RV solar panel mounting

stiebevstiebev Posts: 5Registered Users
I am about to install two 135W solar panels on my 5th wheel. The roof plywood is 1/2 inch thick and I am wondering what the best attachment method is? I am using fixed mounts.

Comments

  • mike95490mike95490 Posts: 6,523Solar Expert ✭✭✭✭
    Re: RV solar panel mounting

    If you intend to leave them deployed while traveling, you will need thru-bolts and backup plates in the plywood.
    Also, panel may flex and wobble in the wind, not sure how tough they really are.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • Doug888Doug888 Posts: 5Registered Users
    Re: RV solar panel mounting

    I'm about to do the same thing. If your roof is fiberglass I have heard that you can attach the brackets to the fiberglass using special 3M adhesive pads if everything can be cleaned good enough. I would use more then 4 brackets per panel if I were to try this. What charge controller are you planing to use?
  • icarusicarus Posts: 5,070Solar Expert
    Re: RV solar panel mounting

    I (personally) wouldn't roll down the road at 75mph into a wind with expensive, dangerous if they fly off, solar panels GLUED to my roof! Think about the flex of a vehicle or trailer and try to guess as to what happens if the flexing caused the glue bond to fail!

    Like I say,,, I wouldn't trust it!

    Tony
  • stiebevstiebev Posts: 5Registered Users
    Re: RV solar panel mounting

    I am using a Blue Sky MPPT SB3024iL.
  • RVoutreachRVoutreach Posts: 7Registered Users
    Re: RV solar panel mounting

    I have 2 panels arriving on Friday, Kyocera KD135GX-LPU model. My roof is EPDM and I have ducted A/C so getting through the roof for backup plates is not really an option. I ordered fixed mounts that attach on the ends of the panels and go all the way across. I will use as many large screws as I can to go into the roof (same construction as yours). I don't forsee a problem with them going anywhere.

    Also using the SB3024iL charge controller with the temperature sensor. Debating on the IPNPRO-s remote display. :)
  • 2manytoyz2manytoyz Posts: 358Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: RV solar panel mounting

    I'm using those same RV style brackets in the other post (Z-brackets). Not mounting mine to an RV, but rather my roof, in hurricane prone FL. I wanted a low profile mount, intended for high winds. These are beefy, and keep the panels at a low profile.

    dscn3436-t.jpg

    dscn3437-t.jpg

    DSCN3948.JPG

    I have a travel trailer, and previously owned a 36' Class A. I understand the roof construction issue! I've seen someone on the Motorhome Magazine Forum secure their panels with the 3M tape. "I" wouldn't trust that small amount of tape to hold them in place at hwy speeds. If it was the entire perimeter of the solar panel frame, that's a different story. Booger to ever remove though.

    If the hole drilled ends up in the A/C plenum (void), might consider using butterfly type toggle bolts. If it's only going into the thin plywood and foam insulation, there's still 16 holes (total) in the 4 mounting feet. A decent wood screw (not drywall screws) should do a fine job. Be sure to seal the holes, and the screw heads. Might use some of the liquid (self leveling) sealant intended for RV roofs.

    You can see how they used this stuff on every potential leak spot on my roof:

    roof1301.jpg

    I'd put a layer of that over each mounting plate, covering the screw heads as well. Should prevent leaks, and the screws from backing out. JMHO
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: RV solar panel mounting

    How are you going to mount the plywood? I wouldn't suggest screws!

    The roof of an RV is very susceptible to leakage due to the "general" poor quality of workmanship. My trailer leaked everytime it rained after one year of ownership!
  • PhilSPhilS Posts: 369Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: RV solar panel mounting

    When I mounted a panel on my RV, I used a "kit" made for RVs. There were "L" brackets and neoprene "inserts" that had brass threads internally that tightened the insert.

    In other words: you drilled a hole in the rv plywood roof, inserted the neoprene insert, placed the bracket on top, put the stainless screw into the brass threads of the insert and tightened, which expanded the neoprene insert into a tight and waterproof attachment point.

    I did that in 2001 and haven't had any indications of leakage (like bubbles in the rubber roof) or instability.

    Where to get them? They came with my panel. But since they do exist and work well, you should be able to eventually locate some.

    Phil
  • KamalaKamala Posts: 452Solar Expert
    Re: RV solar panel mounting
    2manytoyz wrote: »
    I'm using those same RV style brackets in the other post (Z-brackets). Not mounting mine to an RV, but rather my roof, in hurricane prone FL. I wanted a low profile mount, intended for high winds. These are beefy, and keep the panels at a low profile.

    dscn3436-t.jpg

    Is that steel on aluminum?
  • 2manytoyz2manytoyz Posts: 358Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: RV solar panel mounting

    Hard to tell from the picture, but those are aluminum brackets. Very heavy duty.

    Made by Unirac, P/N 990009

    Installation manual here: http://www.mrsolar.com/pdf/unirac/UniRac%20RV%20L-Feet%20Installation.pdf

    Purchased here: http://store.solar-electric.com/unrvflmofefo.html
  • stiebevstiebev Posts: 5Registered Users
    Re: RV solar panel mounting

    Thanks for the suggestions. After researching and asking many questions I've finished the installation, using the Unirac P/N 990009 mounting brackets and (2) #14x1" SS screws in each bracket (four brackets per panel).

    My application is rubber roof as well so each screw got a liberal application of self leveling sealer around the threads and pilot hole (I also lifted the panel/bracket a bit to get sealer between bracket and rubber roof) before driving them as well as a more sealant over the head of the screw.

    There ya have it, thanks for the suggestions.
  • CVN-71CVN-71 Posts: 54Solar Expert ✭✭
    Re: RV solar panel mounting
    2manytoyz wrote: »
    I'm using those same RV style brackets in the other post (Z-brackets). Not mounting mine to an RV, but rather my roof, in hurricane prone FL. I wanted a low profile mount, intended for high winds. These are beefy, and keep the panels at a low profile.

    dscn3436-t.jpg

    dscn3437-t.jpg

    DSCN3948.JPG

    I have a travel trailer, and previously owned a 36' Class A. I understand the roof construction issue! I've seen someone on the Motorhome Magazine Forum secure their panels with the 3M tape. "I" wouldn't trust that small amount of tape to hold them in place at hwy speeds. If it was the entire perimeter of the solar panel frame, that's a different story. Booger to ever remove though.

    If the hole drilled ends up in the A/C plenum (void), might consider using butterfly type toggle bolts. If it's only going into the thin plywood and foam insulation, there's still 16 holes (total) in the 4 mounting feet. A decent wood screw (not drywall screws) should do a fine job. Be sure to seal the holes, and the screw heads. Might use some of the liquid (self leveling) sealant intended for RV roofs.

    You can see how they used this stuff on every potential leak spot on my roof:

    roof1301.jpg

    I'd put a layer of that over each mounting plate, covering the screw heads as well. Should prevent leaks, and the screws from backing out. JMHO

    Curious, in the top picture, how did you run the wires from the panel thru your house roof? Did you go thru the top vented area?
  • icarusicarus Posts: 5,070Solar Expert
    Re: RV solar panel mounting

    The only problem with the low profile brackets that I can see, is they place the Pv pretty close to the roof surface, not allowing as much cooling air under the panels, leading to some reduction in output.

    May be made up for in greater wind security, but engineered solutions for high wind loading applications are out there that allow the Pv to be placed 6" above the roof deck.

    Tony
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Mounting Solar Panels on RV Roof

    Hi All,

    I am interested in putting two Kyocera KD135GX-LPU 135 Watt 12 Volt Solar Electric Panels on the roof of my 2007 WW FS2500 Superlite.

    Has anyone done this? If so, how?

    My question is mainly how do you horizontal mount the panel to the roof safely to withstand 70+ wind speed on freeway. Also, how do you put screws in the mounts but not through the ceiling? And, then what goop do you use to waterproof the mount footing on the roof?

    Thank you for any ideas how to do this *wisely* :-)

    Frisbee
  • BB.BB. Posts: 25,254Super Moderators admin
    Re: RV solar panel mounting

    Welcome aboard frisbeedata,

    I moved your question into this RV panel mounting thread... Hopefully, it will help keep things a bit more sane in one thread.

    Please feel free to continue posting any further questions/answers you may have here.

    -Bill (moderator) B.
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • 2manytoyz2manytoyz Posts: 358Solar Expert ✭✭✭
    Re: RV solar panel mounting
    CVN-71 wrote: »
    Curious, in the top picture, how did you run the wires from the panel thru your house roof? Did you go thru the top vented area?

    Tucked the wires through the end of the ridge vent. Put the rubber block back in place afterwards. Gone through a couple of wet seasons in FL, including Tropical Storm Fay (major flooding), no leaks.

    2865.jpg

    At a minimum, I will put split loom on each of the cables to prevent UV damage. Otherwise I'll put them in plastic conduit.
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