After a long series of requests, power solutions supplier Xantrex is introducing solar panels this March with innovative new tech that offers more energy harvesting and durability including its ability to withstand cracks, according to the company.
“We had been getting requests from end-users and dealerships, asking, ‘Why no solar from Xantrex?’” said Mitul Chandrani, marketing manager. “When I got to blogs and read comments, almost every RVer wants a solar panel on their roof.”
The British Columbia-based supplier has long focused on inverter/chargers like the Freedom 458 and, more recently, the more compact line of Freedom X inverters. But earlier this year, Xantrex engineers debated how it would enter the solar market with steadfast eye on the innovation that has made a splash in the RV industry.
“We wanted to offer an entire range, not just one or two panels,” Chandrani said of the project, which went into development at the beginning of 2018. It resulted in an offering that includes roof-mounted solar charging kits, expansion kits, and lightweight, peel-and-stick flex panels that uses patented mesh-wire grid technology, and a polymer layer that helps keep cells harvesting energy even if cracked.
Most panels on the market, Chandrani said, use three busbars – the vertical lines seen on a cell. The new glass or rigid (as they are sometimes called) solar panels from Xantrex uses five, however, enabling it to collect more energy. The innovative flex panels are so flexible that you it can be rolled just like you would roll a carpet, according to the company. The panels are currently undergoing a number of rigorous tests that Xantrex performs, including vibration and sand & fog. Cables, charge controllers, accessories will be part of the kit when it releases in the first quarter of 2019. The fuses are built-in.
“Little things, but it matters when you’re doing the installation right,” Chandrani said.
Xantrex will mount the Premium Flex solar kit to a Class B motorhome for the annual RVX trade show this March.
“Solar is going to be a big talking point for us,” Chandrani said, highlighting that, in regular Xantrex form, the company will unleash a barrage of educational and installation videos, how-to guides for various RV types, tips, etc. at the time of release.
“We introduced North America's first UL1973 listed lithium ion battery for OEMs earlier this year. With the addition of this new Solar offer, we have become a one-stop solution,” Chandrani concluded. “(OEMs) can buy all key components of an RV electrical system from one manufacturer.”