Voltech panels have arrived. The junction boxes on the top of each panel do not protrude nearly as much as we were expecting. So we have 6 x 100 watt panels to fix to the roof.
Because we are aiming to keep the profile of the truck as low as possible, we were from the start, fixed on flexible, stick-on panels. We were aware of the Unisolar brand with apparently several dealers readily supplying the product. Part of the research about batteries veered off on a path towards Lithium Ion, then MPPT controllers etc. That took a while. Then the issue arose of 12v or 24v and we calculated that we would have an uneven number of panels if we went with the Unisolar and only have just over a max of 180 watts on the roof. Around this time, quite by accident I stumbled across an old news item on a web page that suggested that Unisolar had gone bankrupt! Is that the same Unisolar as the panels being sold here in Australia? Turns out yes and they are not merely bankrupt but entirely defunct. They are still being sold as dealers had bought up stock. When I questioned the retailer about warranty - of course there is none - hie view was - better to buy what was a good product without a warranty than a less quality product with one! It's a not unreasonable thought but we continued to look for alternatives.
There are products but none seemed to meet our requirements. So I looked at the marine industry and found the Italian Soliban panels - very thin, very efficient and have no junction boxes etc to increase the profile height of the paenl . . . but you don't have to speak Italian to translate "molto costoso".
Fortunately, in the course of speaking with our builder - John, he mentioned that the electrical wholesale dealer that supplies a lot of his accessories, also sells the Voltech brand of solar panel. Comparison of the Solbian and Voltech panels indicated that they were very similar in specification although the Voltech panel had we were told a 10mm high junction box sitting on the end of each panel. Maybe we can get around that and you don't have to speak Italian to understand that compared with the Solbian panels the Voltech are "molto più economico".
With the Voltech panels - which we are guessing are from India? - we could fit 6x100 watt panels on the roof and . . . I can go back to speaking English.
We are in our mid-50's and it's time to mostly give up work - maybe after we pay for