7. Roof Deck – Solar Panels

Mounting something on the Promaster roof can be challenging.  The van has these strange little numbs protruding out of the roof.   You can purchase commercially made brackets but they are $30 or more each.  If you have an extended van you need 10 brackets.   That’s over $300 in brackets.  That’s not Frugal.

So, I designed my own.  I am happy to report that they have been on the van for over two years, and 15,000+ miles and the roof mounts work excellent.  The video below shows how I made these brackets.  The plans are also available on my Etsy store.

The roof deck is made from Super-Strut which can be purchased at Home Depot or Lowes.  Its galvanized and should not rust.  Anyplace you cut the strut will expose unprotect metal, so be sure to paint those edges so they do not rust.    For all the other hardware: bolts, washers and nuts be sure to use stainless steel.  You don’t want hardware rusting.

Aluminum/Plastic Saw Blade     

Stainless Bolts   

Stainless Washers   

Stainless Nyloc nuts   

We selected Rich Solar panels each panel is Monocrystalline and 200 watts.  The panels are 58.7″ wide which is the maximum size we could fit across the top of the van.  Fitment is very important.  You want the maximum wattage in the smallest area.  I also wanted ample area for the deck!    Wiring and technical information for the solar panel is found in the electrical section of this guide.

   200 Watt Solar Panels

When installing solar panel you will need the following tools:

IWISS Solar Crimping Tool Kit  

10 Ga Solar Cable     

200 Watt Solar Panel

MC4 Connectors 

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