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Old 12-06-2019, 01:22 AM   #1
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Default Sliding Solar Panel Rack Systems

A new product coming from Orion Design to add sliding solar panels to your van.

https://oriondesigns.ca/our-products...-rack-systems/
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Old 12-06-2019, 03:16 AM   #2
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Interesting.

A guy up in Canada built his own based on the same idea.
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Old 12-06-2019, 03:32 AM   #3
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This was discussed earlier on the Sprinter forum

https://sprinter-source.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=59894

Orion Design took the next step and designed the products. Without in depth analysts a double slide out would result in about 900W without AC on 144" WB - 3 x 300W as in my layout.
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Old 12-06-2019, 02:50 PM   #4
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Wonder how much the net cost would be after deleting the awning option?

This looks like it would suffice for shade, just wouldn't be as water proof. But it seems like a flange could be added at the edge to deflect water from the roof across the panel and away from the van.
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Old 12-06-2019, 03:20 PM   #5
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I don’t know how easy would be to water “seal” solar sides panel extensions but awning is about $1K which can be deducted.

One of benefits of solar panels with air gap and extension(s) is blocking of heating the roof or sides by IR (Infra red solar radiation). In tropical climate double roofs are used to block the IR heating. In some conditions it can reduce the need to run AC.

Slideout panels is a very natural way of increasing harvesting area on small B-class RVs. For me 300W is sufficient, but I could easily increase solar power to 600W with driver side slideout. For higher energy users this would be a better option than a generator.
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Old 12-06-2019, 04:57 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by rowiebowie View Post
Wonder how much the net cost would be after deleting the awning option?

This looks like it would suffice for shade, just wouldn't be as water proof. But it seems like a flange could be added at the edge to deflect water from the roof across the panel and away from the van.
These can be an effective rain awning. Just extend or retract as needed so that the inner edge of your PV is not extended past the vehicle rain gutters or openings. At this point, one isn't worried about shadows affecting the panels....
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Old 12-06-2019, 05:00 PM   #7
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I don’t know how easy would be to water “seal” solar sides panel extensions but awning is about $1K which can be deducted.

One of benefits of solar panels with air gap and extension(s) is blocking of heating the roof or sides by IR (Infra red solar radiation). In tropical climate double roofs are used to block the IR heating. In some conditions it can reduce the need to run AC.

Slideout panels is a very natural way of increasing harvesting area on small B-class RVs. For me 300W is sufficient, but I could easily increase solar power to 600W with driver side slideout. For higher energy users this would be a better option than a generator.
If one is intending to use as a rain awning, to mitigate water leakage I'd put silicone between the panels and between the panels and the support rails where to nominal gap is ~3mm.
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Old 12-06-2019, 07:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeRa View Post
This was discussed earlier on the Sprinter forum

https://sprinter-source.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=59894

Orion Design took the next step and designed the products. Without in depth analysts a double slide out would result in about 900W without AC on 144" WB - 3 x 300W as in my layout.
Yes - that Sprinter forum discussion from 2017 was interesting and you made a good contribution. The Orion Design product is the first I've seen that offers a kit rather than having to do a total DIY solution.

As I was planning out solar for my next van I also came across the SolaRVector product for panel tilting as seen in attached photo.
https://www.solarvector.net/

But having slider system to double the panels on a given foot print looks more beneficial than tilting half the array on a van.
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Old 12-06-2019, 07:48 PM   #9
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Interesting.

A guy up in Canada built his own based on the same idea.
Yes - The Everlanders channel is great. Jason is one of the best RV DIYers I've seen on YouTube. His work is fantastic.
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Old 12-06-2019, 08:04 PM   #10
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Yes - that Sprinter forum discussion from 2017 was interesting and you made a good contribution. The Orion Design product is the first I've seen that offers a kit rather than having to do a total DIY solution.

As I was planning out solar for my next van I also came across the SolaRVector product for panel tilting as seen in attached photo.
https://www.solarvector.net/

But having slider system to double the panels on a given foot print looks more beneficial than tilting half the array on a van.
Array/Panel tilting has its benefits. But, it is not a solution to what most Class B's need to resolve.

Tilting will never yield as much aH's as doubling your PV footprint, except between Nov 15th and Jan 15th when the sun inclination has substantially decreased.

Tilting between April 15th and Sept 15th would require one to 'track' with the sun's movement around the equator, otherwise it will be behind a tilted panel for a good portion of a day.

It should go without saying, the SR1S and SR1R series that fit under roof racks, are designed for folks who want the best of both worlds.

Snowbirds especially those in non-Class B's or C's, love their tilts and should since without it solar harvesting is a pretty much a bust. The vast majority of non-Class B's and C's have tilts since they tend to be stationary and for longer period, and up and down tilting is less tedious. However, snowbirds are only a subset of total number of RV's out there. These systems are designed for those outside that set....
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Old 12-06-2019, 08:20 PM   #11
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I've been meaning to experiment with a 2 degrees-of-freedom tracker for our van. My plan is to use four linear actuators -- one on each corner, mounted under and parallel to the plane of the panel. The math will be fun.
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Old 12-06-2019, 08:24 PM   #12
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I've been meaning to experiment with a 2 degrees-of-freedom tracker for our van. My plan is to use four linear actuators -- one on each corner, mounted under and parallel to the plane of the panel. The math will be fun.
I'd just use and adapt a set of RV levelers...

Remember folks.... you heard it here first!
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Old 12-06-2019, 11:06 PM   #13
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I have 420 watts of solar on my extended Sprinter but it doesn't make a dent of difference when you have 800ah of lithium ion batteries and a second alternator, especially if you tour and drive most days. Then if you tour and drive most days during optimum sun the slide out concept or the tilt or tracking concepts have minimal impact. If camping in late fall, winter and spring with short days and low sun angles the tilt and tracking concept would be more ideal I would think.

With a 5 foot shorter 244 wb Sprinter I have ordered I will not be able to get as much solar on the roof so am thinking not to bother at all. I could possibly get about one 100 watt panel across the very back. If I do that it will just be for curiosity of how much solar inputs. Then I could possibly have a slide out to the rear to act as an awning or put in a tracking panel. I think it would be a waste of my time to have just a flat roof panel. In the summer I almost always camp in north woods with plenty of shade.
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Old 12-07-2019, 02:14 AM   #14
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I have 420 watts of solar on my extended Sprinter but it doesn't make a dent of difference when you have 800ah of lithium ion batteries and a second alternator, especially if you tour and drive most days. Then if you tour and drive most days during optimum sun the slide out concept or the tilt or tracking concepts have minimal impact. If camping in late fall, winter and spring with short days and low sun angles the tilt and tracking concept would be more ideal I would think.

With a 5 foot shorter 244 wb Sprinter I have ordered I will not be able to get as much solar on the roof so am thinking not to bother at all. I could possibly get about one 100 watt panel across the very back. If I do that it will just be for curiosity of how much solar inputs. Then I could possibly have a slide out to the rear to act as an awning or put in a tracking panel. I think it would be a waste of my time to have just a flat roof panel. In the summer I almost always camp in north woods with plenty of shade.
I get it....


...being/practicing green and off-grid living isn't for everyone.
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Old 12-07-2019, 05:41 PM   #15
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I get it....


...being/practicing green and off-grid living isn't for everyone.
Maybe I didn't explain myself. I do have 480 watts of solar panels and do know exactly what they contribute traveling over 5 years in my Class B in all areas of the United States. BTW, I misquoted myself saying 420 watts. My solar panels on the most optimum day in the southwest desert in the summer with no clouds could provide 160 amps per day if you go by the conventional rule of thumb. That conventional rule of thumb is sales optimism as I determined in real use. I used 30 amps for 100 watts of solar panel. That represents an equivalent of of driving about 1/2 hour with a second alternator. I've been accused on this forum as being profligate wasteful energy user when camping but on a typical overnight stay I charge my batteries to 100% mostly in under an hour of driving. On a day trip to the next stop the solar panels are just a feel good symbol of being/practicing green.

For what its worth l camp mostly off-grid perhaps over 90% of the time. I often do so when in a shore power campsite. Solar is good for maintaining battery charge when parked for long periods of time such as outside storage or not touring like many trailer and Class A RVs do as a second home. With not much battery capacity solar contributes a higher percentage of charge. I don't know what that practical cut off is but I do know that 800ah of lithium ion coupled with a second alternator does not need solar in an all electric Class B without a propane substitute for additional energy use.

When I stored outside, for me, solar was not practical in my old growth forest lot that blocked most of the sun. Now I store inside where there is no sun. So there is no incentive at all when it is most critical to have when you are stationary.
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Old 12-07-2019, 05:49 PM   #16
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I think davydd's post should have a little unit clarification and calculation shown. When he says "30 amps per 100 watts of solar', that is referring to the generic and fairly accurate recovery in decent sun of 30 amp hours of battery capacity per day being recovered. He has 450 watts of solar, so 4.5 times 30 amp hours per day or 135 amp hours of capacity gained with the solar for a day of good sun. He is comparing to an alternator that can output 300 amps, so in .5 hours or driving he would 150 amp hours of battery capacity, so a bit over what a whole day of good sun solar would be in his van. Both of those amounts would be likely about 1/2 of a days use based on some of his past posts of power use per day.
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Old 12-12-2019, 04:59 PM   #17
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Default Sliding solar panels

With flexible solar panels in the works, it's only a matter of time for someone to make an awning that is also a solar panel.
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Old 12-12-2019, 05:24 PM   #18
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With flexible solar panels in the works, it's only a matter of time for someone to make an awning that is also a solar panel.
We can all hope and tilting would be included. https://www.amazon.com/stores/page/7...ridPageIndex=2
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Old 12-12-2019, 05:37 PM   #19
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With flexible solar panels in the works, it's only a matter of time for someone to make an awning that is also a solar panel.

They already did, Roadtrek offered them for a while IIRC.
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