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Old 02-07-2011, 11:58 PM   #1
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Solara panels

One of the SMBs i am looking at has solara panel(s). Not sure of the specific set up yet. Still waiting to speak with the owner. From what I've seen on the forum solara is not the panel of choice.
1. Is this solara panel a sure dud?
2. If its wired for the solara how difficult is it to switch to a kyocera or other?
I really like the solar panel concept but dont want to calculate the value of the van with the panel if the panel is crap.
3. I know some of you have been wired for 'portable' solar. Can you explain the details (costs, etc)?

Listed SMB below.

2008 Ford RB E350 Diesel 4x4
VIN: DA41313
Location: Morro Bay, CA
Miles: 39,600

Electric PH w/Bed, "50", Upgraded Audio/Video, AM/FM, Sirius Satellite, DVD, Navigation, Monitor, Bluetooth, Back up Camera, Alarm, Stove, Microwave, Sink, Refrigerator, Furnace, 12v A/C, Inverter, Porta Potti, Under Floor Storage, Exterior Light, Solar Panel, Rear Ladder, Tire Carrier, Hoop Steps, 46 Gal. Fuel Tank, Sleeps 4, Seats 5.
$72,500
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Old 02-08-2011, 11:05 AM   #2
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Re: Solara panels

Changing from one solar panel to another is easy electrically. Mechanically, you may have redesign the entire mounting system.

It doesn't matter if Solara is the best or worst for a panel choice, as long as it works in your application.

Many SMB's come with a plug on the rear of the van to plug in a remote solar panel. Usually it is wired in parallel with any mounted panel. A remote panel is handy if you are camped in the trees with full sun nearby (within the reach of your wires). A real problem with a remote panel is storing it inside when not in use.

Mike
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Old 02-08-2011, 12:16 PM   #3
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Re: Solara panels

The Solara panels SMB used started to de-laminate and kind of hazed over. This caused the output to lower. If you look at the panel it will be easy to see. Solara is no longer in the US so there is no warrantee from what I was told. I pulled mine off and had to have the top re-done with what SMB uses on some of their builds, about 650.00 but it's not necessary if you don't care what the top looks like. If you're careful, you can save the panel and use it as a portable panel (I have a new Solara). You just need to install a plug somewhere on the van that ties into the solar controller's input phase and add an extension cord to the panel. I keep mine stowed under the bed. An old panel might not put out as much as it did when new but it could be better than nothing. When going with new panels you might want to make sure it's covered under a warrantee if mounted on a RV...many are not. Also glass panels can break so it's something to consider. Pinecones are not friendly to those but they are fairly strong. I still think you might be able to find flat panels similar to a Solara but being glued to the roof makes the panel less efficient because they canít cool as well.

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Old 02-08-2011, 07:32 PM   #4
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Re: Solara panels

Solara panels! No longer in business. I have had two that needed to be replaced. I currently have one mounted that works ok. It's not at all difficult to replace a solar panel. With some wire work it can be plug_and_play, however depending on type it may require a mounting design. I had SMB add a plug for a remote soft foldable panel. I love it and would never buy another fixed type of panel again.

hope this helps

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Old 02-08-2011, 11:19 PM   #5
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Re: Solara panels

One portable panel co.
http://www.powerfilmsolar.com/
Never used anything from this manufacture.
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Old 02-09-2011, 09:22 AM   #6
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Re: Solara panels

My two Solara panels installed by SMB on my 07 work just fine with no issues. I've heard they are no longer available here, but they are nice.
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