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Old 07-26-2018, 07:44 PM   #1
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do You think there would be room on the top of a 24 older Rialta for Solar panels without removing the factory AC?
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Old 07-27-2018, 11:12 AM   #2
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On a question like that, you might get more targeted responses and suggestions if you were to post a pic of your roof area in question.

But the short answer is that anything can be achieved - it just takes money and commitment.

Here's our set-up (pic taken from a ferry deck before I put a reflective thermal coating on our roof). Our solar panels are on an 80/20 frame vaulted above the air conditioner. The frame is hinged on its front edge, so the whole assembly pivots upward if the a/c needs to be accessed.

It's a lot of work to do something like this, but it certainly is an efficient use of space. We coupled 300 watts of panels with a lithium battery and an upgraded engine alternator. We are no longer power-limited - we can off-grid anywhere we want to go.

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Old 07-27-2018, 06:35 PM   #3
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On a question like that, you might get more targeted responses and suggestions if you were to post a pic of your roof area in question.

But the short answer is that anything can be achieved - it just takes money and commitment.

Here's our set-up (pic taken from a ferry deck before I put a reflective thermal coating on our roof). Our solar panels are on an 80/20 frame vaulted above the air conditioner. The frame is hinged on its front edge, so the whole assembly pivots upward if the a/c needs to be accessed.

It's a lot of work to do something like this, but it certainly is an efficient use of space. We coupled 300 watts of panels with a lithium battery and an upgraded engine alternator. We are no longer power-limited - we can off-grid anywhere we want to go.

If the AC is under the solar panels is its efficiency affected?
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Old 07-27-2018, 06:36 PM   #4
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"Our solar panels are on an 80/20 frame vaulted above the air conditioner."
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Old 07-28-2018, 11:38 AM   #5
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If the AC is under the solar panels is its efficiency affected?
Not in the slightest. Or, if it IS affected, then it actually performs a wee bit better because the a/c unit itself is shaded from direct sunlight and doesn't heat up as much in extreme summer weather. These units exhaust along the bottom edge, and there's no restrictions in that location.

Here's an oblique view where it is more easily visible beneath the panels. And I had done the roof by the time this pic was taken.

The next typical question people ask is, WHERE did we get that roof rack?!

It was installed on Airstream Interstates of MYs 2004-2007. It's actually high-quality stainless steel like the kind you find in ADA-compliant restrooms where there are grab bars in showers, handicapped toilet stalls, etc. Given that it was already installed, we decided to put it to good use like this.

I've got a series of blog posts here describing the 80/20 frame and other fittings.

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Old 07-28-2018, 01:33 PM   #6
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I have seen some Rialta users put up about 100-200 Watts of Solar on their Roofs using some smaller flexible panels, but part of the installation depends on what model you have as the skylight position is different on the QD vs the FD/HD models and it takes up quite a bit of room. Also check out this forum : https://groups.io/g/Rialta-Tech/search?q=solar. Many of us also use portable units of up to 100 Watts that can positioned once onsite. As always, weight is an issue with the Rialta as we are careful of what we carry with us....

Robert
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Old 07-29-2018, 12:02 PM   #7
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I have seen some Rialta users put up about 100-200 Watts of Solar on their Roofs using some smaller flexible panels, but part of the installation depends on what model you have as the skylight position is different on the QD vs the FD/HD models and it takes up quite a bit of room. Also check out this forum : https://groups.io/g/Rialta-Tech/search?q=solar. Many of us also use portable units of up to 100 Watts that can positioned once onsite. As always, weight is an issue with the Rialta as we are careful of what we carry with us....

Robert
I've never met a B for which weight is NOT an issue. CAT Scale is our friend.

The panel assemblage I described above weighs about 78 pounds IIRC (we did weigh it before hoisting it up there). Our roof rack was rated in some of the older owners manuals for 100 pounds (I think it was intended largely for style). As we were the first people we knew of to try that configuration, there were questions as to how it would impact the Sprinter's handling. We've never detected any difference in the approx. 20,000 miles we've put on since adding the panels.

I have no experience with the flexible panels, but many users tend to report short lifespans. They go on easy, but don't stand up well.
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