Adjustable mount for solar panels?

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streetartsquirrel
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Adjustable mount for solar panels?

Post by streetartsquirrel » Thu Aug 06, 2015 12:52 pm

Making my first trip to the playa this year and planning to bring a 50 w solar panel with me. For those of you bring a smaller solar panel with you, do you use any type of adjustable mounting to alter the angle of the panel?

If so, are there any easy/cheap solutions to making one? I dont have the tools or space to make my own.

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Just_Joe
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Re: Adjustable mount for solar panels?

Post by Just_Joe » Thu Aug 06, 2015 12:55 pm

streetartsquirrel wrote:Making my first trip to the playa this year and planning to bring a 50 w solar panel with me. For those of you bring a smaller solar panel with you, do you use any type of adjustable mounting to alter the angle of the panel?

If so, are there any easy/cheap solutions to making one? I dont have the tools or space to make my own.
We just use a chunk of 2x4 but if you don't have tools, an 18 pack of PBR will give you 3 different angle options.

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spacetime
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Re: Adjustable mount for solar panels?

Post by spacetime » Thu Aug 06, 2015 1:50 pm

This is a timely thread. I just got four separate sunforce panels and no mount. Was planning on laying them flat, but sort of need to figure out a simple system to angle them. Previous owner suggested plywood but it seems like overkill. Maybe a 2x4 and some kind of clamping system would be good. Case of beer makes sense until it is consumed.

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GreyCoyote
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Re: Adjustable mount for solar panels?

Post by GreyCoyote » Thu Aug 06, 2015 3:37 pm

Just_Joe wrote:
streetartsquirrel wrote:Making my first trip to the playa this year and planning to bring a 50 w solar panel with me. For those of you bring a smaller solar panel with you, do you use any type of adjustable mounting to alter the angle of the panel?

If so, are there any easy/cheap solutions to making one? I dont have the tools or space to make my own.
We just use a chunk of 2x4 but if you don't have tools, an 18 pack of PBR will give you 3 different angle options.
Joe failed to point-out this would also be an effective auto-tracker if consumed at the rate of 2 beers per daylight hour. :mrgreen:
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some seeing eye
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Re: Adjustable mount for solar panels?

Post by some seeing eye » Thu Aug 06, 2015 3:57 pm

You want that panel at 50 degrees from vertical facing South which is about 14 degrees E of magnetic South. (correct me if I'm wrong on the magnetic declination) Have you ever visited the Alternative Energy Zone village? They are the on playa solar gurus! 50W sounds like a small, 2sf?, panel. But be sure it does not blow away.
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nixiebunny
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Re: Adjustable mount for solar panels?

Post by nixiebunny » Tue Aug 25, 2015 11:25 pm

I just built a frame for a 30W panel for our camp's playa art project. I used 1x2s to make two flat pallets, with bolt hinges on one (ground) side and support struts on the other (tall) side. Overkill, but effective. The big 75 AH battery rests on the lower pallet to keep the assembly from blowing away.
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Captain Goddammit
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Re: Adjustable mount for solar panels?

Post by Captain Goddammit » Wed Aug 26, 2015 6:50 am

GreyCoyote wrote:
Just_Joe wrote: We just use a chunk of 2x4 but if you don't have tools, an 18 pack of PBR will give you 3 different angle options.
Joe failed to point-out this would also be an effective auto-tracker if consumed at the rate of 2 beers per daylight hour. :mrgreen:
That is a perfect example of playangineering
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AzJames
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Re: Adjustable mount for solar panels?

Post by AzJames » Sun Jul 10, 2016 12:06 pm

I mad a stand for my solar panel out of some old satellite mount parts that were laying around. The best thing was after taking out a few bolts it all stored flat. Here are a few pictures, it worked great during the burn! I ran eight 18" lag bolts through the frame and into the playa. It never even moved in the winds. I ran a string to solar rope lights around the edge of the panel so I didn't walk into it at night.
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Elorrum
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Re: Adjustable mount for solar panels?

Post by Elorrum » Sun Jul 10, 2016 12:38 pm

That is a neat piece of work, AzJames, Nixie also.
I got a little set of frame sides from Harbor Freight when I bought one of their panesl. three adjustment angles and folds flat when removed. I try for south, and set it at 45degrees.
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Roundabout
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Re: Adjustable mount for solar panels?

Post by Roundabout » Sun Jul 10, 2016 10:18 pm

The solar panels accumulate less dust if the are mounted off the ground like AzJames did. Nice work!
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FlyingMonkey
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Re: Adjustable mount for solar panels?

Post by FlyingMonkey » Mon Jul 11, 2016 7:56 am

AzJames wrote:I mad a stand for my solar panel out of some old satellite mount parts that were laying around. The best thing was after taking out a few bolts it all stored flat. Here are a few pictures, it worked great during the burn! I ran eight 18" lag bolts through the frame and into the playa. It never even moved in the winds. I ran a string to solar rope lights around the edge of the panel so I didn't walk into it at night.
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Looks nice!

But the OP has limited tools/space.

Last year I went to Uncle Google to find an angle calculator(latitude+time of year), made 2X4 triangles for the ends that provided the angle (see Elorrum's pic), put a sheet of plywood between the triangles & mounted my 2 x 100W panels. It worked great. It wasn't the most elegant solution but the plywood, while not completely necessary, did provide some shade/dust protection for my battery/inverter box. I just set this on my trailer to get it off the ground & keep folks from tripping over it. Even with the strong winds last year it never moved.

Of course the downside of this design was that I had to rotate my trailer as the sun moved :-(

But if you are looking for easy it really doesn't get much easier. All you need is a saw & a drill to shoot the screws. You should be able to buy/scrounge those tools.

Even when I was too lazy to move my trailer to align the panels they were still kicking out decent voltage.

For my situation 200W & 2 deep cycle batteries was total overkill but I wanted to try my set-up out. The way I see it is build it, assess it, rebuild it for next year & repeat as required. For a single 50W panel you won't need too get too elaborate.

On thing I would recommend is that if you are using an inverter try your best to protect it from the dust. The fan on mine sucked in a lot of the Playa.
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maladroit
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Re: Adjustable mount for solar panels?

Post by maladroit » Thu Jul 14, 2016 12:44 pm

It doesn't really need to be adjustable, since you know the latitude and longitude of BRC :)

This was my ultra simple solution for a small 30W panel:

Image

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ygmir
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Re: Adjustable mount for solar panels?

Post by ygmir » Thu Jul 14, 2016 4:55 pm

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some seeing eye
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Re: Adjustable mount for solar panels?

Post by some seeing eye » Thu Jul 14, 2016 8:08 pm

All the above solutions are cool! Burners are solar DaVincis!

The Alternative Energy Zone ae-zone.org has an email question and answer email list. It is more active around the burn - Now! Last I used, it exposes your email to the private list, so a throwaway email might be useful.

The ae-zone list might have ideas and their village is well worth their tour Monday - Saturday at 11:03AM.
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knobdyspcl
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Re: Adjustable mount for solar panels?

Post by knobdyspcl » Thu Jul 14, 2016 9:58 pm

maladroit wrote:It doesn't really need to be adjustable, since you know the latitude and longitude of BRC :)

This was my ultra simple solution for a small 30W panel:

Image
I love your set up!!! even the foil covering over the swampie. I'm looking for a cheep cooler on wheels to use to transport/store/setup the battery & panel. Not sure where I saw that but it looked simple, easy and convenient if you can get one that fits your panel, cables and all that stuff.
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