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Old 08-19-2009, 02:02 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Replace sunroof with solar panels to power AC?

I was reading up on gascort's solar roof and really liked the work he did. However being a complete newbie, I'm not ready to go alternator-less, so I was thinking how I could possibly use a solar panel to gain some significant FE benefits? I have a sunroof that would lend itself perfectly to be used for solar panels. So I came up with the idea of using the solar panels to run the AC, that way I would reduce engine load and still have the comfort of the AC (especially since the AC is most needed when the sun is baking. Also I'm pretty sure my significant other would murder me if I decided to take out the AC!) I also could use the AC at lower speeds without feeling bad about the fact that rolling the windows down would probably be more efficient!

Having come up with the idea, here are my questions:
  • Could a sunroof sized solar panel produce enough energy to run a typical car AC?
  • Where would I buy the solar panels and at what cost?
  • How complicated would the hookup be for a circuitry ignoramus like me?

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Old 08-19-2009, 02:37 AM   #2 (permalink)
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A/C is lots of energy, and you'd need electrical A/C. Do you have that already? The prius is the most famous for having that system.

But yeah, sunroof solar is a sweet idea
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Old 08-19-2009, 08:27 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Sorry, but solar panels just don't put out that much energy. There is no way you'd be able to run an AC system off of one mounted to your sunroof area.
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Old 08-19-2009, 09:02 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Well it was worth asking lol I also don't have an electrical AC either.
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Old 08-19-2009, 09:41 AM   #5 (permalink)
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You could do a solar radio, though... a good project to start on, and more likely to work successfully.
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Old 08-19-2009, 09:50 AM   #6 (permalink)
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That was actually my next idea since I've been contemplating buying a stereo with an AUX socket. Any tips on how to best go about that? As mentioned I have zero experience with anything related to electrical wires, so I probably have a lot of reading to do to get started.
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Old 08-19-2009, 10:23 AM   #7 (permalink)
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If you were going to put a 12 volt nominal solar panel on a vehicle, you might as well wire it into the existing 12v system, rather than trying to run an accessory directly from it (with the exception possibly of small ventilation fans).

It'll keep the battery topped up to counter small losses from computer memories (radio etc.) and the battery's natural discharge rate.

The effect of a sunroof size panel on fuel consumption would be real, but very small - essentially undetectable at the pump.

Make sure to also use a charge controller so you don't over charge the battery!

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