Solar Panel

Discussion in 'Newbie Forum' started by priussax, Oct 4, 2011.

  1. priussax

    priussax New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2011
    9
    0
    0
    Location:
    Little Rock, AR
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Hey everyone,

    I am going to buy a Prius soon and wondered what you thought of the solar panel. Is it worth it? Does it really keep your car cool? save the battery?

    I'm really excited about getting one.

    Thank you for any feedback.
     
  2. Roadburner440

    Roadburner440 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    316
    59
    0
    Location:
    Hampton, VA
    Vehicle:
    2011 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    To the best of my research the solar panel only powers a small fan that circulates the cabin air with outside air while the car is sitting. It doesn't recharge the 12V battery (it certaintly wouldn't do any good for the actual traction battery to drive the car). A lot of people have commented that it is an ok option. I personally just put up the sun reflector in the windshield and call it a day (we have a base II model without it).. I think your best bet would be to get a remote start if you are worried about the interior being cool when you enter as I think that is a more effective option for less money. The only downside to the remote start of course is the gas engine would initially kick on, and then you would be depleting your traction battery power to run the AC. The Prius itself is certaintly fantastic but I think there are some options that are gimmicks, and the solar roof is one of them.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2004
    40,214
    11,726
    41
    Location:
    Canada
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Technology
    I would consider it a luxury option. It's the luxury of never having to walk into an oven. We don't get too hot (about 26°C) but the difference between our 2005 with a beige cloth interior and my 2010 with the dark grey leather interior is amazing. The 2010 is much cooler.

    The difference between the Solar Panel Ventilation System and "just crack a window open" is that it runs the fan (same fans as your climate control... not a "small" fan) so it vents the hot air out. You also have the addition of a "Remote Air Conditioning System" that allows you to turn on the electric A/C to further cool the interior (engine is still off).

    It is a pricey option (though the 2012 pricing for the packages haven't been released. The SR package should be cheaper now that navigation is standard on a Three and Four).


    For me, I like both options - the power moonroof and the solar panel so for me, I find value in the option (I was going sight-unseen since I got one of the first models so owners haven't had much experience with the solar roof option).
     
  4. F8L

    F8L Protecting Habitat & AG Lands

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    19,011
    4,054
    50
    Location:
    Grass Valley, CA.
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    I won't try to perform math to figure out the payback period in relation to fuel savings but I will say that it can save money at the pump. I've done a lot of testing to see how the AC unit affects mpg. When the inside cabin temperature is very high the AC must work very hard to rid the car of those extra btus and this requires a lot of energy. The solar roof can help keep cabin temps lower and reduce the load on the AC unit and save fuel.

    The initial hit on mpg can be as high as 10mpg and last as long as it takes to get your interior cooled to a temperature of your liking. I've observed this condition for up to 30 miles on particularly hot days. This can put a serious dent in your overall mpg.

    The solar roof coupled with intelligent use of your AC system can reduce fuel use.
     
  5. priussax

    priussax New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2011
    9
    0
    0
    Location:
    Little Rock, AR
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Thank you. These are very helpful comments. I was originally thinking that the solar panel is a bit of a luxury and was considering splurging on one. Thanks to F8L, it might actually save some fuel. Probably not enough to justify the added cost but it will save some. I wonder if the "standard" navigation system in the 2012 model will be equal to the higher price of the 2012? Assuming it will be higher. I was thinking the navigation system is padding for Toyota since many (most?) people have that on their phones now and they are packaging it with something else.
     
  6. mtngal

    mtngal New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2011
    52
    5
    0
    Location:
    Southern California
    Vehicle:
    2011 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    While I have a nav program on my phone and a Garmin hand-held GPS that's capable of routes, it sure is nice to have that voice talking to me. Also, running GPS route/tracking on the phone takes a lot of battery power. If I want to, I can just glance down at the nav screen, both the phone and the hand-held really require a second person to be a navigator.

    Also, the nav system is hooked up with XM so you get some traffic reports (if available, and since I live in SoCal, it is), the voice will say "jammed traffic 3 miles ahead for 1 mile" or whatever. My phone doesn't do that either (it just shows the state of the freeways in color). I'd far rather have a dedicated auto GPS system than depend on the one on my phone or hand-held, now that I've experienced it for a couple of days.

    P.S. There are all sorts of auto specific GPS systems and devices, but I never quite justified spending the money. I'm delighted with having one built into the car.
     
  7. Roadburner440

    Roadburner440 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2011
    316
    59
    0
    Location:
    Hampton, VA
    Vehicle:
    2011 Prius
    Model:
    Two
    Is good to see someones positive experience with the solar roof. It is a pain to put in the reflective window shades, but that does help as well. As far as the navigation goes I haven't gotten that on any of our recent vehicles. We got a Garmin Nuvi on sale, and it came with free lifetime updates. My experience with built in navigation systems has not been positive since GM in particular likes to charge well over $100 for a current disc when they come out.
     
  8. seether166

    seether166 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    32
    2
    0
    Location:
    Syracuse, NY (USA)
    Vehicle:
    2011 Prius
    Model:
    Four
    I'll throw my hat in the ring as someone else who is pretty happy with the solar roof. I thought it was a bit gimmicky, really, but I like sunroofs, period. So, while it was an expensive sunroof, I figured I'd be happy with the sunroof, if nothing else. To my surprise, I find the solar roof to actually be quite effective.
     
  9. PriBlu

    PriBlu Junior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    2
    0
    0
    Location:
    AZ & TX
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    III
    I'll also vouch for the effectiveness of the solar panel, esp. if you live in a sunny place. In AZ, I consider it a necessity almost. It won't keep the car at the ambient temperature but it'll keep it much cooler than w/o it (regardless of windshield reflector usage).

    Regarding the traction battery, it'll save the battery from being exposed to really high temps thus hopefully extending its life.

    I keep the solar panel switch turned on most of the year in AZ/TX and never have to keep windows slightly open (and risk a rain/dust storm coming in thru the cracks while I'm away).
     
  10. Totmacher

    Totmacher Honey Badger don't give a carp

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2011
    301
    110
    0
    Location:
    Mission Viejo, CA
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Advanced
    I'll also chime in as a Solar Roof owner.

    Initially I completly saw it as a gimik, but we really wanted a sunroof (who dosen't in SoCal...) So Then it just, as said above, looked more like a really expensive sunroof option. So then I looked at it as 3 things. 1) Sun Roof, 2) A/C on Keyfob 3) Solar Roof.

    Pre-ownership I justified the expense as I was paying for the sunroof and a cool A/C start feature and looked at the solar roof as the gimik part. But honestly after ownership I look at it as I paid for the Sun Roof and the Solar Roof and the A/C keyfob was the gimik item I would prefered to have done without.

    Ours is charcole grey with the dark leather interior. I can tell you from testing (to prove to my wife) that in the afternoon, in 88 degree direct sun, the interior of my White Truck with tan leather is substantially hot vs the ambient temps when you get into the Dark Grey leather Prius. The Prius is completly manageable.

    It's truthfully one of those "set and forget" opitions. You'll turn it on the day you buy it, never touch it or think about it for months. Then one day you'll bump the button with your knee or fumbling around the dash, walk out to your car after work and realize real quick what you are missing...

    The A/C keyfob though... Meh, haven't really had a need for it yet... I like the set-and-forget mentality of the Solar Roof. Maybe as I get more used to having the A/C fob I'll start to use and apriciate it, but as it stands I rarely see a use for it. I think it's to situational which places it in the used once a month catagory.
     
  11. Starkie

    Starkie Junior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2011
    73
    3
    0
    Location:
    Northern California
    Vehicle:
    2011 Prius
    Model:
    IV
    Hello James.

    Thanks for all your advice over on SRTForums. I picked up a Prius last Saturday. Not the Red 3 that I had planned, but instead a nicely equipped 4 in Blizard White paint with the light tan leather, solar roof (I really like the black roof with the white car), NAV, phone, heated seats, pretty much loaded. It's a little spaceship alright. I forgot to get the backup camera beep disabled though, oh well.

    I traded the CSRT-4 and got a decent price for it. Only $600 cash down. The 1.9% interest is a good deal. Payments only $50/month more than the CSRT.

    I still have the Neon SRT-4 with Mopar Stage 3 and it's coming up on 100K miles. So I guess I do good work for a noob. It's really a blast to drive the Prius for a couple of days and then jump into the SRT-4 and blast it. Talk about extremes.

    I see you and Shannon received a new gift from God. Well done both of you. Hope you are getting at least some rest. A daughter can often become "Daddy's Girl" so have fun with that.

    Good luck with the Prius too!

    Simon.
     
  12. CatsForever1960

    CatsForever1960 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    4
    0
    0
    Location:
    MARYLAND
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Five
    Hi - I just joined the PruisChat group because I really want to trade in my 2010 Prius w/Navigation & Solar Roof for the 2012 Prius V. My 2012 Prius V brochure doesn't mention anything about the solar roof panels, etc. unless I'm missing something - it only seems to mentin a "moon roof"...is Toyota for sure continuing the solar roof panels for 2012?
     
  13. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2004
    40,214
    11,726
    41
    Location:
    Canada
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Technology
    Just on the regular 2012 Prius. The Prius v has a resin panoramic roof instead.
     
  14. CatsForever1960

    CatsForever1960 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    4
    0
    0
    Location:
    MARYLAND
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Five
    Thanks - do you have to get the Prius V #5 - as opposed to the V #2 or #4 to get the resin panoramic roof? I guess I'm confused too as to whether the resin roof is something that is part of the moon roof - if you get it. Or whether all the Vs have the resin roof? Sorry to have to ask - thanks for any help you can offer.
     
  15. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2004
    40,214
    11,726
    41
    Location:
    Canada
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Technology
    In the US, you have to get the v Five with the AT Package (i.e. the top model). In Canada, you can get the panoramic roof on every package except the base model. So any reference to the moonroof in the Prius v literature refers to the resin panoramic moonroof. There's no regular glass moonroof option on the v.

    This resin moonroof is fixed but does have power adjustable sliding sunshades. It's lighter than a steel roof (and obviously lighter than glass) and combined with the reclining rear seats, a definite kid-pleaser!
     
  16. ResJudicata

    ResJudicata New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2012
    2
    0
    0
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius v wagon
    Model:
    Five
    I am considering a 2012 Prius v (Five) with moonroof. I read on a different post that the moonroof elevates the roofline somewhat. Cany anyone validate that for me and, if so, by how much? Many thanks in advance.
     
Loading...