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Old 21-05-2012, 18:51   #151
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re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

Thanks Gene and everyone for this great info here !
Im Having the Frames made , or soon will be- Im in Turkey -

Both the Sanyo & Sun power will fit the Arch frame- Now im Wondering I have room for 3 panels on my arch in the 225-240 watt size - OR have room for 2 panels in the 327 watt size what do you think is overall better-, to have the 3 panels or the 2 bigger panels-Anyone?
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Old 21-05-2012, 19:07   #152
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re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

Two 327 watt panels is only 82lbs with less mounting and less wiring.
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Old 21-05-2012, 19:32   #153
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re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

In mono would think two better. in poly prefer more panels as partial blocking of one panel wont kill system voltage as much. Amusing that people believe they wont sell for marine use. They dont care what you use them for as long as you buy the minimum qty. For the frameless laminates the minimum is quite high like 28 panels for the framed panels it varies 3 or 4 panel minimum. Had mine in use 3 yrs or so now. great deal on great panels
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Old 21-05-2012, 20:45   #154
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re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ram View Post
Thanks Gene and everyone for this great info here !
Im Having the Frames made , or soon will be- Im in Turkey -

Both the Sanyo & Sun power will fit the Arch frame- Now im Wondering I have room for 3 panels on my arch in the 225-240 watt size - OR have room for 2 panels in the 327 watt size what do you think is overall better-, to have the 3 panels or the 2 bigger panels-Anyone?
Well I always like to have as many backups as possible on board. If something falls on one of the solar panels and breaks it you are down 50% if you go with two panels. If you have three panels chances are your power production won't take as big a hit if something happens to one of the panels if two remain in operation. Anyway that's my two cents worth.
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Old 21-05-2012, 21:23   #155
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Quote:
Originally Posted by forsailbyowner
In mono would think two better. in poly prefer more panels as partial blocking of one panel wont kill system voltage as much. Amusing that people believe they wont sell for marine use. They dont care what you use them for as long as you buy the minimum qty. For the frameless laminates the minimum is quite high like 28 panels for the framed panels it varies 3 or 4 panel minimum. Had mine in use 3 yrs or so now. great deal on great panels
You bought SunPower panels, or some other panels?

Amusing? I call it straight from the horse's (manufacturer's) mouth. But I'm glad some folks have found a work around with various SunPower distributors. I just don't like to work that hard to spend my $$$.

I ended up getting 2x Sanyo 225W panels from Online Solar + Outback 60 MPPT charge controller for just under 2k including shipping.

Now I need to install....ahh the dichotomy of weather. It is nice so I must go sailing. It isn't nice and I need it to be nice out in order to install solar. BUT if it is nice out I must got sailing....

Frank
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Old 10-06-2012, 13:14   #156
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re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

This is a great thread but I'm surprised that there is very little written about durability. Are you guys cruising or sitting in your living rooms thinking about it? Trust me... when you get to Outer Pingo- Pango where there is no marina, no telephone, no internet, no mail service, no e-mail... you won't care if your solar panel puts out an amp and a half more than the next guy's. What you will want is a panel that is bullet proof. You quickly realize that if you can't fix it with a coconut, it can't be fixed.


Suddenly a panel that works year in, year out, will have much greater appeal. A panel that withstands the brutal elements in the most exposed place on the boat; that puts out year after year; one whose electrical connections are and remain waterproof; that don't corrode in the salt air; with heavy wiring that isn't eaten up in the intense UV rays; that is durable by design and doesn't rely on a dab of silicone for integrity. Give me a panel that lives up to it's 25-year warranty even though the manufacturer is long gone. I'm in the market for a panel for my boat and will buy the largest I can for the limited space I have... but I could care less about output. Anything will be acceptable, I'll happily run the engine to make up any short fall, but the bottom line... the thing has to work with little or no maintenance... forever.


Where do I get information on QUALITY BUILT marine panels?


Thanks,
Bryan
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Old 10-06-2012, 13:35   #157
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re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

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Where do I get information on QUALITY BUILT marine panels?
Here

Let me start with what I know is good, although some of it might not be sold new anymore:

- Shell
- Siemens
- Kyocera

I'm sure others will add to the list. I'm about 8 years good with Shell/Siemens now.

ciao!
Nick.
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Old 10-06-2012, 13:52   #158
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re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

"Where do I get information on QUALITY BUILT marine panels?"
All you can do is rely on brand names and look for a company that has a clear 25-year marine warranty. And has been around at least that long. That shuts out all the china specials and most of the fixed-installation market.
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Old 10-06-2012, 14:02   #159
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re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

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...Where do I get information on QUALITY BUILT marine panels?
Hi Bryan - Good question. Most panels have tempered & lightly treated (to reduce reflection) glass fronts, 2-layer vacu-formed tedlar plastic backs, & alloy frames (good) held together with steel screws (not good). Junction boxes are usually sealed. New Kyocera panels have cables with special plugs that must not be cut off (voids warranty).

We only know the Kyocera panels. They had some bad ones sneak through in 2001 which we ended up with & Kyocera replaced them for free (including shipping!) in Malaysia in 2009, which I thought was pretty good service. Our panels are out of the way above the davits so don't take much physical abuse, but the panels looked pretty new after 8 years. Story (& lots of other info) is on our Solar Panel page.

For durability, I would not get walk-on-able or flexible panels, or panels with plastic instead of glass fronts.
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Old 15-06-2012, 14:29   #160
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re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

Thanks guys, for this information. I guess when it's all said and done, solar technology is still in its infancy, particularly when it comes to the 'salty' marine market. The track record is still developing and there is not a lot of product history on which to base comparison studies. In any case, I feel compelled to start a new thread so join me if you will, back at the Home Page for “Why is YOUR Solar Panel a piece of junk?” ...let's see if we get a response!


Bryan
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Old 15-06-2012, 18:34   #161
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re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

Just to add mud to the water, I am writing this on an Ipad ........made in China. I have cheap panels that I bought from China. When they bust they have a warranty, if that is no good I will buy another set of panels.

I remember when japanese stuff was considered crap, now it is considered premium. If I tried to Rolls Royce my boat I would never get to sail it. So I buy stuff that will hopefully last but if it does not then it is like everything expensive on the boat. ie has a limited lifetime.
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Old 29-07-2012, 08:52   #162
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re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

We ended up staying at a slip with shore power available. We just decided to disconnect panels from solar controller because our Morningstar MPPT controller was starting each day out in the bulk phase. That doesn't make sense since we have battery charger on continuously. We're afraid of needlessly boiling off liquid from our lead acid batteries. Comments?
Pete
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Old 29-07-2012, 09:17   #163
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re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

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We ended up staying at a slip with shore power available. We just decided to disconnect panels from solar controller because our Morningstar MPPT controller was starting each day out in the bulk phase. That doesn't make sense since we have battery charger on continuously. We're afraid of needlessly boiling off liquid from our lead acid batteries. Comments?
Pete
The better solar controllers are completely adjustable. The Morningstar is not quite so good, but while on shore power set it for gel. This will give a bulk voltage of only 14.0v which will be fine. If you are not paying much for mains electricity and not leaving the boat unattended ( to make sure no disconnects your shore power) then disconecting the solar is fine.
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Old 29-07-2012, 09:21   #164
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re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

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The better solar controllers are completely adjustable. The Morningstar is not quite so good, but while on shore power set it for gel. This will give a bulk voltage of only 14.0v which will be fine. If you are not paying much for mains electricity and not leaving the boat unattended ( to make sure no disconnects your shore power) then disconecting the solar is fine.
Thanks. We are living aboard so not worried about shore power getting disconnected. Seems like the simplest solution is to disconnect panels from solar controller. This issue came up because I did recently have to add a little bit of water to my golf cart batteries. I was surprised in the sense that they were staying topped off with battery charger. It made me think that perhaps some boiling was going on caused by solar controller.
Pete
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Old 29-07-2012, 11:26   #165
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re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

"starting each day out in the bulk phase. That doesn't make sense since "
Could be the program on that controller is designed to start up in bulk mode, stay in bulk mode for a set timeperiod, and only then to actively change. You might want to ask Morningstar how the program on that unit is supposed to work. Some MPPT controllers (BlueSky) don't follow the traditional "three stage" concept at all, so "bulk" phase might be an illusion. Or, a program intent.
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