S2E17: How to mount solar on a fiberglass roof

 

S2E17: Slowing it down + mounting our solar panel

After exploring Point Reyes National Seashore, we made our way to Santa Rosa and decided to finally mount the solar panel to the top of the van.

We were anxious about mounting solar on a fiberglass roof because we didn't want to disassemble the interior of the van, and we didn't have equipment to drill holes. For the first six months we lived in the van, we would keep the solar up front while we were sleeping, and on the bed while we were driving. Unless we were going to be parked somewhere with the van, we didn't leave it out because we didn't want it to be stolen.

Now that we have the solar mounted, it's a total life changer. Here's how we did it:

We decided to take a note from our skydiving days and use Dual Lock to start the process. Dual Lock is a fastener, think of it like industrial-strength velcro. We used this to mount our cameras to our skydiving helmets and never lost a camera, so we figured this could be a great base layer to mount the solar on the roof of the van without drilling holes.

Once we trimmed down the pieces of Dual Lock and affixed them to the back side of the solar panel, we had one shot to get our placement right on the roof. Barry cleaned the roof and it was go time. Fortunately, we nailed it on the first try.

Next, to make the panel flush with the surface of the roof, we used Gorilla Waterproof Seal & Repair tape. A product benefit (super strong) was also a warning - once this tape touches a surface, good luck getting it off!

And there you have it, solar mounted to a fiberglass roof with NO holes drilled. Trimming the Dual Lock was the most time-consuming part of the process, we did this in about an hour.

Here's what you'll need if you want to replicate our setup - purchasing by clicking the link below allows us to get a small bonus for referring you, so thank you in advance for your support in this way!

  • RENOGY 160W FLEXIBLE SOLAR PANEL: https://amzn.to/2FMnggN

  • GOAL ZERO YETI 400Wh LITHIUM POWER STATION: https://amzn.to/2FLazCX

  • DUAL LOCK: https://amzn.to/2FKIsDO

  • GORILLA SEAL + REPAIR TAPE: https://amzn.to/2FXNltt

After we finished up in Santa Rosa, we took a spin through Armstrong Woods just after sunrise and we had the whole park to ourselves. Those redwoods are SPECTACULAR!

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COMING UP NEXT WEEK

S2E18: Parking lot dance party with MC Hammer

When we woke up in Santa Rosa, we had big plans. We started off the day by venturing out to Armstrong Woods, enjoying an easy hike among the redwood trees. We had a few days to kill before we needed to be in Folsom for my talks, and we planned on scooting out to a remote campsite near Lake Berryessa to keep the restoration party going between tour stops and to avoid the heat wave.

Except we got a bit confused when selecting the campsite and it took us up to Clear Lake instead of Lake Berryessa, and the campsite we selected didn't exist. So then we made our way to Lake Berryessa. No dice. Then we continued driving to Folsom, hoping to pick up a campground at Folsom State Recreation Area. Surprise surprise, it was full on a Saturday in June.

So while we didn't anticipate spending our evening parked in the parking lot of a nearby casino, that's exactly what we did. And it ended up being the best weirdest day because we topped off the adventure with a dance party in the parking lot with MC Hammer rocking in the background during an outdoor concert.

Sometimes the best plans don't come together, but with the right attitude and mindset, none of that matters. This ended up being a perfect day, even if it was nothing like what we hoped it would be.

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