Solar Power?

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Thatcajunguy

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Contributor II

271
Madisonville, Louisiana
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1751

From time-to-time I come across someone with solar panels mounted to their rigs. I'm new to the whole overland experience (as I'm still building my rig) and I was curious about this. What are your thoughts? Is it worth it? What all can you do with it?
 

Gunnermoose

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Mesa, Arizona
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I have hard mounted a 100w solar panel to my roof rack. I have a duel battery set-up. The purpose of the duel battery is the auxillary battery runs all of my external power requirements: fridge, HAM, iPad, etc... The solar panel keeps the batteries topped off when I set up camp or am parked anywhere. By keeping all of my ancillary devices isolated from my primary battery, keeps it charged so I wont be stranded, theoretically that is. I like to travel by myself sometimes and this is a backup for me.

In the future I do plan to by a rechargeable jump kit to carry as a true backup.IMG_2943.JPG Phone download 6-8-16 736.JPG
 

trikebubble

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Penticton, BC
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1969

I have 2 75 watt solar panels that I use on our travel trailer. I keep them as a mobile unit, and generally will take 1 along with the Xterra when overlanding. I have solar controller mounted permanently in the travel trailer, and another mounted in the Xterra. I really only use the solar panel if we are staying put in one location for a whole day or longer, otherwise the travel keeps both batteries charged up perfectly fine.
 

Kelly

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I posted this elsewhere, but it's more appropriate here...

Solar is awesome!,... Unless you like to park your rig in the forrest; Overland in the winter; Overland when it's raining, or there are clouds in the sky; Need a charge at night.

As sexy as solar is, I can't give up my 2kw Genny (8 hours on 1 gallon) and Schumacher FR01235. I get 12amps of battery charging power (day or night / rain or shine), equal to TWO 100w solar panels (approx 16 square feet), which only get their rated wattage about 4 hours a day, pointed directly at the sun, with no cloud cover. Plus, I get 100amp jump start anytime I need it.

5 Gallons of gas will give you the same charging power as two weeks, with a 100w solar panel, in perfect weather.

Total cost: $600

True: It's not as Eco-friendly, but if we were that "Green" we'd all be backpackers ;-)

Also consider: Running your batteries below 50% is hard on them. With this setup, you can avoid that, regardless of weather, latitude, time of year, or time of day.

ONE FINAL NOTE: Whenever possible, I try to only purchase things that serve more than one purpose. Example: If your power goes out at home, this generator can keep all the food in your fridge/freezer from spoiling. Food for thought ;-)

Champion_Power_Equipment_73534i_555954_i0.jpg Screen Shot 2016-09-20 at 10.32.30 AM.png
 
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OverLandCruiser76

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628
Venezuela
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1858

I've been thinking also about solar, I know that Redarc in Australia make awesome products for battery management but I haven't been able to find anything quite like it I'm the US, and the worst part, we can't buy the Aussie option since it work with 240V. Does anyone knows if there is something like it on this side of the pond?

https://www.redarc.com.au/themanager30
 

Adventure Ready

Rank II

Advocate II

I've been thinking also about solar, I know that Redarc in Australia make awesome products for battery management but I haven't been able to find anything quite like it I'm the US, and the worst part, we can't buy the Aussie option since it work with 240V. Does anyone knows if there is something like it on this side of the pond?

https://www.redarc.com.au/themanager30
We're actually the first dealer for REDARC in the US and can order anything you might want from them. The problem with the REDARC managers is that they're 220v. Last time I spoke with their team they were "thinking" about doing a 110v version but I haven't heard anything more, which most likely means it's not gone anywhere yet. We are also carrying Flexopower now out of Germany and I'd put their panels up against the REDARC stuff any day.


From time-to-time I come across someone with solar panels mounted to their rigs. I'm new to the whole overland experience (as I'm still building my rig) and I was curious about this. What are your thoughts? Is it worth it? What all can you do with it?
My only suggestion is to opt for a portable system, not hard-mounting panels to your rig. It's no fun to have to always park in the sun and jockey your truck around as the sun moves across the sky. Portable systems allow you to park in the shade and move your panel/s around as needed. Technology has also gotten to the point that the flexible/rollable panels equal output of even the highest quality Bosch glass panels, plus they're significantly lighter and more durable (but do cost more). Check out the Flexopower stuff on our site. I personally use the 79W Atacama system and it works flawlessly. I've gotten as much as 5.3 amps out of it at peak, which is impressive for such a small system.

https://adventure-ready.com/product-category/vehicle-equipment/portable-solar-power/flexopower/