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Old 07-02-2010, 11:49   #16
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Solar Panels on the Mahe

Mahe’s,

Here is the start of one of my big projects for the year, which is adding Solar Panels
The plan is to add 2 panels at 230 watts each for a 460 total wattage

May put both on the davits or one on davit and one on port bimini top

I purchased these SunPower 230watt panels $948 each shipped, Tax free in Connecticut
33lbs each 31 inches X 61 inches X 1.8 inch
18.5% efficiency
www.Munroelectric.com
http://www.munroelectric.com/silvereclipse/index.jsp?path=solar_products&prev=solar&altLM=sol ar

Purchased these SunPower panels because they are the most efficient, lightest and smallest for the power output.

Here is another website to get solar panels pretty cheap:
http://sunelec.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=5

Mark
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Old 19-07-2010, 20:08   #17
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Solar Panel

Mahes,

This Solar panel works “GREAT”, we have been very impressed with the output.
No more running the Honda generator one hour in the morning & one hour in the evening.

We have installed one SunPower 230watt solar panel on the port top side of the Bimini over a month and a half ago and to our surprise it has been bringing the house batteries up to full charge by 11 am every morning while at anchor. This really should increase the life of the batteries since they stay full all day and just draw down over night until sunrise.

I have another panel that will bolt to a swiveling bracket on top of the davits and this will power any future needs and upgrades we have. This Bracket will be part of a future post with drawings, so you will be able to have one fabricated if you choose the davit installation

Here is some info to get you started with your Solar Panel project.

SunPower 230watt modules $948 each x 2 = $1897.50
They measure 61.39 X 31.42 and weight 33lbs each
I purchased the Solar Panels from Munroelectric in Boston.
Contact Jeff Higgins jeffh@munroelectric.com direct line 508-536-2149.
-------------------------
The controller and parts can be purchased from
http://www.blueskyenergyinc.com/

Install the controller in the port engine room on the port side as
close to the batteries as possible
SB3024iL Solar Boost 40A/12V - 30A/24V MPPT PV charge controller. $389
IPNPRO-S IPN-ProRemote display with 500amp shunt. 25' (7.6m) cable
included $249
930-0022-20 Optional battery temperature sensor $35
-------------------
You can purchase all the MC4 connectors and cable from
http://www.duncansolar.com/
------------------
Need a 60 Amp Maxi Fuse and mount from West Marine to use from positive
coming from controller to the positive battery connection.
Need a fuse on the positive wire from the panel to the controller.

Break it down into steps and just do one at a time until it is
finished, then moved onto the next step.

It took me three full weekends to get my one panels system completed, but it works great and is well worth the time and expense put into it. We can finally relax in the morning and evening when we most need the peace and quite.

Mark
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Old 19-07-2010, 20:21   #18
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As usual, another great project description with pictures. Thanks for sharing Mark.

Chuck
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Old 19-07-2010, 21:23   #19
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Solar Stik

I installed this Solar Stik on my boat three years ago. I love it! Works great. Super quality. If I bought another boat I would buy another Solar Stik immediately.
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Old 26-07-2010, 12:50   #20
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Tilting Solar Panel on Davits

Mahes,

Here is our Tilting Solar Panel on the Davits with a SunPower 230watt panel installed.
I designed this tilting stainless steel bracket, so that you can catch more power in the morning and evening by tilting the solar panel toward the sun.

No stainless steel stern rail needed as was mentioned in previous posts.
Easily tilts in less than 30 seconds by one person.
Had it fabricated at Mystic Stainless for $945 with me providing all the fittings.
All the fittings are standard and where purchased from Defenders for $128
Two 10 gage wires run from the controller to the stern locker and up through the davit tube to the panel.

This project took 6 hours to install

Now we have plenty of power for future upgrades.

Send me a private e-mail if you need drawings to have one fabricated for yourself.

Mark
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Old 26-07-2010, 16:09   #21
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Hi Mark

That looks remarkably simple and therefor good! I can probably modify easily my mounting (with hard pushpit) to do the same.
That will be good for anchorages but on last years cruise we found that we got very little sun aft when on the outbound passage, heading north into the winter sun with short daylight hours. Much engine power used! I am thinking of a wind generator rather than a second solar panel. What are your thoughts on the Bimini top panel vs a wind generator?

Regards
Martin
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Old 26-07-2010, 17:03   #22
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Solar Panels verses Wind Generator

Martin,

Now with these two panels we can get the sun from many different angles. Currently more than we need.

It’s just amazing, that our batteries are always in float mode now (Fully Charged) just a few hours after sunrise and stay full until sunset.

I am not a wind generator fan. Some of my friends have them and still have to use a Honda 2000 generator and also have had maintenance issues, noise & vibration.

We have not used our Honda 2000 in months and have to take it home and drain the fuel before it goes bad.

My original purpose for going with solar panels was to eliminate the noise of the “Generator” either by Wind or Motor

The Silence is golden. Knowing what I know now I would never go any other way.

Mark
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Old 26-07-2010, 17:31   #23
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Solar vs Wind generation

Thanks for that Mark

Like you I think silence is golden - that is why we sail after all.

2nd to silence come maintenance free and the panel scores well there.

Overnight passages using the autopilot will be an issue but I guess we don't do many of those. Not if I can help it anyway.
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Old 26-07-2010, 18:09   #24
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Power needed for overnight passages

Martin,

For Overnight passages my plan is to add an ECOPILOT to lower the autopilot power consumption.

Will also be adding 3 more batteries in the port engine compartment to store all the extra solar power.

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f136/instruments-38768-2.html#post409535

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f136/instruments-38768-3.html#post418782

Mark
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Old 28-07-2010, 11:19   #25
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Mark,
Great photos!
When I thought about mounting panel on davits I was thinking that maybe you could just put a bar between the two davits and rotate it around that axis. Did you think about that when designing your system? Yours is quite ingenious but I want to really work on keeping weight down and avoid unnecessary stainless. Maybe the panel is too heavy to just mount on davits and rotate up and down by hand? I dont think we will rotate it much but like the option of doing so.
Would love to hear your thoughts,
Lori
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Old 28-07-2010, 12:24   #26
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Lori,

Yes, just a bar between the davits with a solar panel mounted on it would work, but the issue is that you need a mechanism or friction to keep the panel flat or at any angle. You have to be able to lock it in place so the wind will not move this fairly large solar panel (31 X 61 inches). The next issue would be how do you “REACH” out to change and lock your angle.

My solution was to bring the angle adjustment and locking mechanism as close to the stern rail or life lines as possible to eliminate the “REACHING” and make a rigid locking system for windy conditions.

The Solar Panel weighs 33 lbs and the SS tilting bracket weights 15lbs for a total of 48 lbs

This system would also allow you to mount 2 solar panels on the davits with just a few measurement changes and very little added weight.

We chose to put one solar panel up on the bimini and one on the davit just to spread the system around the boat a bit.

Mark
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Old 28-07-2010, 12:55   #27
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Thanks for the feedback Mark! You make some good points. I have another question. Have you calculated how much energy you are getting from the bimini panel on the average day? The same question for the davit panel? It would be interesting to know which one actually provides the most energy as I don't think I have the funds to set both up right now.
thanks,
Lori
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Old 28-07-2010, 13:20   #28
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Lori,

Scott had asked me this same question also this morning.
For 6 weeks we just had the bimini panel installed and the batteries went to full charge at 11 am every morning with the Refrigerator setting on high and also water pumps for shows and such being used.

With both panels installed I can not tell which one is working better than the other one, because they are both plugged into the same plug on the solar controller.
Batteries were always full with one panel, so there is no difference other than they may top off the batteries sooner.

Right now we are making more power than we need. With a bigger battery bank we will be a able to store this extra power and add a dedicated freezer and a water maker.

Mark
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Old 28-07-2010, 15:41   #29
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Ok, that sounds really good. What sort of battery capacity are you running now and what will you be going to in the future. Your set up is what I want to do in the future.
Lori
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Old 28-07-2010, 15:58   #30
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Lori,

Currently we have the factory setup with 3 batteries which add up to 300 amp hours.
We plan on adding 3 more batteries in the port engine compartment just below the current battery bank.

This will give us 600 amp hour’s total which should cover any future needs including longer overnight passages.

Mark
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