People have the chance now to reconfigure major systems such as the structure of capitalism, education, health care and workplaces. Advances in technologies such as artificial intelligence, smart cities, data analytics and virtual reality could make all systems safer, more humane and more helpfully productive. Better communication of more-accurate information can dramatically improve emergency responses in crises and alleviate suffering.
A panel will deliver more current if oriented perpendicularly to the sun. On large commercial solar plants, the panels are mounted on a motor-driven device that optimizes the orientation of the panel automatically throughout the day. Obviously there is no such device for a van roof (until when?), but, with some out-of-the-box thinking you can build your own system:
Fortunately, vans have modest power needs and with proper planning generators are normally not needed. An exception to this would be air-conditioning, because A/C is by far the most power-hungry appliance you can run. Running A/C off-the-grid is possible though, but you'll have to invest a lot in the electrical system. We do have a full article about that:
In a stationary scenario (no help from alternator or shore charging), it's almost impossible to sustainably run an A/C for extended period. A massive battery bank will buy you more time, but solar alone can't fully recover the energy and top up the battery bank. In that case, a generator may be needed. For vans, a portable generator connected to the shore power inlet should suffice (in other words, the generator acts as the shore power source):
We've seen several ways to obtain power from external sources: solar, alternator, shore, generator, and wind (?). That doesn't mean you need all of them! But there's a reason why most vans are equipped with solar, alternator, and shore power. More options mean flexibility, resilience and peace of mind. The upfront cost is higher, but it's an insurance your electrical system will work in every scenario: long stretch of driving, stormy days, rest days, etc. Definitely recommended for:
A battery/system monitor is optional, but we highly recommend it. You'll learn a lot about your power consumption, the actual status of your battery, and the impact of your charge source(s). For example, you can immediately see the effect of partial shading on solar and move to a better spot as required. In the end, it'll make you better at managing energy and optimizing the usage of your electrical system.
Other possibilities for the technology beyond gaming quickly became apparent: teach children about the solar system, help medical students learn how to perform surgery, take homebound (or cash-poor) users on virtual vacations and even put fans in the middle of sporting events. 2b1af7f3a8