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Solar Panels

I wanted to have as much solar power as possible for “Plan B” power needs (like occasional boon docking) so in the Summer of 2012 I started investigating what I could fit on my RV roof. I was looking for solar panels that would provide the most watts/square foot and used a diagram to map the available roof space.

Solar Panel Placement on RV Roof

Solar Panel Placement on RV Roof

While this might seem like overkill, I’m glad I did it because I ended up with just enough space for the solar panels.

At first I tried designed an array with 12V panels, but found I could get more watts/square foot by using 20V Kyocera 245W panels. These high voltage panels would require a MPPT solar controller, but I had planned to use this type of controller from the get go. However, the 245 watt Kyoceras were quite a bit larger and only two panels would fit in my roof area.

I went thought a lot of wiring diagrams and eventually settled on this one.

Our Newmar Solar Wiring


The two Kyocera panels were installed on aluminum strips at the rear of my RV just close enough to one of the air conditioners that from time to time the panels will experience shade. C’est la vie. I also ran wiring and added a circuit breaker for a third Kyocera that could be mounted mid-roof.

Here are some installation photos . . .

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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Great looking installation Tom, did you DIY or have it installed by others? looking forward to following your adventures. FYI we have workamped in the Staunton, VA area the last 2 summers and really like the area.

    March 5, 2013
    • Steve & Queenie — this is my 2nd DIY solar install. My first install with six, 120W 12V panels, a Xantrex XW-MPPT60 60A controller, and a Xantrex RS2000 inverter worked great.

      This time I’m having issues with my current controller — MidNite Solar Classic 150. When my Magnum MS2000 inverter is on shore power and charging the batteries, the Classic’s voltage will exceed 15.5V and the Magnum throws a fault and shuts down. The same thing happened with another inverter, so it’s not the inverter.

      I received some good advice from the MidNite Solar forum:

      When I pull my RV out of storage this month, I’ll try their advice. If that fails, I’ll replace the Classic with a Morningstar TriStar.

      March 12, 2013
  2. Turns out all I had to do was to set an upper voltage limit on the Classic. After that adjustment, all has been well.

    April 23, 2013

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