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Open Roads Forum  >  Tech Issues

 > Solar Panel Height

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1L243

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Posted: 04/18/21 04:40pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I posted this at the end of a old thread but I think it has ran it's course.

After viewing many photos of RV Solar Panel installs I see a big difference in the distance between the roof of the RV and the solar panel. Some appear less than a inch some 5" OR 6" from the roof to panel.

In my case I used Renogy two piece mounting brackets and as low as I could go is about 3" on the ends. My roof has a curve so a little less in the center of the panel.

I have to admit I like the look of the panels being closer to the roof but what is the ideal or is there a ideal recommended height for solar panels.

I did read that 3" is minimum with 4" to 6" preferred but not sure if they were referencing RV's or solar panels in general.

Apparently the height has to to with heat from the solar panels, just how hot does it get under there?

Any thoughts?


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2oldman

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Posted: 04/18/21 05:35pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Mine are at a height of maybe an inch or two, as determined by the standard commercial mounts that allow tilting. They've been up there for a decade, in almost constant sun, in 90F or more temps (not Death Valley heat) and my rubber roof shows no signs of heat damage.

What I love about solar panels, other than the obvious, is they actually protect your roof from damaging sunlight.

The panels that scare me are the flexible ones I see plastered directly on a roof. Those things get really hot.

agesilaus

North Florida

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Posted: 04/18/21 06:14pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Yeah mine are maybe 1 1/2 inches. They are supposed to work better when off their above the roof for cooling.

"I did read that 3" is minimum with 4" to 6" preferred but not sure if they were referencing RV's or solar panels in general."

But on the other hand people are sticking those flexible panels right on their roofs. Zero spacing.


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Lwiddis

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Posted: 04/18/21 07:14pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Mine are less than two inches. Five, six inches would be funny lookin’ IMO.

Being a Westerner, the heat of stick-on panels would be terrible. Has thecupping issue been solved? Is the warranty now equal to rigid panel warranties?


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pianotuna

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Posted: 04/18/21 09:41pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Mine are as close as possible given a curved roof.

If I redo the system in summer of 2022, I'll have a rack that is above the air conditioner.


Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, soon to have SiO2 batteries, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.

1L243

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Posted: 04/19/21 01:25am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

pianotuna wrote:

Mine are as close as possible given a curved roof.

If I redo the system in summer of 2022, I'll have a rack that is above the air conditioner.


Now that would be something to see going down the road.
[image]

jshupe

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Posted: 04/19/21 10:24am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

1L243 wrote:

pianotuna wrote:

Mine are as close as possible given a curved roof.

If I redo the system in summer of 2022, I'll have a rack that is above the air conditioner.


Now that would be something to see going down the road.


Rack is the way to go. It avoids shading and gives you maximum use of space.


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1L243

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Posted: 04/19/21 12:51pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Having a solar array rack not like the one in the picture which looks pretty fixed but one that could tilt all the panels remotely would be pretty cool.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IndjBauuRc

mr_andyj

Georgia

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Posted: 04/19/21 01:36pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Make it as low as possible.
Some guys have super high mounts to clear objects on the roof as otherwise the panels would not fit between the objects.
Some might be trying to get above any shadows that the object could cast.
Some have high mounts because the mounts they bought are high, no other reason.
Some have them high bc they have it set up to be able to rotate the panels at an angle when parked, so need the extra wiggle room.
Others yet have absurdly high mounts bc they are crazy.

The panels do need an air gap so the air can circulate, it can get hot under those black cells.
How much of a gap is debatable, but 1/2 an inch will allow cooling. Yes, a big gap will allow more cooling, but that small gap will circulate plenty of air.

Keep in mind you will be driving and if you care about the mpg's a lower stack is better.
I prefer the panels low to the roof where minimal wind turbulence will occur.

lane hog

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Posted: 04/22/21 02:24am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I've got about 2" under my panel and none of my RV's have caught fire yet from the heat...



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