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Old 06-13-2015, 02:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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They've got solar panels on the roof...

I'm surprised that these don't seem to take up a whole lot of space. It's pretty neat to see!

I know that on a cars roof probably doesn't make too much sense, but what about on a trailer or truck bed cover?


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Old 06-13-2015, 05:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by whatmaycome14 View Post
I'm surprised that these don't seem to take up a whole lot of space. It's pretty neat to see!

I know that on a cars roof probably doesn't make too much sense, but what about on a trailer or truck bed cover?

I'd like to see solar panels on every car roof someday. Heck read the Prius and Leaf forums to see how many 12v batteries go dead before their time due to the anemic charging strategy used on hybrids and EVs.

There is a tiny solar panel on the top of the Leaf SL and the Prius Plug in but it'd be nice to see panels get cheap enough that it's common to see panels built into the roof of all cars.
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Old 06-13-2015, 08:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I have had solar panels on my vans. There are issues, however. Solar panels get very hot in the sun, and they transfer that heat to the cabin. On a white van the underside of the roof is barely warm in full sun while under the solar panel (with a 10mm air gap) was too hot to touch.

Possibly on a black car it wouldn't be an issue, but on a white car a roof full or solar panels will likely mean running the A/C more than the panels will compensate for.

Right now I have my panel mounted on the roof rack, with a good 4" gap so it does shade and cool the interior when parked, and I have a little vent fan added so it can actually expel hot air once the battery is full.

I'm still debating on moving the panel to my trailer instead (flush mounted on the roof). I'd be able to then remove the roof rack when not needed for the aero gains, but I'd only have solar when the trailer is connected. Running without the trailer, I'd only get a charge at night by plugging in to the trailer.

It's a tricky equation as I have silicones etc in the van that I'd rather keep cool.

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Old 06-14-2015, 02:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by dhanson865 View Post
I'd like to see solar panels on every car roof someday.
Why? Other than possibly something to keep the 12V battery topped up. You add parasitic weight & drag to something that's hardly ever going to be in a good position to collect solar energy.

You might even see totally clueless people - the sort that leave their engines running in parking lots - parking in full sun so they can run the A/C, when the car'd stay cooler if parked in the shade.
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Old 06-15-2015, 12:31 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I was researching Prius batteries where I read that rooftop solar panels were only the start. He or she continued that cars needed wind turbines in front and something else that did not make any sense.

I guess the turbine might make sense for regenerative braking, but it would be like using a light to power a solar cell.
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Old 07-04-2015, 11:20 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I installed a solar powered fan in my car's hatch to keep it cool when I parked in the sun. The fan is installed behind the bumper where the flaps are that exhaust air from the cabin and hybrid system.

Something like that would probably pay for itself in a production car.

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Old 07-05-2015, 01:14 AM   #7 (permalink)
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That may work out well for an ambulance, since their cabinets are usually fitted with thermal insulation.

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