Hood Solar Panel - margygreen

Solara 80W 24V Solar Panel

I run a Fridge in my 4Runner off a second battery. When the engine is running the 2nd battery is charged from the alternator but isolated when the engine is off. The summers in Tucson are very hot and if the vehicle is parked for a few days with the fridge running you risk draining the battery. While at a campsite, I can put out a portable solar panel. However, when parked in other locations I wanted a permanently affixed solar panel that wouldn't get stolen.I purchased a Solara Standard M Series 80W 24V solar panel and Victron  Energy Blue Solar MPPT bluetooth controller from . This solar panel is made in Germany and designed for marine applications. It can with stand being walked on  if installed on a sailboat deck. I selected the Solara because it had a size that maximized usage of my flat hood space and only a single cable coming out that could exit from the panel straight down through the hood. I also wanted a 24V panel for use with a MPPT controller to increase efficiency.This has worked out so great that when I purchase my next vehicle I will also install a permanently mounted solar panel on the hood.


Installation

I installed the solar panel to the hood using rivet nuts and stainless steel hardware. A grommet was used to line the hole the cable passed through. 3M UV4000 white marine flexible sealant was  on the underside edges of the panels as well as used to caulk the edges after installation so water wouldn't intrude underneath the panel.

  • Solara hood solar panel on 4Runner
  • Solara hood solar panel on 4Runner
  • Solara hood solar panel on 4Runner
  • Solara hood solar panel on 4Runner

Photos of finished work

The pictures below show the finished solar panel installation. A few weeks later I installed a WeatherTech hood deflector. After all these years, my hood didn't have any chips on the hood in the area the panel is installed. To add some protection I added the hood deflector.

  • Solara hood solar panel on 4Runner
  • Solara hood solar panel on 4Runner
  • Solara hood solar panel on 4Runner
  • Solara hood solar panel on 4Runner
  • Solara hood solar panel on 4Runner
  • Solara hood solar panel on 4Runner

Solar Performance

The Victron controller connects to your phone via bluetooth so you can see the performance as well as export a months worth of data in .csv format. The plots below show the performance over various days during the summer. The first two plots show the performance with the fridge running all day in a closed car that is parked in the sun when I'm at work and the high temperatures for those days is in the next picture. The other plots show various days when the fridge is running,  and when it is not turned on to show I didn't need to generate power to keep the battery charged. The grayish area of the plot show when the controller is conditioning the battery.

  • Solara hood solar panel on 4Runner
  • Solara hood solar panel on 4Runner
  • Solara hood solar panel on 4Runner
  • Solara hood solar panel on 4Runner
  • Solara hood solar panel on 4Runner
Powered by SmugMug Log In