circulation or hiding the wires.
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Old 05-22-2024, 12:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raspy View Post
Two posters have mentioned "air gaps" in the VHB tape. That is not the same as an air gap under a glass panel. The gap under a glass panel is sufficient to tuck the wires under the panel and sufficient that air can circulate to cool the panel and keep heat off the roof of the trailer. A gap in the VHB tape is simply to prevent the panel blowing up like a bubble, not for air circulation or hiding the wires.
Itís likely not adequate, but the tape is pretty thick and i left a gap along the front and rear edge so some air can flow through. I think itís better than nothing. The panel I did this with has lasted longer than the ones where the air was more restricted.
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