Feeback Sought – Roof Solar Affixed vs Brackets

Hi. If any of you have a recommendation for a place that installs solar atop van roofs around the areas between Southern CA / UT / AZ please share. I have medical conditions and cannot do it myself.

Also, is it better to have the solar affixed flat to the van or secured with brackets?

I have a new van (2020 model) under warranty so I want to reduce the risk of voiding the warranty. I just want to be able to be inside my large, tall cargo van for the day and have heat/cooling and do my e-chores on my laptop (150w).

I’m considering 2 places but I can’t pick one. I’m 50/50:

  1. Solar Bill in Quartzsite, AZ
  2. Solarzing in Saint George, Utah

Both companies guarantee their work.

➤ Pros & cons of Solar Bill in Quartzsite, AZ (they want to do secured with brackets)

• Pro: friendly staff, good follow thru with call backs
• Pro: seems confident
• Pro: adaptable to wiring thru rear back up camera instead of drilling as they initially wanted to do
• Pro: They have their own parts in-store (no need to wait for ordering)
• Con: They close from mid-April until sometime in November – it’s unclear if they’d be reachable during that 8 moth closure if a problem occurs
• Con: Of 27 reviews they have 3.5 stars yet they reply do the bad reviewshttps://www.yelp.com/biz/solar-bill-quartzsite
• Con: Website is under construction

➤ Pros & cons of Solarzing in Saint George, Utah

• Pro: friendly staff, good follow thru with call backs
• Pro: adaptable to wiring thru rear back up camera instead of drilling as they initially wanted to do
• Pro: No known closures
• Pro: Website conveys professionalism https://solarzing.com/Home
• Neutral: They order supplies/parts from a company – they check to ensure parts work before scheduling me to arrive
• Con: I find no reviews of them – no Yelp for example

What do you think? Thank you.

Yeah the reviews seem a little bad for the Bills place, but you can only really trust reviews as far as you can throw them. In my opinion most people tend to only write reviews if they have a bad experience and good reviews can easily be paid for ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Regardless of parts or who installs your solar I would recommend just buying a kit from renogy and having someone put it on. Why, because they have techs and after it’s installed they are there to help you troubleshoot it, though I’ve never needed to call their tech service. I believe going this route you may be better off. At this point would only be paying for labor and can trust that you have tried and tested products, not just whatever the installers give you or upcharge you on.

If this is being hooked into an existing system with batteries and everything else already installed this shouldn’t take more than 2-3 hours.

As far as on roof vs off roof, I have read that placing them directly on the roof can make it a bit hotter in your van as the panels are considerably hotter than the temperature outside. They are black after all. Maybe that is a plus in the winter, I don’t know and can’t confirm this either war.

Ours are on a roof rack and I believe that kills your gas mileage a bit more than just the roof rack. There are some very low profile panels that you can basically glue down out there as well. I would definitely do some more research on it and on your warranty as well.

Good luck!

Thank you for the perspective Bretly.

I had a couple motorhomes that I installed solar panels on. The first one was 39 feet long and I installed six panels on it using brackets. Being in the desert I noticed right away the cooling effect of having the panels on. It was like parking in partial shade. I did the same on the second one with only 3 panels with the same results.

Panels themselves like to be cool too, so it is better if they are not directly on the roof. The side effect of that is shade as mentioned above, van itself will be a little bit cooler also.

My plan was to make a roof rack out of aluminum extrusion, fit a panel on it and cover rest of the area with composite deck material, looks like wood but is carefree plastic. Main target would have been shade and also noise reduction during rain. Same rack could support awning, light bar, flood lights etc.