It has been a few months since eNow installed three solar panels on the roof of my trailer. Time for an update.
We installed the solar panels on my trailer for two reasons. One, it was easier to install the panels on the roof of my trailer and not modify the aesthetics of my new Cascadia with a proto type system. Second, there is more space on the top of my trailer and I only pull one trailer. Ultimately the ideal place for this system will be on the tractor roof.
The eNow system installed on my trailer consists of three solar panels, which are 1/16” of an inch, each panel weighs, 19.6 lbs., and each panel produces 310 watts for a total of 930 watts of output. Total wiring of the system with wiring and control equipment should be under 75 pounds. My truck currently has Park Smart which is a 12-volt DC electric HVAC System. This system includes four extra batteries plus the four batteries which are already standard on the Cascadia.
I have been using the Park Smart since its introduction in 2008. This 12-volt DC powered HVAC system has been an efficient way to stay comfortable without the need of an APU or idling the truck's engine during a 10-hour rest period. The only down side to relying on my trucks batteries for heating, cooling, and hotel loads has been during longer stays beyond ten to twelve hours. Extending the range has been alleviated by enabling optimized idle to start the truck's engine to recharge the batteries when low when necessary.
Now that my truck has the solar panels from eNow, producing up to 930 watts of auxiliary power, extended layovers are able to be accomplished comfortably without using optimized idle or starting the truck for any reason. The eight batteries on the truck have always stored enough power for me to make it through the night time hours comfortably. On a typical night, my voltage would drop to 12.6. Today with the eNow solar panels my voltage will still read 12.6 as the sun begins to rise. As I get up in the morning, get dressed, and start my day I have observed my voltage climbing to 12.8 volts as my three solar panels begin to absorb the energy from the morning sun.
At this point, it is normal for me to go and eat breakfast and upon returning to the truck my battery voltage will have risen to somewhere between 13 and 13.7 volts. With the batteries brought up to nearly a full charge, this means my alternator will not be tasked with recharging the eight batteries on my Cascadia. This should equate to reduced fuel consumption from the alternator not being burdened with this duty.
Since the addition of the eNow solar panel there are many other conveniences:
No need to worry about unloading my refrigerator as often when away from truck.
The ability to use my 900-watt microwave without idling the truck.
Peace of mind knowing my batteries will stay charged.
Quiet idle free extended rest periods.
There could also be maintenance related benefits, such as extended battery life as well alternator life. I am extremely happy with the system and enjoying using the suns energy to keep me cool from the suns heat. To learn more about click here eNow