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Old 04-24-2011, 06:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Solar Panels for Auto Applications

Hey guys,

I was curious about using solar panels to increase an automobile's efficiency. I know that newer toyota prius have them.

Can anyone provide links for this sort of discussion/forum?

Is it possible to apply small solar panels to my car to assist with things like air conditioning, radio, etc.?

Any information is good information.

Sincerely,
The Dude.

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Old 04-24-2011, 06:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Is there an area on your car that faces south at a 45 degree angle? because if you have the solar panels flat their output is going to be reduced by about 1/3rd because they will no longer be pointing at the sun.
Also the life span of PV panels is 50+ years and average life span of a car is 8 years altho some do last longer the cars that tend to last 50 years tend to be garaged most of their life and spend very little time on the road, so ingratiating PV in to a part of a car seems like a silly idea.
But with that said there should be enough space on the roof of your car that after all is said and done you should be able to get 40-50 watts out of the and with an average of 2-4 sun hours per day (again, not an ideal angle) that would mean 80-200 watt hours per day, plenty to run the radio (15-50 watts for regular car radios) and you might be able to find an electric heat pump/AC that would run off that amount of energy but it would be way cheaper to have it hooked up to a vent fan to bring fresh air in to the car in the summer, top off a deep cycle battery that could then help reduce the alternator load (DC-DC converter to get the voltage to 13.4v would be needed to keep the alternator off) and of course while you are driving it would help a bit too, assuming that it was sunny and the sun was high enough in the sky.
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Old 04-24-2011, 09:25 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It seems like solar film would be the way to go. they can be integrated into body modifications relatively easily I would think and are not obtrusive as far as aerodynamics are concerned.

I do agree that the solar cells SHOULD outlast my (or any other) car's life expectancy. But, this of course, isn't really a problem, because if your car is ca ca anyway, it would be easy to re-purpose them elsewhere. You make a very good point though. It certainly would be important to have these concepts at the forefront of one's mind during design.

Yes. This "alternator" off concept is near what I was conceptualizing. Is this what the prius does with its solar panel? Is this turning the alternator "off" or just assisting it?

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Old 04-25-2011, 01:37 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The use of solar panels in cars really isn't worth the money invested, especially since they likely cannot be moved to a new car. The only worthwhile application I've seen is 1 to 4 amp trickle chargers.
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Old 04-25-2011, 02:27 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The Prius uses them to run cooling fans when it's parked so the interior doesn't get so hot. That's probably the best use for solar.
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Old 04-25-2011, 11:19 AM   #6 (permalink)
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For the amount of space they require that's all they can do in a car. It's a nice idea but I don't see it as 'economical' because it can't run the A/C (I'm told) and even if it can the pump is still attached to the motor eating up HP.

Best application of a solar panel for auto use? Tractor/trailers. Semis. There's about a hundred things you could do with that much square footage of solar panelling, and the weight of a few more batteries will not affect the terrible economy of a semi.
Do you know how much fuel they burn just to stay warm/cold when they're not driving?
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Old 04-25-2011, 05:31 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andale View Post
The use of solar panels in cars really isn't worth the money invested, especially since they likely cannot be moved to a new car. The only worthwhile application I've seen is 1 to 4 amp trickle chargers.
Where can I "see" these applications? Can you send me the links?
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Old 04-25-2011, 05:34 PM   #8 (permalink)
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all good stuff...

keep contributions goin...
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Old 04-25-2011, 06:48 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dieselbeetle View Post
Where can I "see" these applications? Can you send me the links?
Here's one at random
solar battery tender
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Old 05-08-2011, 04:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thank you Mr. Spammer for bumping this thread.

DieselB, here are two members that have used solar cells to offset the effects of going alternatorless:
Solar Roof
Paseo gets a solar sun roof

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prius solar panel, solar car, solar ecomods, solar panels, solar technology

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