I've actively searched and perused previous posts, but haven't really come up with the answers I'm looking for. I'm planning to add solar to my newly purchased 2011 SMB with manual Penthouse. Current setup is no solar, no prewiring. Two Group 31 AGM batteries, 2000w inverter/charger, standard-issue Sure Power 1315-200 separator.
Thought is to add 2x100w solar panels on PH top. I already have two 100w Renogy rigid panels that I bought a year or two ago, as well as PWM controller and most install parts for an install I never got around to. Also Thule tracks that I was planning to mount them to. However, with Renogy's recent sale on some parts I was looking through their site and am contemplating a different route, as follows:
1. Flexible panels 2 x 100w Renogy
, mainly for weight reduction since my PH is manual. Saves 10# per panel (4# vs 14.3# for rigid panel), so 20# overall, which is welcome. Flexible panels are about 6" longer than rigid, but still only 48". BUT, I really would rather not glue/tape them to the roof, both for ease of future removal and also heat-transfer and cooling of the panels. Has anyone mounted flexible panels on the PH but on some sort of frame? Is this just stupid and I should just bond them directly to the PH and not worry about it?
2. Controller: Thinking of getting an MPPT controller that supports Bluetooth for monitoring, like Renogy Rover Li 40
Amp MPPT Solar Charge Controller ($170). I'll likely go this route, but am also considering...
3. DC-DC charger with MPPT: Looking at the Renogy DCC50S
12V 50A DC-DC On-Board Battery Charger with MPPT ($300). I like that this provides a multi-stage charger from both solar and the alternator. A lot of our charging is done while driving, and a "smart" charger would be nice rather than just a straight line from the alternator to the battery. It will also trickle-charge the starting battery from solar, which is useful since our van stays parked quite a bit. Concerns: 1) Is 50a enough to handle an OEM Ford 120a alternator's output? Seems not, but maybe I'm missing something. 2) No remote monitor available, not much info on the unit itself either (just a few lights). I guess I'd have to add a separate monitor of some sort. 3) No Bluetooth available for remote monitoring (not a dealbreaker, but would be nice). 4) If I install this, does it replace the Sure Power separator?