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 > Would solar be effective in the midwest?

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Lwiddis

Kern County, CA

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Posted: 03/26/20 11:57am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

"I use just solar to charge my GC2's. I have never used a generator to charge my 8 year old batteries and they are still going strong. I boondock 99% of the time."

I get tired of exercising my generator every other Wednesday since I too don't need it for recharging. Solar is fantastic!


Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, 300 watts solar-parallel & MPPT, Trojan T-125s. TALL pole for flags. Prefer USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, USF&WS, state & county camps. Bicyclist! 14 year Army vet - 11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560)


Mobilesport

Iowa

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Posted: 03/26/20 05:30pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Lwiddis wrote:

"I use just solar to charge my GC2's. I have never used a generator to charge my 8 year old batteries and they are still going strong. I boondock 99% of the time."

I get tired of exercising my generator every other Wednesday since I too don't need it for recharging. Solar is fantastic!


Solar probably is fantastic if you live in a nice climate like California, probably won't work good in the midwest.

pianotuna

Regina, SK, Canada

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Posted: 03/26/20 06:34pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Mobilesport wrote:

Lwiddis wrote:

"I use just solar to charge my GC2's. I have never used a generator to charge my 8 year old batteries and they are still going strong. I boondock 99% of the time."

I get tired of exercising my generator every other Wednesday since I too don't need it for recharging. Solar is fantastic!


Solar probably is fantastic if you live in a nice climate like California, probably won't work good in the midwest.


I live in the mid west. I'll have to tell my solar that it has been bad. After all, it has not cost me a dime since I installed it and still works fabulously.


Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, 556 amp hours of AGM in two battery banks 12 volt batteries, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.

valhalla360

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Posted: 03/26/20 08:48pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

50 amp-hr at 12v is 600w-hr (actual voltage may modify the results a bit but not enough to drastically change the answer).

General assumption is you get 4-5 times the rated wattage in watt-hours...ie: 200w panel will get you 800-1000w-hr in a day.

On the surface sounds great. Problem is there are several mitigating factors.
- Winter in the north, the angle of the sun and shorter days will reduce panel output.
- Cloudy days (more common in winter) will reduce panel output.
- Snow on the panels will kill most of the output.
- Charging systems are not 100% efficient, so even in ideal conditions, expect to lose some.

Unlike Lead-Acid batteries which are typically kept above 50% discharge to avoid damage, Lithium can run down to around 20% with little risk, so 100amp-hr translates to around 960w-hr of usable power if you start fully charged. Depending on age and abuse, you may no longer have 100amp-hr batteries.

For your usage, I would want at least 50% more solar to make up for the losses from the theoretical output (maybe 100% more...300-400w of panels). Then I would want to double the battery bank as you will get multiple cloudy days from time to time. 1920w-hr will give you 3 days in a row of cloud cover before you run out.

Alternatively, you can keep a small generator and an eye on the charge state. If the bank gets too low, crank up the generator for an hour or two and give them a boost (preferable to go thru the onboard AC to DC charger as most generator 12v outlets don't put out a lot of amps).

PS: Be careful reading the replies as many people are mixing up units.


Tammy & Mike
Ford F250 V10
2008 Copper Canyon 5er
Catalac Catamaran 34'
Full Time spliting time between boat and 5er


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