Looking for the most efficient solar panel

rideglobally

Adventurer
I have a small space on my camper roof. I want to put 800 to 1000 watts panels on the roof. What are the most efficient solar panels on the market?
 

llamalander

Well-known member
Small space won't equal 1000 watts. If the weight isn't a big issue, ground/roof mount panels probably produce the most power per square foot. I've had a REC panel on top of my truck for a few years, no issues with all the crap roads I've been on. The frames & glass on these are really robust, I have mine supported by a unistrut rack on four sides, but that may actually be unnecessary.
Their rex-alpha panels can produce up to 470 watts with a (1725x1208mm) 68.5"x 47.5" footprint. 22.6% efficient is about as good as you can get today, but the nominal voltage is around 55v. so you need an MPPT that can bring this down to automotive voltages. The Victron SmartSolar 100/50 MPPT should work for a single panel.
Most residential panels are installed in pairs in series, so often a single or odd number of panels can be bought from installers who get them by the pallet, and often have a leftover (or the mate of a broken/damaged panel). Find out if anyone near you installs high power-density panels and if they have singles for sale--much cheaper by the watt and no shipping costs.
 

Peter_n_Margaret

Adventurer
I have 1160W. 6 @ 160W plus 1 @ 200W. All in parallel.
"Good" panels are about 200W/m2. There are lots who's performance is severely exadurated.
P1050549cE.JPG

Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
 

rideglobally

Adventurer
Small space won't equal 1000 watts. If the weight isn't a big issue, ground/roof mount panels probably produce the most power per square foot. I've had a REC panel on top of my truck for a few years, no issues with all the crap roads I've been on. The frames & glass on these are really robust, I have mine supported by a unistrut rack on four sides, but that may actually be unnecessary.
Their rex-alpha panels can produce up to 470 watts with a (1725x1208mm) 68.5"x 47.5" footprint. 22.6% efficient is about as good as you can get today, but the nominal voltage is around 55v. so you need an MPPT that can bring this down to automotive voltages. The Victron SmartSolar 100/50 MPPT should work for a single panel.
Most residential panels are installed in pairs in series, so often a single or odd number of panels can be bought from installers who get them by the pallet, and often have a leftover (or the mate of a broken/damaged panel). Find out if anyone near you installs high power-density panels and if they have singles for sale--much cheaper by the watt and no shipping costs.
can please send me a link of these panels. thank you very much. the current set up I am thinking of now can get me to 600 watt which I will post at the end of this thread.
 

rideglobally

Adventurer
here is as far as I have gotten on my set up.

https://www.renogy.com/rego-3000w-12v-pure-sine-wave-hf-inverter-charger-split-phase-design/ my travel takes me to both 120 and 220volts hopefully this will solve that issue
Renogy have 200watt flexible for my space that will get me to 600watts.

what do you think of Renogy?
thanks
 

Peter_n_Margaret

Adventurer
I am currently building another expedition vehicle. It will be mostly electric accessories and appliances (no gas).
It will have 2.1kW of solar which will feed via 5 separate controllers to provide redundancy and better partial shade protection.
Multiple smaller MPPT controllers are typically similar cost to the same capacity using a larger controller.
Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
 

JaSAn

Grumpy Old Man
The best commercially available solar panels will product about 200W per square meter under optimal conditions. For 800W you would need 4 square meters (~43 sq.ft.).

I've had two Renogy 100W rigid panels on my camper roof for 9 years without issue.
 

plh

Explorer
here is as far as I have gotten on my set up.

https://www.renogy.com/rego-3000w-12v-pure-sine-wave-hf-inverter-charger-split-phase-design/ my travel takes me to both 120 and 220volts hopefully this will solve that issue
Renogy have 200watt flexible for my space that will get me to 600watts.

what do you think of Renogy?
thanks

Generally flexible solar panels are not as efficient as a rigid panel.
 

llamalander

Well-known member

226 w/m, made by REC in Singapore, commonly cited as being one of the most durable panel-makers around.


No affiliation, but I have one that has put up with my abuse, so it comes with my reccomendation.
 

rideglobally

Adventurer

226 w/m, made by REC in Singapore, commonly cited as being one of the most durable panel-makers around.


No affiliation, but I have one that has put up with my abuse, so it comes with my reccomendation.
thank you
 

broncobowsher

Adventurer
Generally flexible solar panels are not as efficient as a rigid panel.
Not as durable either. My 12 year old 70W panel makes about as much power as my 2-year old 400W flexible panels. I did the flex panels for low profile. Mounted with aluminum sheets on the roof and I could just squeak into the garage. Couldn't do that with full size panels. By squeak in, I had to watch the fuel level and add weight if it wasn't a full tank.

Panels are rated at 1,000 w/m2 sun load. What is on the market these days is in the 22%, maybe 22.8% efficient. Anything advertised more than that is very exotic, or more than likely a flat out lie. And that output is based on getting good sun. Clean panel, aimed at the sun, in the summer, power point tracking. This time of year, most of the Northern hemisphere, lucky to get 50% of rated power aimed at mid day sun.
 
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Peter_n_Margaret

Adventurer
I am using mostly 430W lightweight Sunman panels in our new build. Each with its own Victron controller.
Mounting method is critical.
Cheers,
Peter
OKA196 motorhome
 

alia176

Explorer
I have a small space on my camper roof. I want to put 800 to 1000 watts panels on the roof. What are the most efficient solar panels on the market?
I have another point of view from a different angle! You have a small space on the roof, which means you have not a lot of space for an optimum solar gain or wattage. Additionally, you have to mount them laying flat, which also prevents the optimum solar power gain based on the # of sun hours and seasonal angle of the sun. Most of us park our trailers under a tree so that the trailer stays cool during the summer.

So, with all that said, are you absolutely sure you can't go with a ground based solution that may provide the highest bang for the buck? Meaning, you can angle the panels throughout the day for max watts/hour. This takes into account seasonal sun location, and you can park under a tree for shade while the solar panel(s) are far away getting full sun.

Again, just another point of view.
 

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