Author Topic: Covering solar panels when not in use - any suggestions?  (Read 1864 times)

Offline intheaspens

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Covering solar panels when not in use - any suggestions?
« on: July 16, 2017, 10:26:43 AM »
We are now (finally!) the proud owners of a good-sized solar generator for use in outages - at least for the foreseeable future.  We have a great location for the panels, but since they currently won't be in use most of the time wanted to cover them when they're not in use to save wear and tear.  We live at altitude in the mountains and so have blazing hot sun during the day and can have lots of snow in the winter.  Due to the altitude hail isn't much of an issue.

I'm thinking of perhaps getting some grill covers for them, but does anyone have a better idea?

Thanks!

LVWood

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Re: Covering solar panels when not in use - any suggestions?
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2017, 11:19:26 AM »
I would think a good thick tarp should do.

Offline Cedar

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Re: Covering solar panels when not in use - any suggestions?
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2017, 12:34:04 PM »
Are the panels far enough part that you can make a 5 sided 'box' to slip over them? I was thinking like 1x2" on the edges of a 1/4" plywood top.

Cedar

Offline intheaspens

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Re: Covering solar panels when not in use - any suggestions?
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2017, 10:09:09 AM »
Hadn't considered that, but I like it!  The problem with things like grill covers and tarps is that the weather eats them up in our environment and we have to constantly replace them.  Now you have me thinking of some sort of simple "panel shed" that we could open up and expose the panels when in use and otherwise have them closed.

So now I have to have a cuppa coffee and think about that... ;)

Offline Carl

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Re: Covering solar panels when not in use - any suggestions?
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2017, 09:15:18 AM »
  If the system works with a battery bank,How do you plan to maintain the battery bank?
Properly produced panels are made to survive being in the weather and the system will be at it's best if USED to power something within it's capacity so as to exercise the batteries and maintain system integrity. 

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Covering solar panels when not in use - any suggestions?
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2017, 09:50:11 AM »
  If the system works with a battery bank,How do you plan to maintain the battery bank?
Properly produced panels are made to survive being in the weather and the system will be at it's best if USED to power something within it's capacity so as to exercise the batteries and maintain system integrity.

Right.  I've seen permanent installs on boats and RVs.  Some of those are subjected to fairly extreme elements.

Offline Cedar

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Re: Covering solar panels when not in use - any suggestions?
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2017, 09:58:20 AM »
I was presuming he was going to unhook and store the batteries, but yes, you are right.

Cedar

Offline Carl

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Re: Covering solar panels when not in use - any suggestions?
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2017, 10:31:22 AM »
  Batteries go 'bad' slowly from the day they are made.
They last longer when charged AND DISCHARGED within design parameters. What I refer to as "exercise"


Offline buckaroo

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Re: Covering solar panels when not in use - any suggestions?
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2018, 10:04:15 AM »
  If the system works with a battery bank,How do you plan to maintain the battery bank?
Properly produced panels are made to survive being in the weather and the system will be at it's best if USED to power something within it's capacity so as to exercise the batteries and maintain system integrity.

This^^^
I just completed a system on our cabin and pondered the same question as I left for the first time......the research and advice I got was to leave it running as usual. The batteries do need to be 'exercised' and the panels should last 20+ years at least anyway. So why not just leave them as is? If you were to have a concern with hail or rodents then I would say build a wire cage, very light, to just lift on and off. This would allow them to still charge the batteries...