solar panels pros and cons

Submitted: Sunday, Dec 09, 2007 at 00:10
ThreadID: 124260 Views:3333 Replies:2 FollowUps:4
This Thread has been Archived
Hi all
I am going through the pros and cons of getting together information to build a new van .
I have been told uni cycle panels are good but are only 64 w, ea but are not unduely affected by shade
Kyocera panels are good approw 130 w, ea
But partial shade can mean no out put
what I want is capability to run a 200
ltr + fridge freezer 12 volt for max time stand alone without mains power
it has been suggested that 3 unicycle panels and 3 batteries should do the trick
But what I am wondering is would 2 or possibly 3 Kyocera panels at 130 watts be a better option with 3 batteries
the main issue to me is ,1 the shading versus the panel out put
and am I getting the right info as I would like to get it right the first time.
If any one can give me there ideas and thoughts it would be apppreciated
regards the Battler
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Grumblebum & Dragon - Sunday, Dec 09, 2007 at 07:23

Sunday, Dec 09, 2007 at 07:23
Hi Battler,
I think all panels will suffer in shade despite what salesmen will tell you. For a 200 litre fridge freezer and other sundry gear I would suggest at least three 125/130 watt panels linked to three top quality batteries via a good controller.

We have this set up on the Bt and have very good results - we usually park adjacent to shade but not under it. The Bushtrackers are very well insulated. In good sunny condition we run everything off this set-up - inluding a 190L fridge/freezer and only get up a top-up from a geeny after several days of wet/cloudy weather.

A good quality set-up will pay you back with years of good service. The el-cheapo may prove to be the opposite.

John and Jean
AnswerID: 573618

Follow Up By:- Sunday, Dec 09, 2007 at 08:15

Sunday, Dec 09, 2007 at 08:15
Thanks for that I agree I would be miffed to find out after it was done that I would need to replace panels as it would be cheaper to get it it right at the start the first time . I guess the issue is does partial shade stop out put or not
Regards the Battler
FollowupID: 848947

Follow Up By: NIK `N` OFF - Sunday, Dec 09, 2007 at 09:14

Sunday, Dec 09, 2007 at 09:14
Previous van we had 3 x 125w panels & 3 100a/hr batteries, apart from the usual lights LCD tv etc it looked after a 150lt fridge / freezer and 40lt Engel, i recall using the genny once in 12 months to supplement the solar imput.

Latest BT we have 4 x 125w panels & 4 x 100a/hr batteries, operating the usual and 190lt Fridge / freezer & 40lt Engel all the time, havent looked like using the genny since we picked it up last May.

I too have heard the partial shade kills the input on the complete panel but it hasn't shown up to be the case with us, well if it has then the other panels have well and truly compensated for those times.

Mick & Vickie

My Profile  My Blog  Send Message

FollowupID: 848948

Follow Up By:- Sunday, Dec 09, 2007 at 16:34

Sunday, Dec 09, 2007 at 16:34
Thanks for that it sounds like the starting point should be 3x130 watt panels
FollowupID: 848949

Reply By: The paca people - Monday, Dec 10, 2007 at 20:54

Monday, Dec 10, 2007 at 20:54
Hey Battler,
We have 3 x 130 watt Kyocera panels plus 3 x AGM batteries to drive a 190 L Coolmatic plus the usual other elec items on our 18'BT currently on a 2 year Round Oz tour - ensure you get the LED bedside and dinette light globes instead of halogen to reduce power draw.

The most important thing to ensure is that the main power wiring runs are of adequate cross section area. If in doubt, read the output of Collyn Rivers from Broome re cable size [Google him for his articles.]. We have just duplicated the wiring from 12volt Switchboard to Fridge as the 2002 BT supplied wires [6 sq mm of copper per wire] were patently inadequate. I measured 1.3 volts drop from batteries to fridge.
I ran new pair of 8 sq mm copper wires from 12v switchboard to the fridge for 0.6 volt drop but then connected the old 6 sq mm and the new 8 sq mm wires in parallel to get the voltage drop down to 0.3 volts which is adequate . Makes a big difference to fridge operation which is the whole point of the solar power system. Also added an internal air circulation fan in the fridge.
For a new van I would be DEMANDING not less than 12 sq mm wires from battery to solar controller to fridge - that would probably creade an animated (!!!! ) discussion with Steve Gibbs !

Cheers and lots of coldies in your new van from
Martin B.
AnswerID: 573619

Follow Up By:- Saturday, Dec 15, 2007 at 01:21

Saturday, Dec 15, 2007 at 01:21
Thank again this is the type of info I am after so as to get it right the first time and I think I will order the book from the site you have recomended
Regards the battler
FollowupID: 848950

Our Sponsors