Solar Panel recommendations | OVERLAND BOUND COMMUNITY

Solar Panel recommendations

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JaSC

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Contributor I

60
South Carolina, USA
First Name
JaC
Last Name
att
Service Branch
Army
Greetings, new guy here. I have a dual battery setup and looking for solar panel recommendations. I'm using the Redarc 1225d 25a and it has a built in solar panel controller. Manual say 'must use with unregulated panel', but being new to solar I have zero idea who manufactures solar panels, let alone 'unregulated'. So kick me in the right direction to start the research and buying please. Thanks in advance!
 
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DMS1

Rank II

Enthusiast II

336
San Dimas
First Name
Dave
Last Name
Schmitz
I buy my solar panels from Continuous Resources or Rich Solar. Unregulated means a solar panel without a built in solar charge controller, a lot of the folding solar panels have them built in. I would go with ridged panels if you have room for them. If you get flexible panels, look for "RV with Tito" on Youtube as he came up with a way to mount flexible panels so they can be removed and also have some cooling.
 
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dchurch

Rank 0

Contributor I

60
Oregon, USA
First Name
David
Last Name
Church
I've been using an unregulated portable folding panel from Togo Power the TSP-120F. It's a 4 panel 120 watt output.

It's waterproof, well made and comes with good cable. It has zippered pocket for the cable, adapters and the manual. It is free standing using the folding legs or It can be hung by its grommets. We often lay it over the windshield.

We use a standard fixed framed 150 watt panel from Rich solar for our roof top. I have it attached but with adjustable pitch and it's removable for when we are camped in the shade.

The folding Togo rig is compact and super portable but the roof top Rich is nice because it is always on duty.
 

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Road

Not into ranks, titles or points.
Member

Advocate III

3,379
On the road in North America
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Road
Last Name
Dude
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6589

.
Solar panel efficiency for a lot of the most popular vendors is around 16-18%. Better panels made from better cells--that can still gather power in partial shade, are wired more efficently, have less reflective top coating, etc, all making them just overall more efficient--can be 25-30% more efficient than lesser made panels (adding 4-6% efficiency).

The current trend is towards flat flexible panels, though if you end up finding a good deal on efficient folding panels with a cheap charge controller on the back it's usually quite simple to cut it out of the loop and bypass it with your own wiring.

I have two terrific and super-efficient 120w folding panels (with Sunpower Maxeon cells) that I've done that with because I like my choice of charge controllers better, and prefer the controllers to be closer to the batteries for greater efficiency, not at the panel.

For best panel efficiency, it matters who makes the cells and makes the panels (not just the vendor who is selling finished panels with their name on them). Not all panel vendors source the same cells/panels year after year, so what they sell this year may not be the same efficiency as what they sold last year, or will sell next year.

Here's a great page that may be of help, IF you can find who actually makes the panels for your vendor of choice: Most Efficient Solar Panels On the Market - scroll down to see the current top 5.

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NotGumby

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Member

Member III

2,362
Frankfurt, Germany
First Name
Rick
Last Name
Gumby
Member #

2380

Service Branch
Army 11B
I’ve been using a 160 watt foldable from Offgridtec for quite a few years without any issues or noticeable reduction in performance.
 
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