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Here’s my solution. Mounted 2-100w panels to the truck cap. Solar panels been on there for a few years now running a 12v fridge 24/7 but with the recent low battery issue I started to get. I split the solar output with separate solar chargers going to the fridge and main 12v. Seems to be working great so far.

Ford F-150 LensunSolar Hood Solar Panel F-150 Powerboost BAP/Tremor Hood Installation IMG_4231
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Very cool idea...now if only one of the Tonneau cover companies would come out with an option and line in mppt/inverter for one of the outlets in the truck bed.
 
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With all the battery issues of modern vehicles with their varied thirsty loads it’s a bit surprising that nobody on this forum appeared to have tried a hood solar panel. This appears to be one solution for our F150 that are parked outside, used for boondoggling, using WAN/LAN to provide Ford data and retrieve OTA updates, and simply just not driven enough to keep the 12.6VDC batteries charged. Mine is an F150 PowerBoost with the Black Appearance Package (BAP aka Tremor) hood and some modifications that require 12VDC power while the truck is not ON/Ready or in accessory mode i.e. a dual camera dashcam with wireless capabilities in Parking Mode.

After doing a limited amount of research I decided upon the LensunSolar (Lensun Solar?) kit at Ford F-150 4th Gen (2021-Present) Lensun 60W Hood Solar Panel (lensunsolar.com) . I really don’t think there are any other choices and the other manufacturer considered, Cascadia 4x4 did not appear to have a panel for the Gen14 F150.
The Kit.jpg
The Panel.jpg

The following are my tips for installation, some cautions, photos, and very early data from the installation. I am not a paid influencer, Youtuber, etc. I did not get this panel for free. I paid $370.80 for a complete kit that included the panel, MPPT controller, and vinyl underlay. I paid for all the products mentioned in this article too including the tape, sealants, caulk, etc. I am not liable for your installation using these tips. The following is provided as free advice, but keep in mind you get what you pay for 😊

TIP: Make sure the panel is functional before you install it.
Temporarily wire up the MPPT controller to the F150 battery, Ford BMS in-line (negative to frame not battery terminal) is suggested, download, and configure the SolarLifeBT Application (see included instructions), connect the panel to the controller and in full sun observe system operation on the application. The point is to understand that the system is functioning correctly. To realize its performance is beyond what can be explained in this thread. Consult with LensunSolar if you have doubts as to the system operation.

TIP: Use an application like SunCalc to determine the best sun time for the calendar day, sun direction and panel inclination. Move the panel around to provide maximum sun. You may not get the full 60WDC if the sun is not at its apex, your panel not at optimum inclination, and weather (clouds) filtering light. In SoCal, late February with wisping clouds at 2:00 PM I was able to realize about 20WDC.
20WDC App.jpg


The well written instructions advised installing it at above 70F degrees ambient, I assume to aid forming the rigid 3mm flat panel to a varying hood geography. TIP: LensunSolar Sales replied quickly to my inquiries as to if the panel could/should pre-formed. They advised it possibly could with heat lamps; I didn’t have heat lamps, but remained concerned that the rigid panel may not be a feasible solution on the BAP hood and proceeded anyway.
Rigid Panel On Curved Hood A.jpg

Ridgid Panel On Curved Hood B.jpg


While waiting on better weather to complete the panel installation I installed the solar controller and vinyl underlay. The instructions advised using the vinyl underlay mounting it to the hood and the panel to it so that if the panel is removed there is little concern for paint damage. TIP: Use the vinyl and don’t be overly concerned about the crease in the vinyl. If you are, sandwich it between two flat objects with a little weight on the top before installation.
Vinyl Crease.jpg


The vinyl installation instructions were helpful and made the installation of the vinyl straightforward. TIP: Use plenty of soapy water on the bottom side of the vinyl since later you will squeegee the water out (squeegee included in kit). A couple videos mentioned using a hair dryer or heat gun to aid in drying and de-creasing. I didn’t and didn’t really see the need for one even with my relatively round hood. The vinyl decal looked pretty good. Some may have considered the vinyl a decorative touch to the BAP hood.
Vinyl on Hood.png


While the vinyl was drying, I mounted the solar controller in the engine bay. The instructions advise mounting the solar controller as close to the battery as possible and shortening the wires. I haven’t yet shortened the wires. I will update this post later when I do. For now, I mounted the controller on top of the fuse box using Velcro so that I can move it later if a better spot or more permeant spot is realized. I also will shorten the wires between the controller and battery then and use wire loom(s). TIP: Use a good double-sided tape or Velcro that can stand engine bay temperatures. I used an industrial Velcro and mounted it to the top of the fuse box.
Solar Controller On Fuse Box.jpg

The MPPT solar controller comes with two power charging circuits. One is for charging the battery and one for an external load i.e. hood light. I capped off my external load wires with liquid electrical tape. I attached red battery charging wire ring terminal to the positive cable at the battery. I attached the black ring terminal to the truck body so the F150 Battery Monitoring Circuit could monitor and control batteries charging. This way the circuit is possibly powering my dash camera (at the footwell fuse panel) added ambient lights, the other and often mysterious loads, and charging the battery.

Keeping in mind that available solar power (source) varies greatly depending on the sun and weather, I may change how I wire the downstream load (sinks) and battery later. I need to determine how effective the solar panel is to load keeping and battery charging or at least slowing battery discharge. I expect it to at least enhance the available power for loads while the truck is not ON/Ready/running and will update this post once completed.

After installing the MPPT solar controller I applied the included double-sided tape to the panel vertically as shown below. LensunSolar supplied plenty of tape and I used almost all of it. Tip: Tape past the corners and then trim, rounding the tape off, using scissors that cut the backed tape but not the panel. This should help with sealing under the panel later. (Don’t pull the backing of the second side of the tape yet!)
Round The Tape with Scissors.jpg

Use Allot of Tape.jpg

TIP: Consider applying the tape horizontally instead of vertically as shown below. This may help with adhesion since most of the bow in the hood is vertical.
Tape It Horizontal.jpg


The instructions suggested forming a hinge of sorts using masking tape to the aligned panel on vinyl. Tip: Do it and use a bunch of tape. It will still move but this will aid top to bottom alignment when putting the panel down. And put a couple of pieces of painter’s tape down to mark the sides. The panel still can and will wobble so the painter’s tape will help align the sides it as you are dropping it in place for permanent mounting.
Hindged Panel.jpg


Some of the video’s sent by Lensun Solar showed installations just using the tape, even less tape than shown in the pictures above, and some used only SilkaFlex 252 Black adhesive. Tip: Use both in an abundance of caution. The last thing anybody wants is for the panel to fly off into the windshield or cause mayhem. If you use both, apply the adhesive and then pull the tape backing off.
Tape and Glue.jpg


Bringing the panel down to the hood is probably the most intimidating part of the process for most, it was for me. I had my 5’11” son on a step ladder holding it from one side while I was in front making sure it was aligned as we brought it down. Ease it down, take your time, be patient, and place it as close to aligned with the markers as you can. Tip: Don’t press down to adhere the tape until you are sure it is where you want it. If you are careful, you can pull it back up and replace it a few times. Once placed in your alignment markers, press down stating in the center of the panel moving out to the sides first, then top and bottom. Start down the middle of the longer vertical and move out to the sides. If any adhesive comes out use some WD40 to wipe it away.
Panel Down.jpg


The instructions say to apply weight to the panel to aid in the tape adhering (and glue setting). Tip: Read the SilkaFlex instructions to understand setting time. If you can, pull your truck into the garage. Cool or use a space heater to keep the temperature around 70F degrees while the adhesive sticks and the panel forms the hood. For weight, I used a 40lb bag of salt and a couple of bags of heavy mulch with some water bottles on top of them. Use what you feel safe with but certainly don’t use anything that your hood cannot support.
1711171949830-a7.jpg


The instructions mentioned optionally sealing the panel from wind, water, and dust. Tip: Use a good industrial waterproof and UV resistant black caulk like Aquascape Black Silicone Sealant. You may also consider using SilkFlex here too. Tape around the panel with painters’ tape and apply the outside seal to include the sides of the panel. This may help it to not delaminate. One video on Youtube showed it delaminating, a common industry issue.
PAINTERS TAPE.jpg


Tip: I use my fingers to force caulk into the creases and on the sides of the panel. Take the tape up quickly so you don’t adhere it to the hood/vinyl after it sets.
Panel Caulked.jpg


While the caulk was setting route the solar panel cable under the hood, mount it, and attached it to the MPPT controller. Route the solar panel cable inline with the small trough of sorts as shown below. This should be the center of the hood and enable the cable to route through the opening in the engine bay gasket as necessary.
CAULK DRYING.jpg


Route the cable and use the included zip tie mounts on the underside of the hood and over towards the passenger side hood mount, attach it to the hood mount and down to the MPPT controller connection. Complete the panel to MPPT connection. TIP: Do not pull the zip ties tight until the routing is complete. Partially close the hood observing the cable movement. Avoid pinching the cable.
Under Hood Cable Moiunting.jpg


Loom all wires and consider shortening wires between battery and MPPT as recommended. Stuff the wires behind the battery, see previous picture. TIP: Use zip ties to keep wires away from heat and other circuits, especially the inverter on a PowerBoost.

I will be updating this thread with resulting data and operation as time permits.
First Week Data Follows:

This first graph shows how many WH (shown as KWH) were produced by day. The data for March 17 is when I put the panel in test but it was not actually installed for use until March 21.

Please keep in mind Energy and Power are related but not the same even though the term "power" is often used to describe energy. To understand more see Watt-hour Calculator (omnicalculator.com) . That is, 10W per hour is not the same as 10WH.

The "Energy generated of the day" shown below at 140WH was generated with the truck parked on the street at almost due South with scattered clouds. Sunrise was 6:40 AM and Sunset 7:00 PM. And a tree shaded the panel at times. This being March, the Sun is still not out or at its brightest but probably a good average to use. I estimate the panel in the varied conditions of this day still averaged around 10WDC of output power.

Ford F-150 LensunSolar Hood Solar Panel F-150 Powerboost BAP/Tremor Hood Installation PV2403282121


The App also shows how much consumed energy the MPPT measured. Below shows that 100WH was consumed.

Ford F-150 LensunSolar Hood Solar Panel F-150 Powerboost BAP/Tremor Hood Installation Draw 2403282121


There is also a graph of Battery Voltage showing the low and high voltage measurements made by the MPPT controller totaled per day.
Ford F-150 LensunSolar Hood Solar Panel F-150 Powerboost BAP/Tremor Hood Installation 1711690550236-d4


Today this was enough to supply power to the truck for all of its loads while off and charge the 12.6VDC battery from 74% SOC to 82% SOC. I believe that the hood mounted panel-based system is adequate for my use case and to keep the battery charged for OTA updates. 

8:00 AM
Ford F-150 LensunSolar Hood Solar Panel F-150 Powerboost BAP/Tremor Hood Installation 1711691090539-4z


5:00 PM
Ford F-150 LensunSolar Hood Solar Panel F-150 Powerboost BAP/Tremor Hood Installation 1711691128149-kn

I will update this thread again with a monthly data dump in a few weeks. Happy Easter!
 
Last edited:

L33der

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With all the battery issues of modern vehicles with their varied thirsty loads it’s a bit surprising that nobody on this forum appeared to have tried a hood solar panel. This appears to be one solution for our F150 that are parked outside, used for boondoggling, using WAN/LAN to provide Ford data and retrieve OTA updates, and simply just not driven enough to keep the 12.6VDC batteries charged. Mine is an F150 PowerBoost with the Black Appearance Package (BAP aka Tremor) hood and some modifications that require 12VDC power while the truck is not ON/Ready or in accessory mode i.e. a dual camera dashcam with wireless capabilities in Parking Mode.

After doing a limited amount of research I decided upon the LensunSolar (Lensun Solar?) kit at Ford F-150 4th Gen (2021-Present) Lensun 60W Hood Solar Panel (lensunsolar.com) . I really don’t think there are any other choices and the other manufacturer considered, Cascadia 4x4 did not appear to have a panel for the Gen14 F150.
The Kit.jpg
The Panel.jpg

The following are my tips for installation, some cautions, photos, and very early data from the installation. I am not a paid influencer, Youtuber, etc. I did not get this panel for free. I paid $370.80 for a complete kit that included the panel, MPPT controller, and vinyl underlay. I paid for all the products mentioned in this article too including the tape, sealants, caulk, etc. I am not liable for your installation using these tips. The following is provided as free advice, but keep in mind you get what you pay for 😊

TIP: Make sure the panel is functional before you install it.
Temporarily wire up the MPPT controller to the F150 battery, Ford BMS in-line (negative to frame not battery terminal) is suggested, download, and configure the SolarLifeBT Application (see included instructions), connect the panel to the controller and in full sun observe system operation on the application. The point is to understand that the system is functioning correctly. To realize its performance is beyond what can be explained in this thread. Consult with LensunSolar if you have doubts as to the system operation.

TIP: Use an application like SunCalc to determine the best sun time for the calendar day, sun direction and panel inclination. Move the panel around to provide maximum sun. You may not get the full 60WDC if the sun is not at its apex, your panel not at optimum inclination, and weather (clouds) filtering light. In SoCal, late February with wisping clouds at 2:00 PM I was able to realize about 20WDC.
20WDC App.jpg


The well written instructions advised installing it at above 70F degrees ambient, I assume to aid forming the rigid 3mm flat panel to a varying hood geography. TIP: LensunSolar Sales replied quickly to my inquiries as to if the panel could/should pre-formed. They advised it possibly could with heat lamps; I didn’t have heat lamps, but remained concerned that the rigid panel may not be a feasible solution on the BAP hood and proceeded anyway.
Rigid Panel On Curved Hood A.jpg

Ridgid Panel On Curved Hood B.jpg


While waiting on better weather to complete the panel installation I installed the solar controller and vinyl underlay. The instructions advised using the vinyl underlay mounting it to the hood and the panel to it so that if the panel is removed there is little concern for paint damage. TIP: Use the vinyl and don’t be overly concerned about the crease in the vinyl. If you are, sandwich it between two flat objects with a little weight on the top before installation.
Vinyl Crease.jpg


The vinyl installation instructions were helpful and made the installation of the vinyl straightforward. TIP: Use plenty of soapy water on the bottom side of the vinyl since later you will squeegee the water out (squeegee included in kit). A couple videos mentioned using a hair dryer or heat gun to aid in drying and de-creasing. I didn’t and didn’t really see the need for one even with my relatively round hood. The vinyl decal looked pretty good. Some may have considered the vinyl a decorative touch to the BAP hood.
Vinyl on Hood.png


While the vinyl was drying, I mounted the solar controller in the engine bay. The instructions advise mounting the solar controller as close to the battery as possible and shortening the wires. I haven’t yet shortened the wires. I will update this post later when I do. For now, I mounted the controller on top of the fuse box using Velcro so that I can move it later if a better spot or more permeant spot is realized. I also will shorten the wires between the controller and battery then and use wire loom(s). TIP: Use a good double-sided tape or Velcro that can stand engine bay temperatures. I used an industrial Velcro and mounted it to the top of the fuse box.
Solar Controller On Fuse Box.jpg

The MPPT solar controller comes with two power charging circuits. One is for charging the battery and one for an external load i.e. hood light. I capped off my external load wires with liquid electrical tape. I attached red battery charging wire ring terminal to the positive cable at the battery. I attached the black ring terminal to the truck body so the F150 Battery Monitoring Circuit could monitor and control batteries charging. This way the circuit is possibly powering my dash camera (at the footwell fuse panel) added ambient lights, the other and often mysterious loads, and charging the battery.

Keeping in mind that available solar power (source) varies greatly depending on the sun and weather, I may change how I wire the downstream load (sinks) and battery later. I need to determine how effective the solar panel is to load keeping and battery charging or at least slowing battery discharge. I expect it to at least enhance the available power for loads while the truck is not ON/Ready/running and will update this post once completed.

After installing the MPPT solar controller I applied the included double-sided tape to the panel vertically as shown below. LensunSolar supplied plenty of tape and I used almost all of it. Tip: Tape past the corners and then trim, rounding the tape off, using scissors that cut the backed tape but not the panel. This should help with sealing under the panel later. (Don’t pull the backing of the second side of the tape yet!)
Round The Tape with Scissors.jpg

Use Allot of Tape.jpg

TIP: Consider applying the tape horizontally instead of vertically as shown below. This may help with adhesion since most of the bow in the hood is vertical.
Tape It Horizontal.jpg


The instructions suggested forming a hinge of sorts using masking tape to the aligned panel on vinyl. Tip: Do it and use a bunch of tape. It will still move but this will aid top to bottom alignment when putting the panel down. And put a couple of pieces of painter’s tape down to mark the sides. The panel still can and will wobble so the painter’s tape will help align the sides it as you are dropping it in place for permanent mounting.
Hindged Panel.jpg


Some of the video’s sent by Lensun Solar showed installations just using the tape, even less tape than shown in the pictures above, and some used only SilkaFlex 252 Black adhesive. Tip: Use both in an abundance of caution. The last thing anybody wants is for the panel to fly off into the windshield or cause mayhem. If you use both, apply the adhesive and then pull the tape backing off.
Tape and Glue.jpg


Bringing the panel down to the hood is probably the most intimidating part of the process for most, it was for me. I had my 5’11” son on a step ladder holding it from one side while I was in front making sure it was aligned as we brought it down. Ease it down, take your time, be patient, and place it as close to aligned with the markers as you can. Tip: Don’t press down to adhere the tape until you are sure it is where you want it. If you are careful, you can pull it back up and replace it a few times. Once placed in your alignment markers, press down stating in the center of the panel moving out to the sides first, then top and bottom. Start down the middle of the longer vertical and move out to the sides. If any adhesive comes out use some WD40 to wipe it away.
Panel Down.jpg


The instructions say to apply weight to the panel to aid in the tape adhering (and glue setting). Tip: Read the SilkaFlex instructions to understand setting time. If you can, pull your truck into the garage. Cool or use a space heater to keep the temperature around 70F degrees while the adhesive sticks and the panel forms the hood. For weight, I used a 40lb bag of salt and a couple of bags of heavy mulch with some water bottles on top of them. Use what you feel safe with but certainly don’t use anything that your hood cannot support.
1711171949830-a7.jpg


The instructions mentioned optionally sealing the panel from wind, water, and dust. Tip: Use a good industrial waterproof and UV resistant black caulk like Aquascape Black Silicone Sealant. You may also consider using SilkFlex here too. Tape around the panel with painters’ tape and apply the outside seal to include the sides of the panel. This may help it to not delaminate. One video on Youtube showed it delaminating, a common industry issue.
PAINTERS TAPE.jpg


Tip: I use my fingers to force caulk into the creases and on the sides of the panel. Take the tape up quickly so you don’t adhere it to the hood/vinyl after it sets.
Panel Caulked.jpg


While the caulk was setting route the solar panel cable under the hood, mount it, and attached it to the MPPT controller. Route the solar panel cable inline with the small trough of sorts as shown below. This should be the center of the hood and enable the cable to route through the opening in the engine bay gasket as necessary.
CAULK DRYING.jpg


Route the cable and use the included zip tie mounts on the underside of the hood and over towards the passenger side hood mount, attach it to the hood mount and down to the MPPT controller connection. Complete the panel to MPPT connection. TIP: Do not pull the zip ties tight until the routing is complete. Partially close the hood observing the cable movement. Avoid pinching the cable.
Under Hood Cable Moiunting.jpg


Loom all wires and consider shortening wires between battery and MPPT as recommended. Stuff the wires behind the battery, see previous picture. TIP: Use zip ties to keep wires away from heat and other circuits, especially the inverter on a PowerBoost.

I will be updating this thread with resulting data and operation as time permits.
Very nice! I was just looking at this Panel the other day and seriously considering installing one. Your post will really help with install and has some great tips. The other idea I had was to mount 1 or 2, 160W SunPower thin/flexible panels to the top of an RSI or similar type cap (haven't decided that yet).
 
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Cascadia's 14th gen kit will be out by mid summer although it will likely be a few hundred more. Had no issue with their panel on our Gladiator for some 50k miles before we sold the truck. Anxious to see how yours holds up, really digging the price-point on this.
I suspect the panel and MPPT controller will be sources from the same China factory. I was hoping Cascadia had a solution to expedite the inevitable questions I have/had with the MPPT App and settings. Dealing with a US native is often easier with tech questions. I am getting reasonable (oversea) support from Lensun so far.
 

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Very nice! I was just looking at this Panel the other day and seriously considering installing one. Your post will really help with install and has some great tips. The other idea I had was to mount 1 or 2, 160W SunPower thin/flexible panels to the top of an RSI or similar type cap (haven't decided that yet).
Thanks @L33der I think if you have a cap, great idea and consider a panel for the roof if your use case(s) need it. I don't have a cap, didn't want to mount on roof and run cord and might want to use it for something else anyway, hood seemed like the logical option for what is a load supply that would often have enough energy left over to charge the battery. So far it does this IMO. I just hope it holds up over time.
 
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Still waiting for the solar tonneau cover to come out. 😒
Hey @BoostLife , I suspect you will be waiting for a good while. Given the area of such a cover it might be rated at about 500W with maximum sun, and that correlates to about 250WDC of practical supply. Neither are really enough to keep current eTrucks drive battery maintained but probably enough for camping or boondocking loads (the preverbal tent AC). For this portable panels make allot of sense. That said, I would welcome the opportunity to have one as long as it was as functional as my roll-up or a good fold-up :)
 
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For anybody subscribed, here are a few screenshots. You can almost tell the weather from them, or at least when I was parked inside a parking garage :)
Ford F-150 LensunSolar Hood Solar Panel F-150 Powerboost BAP/Tremor Hood Installation Screenshot_20240428_132612_SolarLife BT
Ford F-150 LensunSolar Hood Solar Panel F-150 Powerboost BAP/Tremor Hood Installation Screenshot_20240504_110251_SolarLife BT
Ford F-150 LensunSolar Hood Solar Panel F-150 Powerboost BAP/Tremor Hood Installation Screenshot_20240504_110301_SolarLife BT
 

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Wow I would not go that route and ruin my hood plus it's ugly. My 21 had many battery problems, replaced under warranty and all good, the 23 has no battery issues.
 

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What app did you use that has all those guages?
 

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Thanks
 

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Wow I would not go that route and ruin my hood plus it's ugly. My 21 had many battery problems, replaced under warranty and all good, the 23 has no battery issues.
I man, it's not "ruining" the hood. it has vinyl down which you can remove later if you want. It may ruin the looks in some people's eyes, but that's subjective. I drive about 2500 miles a year and I'm looking into this because these newer trucks just have so much vampire power. Even though now I'm driving my kids to school twice a week for about 45 minutes, my battery still just can't keep up. I do think that 2 years of not great charging means a battery replacement might solve that issues, but once summer is here, I'm back to not driving the truck as much. I have a battery tender mounted in the truck and would just plug it in, but that's a hassle and I park across the street where there is no power.

I had the same issue to a lesser degree with my '17.
 

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For anybody subscribed, here are a few screenshots. You can almost tell the weather from them, or at least when I was parked inside a parking garage :)
Screenshot_20240428_132612_SolarLife BT.jpg
Screenshot_20240504_110251_SolarLife BT.jpg
Screenshot_20240504_110301_SolarLife BT.jpg
Still hoping to see if it stands the test of time. Some earlier reports of the top layer coming off has me concerned for long term durability.

Thanks for the update! I really appreciate it.
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