Wednesday, December 7, 2022


Wife worried about solar panels blowing off


Dear RV Shrink:rvshrink
My husband just had solar panels installed on our motorhome. I am constantly worried they are going to blow off during some of the windstorms we drive through. He keeps telling me to stop thinking about it. He assures me they are fastened securely and that there is no way they will ever blow off. He also said that about our awning, but it came unraveled in a storm one day and we had to pull over and tie it down. I worry so much he calls me “Disastrous Mag.” Don’t you think it is better to worry too much than too little? —Maggie in Medford

Dear Mag:
I don’t think it is a good idea to go down the road worrying all the time. It would be better to understand all your systems and equipment, do precautionary maintenance, and make sure new installations are done properly. That way you can travel confidently.

With that said, “scat happens.” I have friends that lost a solar panel. They said it sounded like a crystal vase hitting the floor and shattering. They didn’t know at first what happened, but discovered their panel was missing. In their case, it was securely fastened to the roof, but the bolts attaching the panel to the roof anchors vibrated out. Awnings also catch a lot of wind. They are designed to lock down, but I always use inexpensive Velcro straps to secure them. When one comes unlocked or fails it is always in weather you would prefer not to work in.

I have to say I went through the same anxious period you are experiencing. My system came from AM Solar in Springfield, Ore. They assured me that attaching the panels with 3M 5200, using no bolts on my fiberglass roof, would keep them secure forever. I was familiar with the product. I had read a memoir called “On Whale Island.” The author, Daniel Hays, fixed everything on the island with 3M 5200. He said “it will hold two planets together.” So far they have both been right.

I don’t think about it anymore, but it never hurts to check things out on a regular basis. So turn your worries into checklists and be confident while rolling down the road that everything is going to weather the storms. —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink

Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his e-book: Dr. R.V. Shrink: Everything you ever wanted to know about the RV Lifestyle but were afraid to ask or check out his other e-books.


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4 years ago

I would suggest if your panels are bolted to the roof, that you request your tech use or re-secure them and put a thread locking compound like Loctite. It is the way many automotive components are secured. You put it on the threads and It dries to a solid that secures the bolt from vibrating loose. Available at home improvement or automotive parts stores in small bottles.

4 years ago

AM Solar not only uses the 3M 5200, they also use Sikaflex adhesive sealant around the mount footpads

Ray Zimmermann
4 years ago

Solar panels can come off. Happened last month to some friends of mine in the Palm Springs, CA area, where all the wind turbines are. Wife was following the husband and saw two panels blow off their motorhome roof.

4 years ago

How do you wrap a strap around an awning? Ours slides through a channel attached to the sidewall and there’s no opening for a strap.

Roy Ellithorpe
4 years ago
Reply to  PennyPA

I think that they wrap the straps around the arms as the 2 parts must separate in order for the awning to open.

4 years ago

RE: awnings

We had ours come out while be hit with 50mph gust on the freeway in Wyoming – the stretch notorious for taking peoples awnings. It was not the arms that failed – they were bungee tight. We have a metal cover over our awning but it did not keep the canvas in. We saw in flying over the MH. Stopped wondering how along the freeway with the strong winds we could ever get it rolled back up when a gust came along and rolled it back up for us. Broke the spring and stretched the canvas. Now we never travel without a strap around the awning itself to keep the wind from catching it again.

Roy Ellithorpe
4 years ago
Reply to  rvgrandma

Now I’m wondering how you put a strap around the awning itself as I have never seen one that’s not attached to the trailer wall.

Thomas Bender
4 years ago
Reply to  Roy Ellithorpe

My awning is held down by a plastic flexible flat links and it is attached at roof then over the awning then secured on RV side. I bought it from my local RV dealer.

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