Up on the Roof

With a 32 foot motorhome, you would think there is a lot of space for multiple solar panels, and there is. The challenge, however, is that the panel placement has to compete with things that are already there, namely two air conditioners, two roof vents, the refrigerator vent and a few other vents.

And it’s not just about “placement” of the panels. It’s also about size of the panels. Being new at this, I’ve learned that there are a lot of considerations and options. But one thing I decided early on, is that I want the ability for the panels to be tilted. This eliminated some of the panels I might otherwise have been interested in. The size of these panels were such that, when tilted, would have turned them into high profile sails. Ultimately, unless I change my mind or something better comes along, I decided on 100 watt panels measuring 47″ x 21″. These panels fit nicely between the roof edge and the large A/C units, if necessary.

So, armed with the panel dimensions, I found a piece of cardboard and cut out a panel template. Yesterday, with cardboard in hand, I climbed up on the roof. We are fortunate that we are able to store our motorhome inside of a large warehouse. I can’t imagine being out in the wind, on top of the motorhome, with a 47″ x 21″ piece of cardboard, let alone a solar panel. Anyway, with the cardboard template and a Sharpie pen, I layed out where the panels might go.

Being mindful of all the “shade” warnings I had come across in blogs and elsewhere in my research, the panel placements seem like they will work, whether flat on the roof or tilted. In the end, I had marked locations for six panels, and may have room for a couple more. Of course, all of this is tentative. I want to give more thought to how the rig will need to be situated in light of the panel placements I have chosen. There will probably never be a perfect placement solution. When you are boondocking, you never know where you are going to be or what the physical environment will dictate. But I want to at least have thought it out. I think I’ll sleep on it. But not up on the roof.

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