Need PV plus a ski box. Can I mount flexible PV panels ON the ski box?

ClangClang

New member
I'm about to begin building out a new (to me) GX460. This will be my DD and occasional "work remotely for 2 weeks while I ski and climb" rig. Obviously, solar power and a ski box are both necessities. My first thought was to get a narrow ski box (even though I'd rather have a larger one) and then mount a rigid panel next to it on the rack. However, with the panel next to the box, there's a risk of it being in the shade of the tall box and killing efficiency unless I plan out all my parking to be parallel with the day arc of the sun, which will not always be an option. And I'll have to go with a smaller box than I actually want.

After seeing some RTT's with panels mounted on top, it occurred to me that I could possibly do this by mounting a panel ON the box. I see Renogy has a flexible 175W panel. It will fit easily on the boxes I'm considering. There's even enough space to add a second 50W panel if I wanted to. https://www.renogy.com/175-watt-12-volt-flexible-monocrystalline-solar-panel/

There are obviously a couple downsides to this method (longevity of panels, can't remove ski box without losing solar, etc). But given my requirements, I don't think I have any alternatives.

Any recommendations for running the wires down into the interior? Ideally I'd like to have some sort of exterior QD connector (Andersons?) so that I can remove the ski box whenever it's not needed.
Any other general thoughts on this approach?
Any issues I'm not considering?
Have you seen anyone else do this (or something comparable) and can post a link for me?
 

FJR Colorado

Explorer
Where are you traveling?

In a place with brilliant sunshine, shade from the ski box would be fairly negligible. I would look at the Renogy 160w panel.

As far as wiring the panels, I like down to the chassis and up thru the floor. Easy to do on trucks. Harder on an SUV but try snaking down the side of the tailgate door. I did this for all my roof lighting on my FJC with great results (i.e. no roof drilling).
 

ClangClang

New member
Where are you traveling?
In a place with brilliant sunshine, shade from the ski box would be fairly negligible. I would look at the Renogy 160w panel.

Pardon my hasty MS Paint mockup (obviously not to scale), but imagine a flat solar panel (red) sitting next to this box. It would be in the shade by mid afternoon if the sun (yellow) were on the opposite side of the box. That probably cuts down my total daily solar exposure by 25% or more if I have the car in a "sub optimal" orientation. Not ideal.[/QUOTE]
Solar.jpg
As far as wiring the panels, I like down to the chassis and up thru the floor. Easy to do on trucks. Harder on an SUV but try snaking down the side of the tailgate door. I did this for all my roof lighting on my FJC with great results (i.e. no roof drilling).

This is a great suggestion.
 
Last edited:

RAFoutdoors

Retired Explorer
I believe YAKIMA is releasing their new CBX line of Cargo Boxes with an integrated solar panel. It is due to be released in August 2020 and comes in a 16 and 18 cubic foot version. Don’t know the size of the panel but maybe this will fit your needs. I am sure it will probably be pricey.
 

hour

Observer
I believe YAKIMA is releasing their new CBX line of Cargo Boxes with an integrated solar panel. It is due to be released in August 2020 and comes in a 16 and 18 cubic foot version. Don’t know the size of the panel but maybe this will fit your needs. I am sure it will probably be pricey.

eww

"...inspired by current SUV trends and incorporates a 36W thin, flexible, and durable CIGS (copper indium gallium selenide) solar panel from Sunflare. The panel outputs 5 volts via two integrated USB ports and is designed to withstand heat, wind, cold, and impact, making it ideal for rooftop mounting."
 

2.ooohhh

Active member
I’ve been quite happy with flexible panels mounted to my hoods. Leaves the roof rack for other things that need to be up there.

85b4784930480b04da02b6cd2daef01d.jpg



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

ClangClang

New member
Thanks for the suggestions. The hood mount is interesting, but I think I'd rather stick them on a $300 ski box and not the hood of a 2017 GX. Out of curiosity, how did you adhere them?
 
D

Deleted member 9101

Guest
Mount a ridged panel on a set of drawer slides bolted under your ski box. You could jabe a muuuch larger panel this way and not have to worry about shade.
 

2.ooohhh

Active member
Thanks for the suggestions. The hood mount is interesting, but I think I'd rather stick them on a $300 ski box and not the hood of a 2017 GX. Out of curiosity, how did you adhere them?

On my 2014 FJ I adhered a similar panel to a hood blackout vinyl. Stayed put for 3+ years and removed with no signs left on the factory paint.

On the rover the panels are just held down with a bead of RTV sealant to the aluminum hood since I had access to a spare hood.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

rfoubi

Observer
dIhPVn1sBHOoT2T9ycSsi78PQ6dtVTX3tW0wQJoHy0oc7b5Mbuj5BvEw3vDP50gQarpJGXBivrCS2aIXsZYf05uICFTLPV1pNVxR2B2RSCZSVuE8-w_b7egSmXaZEzG9Ws3Wo-Olye0=w2400


I Used 2 x 30W Renogy rigid panels, bolted through the box w/brackets and copious silicone sealant. Works like a charm! Been on the 20+ year old Thule box for 5 years.
 

ClangClang

New member
I Used 2 x 30W Renogy rigid panels, bolted through the box w/brackets and copious silicone sealant. Works like a charm! Been on the 20+ year old Thule box for 5 years.

Sweet! That's basically exactly what I had in my mind's eye. I'll weigh the pros and cons of flexible vs rigid panels like yours and probably get moving on this project later this summer.
 

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