It is no surprise that the American solar industry is expanding. There has never been an easier time to take advantage of the economic and environmental benefits of going solar. Solar companies and end users in the RV market have been capitalizing on solar panel technology to increase energy efficiencies and output. Since the roof of the vehicle is receiving continuous solar radiation, RV solar panels can produce considerable amounts of electricity to power DC and AC loads while on the road and camping. RV solar panels can be installed on the roof of the vehicle with a few different configurations including fixed, tilted, and flexible mounting systems.
Some methods require a greater scale of labor: mounting brackets, frames, and significant fastening. One of the most common installations is flexible mounting. Flexible solar panels adapt to the shape of the vehicle, allowing easier installation and minimizing costs. Installing these types of panels usually requires a double-sided adhesive tape and an aggressive single-sided tape for a fixed and environmentally stable solar panel configuration.
Picking the Right Tape
Double-sided adhesive is designed to be used as a material to fill gaps and voids while providing adhesion to irregular surfaces. Furthermore, it will be used to bond two substrates together, fixing the panels to the RV roof system. With most applications, 30mil - 60mil product will be used depending on the type of roof membrane and overall adhesion needed.
After fixing solar panels with a double-sided adhesive, it will be necessary to install reinforcement adhesive tape around the perimeter of the solar panels. This ensures a watertight seal, protects against water intrusions and has a TPO backing that will protect against UV Rays. Most installers will use a 30mil – 50mil product, the thicker the adhesive the higher performance with adherence to difficult substrates and roof membranes. The added thickness of tape backing and adhesive will provide long-lasting durability from the environment.
It’s important to ensure the elastomeric adhesive bonds aggressively to the roof substrate when dealing with waterproofing applications involving solar panel installation. The right adhesive product will bond to a variety of materials including metals, plastics, roofing materials, wood, and numerous painted surfaces.
Surface Prepping RVs for Installation
With all applications, the most vital step is surface preparation. The surface must be clean and dry, with no oils, grease, or loose debris. Remove salt and other contaminants by pressure washing with a suitable detergent followed by a freshwater rinse. Rust and other adhered foreign matter should be removed by scraping or wire brushing followed by a solvent wipe. Proper surface preparation will ensure the thicker adhesive will provide a watertight seal with any difficult surface.
Related Article: Cold Weather Tape Application
The RV Industry is continuing to expand with solar power technology. There are many options when it comes to RV installations, flexible mounting systems being the most cost-effective and less labor-intensive. Before capitalizing on the energy savings, it will be necessary to select a double-sided bonding adhesive and a reinforcement adhesive tape for improved protection against water intrusion and exterior weathering factors. This will vastly improve the protection needed for the solar panel system providing longer-lasting durability from the environment.