Guide to choose and install solar panels in RV

No introduction

2022 is really a very hot year. Not only are the temperatures in various countries breaking the record, but even the Arctic will not be spared, reaching more than 30 degrees. Some countries have begun to suffer from water shortages, and the abnormal climate has seriously affected our lives. Environmental protection is already a work that must be included in the agenda of human beings. Solar energy is a good green energy source that ordinary people can afford. Here we do some guidance on how to choose and install RV solar power.

Question 1, how do we choose solar panels?

Solar panels for RVs are mainly divided into 4 categories: 1. Semi-flexible solar panels 2. Framed semi-flexible solar panels 3.Solar glass panel 4. Shingling technology solar glass panels

1.  Semi-flexible solar panels:

Advantages: lightweight, bendable (suitable for the curved surface of the front of the RV, hardboard can not do this, increasing the installation area of the solar panel), the battery can withstand a certain amount of vibration to compensate for damage, the conversion rate is 19.8%, using ETFE The polymer coating, the raw material is mixed with glass fiber reinforced plastic, the surface is small and uneven, and the installation is convenient, just stick to the roof with structural sealant.

Disadvantages

1. Influence caused by its own installation method: It needs to adhere to the roof through the structural sealant, which will lead to poor heat dissipation of the solar panel, thereby affecting the conversion rate and even the short-circuit burning of the solar panel. This process will cause damage to the roof of the RV Damage, such as lifting the bag, yellowing of the roof, and close to the roof will cause rainwater to accumulate, difficult to flow, and will also cause damage to the solar panel. 

2. Difficulty in dismantling: a lot of glue is applied during installation, which makes it particularly difficult to dismantle during replacement. 

3. Can not be recycled: Once dismantled, it will inevitably cause devastating damage to the battery board, and cannot be used twice.

2. Semi-flexible solar panels with mounting frame:

The evolution version of the flexible board: install the heat dissipation frame on the bottom of the flexible board

Advantages: Advantages of all semi-flexible solar panels

Disadvantages: The life of the semi-flexible solar panels themselves: only 10-15 years

3. Solar glass panel:

Advantages: Long lifespan of 25 years, stable conversion rate

Disadvantages: very heavy, too many installations are a burden on the weight of the RV. It is 2 times heavier than the semi-flexible solar panels with heat dissipation frame, and 4-5 times heavier than the simple semi-flexible solar panels.

4. Shingling technology solar glass panels:

Advantages: Soldering solar cells with special technology increases their conversion rate, heat resistance, and anti-spot effect.

Disadvantages: Disadvantages of  Solar glass panels.

In practical application, we adopt the installation method mainly based on the glass plate and supplemented by flexible plate. Install glass panels in large flat blank areas, and install flexible panels as a supplement in places with curved arcs. If the load-bearing capacity of the RV is poor, the glass plate can be replaced with a semi-flexible solar panel with a heat dissipation frame.

Question 2: How many solar panels do I need on my RV?

This problem involves 3 aspects: 1. The roof area of the RV, the size of the solar panel 2. The weighing capacity of the RV 3. The demand for electricity consumption

1. RV roof area, solar panel size

This problem is easy to understand. You need a place to install solar panels. The spare part on the top of the RV determines how many solar panels you can install. The approximate size of a 100w flexible panel is: 1175*540*3mm 2.35kg

The approximate size of a 100w glass plate is: ‎1050 * 710 * 6 0mm

RV area / solar panel area is approximately equal to the number of solar panels that can be installed

2. RV load-bearing capacity

If you choose a glass panel, you must consider this issue. A 100w glass module is about 8.5kg, and the load-bearing energy/weight of the glass module = the number of solar panels that can be installed

The semi-flexible solar panel is only 2.35kg

3. Demand for electricity consumption

How much electricity do you use every day? If it’s not big, you can install less. A 100w solar panel can provide up to 500w/h of electricity a day, calculate your needs. Eg: The 800w solar panel can produce 3000w/h of electricity when the light is good for one day.

Question 3: How to install the RV solar panel?

The solar energy system includes 3 main aspects: 1. Solar panel (used to generate electricity) 2. Lithium battery (used to store electricity) 3. MPPT/PWM controller (to prevent overcharging of electricity)

Solar glass panel:

1. Solar panel bracket installation – glue(Structural sealant), screw

2. Make connecting wires of different lengths

3. Make sure the interface is firmly connected

4. Install the solar panel connector

5. Clean the roof and install solar panels

6. Confirmation of screw installation in the RV

7. Solar cable waterproof treatment

8. Cable into the RV

Semi-flexible solar panel:

 1. Glue 2. Solar Line Connection

Question 4: Maintenance of solar panels in the later period

Since the RV has to withstand the weather changes outside, it will inevitably lead to the solar panel surface no longer being clean and tidy. We need to scrub frequently to keep the panel surface free of large pieces of dust, which will affect the conversion rate of solar panels.

Note: You can use a slightly watery mop to directly mop the solar panel, but be careful not to clean it when the temperature is too high, because too cold and overheating will cause damage to the cells, you can clean and maintain the solar panel in rainy days or at night and in the morning.

Question 5: Are solar panels worth buying?

Everyone has their own opinions on this question, but it does have the following advantages:

1. Solar energy is really useful in supplementing electric energy in the wild,

2. At high temperatures, the power consumption of air conditioners is really quite large, and solar panels can make up for this.

3. When the RV is suspended, it can also charge the lithium battery to prevent the loss of life due to forgetting to charge, because the solar energy will continue to charge as long as there is light.

Although there are advantages, everyone’s travel style and lifestyle are different. Only by trying and experiencing it in person will you know whether solar energy is useful to you.

The above is my guide to the purchase and installation of the RV solar energy system. I hope it will be helpful to everyone. If you like it, please forward it, thank you.

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ERICSITY leverages its advantages in electrification, industrial automation and material science and technology, focuses on the global popularization of PV and the continuous improvement of energy efficiency.

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