Originally Posted by Paul Braun
...........a solar panel is picky, they want it all. Sun, that is. They cannot handle any part of them covered by shade, something as small as a bare tree branch will end your charging
This is not entirely true. It depends both on the type of solar panels you are using and their internal construction. Amorphous thin film cells will produce electricity even in shaded or cloudy conditions. On panels using monochrystalline or polychrystalline cells, how well they work in shaded conditions depends on how they are wired internally. If they are wired in straight series, if one cell is blocked from the sun, the whole panel goes down. If they are wired series-parallel, as I believe most are these days, you may lose production in one section, usually in a strip of cells, but not in the others. It is best to check with the manufacturer to determine how they are wired, and specifically ask them about shade tolerance.
I opted for the amorphous cells when I went solar, particularly because there are usually trees where we prefer to camp, and it's not unusual for the days to be cloudy/rainy. Many times the only direct sun we get is from about 9:00-10:00 AM to 2:00-3:00 PM. In the Little Joe
demand is small, and we use a Group 24 Marine Deep Cycle battery. I use a manual battery charge/state monitor I built to check battery condition. Also, with the Little Joe
, it's easy to orient the trailer to maximize sun exposure, should we feel the need.
Admittedly, the amorphous cells have some drawbacks, both in terms of initial efficiency and weight
, but I considered our needs and typical camping conditions and determined that for our purposes the amorphous panels were the best choice; this not to mention the significantly lower cost at the time of the installation. Also, amorphous cell efficiency doesn't degrade significantly as cell temps rise, although I have not found this to be a significant factor in our application.
Note: I also have no hookup for charging from the TV