Installed a Solar Panel on a Nissan Altima Hybrid

Discussion in 'General' started by cephraim, Nov 8, 2008.

  1. cephraim

    cephraim Noob

    I was inspired by msantos' post/guide for installing a solar panel in an HCH-II, so I decided to try something similar in my Nissan Altima Hybrid to supplement the 12V battery (NOT the high-voltage battery).

    I decided to get the most powerful solar panel I could find that would fit on my back deck. After lots of researching, I ended up with a 15W version that's a little larger than 11"x17":


    I got it, along with a controller, from a company called Green Energies, LLC for about $121 delivered. It was actually cheaper to buy through one of their ebay auctions than through their site.

    Anyhow, the controller keeps the panel from overcharging the battery, while protecting the panel from getting zapped. On msantos' recommendation, I also installed two inline fuses on the positive lead: one before the controller, and one after it.

    So far so good. Not sure of the FE results yet. Probably won't make my money back for a long time, if ever. But, it looks cool and I get a lot of questions from eco-minded people!

    Here are some shots I took. I have styrofoam supporting it from underneath, and between it and the glass, to keep it on an angle and away from my hybrid battery air intake.




    Here's the controller mounted in the trunk:


    Here's where I connected it to the 12V battery (which is in my trunk):


    Thanks again to msantos for the inspiration and technical support!

  2. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    Do you have any idea how much the window glass reduces the solar cell's output? I have considered doing something similar and I'm curious.

    Also, is that panel secured with anything? If not, PLEASE get that thing fastened down tight! Those sharp corners would raise hell on your head in a collision.
  3. cephraim

    cephraim Noob

    I don't think it effects the output much, from what I've read. Plus I went with a 15W unit, so it's OK if I lose a little to the glass.

    Good call on the sharp corners. I'm gonna put some cushions on them.

  4. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    If you are opposed to a real fastener like screws or whatever, some sort of [very short] tether might be alright. But you need to ensure that it stays in place rather than becoming a projectile. Even cushioned, that thing could do some damage. Maybe you could run a cable along the same path as the wire to something solid in the trunk? If you can't screw into the panel, an epoxy like JB Weld might be enough. Mechanical fasteners would be better, though.
  5. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    HI Eph:

    ___Looks very clean!

    ___And like Tim said, get that thing attached ;)

    ___Good Luck

  6. msantos

    msantos Eco Accelerometrist

    Hi Eph;

    That is some serious - and awesome - panel !!!! :D

    Looks very good, and I have no doubt it will keep your 12 volt system well topped off. With that baby you can actually afford to power a good current meter too. ;)

    From a first look I gather this panel has some mass and I would tie it down with couple of bolts & brackets... or a generous amount of industrial type velcro or... a good set of cold welds as Tim suggested. A flying guillotine is the last thing you need in a collision. ;).


  7. fuzzy

    fuzzy Mild hypermiler

    Don't bother with cushions. If it hits the back of someone's head at 60 mph, cushioning is irrelevant.

    Bolt it down.

    -- Dean
  8. Elixer

    Elixer Well-Known Member

    I think it's 15A not 15W! 15A*12V = 180W max. So you're looking at ~100W of real delivered power in direct sunlight.

    Agree with others: You need to strap it down for safety. The corner of a Kleenex box can kill someone in a high speed crash - this thing could decapitate someone.
  9. msantos

    msantos Eco Accelerometrist

    Hi Elixer;

    It is very unlikely this panel can be rated at much more than 15W under ideal situations. Typically such panels produce under 1A of current at 17V (0.9 A * 17 V ~= 15.3 Watts).



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