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Old 31-01-2019, 21:03   #1
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Are two partially shaded total 260W panels worth it

Having now made the decision not to install an arch on our 32ft Catalina, I am debating whether to put solar panels on the dodger and in front of it. I think I can fit one 160W panel and another 100W panel and connect them in parallel. However the issue is they will always be partially shaded (boom and mast for the one on dodger and boom, mast and lines for the other).

So I am wondering if this is worth it at all. I am not looking for much, something to trickle the batteries (I have two 8D flooded) when the boat is at a mooring.

This year, we are planning to sail down the California coast and we may need to leave the boat at Morro Bay at a mooring for a month or two. I would love to keep my camera on then, so I can check what is going on from home That would require to power an LTE modem, a wifi camera and an access point. I certainly don't want to drain the battery when I am away.

Thoughts, suggestions?
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Old 31-01-2019, 21:14   #2
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Re: Are two partially shaded total 260W panels worth it

Can't you move the boom off to the side while on a mooring or anchored?
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Old 31-01-2019, 21:15   #3
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Re: Are two partially shaded total 260W panels worth it

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Can't you move the boom off to the side while on a mooring or anchored?
I don't normally do that, usually secure the boom by tightening the main but yes that is a possibility.
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Old 31-01-2019, 21:21   #4
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Re: Are two partially shaded total 260W panels worth it

In fact, many boats sit more quietly at anchor with the boom off the one side. Try it and see.
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Old 31-01-2019, 21:47   #5
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Re: Are two partially shaded total 260W panels worth it

And yes to just counteract self-discharge, more than enough. Just don't skip on a good controller, you're trusting it to not fail and murder your bank.

Personally I prefer to store expensive batts completely isolated, and just top them up overnight every 3-6 weeks.
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Old 01-02-2019, 01:19   #6
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Re: Are two partially shaded total 260W panels worth it

Or have a quick check of the solar installations on boats thread to see if there are any solutions you hadn’t considered.
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Old 01-02-2019, 03:34   #7
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Re: Are two partially shaded total 260W panels worth it

Very few installations are not partially shaded.
I know mine is.
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Old 01-02-2019, 04:25   #8
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Re: Are two partially shaded total 260W panels worth it

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Originally Posted by Tenedos View Post
I don't normally do that, usually secure the boom by tightening the main but yes that is a possibility.


We’ve got two 100 watt panels on the dodger, and unless sailing our boom is sheeted to a station base at the toenail. There is still some shading but the panels produce enough power to run the refrigerator continuously (we also have no mains battery charger aboard).
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Old 01-02-2019, 08:30   #9
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Re: Are two partially shaded total 260W panels worth it

My understanding is that 1st generation panels were highly sensitive to partial shading because of the way the individual cells were connected. The cells in 2nd generation panels are less interdependent. Totally open for correction or confirmation on this, but it is what I was told by a solar panel manufacturer.
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Old 01-02-2019, 08:53   #10
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Re: Are two partially shaded total 260W panels worth it

You do know that Morro Bay is the fog capitol of the world? Seriously.

Coming down from SF, Morro Bay is where the water temp shoots up dramatically and what this does is if you have any live algae in there it explodes with growth. I went through a case of filters in just over an hour on a boat I was delivering. Coming up from So Cal. Morro Bay is the spot your filters plug up because as you've been beating your way up the coast all the So Cal boats algae has been knocked loose by the waves action.

It's a great trip. Have fun.
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Old 01-02-2019, 09:16   #11
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Re: Are two partially shaded total 260W panels worth it

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You do know that Morro Bay is the fog capitol of the world? Seriously.

Coming down from SF, Morro Bay is where the water temp shoots up dramatically and what this does is if you have any live algae in there it explodes with growth. I went through a case of filters in just over an hour on a boat I was delivering. Coming up from So Cal. Morro Bay is the spot your filters plug up because as you've been beating your way up the coast all the So Cal boats algae has been knocked loose by the waves action.

It's a great trip. Have fun.
Thanks Mark, I know the fog We compete with it here in San Francisco (we even have a personality, Google “Karl the Fog” for some fun).

I didn’t know the algae though, I will be prepared. Thank you
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Old 01-02-2019, 09:17   #12
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Re: Are two partially shaded total 260W panels worth it

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tenedos View Post
Having now made the decision not to install an arch on our 32ft Catalina, I am debating whether to put solar panels on the dodger and in front of it. I think I can fit one 160W panel and another 100W panel and connect them in parallel. However the issue is they will always be partially shaded (boom and mast for the one on dodger and boom, mast and lines for the other).

So I am wondering if this is worth it at all. I am not looking for much, something to trickle the batteries (I have two 8D flooded) when the boat is at a mooring.

This year, we are planning to sail down the California coast and we may need to leave the boat at Morro Bay at a mooring for a month or two. I would love to keep my camera on then, so I can check what is going on from home That would require to power an LTE modem, a wifi camera and an access point. I certainly don't want to drain the battery when I am away.

Thoughts, suggestions?
I would say to go for it. You can't have enough solar. I have 4 x 140W panels, two on the dodger and two on a stern arch that keep my 2x8D Gel batteries charged. I accept that not all of them are maximized all the time, that's the joy of having lots of solar...some of them are always working to some degree in charging the batteries.

My only concern for you is the solar in front of the dodger where I see it getting in the way (I assume they would all be the hard panel types) and I don't recommend walking on any type of panels.

~ ~ _/) ~ ~ MJH
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Old 01-02-2019, 09:31   #13
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Re: Are two partially shaded total 260W panels worth it

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Originally Posted by Tenedos View Post
Thanks Mark, I know the fog We compete with it here in San Francisco (we even have a personality, Google “Karl the Fog” for some fun).

I didn’t know the algae though, I will be prepared. Thank you
I am from the SF Bay Area, used to Captain Adventure Cat among others. SF has no fog compared to Morro Bay LOL.
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Old 01-02-2019, 10:02   #14
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Re: Are two partially shaded total 260W panels worth it

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In fact, many boats sit more quietly at anchor with the boom off the one side. Try it and see.
Try it and see is good advice. We were hit in the anchorage of Rodriquez in the Indian Oceqn by a lovely boat that sailed well to windward because they had tied their boom over to the side. The neatly covered sail in it's cover on a long boom caused the boat to tack in a quite amazing fashion, at anchor. The anchorage was crowded and it was windy but no one else out of maybe 20 boats there tacked like this. Eventually they came roaring up behind us, with no one on board and smacked us in the stern narrowly missing our Aries.

We called a friend of the tacking boat and he went on board to put the boom in the centre. Right away the tacking ceased.

Be warned and give it a try. We often tie our boom over on our junk rigged GAIA but not when it is very windy.

Jim
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Old 01-02-2019, 20:50   #15
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Re: Are two partially shaded total 260W panels worth it

We are just fitting solar panels to hour house with partial shade, part of each day. In this case, we are fitting panels with optimizers that allow for partial shading. This system goes into an inverter so your situation may be different because yours probably won't go through an inverter.

When I fitted new panels onto my arch, I actually moved to a single panel of 24 volts which was then transformed to 12. As someone else said, contemporary panels might cope with your shading problem.

The silence of panels is fantastic!

Cheers, Jim
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