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 > How are your solar panels mounted?

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beemerphile1

Ohio

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Posted: 03/25/20 06:54pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Z brackets and screwed to the roof


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pigman1

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Posted: 03/25/20 08:08pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have 8 brackets on each panel that hold to the panel with 1/4" stainless screws/knobs. Since each panel can be raised in any of the 4 primary directions, I've adjusted the brace lengths for summer and winter in the southern part of the US and the same for the northern part of the US. Not exactly optimum for each panel, but by using approximations I'm probably pulling at least 90% out of each panel. Of course this means I have to be aware of the orientation of the bus and need to park it as close to the cardinal headings as possible. Since we boondock a lot and don't put the panels up unless we'll be in one place for 3-4 days or more this method works well for us.


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babock

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Posted: 03/25/20 08:43pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I made my own brackets out of aluminum angle bolted together. They get screwed into the roof. I was able to get a roof plan so that each mount is screwed through the roof into a wood rafter. Dicor under the foot of each bracket and around the entire foot once screwed down.

Instead of tilting my panels. I just put up a 4th panel to account for the loss that flat panels give. The less I go up on the roof, the less chance I have of falling off the roof.

* This post was edited 03/25/20 08:59pm by babock *

travisc

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Posted: 03/25/20 10:36pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have adapters to tilt mine and for years never used them


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Vintage465

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Posted: 03/26/20 11:19am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Mine are screwed down using 2 stainless steel 1/4 screws per bracket(4 per panel)into trusses. Where I couldn't get into a truss I used "Well Nuts" and stainless 1/4" bolts. I don't tilt panels, for the roof's sake, I don't really like unnecessarily getting on the roof. Some day I may set up a tilt set up my set up doesn't meet my needs. I'd have to be more comfortable with the durability of my roof if I set up a tilt mechanism. So far it meets my needs.


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bpounds

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Posted: 03/26/20 04:06pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Zee brackets, set in a puddle of dicor, screwed to the roof, one screw per bracket if I could get it over a truss, 2 screws on the few where I couldn't, then dicor covering the screw heads. This is for mounting on a EPDM roof.

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ajriding

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Posted: 03/26/20 08:13pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have done 4 RVs with solar. None did I use screws, I just personally do not like more holes that can leak.

I have had great success with the 3M VHB tape.
The first projects I used more tape than necessary.
On the last project, which is on a steel roof, I assume galvanized, I used aluminum angle iron pieces cut from a long Homedepot piece. They were the width, about 18 inches, of the panel. I taped 4 inch pieces on the ends and stuck that to the roof. I attached the panels off the roof for cooling airflow and room for the cables. I left the sides completely open, the angle iron was only on the ends. *
You will want to screw the panels to the brackets before committing to sticking it down to ensure there are no gaps.
I used self-tapping screws to attach the panel to the bracket.
My panels are similar or exactly like the post before me. Be sure not to put the screws too high and run through the panel itself.
If your surfaces is metal, or gel coat fiberglass then the tape works fine. On rubber, then maybe thats why guys screw to the roof.
I wanted to mount them on a hinge and use a locking pin so I could rotate them up to face south. I had no intention of aiming them constantly, but just to get an angle to capture max sunlight from the south. I would have to park east-west facing one direction as I planned only one hinge - that's if I wanted morning to evening setup.
As is I mounted them flat, two 100 w panels and is enough. In Spring to Fall the batteries recharge by morning. I run a big electric chest compressor fridge, and minimal lights/charging.

The VHB tape will come off with a heat gun and some pulling, or using a scraper, but I have never had any issues with it coming un-stuck otherwise.

* If your roof is not completely flat, few are, then do not screw the panel to the angle iron (L-bracket) with all the screws, just one screw per side to hold it all, then when on the roof this allows for the bracket to lay flat, important for the tape to be perfectly flat, then screw the remaining screws in

babock

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Posted: 03/27/20 12:15am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ajriding wrote:

I have done 4 RVs with solar. None did I use screws, I just personally do not like more holes that can leak.
You mean like the AC, the fridge vent, the TV antenna, the two or more flip up vents...those holes?

A few holes for the solar panels are nothing in comparison. And, you won't be having the solar panels fly off and embed themselves in somebody's windshield.

ajriding

st clair

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Posted: 03/27/20 09:23am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Yes, all those holes. All roof penetration points are potential leak points.

The tape, if applied correctly, will not fly off.
It is the perception that the panels are getting hit with highway-speed winds at the leading edge, but this is not so. The actual turbulance on the roof does not work like that fortunately.

3M describes the VHB tape as a chemical bond, not just a really sticky tape. It works and works well.

I am not a big fan of more holes in the roof. I have done repairs on leaky roofs so that has swayed my opinions. It is miserable replacing rotten wood in a ceiling or roof.

Pet peeve is the RV factory using all 36 holes on a simple tiny roof vent and screwing in 36 screws into the roof just to hold the little thing on. Use 8 screws and some Lap sealant. Lap sealant is magic stuff.

bpounds

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Posted: 03/27/20 11:21am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I might see using tape if you've got a solid material roof, like sheet metal or fiberglass. I think that is a small percentage of RV's, but maybe I'm wrong. Anyway, if you've got any kind of rolled out roof, like EPDM, using tape will only be as secure as the bond between the rubber roof and sub-roof. Which as we all know, from seeing bubbles and even sails when that bond fails, it is not a reliable bond over the entire surface.

Also don't think your only concern is the wind created by travel. You may see high lift forces any time the wind blows, while parked, as well as side winds while under way.

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