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Old 14-05-2015, 16:12   #16
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Re: Best Semi-Flexible Panels

Yikes! $9 or 10 per watt???? I've never seen prices that high before, not even back in 2005.

Geez, I thought the Renogy panels were kinda high at $2 per watt. I'm putting over 4KW on my house at 59 cents per watt. That's more my price range.
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Old 14-05-2015, 17:42   #17
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Re: Best Semi-Flexible Panels

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Originally Posted by socaldmax View Post
Yikes! $9 or 10 per watt???? I've never seen prices that high before, not even back in 2005.

Geez, I thought the Renogy panels were kinda high at $2 per watt. I'm putting over 4KW on my house at 59 cents per watt. That's more my price range.
The panels on your house how big is each panel and what wattage and voltage output?
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Old 14-05-2015, 20:21   #18
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Re: Best Semi-Flexible Panels

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The panels on your house how big is each panel and what wattage and voltage output?
They're 230w, Vmp = about 30v, Voc = about 37v. They're about 60" x 40" ea.

They're not the most efficient, or the smallest, but they're going to take up only about 20% of my south facing roof and provide about 4100w for $2638, including sales tax. Of course CA has a big solar rebate going on, so deduct that and it's pretty cheap for the amount of power.

I realize those panels aren't the perfect solution for a boat, but the Renogy panels are only $2/watt, flexible and very reasonably sized for the power output. I don't see any reason to spend 5x as much for panels that put out far less power and take up more space. I'm sorry if that's too honest for some people, but that's how it breaks down for me. Maximize the power, minimize the cost, and get whatever fits the space requirements.
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Old 14-05-2015, 21:56   #19
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Re: Best Semi-Flexible Panels

I agree with you that's why we installed a 200 watt kit from windy nation was 300 and change including everything wires and 30 amp pwm controller haven't needed to charge batteries with any other source since install in feburary and that includes the technautics fridge.
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Old 19-05-2015, 23:41   #20
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Re: Best Semi-Flexible Panels

I've been through the whole solar upgrade research lately and have the square eyes to prove it.

The approach I ended up with was to invest in good infrastructure - oversized tinned cable, two good mppt controllers running two seperate banks of panels, good double pole breaker/switches for easy maintenance, and good batteries.

The panels themselves are almost considered the disposable part of the equation. $1200 AUS for a 100 watt Solbian is not in our budget. I went for chinese panels made with German cells at $170 for 125W. They look well made and meet or exceed stated output. These are glass fronted alu framed. The flexible panels I got were $335 for 135 watts and I got them from an RV Guy who was well recommended on the forums.

In all my searches I couldn't find many first hand reports regarding long term durability of flexible panels, cheap or otherwise; they haven't been round long enough perhaps.

It's my belief that metal backed flexible panels are more prone to delam issues due to different expansion rates.

There is so much choice today it drives you nuts. Once I had formulated an approach it got easier. Having decided to spend big on infrastructure and try cheap panels I looked for suppliers who didn't also sell lampshades and cuddly toys, and came recommended. Here in Aus the RV and off-road camping type forums are good; they take the gear outback and rattle the hell out of it, then talk to each other.

If I was in the USA I'd probably give those Renogy a go. You got a coupla recommendations here already.
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Old 20-05-2015, 09:41   #21
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Re: Best Semi-Flexible Panels

I agree with everything the previous poster said on a solar setup however the choice of panels is very important.

Cheap panels may be unsafe, and may put you in the position where you are exposing yourself to the risk of hotspots. Drop something on a low quality panel without multiple backup paths for the solar energy to flow and you may very well end up with a cell that is still generating power with no outlet. The very last place you would ever want to compromise safety is at sea.

During my research into panels I was schooled and pointed in the direction of the following article. ww.nrel.gov/docs/fy12osti/54145.pdf
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Old 20-05-2015, 20:45   #22
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Re: Best Semi-Flexible Panels

It doesn't matter how long flexible solar panels will last... prices are through the floor are dropping like lead in air and there is no reason to believe they will not continue to do so. If you buy cheap panels and they fail in 3 years, buy new ones at 1/2 the price of the originals.
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Old 20-05-2015, 20:52   #23
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Re: Best Semi-Flexible Panels

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I agree, Bruce will get you pointed in the right direction. Your probably going to be looking at the Solbian Flex line. He'll recommend a separate charge controller for each panel(Genasun). This will maximize the panels energy potential. Shoot him an email, he is very responsive.
Had very good experience with Solbian flex. Recommended.
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Old 20-05-2015, 22:53   #24
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pirate Re: Best Semi-Flexible Panels

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Originally Posted by Muzungu View Post
I agree with everything the previous poster said on a solar setup however the choice of panels is very important.

Cheap panels may be unsafe, and may put you in the position where you are exposing yourself to the risk of hotspots. Drop something on a low quality panel without multiple backup paths for the solar energy to flow and you may very well end up with a cell that is still generating power with no outlet. The very last place you would ever want to compromise safety is at sea.

During my research into panels I was schooled and pointed in the direction of the following article. http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy12osti/54145.pdf
I agree with safety at sea however you are contradicting yourself if you practice safety to the unth degree then how did you drop something on a panel that is rather important to day to day operations of your vessel . Price of the panel has little to do with being a clutz and dropping something on it and damaging it. There is a possibility of damage beyond your control that is what bypass diodes are installed in panels for.
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Old 21-05-2015, 06:21   #25
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Re: Best Semi-Flexible Panels

Cheers guys. Based largely on the advice here i'm going to go with the Renogy panels and see how that works out. Now i just need to figure out how to get them to Bermuda without spending a fortune on shipping.........
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Old 21-05-2015, 11:41   #26
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Re: Best Semi-Flexible Panels

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During my research into panels I was schooled and pointed in the direction of the following article. http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy12osti/54145.pdf
I have read your referenced article and research paper and the possibility of a panel of the voltage stated in the paper(300 to 600 volts DC) causing a hotspot fire is a possibility however the panels on a boat would be nowherenear that size the most would be likely a 72 cell 24 volt panel more likely would be the 32 cell 12 v nominal units and in the article they place 20 plus cells on one bypass diode however on our 100 watt 32 cell units they have placed 6 cells on a diode so the most that could stack up on a single point would be 25 watts at tops 18 volts short rating. Not nearly enough to cause sufficient heat buildup to cause a fire.
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Old 21-05-2015, 11:49   #27
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Re: Best Semi-Flexible Panels

Anyone stopping in Bermuda some time before December and fancy bringing 4 x 100W panels for me? I will pay in beer, banter and a barbeque in your honour! Any takers? :-)
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Old 30-06-2015, 14:38   #28
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Re: Best Semi-Flexible Panels

I am installing the 100 watt panels on my bimini. What velcro did you use? Any problems sticking to panel? Thanks
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Old 30-06-2015, 19:14   #29
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Re: Best Semi-Flexible Panels

Well, this one is certainly not the best.

My dock neighbour installed two 100W panels on his new bimini a few weeks ago. Had not connected the panels to anything. A bird pooped on one of the panels and it melted right through the panel, melting the bimini fabric underneath.

The company who sold him the panel is replacing it.
Wonder what would have happened if it had set his boat on fire ?

JM.
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Old 30-06-2015, 22:01   #30
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Re: Best Semi-Flexible Panels

What did that bird eat for dinner?
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