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Solar Panels Vulnerable ?


Barry J
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It seems to me that solar panels have two issues :ph34r:

 

One, to get a decent output, you need a fair size one and they are heavy !!

 

Not sure about having all that weight on the roof - I mean caravan skins are quite fragile and not designed to support a lot of weight up there.

Once its permanently mounted, it must be a pig to get off without leaving holes and marks, if you sell the van or the panel needs replacing.

 

When I fit them on boats, they won't come off easily (unfortunately lots of light fingered people around so they have to be secure).

 

Secondly, if you have them on stands or tripods and plug them in, how safe are they when you go out for the day ??

 

With a cheap solar panel being around the £200 mark and the slightly better ones I fit on boats about £300-400, its a lot of money to leave lying around.

 

Anybody had one stolen from a campsite ?

Edited by Barry J
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I pop mine on the roof via the Heki.

 

Otherwise a motorbike lock and chain secures it to the Hitch or Corner steady.

Ford C-Max and Coachman Festival 380/2 SE 2006    Motto  Carpe Diem

Still trying to find the perfect pitch. ..110 amp Battery+ 65 watt roof mounted Solar and 25 watt Wind Turbine. LED lighting. Status Aerial 315. Loose chattels marked with UV,. Safefill Gas Fitted.

 

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I have not had one stolen yet he said crossing fingers. I do secure it to the van or car with a wire strop a boat yard made up for me.

[some "B" once relieved me of an Aquaroll folding handle, soon after they came out.]

 

To carry it I have made a neat plywood cassette fixed under the rear of the van. This has worked out very well avoiding manhandling an 85 Watt panel into and out of the van with all the associated risks. It simply sides into and out of the box from the rear of the van and is secured in there with two padlocks.

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I fixed two lengths of Z section aluminium bonded to the roof of the caravan with Sikaflex 252 and bolted the solar panel to it which means that no drilling is necessary.

I've fixed the panel frame to the Z section after pre-drilling both using rustproof fixings with locking nuts and the cable entry hole is covered by a shroud with sealed cable entry glands.

I've no plans to sell the caravan in the foreseeable future, if by some chance I did sell the caravan or replace the panel I could simply pull the weatherproof connectors apart, unbolt the panel and leave the Z sections and cable shroud if I wished.

The panel and frame weighs 10kg and the load is spread over a fairly large area because of the length of the Z section mount rails.

I used mine as a free standing unit before I installed it permanently and theft and the possibility of damage was definitely a consideration, I used a small chain and padlock to secure the panel to the caravan chassis but I was always worried about children running around or riding bikes.

A child could be seriously hurt if they fell over a solar panel which broke so at least no one will get hurt with it up on the roof, the caravan is a t/a model with enough payload left over for the weight of the panel and I fixed it on the roof over the axles on the 'lighter' side opposite the fridge and cooker.

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