Pros and Cons of Portable Solar Panels Compared to Rooftop Full Time RV Living



Pros and Cons of a portable solar compared to rooftop solar

Hi everyone, We had a few people ask why we did not mount or solar panels on the roof and I thought I would make a short video on the pros and cons of our portable solar panels now that we have been using it for a bit.

Pros

Flexibility We wanted the flexibility of being able to park our RV under shade and put the panels in the sun, also we wanted to be able to park the RV in any direction for the best views, if the panels were on the roof we might need to worry about A/C units casting shade on the panels

Easy installation by keeping the panels off the roof meant we would not need to figure out a way to mount them on the roof, which means no worries about drilling holes and running wires.

Getting the most from the sun Having the panels on the ground means it’s easy for us to turn and adjust the panels for the optimal amount of sunlight capture as you can see with our Victron Battery monitor I can read the exact amount of power coming in from the panels and direct them accordingly to maximize them
Keeping them clean is a breeze as well.

Our 200 Watt Renogy bundle including the Solar charger and wiring came to about $300 That’s relatively inexpensive to add solar to an RV

Portable solar panel is a great first step We can always add Panels to the roof later if we like the performance and results we see from the panels.

Cons

Storage When the panels are not in use we need a place to safely store them especially when traveling.

Only work when not on the go Because the panels need to be plugged in everytime we park and setup we are not collecting any power for these quick overnight stays, such as walmarts or Flying J’s not to mention your roof panels will be collecting power even while driving.

Set up setting up and connecting the panels at every new site could become a hassle compared to the set it and forget you get with roof mounted panels and because it is easy to adjust the panels on the ground you might find yourself constantly tinkering with the panels throughout the day trying to collect those perfect rays.

Limited by storage space Most RV’s have great real estate on their roof with plenty of room to add several panels and we have plenty of friends with 1,000 plus Watts up there because of this. If you wanted that kind of power from portable you are talking about trying to transport, store and set up 10 Panels and that’s just not practical.

Protecting the panels from damage, Here is a great example of that one day while parked out here the wind picked up drastically and blew the panels from the backside and threw them face down scratching one and completely shattering the other. Surprisingly enough this shattered one still works but instead of being able to pull 6 amps it barley brings in over 4 amps per hour. We replaced it with a new panel, not so much for that reason but we figure it will just be a matter of time know before moisture seeps in and ruins the panel completely or that we start to get chips of glass all over the place for Belle to step on later.

So those are my pros and cons
Did I miss anything? Let me know down in the comments and if you liked the video give it a thumbs up and share it with your friends. If you disliked the video give it a thumbs down and share it with people you don’t like.

Take care everyone and safe travels!!

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