Ford Transit USA Forum banner

Solar Panel and Schematic suggestions

6539 Views 26 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  GROOVY2
I'm looking for input on a solar system I'm planning for my 2021 Transit.
I have done some research and am heading in the following direction
I'll use about 80 amp hours per day and want about 2 days of storage. I'll use solar, alternator, and shore power to charge my system.
I would like to use a single 400 Watt Solar panel on my van to simplify my install, connections etc. - Does anyone have any concerns with going with a single panel vs 4 separate panels? I am looking at the Solaria panel. Does anyone have experience with this panel or suggestions for an alternative panel?

Also, I have been looking at the various sites for van builders and their electrical schematics. I'm thinking of using the solar schematic from
Any concerns with this site or alternate suggestions.

Thanks for any input
1 - 2 of 27 Posts
Be sure to check out what power you can get from the alternator as well. We put 800W on our roof (tilt-ready) based on our experience with the Sprinter in the past. Turns out we can get ~1500W from the alternator pretty easily with the dual-alternator setup. Pretty sure you could get that from the single as well (they're 250A each). So ~400-600W solar would have been fine for us - and use the alternator to back it up on non-sun days.

FWIW, our daily draw is similar to what you've projected (~1kWh) and we've seen multiple days with zero sun over the last few years - sometimes winter / ski and other times just rain / clouds in summer - and we learned that we wanted to have 4-5 days worth and to count on it being tested regularly. Right now, summertime, it's filled back up in a couple hours. In November in Yosemite valley... might as well be zero even without a storm.

We ran ~5kWh usable storage in the last rig (3 x 255Ah @ 12V AGM) and moved to ~8kWh of LiFePO4 (2 x 170A @ 24V) in this rig. Haven't regretted the additional space or cost. And have only drained half once or twice so far.

The schematics and such are fine - there's lots of options out there and it ends up being pretty simple once you get over the myriad connections. But that does take some time to get used to.

For simplicity and expediency sake, we wired up alternator charging for a friend's rig (Renogy 60A plus one 200A 12V LiFePO4 and an inverter) and he hasn't bothered with the solar panels yet. The controller is installed and he's got the panels but he's busy using the van and it's working great, so... 🤷‍♀️

It's not solar that matters, it's storage. And getting it back in there after you use it.
See less See more
If you’re planning to set up your solar projects on a curved area, don’t settle for those rigid, traditional panels. Go instead for those in this flexible solar panels review that will have a snug placement, so they won’t come loose easily. A 100 watt flexible solar panel might be suitable for quick camping trips with one or two people. However, for a family living at home, a collection of 200W or 300W flexible solar panels might be more apt. If you want something more intense, go for 400W flexible solar panels.
... unless you've actually used those flexible panels for more than a year or two and realize that you'll be replacing them regularly to keep good output. 😏
  • Like
Reactions: 2
1 - 2 of 27 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.