Sprinter-Forum    
 

Go Back   Sprinter-Forum > Sprinter-Based RV's & Conversions > Sprinter RV's & Conversions Talk

Sprinter RV's & Conversions Talk Common features found in Sprinter RV's and Conversions.


 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 09-30-2017, 04:56 AM   #1
newsprinter
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 11
Thanks: 1
Thanked 2 Times in 1 Post
Default $2,900 for 400W solar -- Is that a fair price?

Hi

I've read that solar panels are dirt cheap, but LTV charges $2,900 for their 4 x 100W solar panel option, which seems expensive to me. Can solar panels be installed significantly cheaper than LTV charges.

Thanks.
newsprinter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-30-2017, 05:20 AM   #2
ESC2SNTY
 
ESC2SNTY's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: PNW
Posts: 25
Thanks: 29
Thanked 10 Times in 8 Posts
Default Re: $2,900 for 400W solar -- Is that a fair price?

I put a complete 400W system with MPPT controller on our class C for $800. Check out Renogy.
ESC2SNTY is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-30-2017, 07:32 AM   #3
ddunaway
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 531
Thanks: 122
Thanked 249 Times in 137 Posts
Default Re: $2,900 for 400W solar -- Is that a fair price?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ESC2SNTY View Post
I put a complete 400W system with MPPT controller on our class C for $800. Check out Renogy.
Seems like a lot of people use renogy panels with other brands of MPPT controllers including myself.............
__________________
2015 High Roof 144WB Crew 4x4
ddunaway is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-30-2017, 11:49 AM   #4
GeorgeRa
2013 Sprinter DIY 144WB
 
GeorgeRa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 4,522
Thanks: 1,257
Thanked 2,525 Times in 1,638 Posts
Default Re: $2,900 for 400W solar -- Is that a fair price?

Seem expensive, compare with http://amsolar.com/ For 3 x 100W backcontact high efficiency Grape Solar I paid $800 in 2013 plus Morningstar MPPT charge contorller.
http://amsolar.com/

George.
__________________
George.

https://goo.gl/photos/2NCR3teXLSwNYSwN8
GeorgeRa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-30-2017, 12:30 PM   #5
Graphite Dave
Dave Orton
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Occidental, Ca.
Posts: 7,695
Thanks: 1,256
Thanked 4,896 Times in 2,769 Posts
Default Re: $2,900 for 400W solar -- Is that a fair price?

Solar panels can be bought for about $1/watt. A Morningstar Sunsaver MPPT controller at about $250. So a 300 watt system would be under $700 plus installation.
__________________
Sold 2008 diesel NCV3 144" WB high roof DIY conversion
2015 gas Ecoboost Transit 148" WB high roof conversion

Web Site: http://ortontransit.info

U-Tube Video: https://youtu.be/h5L6TZdy_y0
Graphite Dave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-30-2017, 01:09 PM   #6
HarryN
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Pleasanton, CA
Posts: 2,673
Thanks: 657
Thanked 863 Times in 705 Posts
Default Re: $2,900 for 400W solar -- Is that a fair price?

You cannot really compare the price of some of the parts to a completely installed system.

Panels used to be the most expensive portion of a solar system, both on a home and on a van, but that is really not the case anymore.

Ever since the Chinese drove virtually all of the US producers out of business, panel prices have been rising, especially for the more sturdily built, RV size panels.

Smaller panels cost more per watt than one large panel, but most RV installers won't use a full size panel on top because of the large size. Each approach has advantages and disadvantages.

The hardware and wiring parts to mount 4 each, 100 watt panels on a sprinter can approach the price of the panels themselves.

All RV dealers are going to charge $120 - 150 / hr for work. There are very few that are not backed up for months, so why would they charge a different price for solar installs? It is best done by 2 people and could easily take 8 man - hours to complete.

After that, they have to put a warranty on it, which is not free.

It is possible that the dealer would use a renogy controller for a customer install, but I wouldn't.

Can it be done cheaper by you - yes. Is their price reasonable for a dealer install compared to other dealers ? I would say it is fairly close.
HarryN is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to HarryN For This Useful Post:
Aqua Puttana (09-30-2017), HighPockets (10-18-2017), jackfish (10-02-2017)
Old 10-01-2017, 02:06 PM   #7
jrober
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 36
Thanks: 0
Thanked 26 Times in 18 Posts
Default Re: $2,900 for 400W solar -- Is that a fair price?

You would probably be better off spending the money on a second alternator especially if you aren't sitting in one place for extended lengths of time. When you do the math comparing output of solar panels on an average weather day to how long you would need to drive with a second alternator to get this same battery charging capacity, solar panels become pretty questionable. It would probably work out to about 20 min of driving with a second alternator to equal the output of those solar panels for a similar price.
jrober is offline   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to jrober For This Useful Post:
Geriakt (10-19-2017)
Old 10-01-2017, 02:28 PM   #8
Aqua Puttana
Poly - Thread Finder
 
Aqua Puttana's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: The Falls of Niagara, USA
Posts: 25,933
Thanks: 13,638
Thanked 14,822 Times in 9,399 Posts
Default Re: $2,900 for 400W solar -- Is that a fair price?

Perhaps a dumb question because I don't know if "LTV" always means a completed RV conversion or if they do partial custom work.

Whatever, installing a DIY solar system in a bare bones van as part of a DIY conversion is one thing. Installing a DIY solar system into a commercially completed and fitted out van conversion is a horse of a different color.

Installation into a completed conversion van can add overhead and for certain more labor. The savings over the ordered LTV built in system might not be as great.


Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryN View Post
You cannot really compare the price of some of the parts to a completely installed system.
...
I thought that you provided a nice overview by the way.

vic
__________________
DAD NAS (N. Amer. Spec) 2004 140 2500 >330,000+ mi. Arctic Whitewash Brush-tone Grey
2006 Freightliner 140 2500HC >183,000+ mi. Arctic Whitewash (Spotted Snow Leopard accents)
"My opinion and worth everything you'll never pay for it." assumed.
Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm. Publilius Syrus
"There are only 10 types of people in the world: Those who understand binary, and those who don't." HaWiiLuVeR
16 ounces of unnecessary prevention can be worth a pound of manure.
Aqua Puttana is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2017, 06:05 AM   #9
newsprinter
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 11
Thanks: 1
Thanked 2 Times in 1 Post
Default Re: $2,900 for 400W solar -- Is that a fair price?

Quote:
Perhaps a dumb question because I don't know if "LTV" always means a completed RV conversion or if they do partial custom work.
Sorry, LTV is Leisure Travel Vans. They use a Sprinter chassis and add their own body--sort of halfway between a Sprinter conversion and an RV. I'm 6' 3 1/2", so I think I need a higher roof than the high roof Sprinters offer. LTV's Unity model has a 6'5" tall interior.

Quote:
Installing a DIY solar system into a commercially completed and fitted out van conversion is a horse of a different color.
Yeah, that's what I had in mind.

Last edited by newsprinter; 10-02-2017 at 06:08 AM.
newsprinter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-02-2017, 03:39 PM   #10
HarryN
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Pleasanton, CA
Posts: 2,673
Thanks: 657
Thanked 863 Times in 705 Posts
Default Re: $2,900 for 400W solar -- Is that a fair price?

In case you have not seen it yet, the forum has a whole section for sprinter based class C vans.

https://sprinter-source.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=57

LTV and Winnebago are probably the most discussed, but there is more in common in that platform than difference, so it is worth looking over what people have done on them.

I am not sure why it didn't occur to me earlier that you were referring to a class C RV built on a sprinter chassis rather than a class B that uses the conventional sprinter body.

There isn't any reason that you cannot do a solar install yourself. It might even be possible to get more power up there. If you measure carefully, it might even be possible to get 50% more solar power than the 400 watts using more conventional RV size panels (nominal 27 x 58 inch). I have not attempt this yet, but I have done some class A RVs.

Just to rough out some costs though:
- 4 panels x 180 watt = est $1000
- Mounting hardware for 4 panels = est $500
- Charge controller capable of handling 4 x 180 watt panels into a 12 volt system = something similar to a midnight classic 150 S = est $550
- Wires, connectors and cable management =est $300

Usually there are not any rails on these roofs, so the attachment is a combination of VHB tape and expansion bolts.

Some people will run the PV wires down behind the refrigerator.
HarryN is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT. The time now is 10:08 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.