Packable solar for those odd moments of winter sunshine

SquirrellCook

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Yes we all know the issues with solar and the winter. My plan for Murky was to have so many panels, in the hope some may be absorbed. Overcast and still bright I get about 10% of the rated output. Obviously the low angle of the sun doesn't help.
Some people seem to be doing well with tiltable setups. I don't want to rework the roof, so another option was needed.
Panels on the ground are good as long as others respect them and the connecting cable. Still big lumps to pack away.
I saw these back packable panels I thought I'd give them a try. So far as back packable, fine if that's all your carrying. These are heavy and I think you'd need to be as fit as a Commando to carry them and your other kit.
My idea was to hang them from the gutter strip.
They need a little rewiring as they do come with a solar controller, but that was only fit for the bin. I've used a 100/15 victron mppt as it can be networked with my existing victron mppt. I still need to sort out some rugged plugs and sockets for real world use, as this lash up was for testing. I did see 63 Watts as registered by the mppt, but then the sun hid behind some clouds to annoy me. Hopefully I be able to get some better results soon.

IMG_0714[1].JPG
 

r4dent

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Hadn't though about it before but .......

If the sun's elevation is less than 45 degrees then vertical mounting is more efficient than horizontal.
This means that most of the time in the UK we should mount solar on the side not the top (easier to clean as well).

Maybe time for a redesign.
 

xsilvergs

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Yes we all know the issues with solar and the winter. My plan for Murky was to have so many panels, in the hope some may be absorbed. Overcast and still bright I get about 10% of the rated output. Obviously the low angle of the sun doesn't help.
Some people seem to be doing well with tiltable setups. I don't want to rework the roof, so another option was needed.
Panels on the ground are good as long as others respect them and the connecting cable. Still big lumps to pack away.
I saw these back packable panels I thought I'd give them a try. So far as back packable, fine if that's all your carrying. These are heavy and I think you'd need to be as fit as a Commando to carry them and your other kit.
My idea was to hang them from the gutter strip.
They need a little rewiring as they do come with a solar controller, but that was only fit for the bin. I've used a 100/15 victron mppt as it can be networked with my existing victron mppt. I still need to sort out some rugged plugs and sockets for real world use, as this lash up was for testing. I did see 63 Watts as registered by the mppt, but then the sun hid behind some clouds to annoy me. Hopefully I be able to get some better results soon.

View attachment 103732
I suggested mounting panels to the sides some time ago but at least one replied telling me it would look ugly. I guess they are living in the dark right now.

I think it looks fine on Murky. 👍
 

Trotter

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Great minds, init.😎
Having a bout of panel envy, watching Jeff, Jeff, Jeff, get his up. That sounds wrong. Erecting ? Not much better.
Actuating 👍. That shouldn’t offend anyone. I know I needed more. Counted my pennies, realising Exwindsurfer’s skills exceeded mine. So his set up was out of the question. I’ve done something similar to you.
A 120w panel on a long lead, like Molly3 has. Only to be used when safe from sticky finger aren’t about. Has it’s own storage space directly under the bed.
Fingers crossed this is enough, ‘cos there ain’t room, either in or outside the van. 😬
 

Nabsim

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It should work very well at this time of year IF you can get line of sight to the sun on your panels. While I was in the Peak District last week I don’t think I was getting an hour a day on nice days. Didn’t see a sunrise or sunset all week either. The one problem with hills :)
 

clarkpeacock

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Hadn't though about it before but .......

If the sun's elevation is less than 45 degrees then vertical mounting is more efficient than horizontal.
This means that most of the time in the UK we should mount solar on the side not the top (easier to clean as well).

Maybe time for a redesign.
My completely off grid house system is producing great charge from 6 X 260 watt panels mounted vertically on the fence plus 3 X 310 watt panels mounted on the roof. Had some very clear bright days last week giving a a max 24 amps from the 2s3p fence array (as much as seen any time during the summer) plus another 20 amps from the 3s roof array. Only a few short hours this time of year of course, but still haven't had to use the generator yet since last last March.

Running 8 X 390ah batteries via 2 X 30a solar controllers and 3KVA inverterPXL_20210611_155126609.jpgPXL_20210227_163909942.jpg

Bit big for the average motorhome, but I think proves the point that vertically mounted works well in the winter
 

r4dent

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My completely off grid house system is producing great charge from 6 X 260 watt panels mounted vertically on the fence plus 3 X 310 watt panels mounted on the roof. Had some very clear bright days last week giving a a max 24 amps from the 2s3p fence array (as much as seen any time during the summer) plus another 20 amps from the 3s roof array.

The amperage is just a measure of the rate you get at a point in time.
The significant figure is how many watthours you are getting each day.
Can you monitor this?
 

clarkpeacock

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The amperage is just a measure of the rate you get at a point in time.
The significant figure is how many watthours you are getting each day.
Can you monitor this?
According to the epever ebox, 28.94kwh generated over the last month, but that is only plugged into the roof array charge controller so doesn't include input from the fence array.

I guess the real test is living here full time with the usual requirements of lights, TV, washing machine, coffee maker (most important!), vacuum, pc for home working, device charging and general day to day stuff with no grid supply. So far battery bank has not needed anything but solar to maintain over 25v resting since March when I upgraded the old 12v system and added the panels on the fence . Looks like the next week or so will be needing some generator assistance though.

Hopefully helps to demonstrate the OPs thoughts regarding vertical mounting does work 👍
 

st3v3

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According to the epever ebox, 28.94kwh generated over the last month, but that is only plugged into the roof array charge controller so doesn't include input from the fence array.

I guess the real test is living here full time with the usual requirements of lights, TV, washing machine, coffee maker (most important!), vacuum, pc for home working, device charging and general day to day stuff with no grid supply. So far battery bank has not needed anything but solar to maintain over 25v resting since March when I upgraded the old 12v system and added the panels on the fence . Looks like the next week or so will be needing some generator assistance though.

Hopefully helps to demonstrate the OPs thoughts regarding vertical mounting does work 👍

I think it's great, and I'd love to be doing the same. But, 30 kWh in a month? £6 ish in the cost of normal electric makes yours really expensive... A petrol generator? 2 gallons maybe?

Just puts it into perspective...
 

trevskoda

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If you live in a semi detached with floorboards knock a hole through and connect to their ring main and connect to your fuse box, I was told this by a chap at the pub. ;)
 

clarkpeacock

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I think it's great, and I'd love to be doing the same. But, 30 kWh in a month? £6 ish in the cost of normal electric makes yours really expensive... A petrol generator? 2 gallons maybe?

Just puts it into perspective...
I think you misunderstood. This is entirely solar power as we are off grid with no possibility of mains connection. Mind you, the solar set up set me back a bit, so it certainly isn't a cheap way of reducing your carbon footprint :)

The diesel generator is just used to add a bit of charge on dull short winter days (and bizarrely to charge my son's electric Renault Zoe when he comes to visit!)

Getting a bit off topic about vertical solar panels now 😉
 
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