So I added another 200W of solar to the roof......
I've been using a single 120W Kyocera panel and Samlex controller for a while and when spending more than 2 days boondocking the batteries cannot keep up with running the electric water heater during the day.
When I say "not keep up" this means that my house batteries are are down to 70% state-of charge (SOC) or less. So by day three if I haven't driven the van I usually don't turn on the water heater.
I added a pair of Renogy Eclipse 100W panels to the system. Since my controller is a simple PWM controller, all three panels are wired in parallel. These panels are monocrystalline and are roughly 20"x40"...they were the smallest/highest energy 12V panels that I could find.
Doing some research on the inter-web thingy I found that mixing panels is typically not a good idea for the following reasons:
If the panels are wired in series, the panel(s) with the lowest current rating (Imp) will determine the current for the array.
For parallel wiring, it works the other way, the panel(s) with the lowest voltage rating (Vmp) will determine the voltage for the array.
The old Kyocera panel has a Vmp of 16.9V and the new panels have a Vmp of 17.7V so I'm taking a hit of .8 volts by mixing these panels.
The new setup works great..technically I have somewhere between 300-320W on the roof and in direct sunlight I'm seeing 225-230W when the batteries are low and the controller is in absorb charge mode.
With the single Kyocera panel I was seeing about 80W or so max, so the new setup has almost tripled my solar power.
I previously had 16 AWG wire running from the panel to the controller; this has been upgraded to 10 AWG with the new setup and was a PITA to pull the new wires.
Since the old wire was a rubber jacketed power tool 2 conductor cable and the new wiring is two individual 10 AWG wires I also had to fabricate another bulkhead connector that allowed dual strain reliefs (I need my head examined!!-another PITA). The two rubber-plugged connectors on the outboard side of the bulkhead are for my roof lights; I store them inside.
I used some 6063 aluminum channel to mount the new panels to the four existing 1/4-20 bolts that attached the front crossbar block to the penthouse roof.