Sola panel recommendations

Mab25715 replied on 13/05/2019 11:53

Posted on 13/05/2019 11:53

Good morning 😊

I was wondering if anyone can recommend the best solar panel to use. We have a 2 birth Baileys and we will be living in the caravan for 2 weeks with no hook up, just wonding which is best. Thanks in advance 😊

Waffler replied on 15/05/2019 22:04

Posted on 15/05/2019 22:04

Firstly have one that is blue- the grey ones are not so good. Buy the biggest you can afford and have a portable one. You can adjust the direction and angle to maximise charge. We have a 90 watt one that kept us going including watching tv in the evening. We have 80 watts on the roof now which is convenient but not as effective. With both we manage in the winter. Buy a good bike chain and lock to secure it to your caravan. You might want a way of holding it down in big winds.

ocsid replied on 16/05/2019 09:17

Posted on 15/05/2019 22:04 by Waffler

Firstly have one that is blue- the grey ones are not so good. Buy the biggest you can afford and have a portable one. You can adjust the direction and angle to maximise charge. We have a 90 watt one that kept us going including watching tv in the evening. We have 80 watts on the roof now which is convenient but not as effective. With both we manage in the winter. Buy a good bike chain and lock to secure it to your caravan. You might want a way of holding it down in big winds.

Posted on 16/05/2019 09:17

The Back ones are the more "efficient" being made of mono-crystalline silicon whereas the blue are poly-crystalline.

However, a 90 Watt panel is a 90 Watt panel whether mono-crystalline , poly-crystalline or it is an amorphous type, just the potential size will be different. Even that is just a rule of thumb as if the better black mono-crystalline are well spread out on the panel, then the panel will be bigger than it could be wasting that feature. Then the real life performance can be altered by how the clusters of cells are inter-wired and buffered from each other, this being important where shadows, insects, grim etc are encountered.

Best to buy into crystalline, but not in our application an overwhelming argument to buy the typically most expensive black, ie mono-crystalline type; blue is adequate enough.

Google's findings here:

https://news.energysage.com/why-are-solar-panels-blue/

https://albaenergy.com/colors-of-solar-panels-what-are-the-differences/

ocsid replied on 16/05/2019 09:51

Posted on 16/05/2019 09:51

The Back ones are the more "efficient" being made of mono-crystalline silicon whereas the blue are poly-crystalline.

Sorry typo here, I of course meant to type "Black".

Grey are likely to be amorphous, these give the poorest yield area for area, but they do retain a better percentage in less than ideal conditions, ie overcast, and are the cheapest to make.

ocsid replied on 16/05/2019 12:13

Posted on 16/05/2019 11:07 by lornalou1

You could always buy a second leisure battery as back-up.

Posted on 16/05/2019 12:13

Without a provision to recharge one or two batteries then "when its gone its gone", so you need to be very confident two would be adequate to cover the two weeks in question.

Back in the 80s/90s many of us did just that but I suspect like us had installed a feature to recharge them, in our cars as we drove about; I still have our TP2 and sometimes use it.

However, I suspect these days like ourselves most off EHU, longer duration users have adopted solar, and most no longer lug a second battery around? Otherwise the depleted week one battery has to wait a week wrecking itself before getting recharged.

For the £100 to £125 cost required for a quality second deep cycling leisure battery, you can get a folding 80>100Watt Solar panel, I suggest a totally better solution, where when the battery charge is depleted it most probably gets replaced the following day[in the summer season]

My suggested source would be that well know online auction site. I personally if replacing mine, would build my own up from a pair of 50 Watt sister panels in series and a quality MPPT controller, investing about £150.