A Little More Solar
I picked up a 180-watt monocrystalline solar panel from a vendor that was at the Quartzsite RV show called
but at the time I was just looking for more Renogy panels. Their 180-watt, nominally 12-volt panel was $165 or about $20 more than I paid for the 100-watt Renogy panel.
I installed the panel today pretty much using the same method that I used on the other 4 panels and that Ray had used on his panels. I.e. Eternabond tape, screw in the bracket and cover everything with Dicor. The brackets allow tilting the panel which allowed me to install it over the junction box and still have access. I wired the new panel into the junction box after verifying polarity using 10 AWG UV-resistant wire designed for solar panel interconnects after installing MC4 connectors. The cable from the junction box to the charge controller is 4 AWG as I sized it for the 45 amps that the charge controller is rated at.
When the new panel was plugged in, the current jumped from 16 amps to 25 amps. This was with the new panel tilted towards the sun and the original 400-watt panels flat on the roof. When we were in Quartzsite last month, the 400-watts would only put out around 250 watts due to the shallow angle of the sun. This will add a bit more. I was originally going to add two panels but was unsure of the quality of the panels.
I'll see how the new panel works. It has a 5-year warranty and the aluminum frames are extremely sturdy which makes the panels kind of heavy. The brackets are aluminum and they don't seem as sturdy as the Renogy brackets. But then again, the tilting function probably isn't helping with sturdiness.
The first picture sort of shows the size difference and the second is from my homegrown solar monitor running on a Raspberry Pi3. It pulls data from the charge controller every 30 sec and averages the data and graph on 5-minute interval. You can tell when I plugged in the new panel.
A little more detail on my
I notice there is a flex panel as well as rigid. Are you guys in line with rigid as opposed to he flex?
The panels will generate some heat (like all semiconductors) when producing current as well as the dark surface absorbing heat and with the rigid panels, there is airflow on the backside. If it was an aluminum or other metal roof such as an Airstream, the metal would be a great heatsink and the flexible panels are a great option. Possibly even preferred. But on a wood/membrane roof, such as I have, I don’t really want the additional heat. Just my opinion as I don’t know the effect of heat on the rubber roof material. I haven’t measured the temperature but even on these cool days, the panel surface is pretty warm. This is just my opinion.
You also do have the option of tilting the panels with the rigid panels.
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