Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rating: Thread Rating: 8 votes, 5.00 average. Display Modes
Old 10-01-2012, 04:52   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2010
Boat: 2001 Beneteau 411
Posts: 319
Best Solar Panels For The Buck

I have been looking at generators. Now I'd like to consider solar panels which offer huge advantages such as no moving parts, quiet, reliable and non-flammable. I'd like to satisfy on average 120 Ah/day (in Florida) as an initial starting point. From what I've read so far that may require three 120 Watt panels or two 180 Watt panels. It seems that the $/watt would be considerably less in the latter case. I would very much appreciate recommendations for types of panels and charge controllers that are reliable and cost effective. Thanks
Pete
__________________

__________________
prroots is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2012, 09:32   #2
Senior Cruiser
 
senormechanico's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2003
Boat: Dragonfly 1000 trimaran
Posts: 5,826
re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

I've been very happy with my 120 watt panel from Solar Boulevard.

Solar Cell, Solar Panel, Renewable Energy, Wind Energy, Charge Controller, Solar Trackers
__________________

__________________
Memento,homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris.
senormechanico is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2012, 10:12   #3
Registered User
 
Cotemar's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2007
Boat: FP, Helia 44 Evo
Posts: 5,717
re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

A lot of boaters are using the SunPower panels.
They are the smallest and lightest panels for the watts they put out.

SunPower E19 / 240 Residential Solar Panel

SunPower E19 / 320 Residential Solar Panel

Go great with the BlueSky controllers.

Solar Panels and Associated Systems
__________________
Cotemar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2012, 10:28   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Beaufort, SC
Boat: 2004 Hunter 41 AC
Posts: 308
re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

Where did you buy the Sunpower panels? I assume these are different from the Sun branded panels that Sun Electric (sunelec.com) sells?

Thanks,
Scott
__________________
s/vPainkiller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2012, 10:43   #5
Registered User
 
Cotemar's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2007
Boat: FP, Helia 44 Evo
Posts: 5,717
re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

SunPower panels can be purchased from your local electrical supplier.
We have four boats in our marina that purchased them from a Boston MA, electical supplier.
I believe they are made in CA. SunPower are not Sun Electric
__________________
Cotemar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2012, 10:51   #6
Registered User
 
Mahaila's Avatar

Join Date: May 2011
Location: Los Angeles
Boat: C&C 38
Posts: 47
re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

I'm happy with some panels I got from Solar Cell, Solar Panel, Renewable Energy, Wind Energy, Charge Controller, Solar Trackers but don't see them on the website currently. They might be the Solar Cynergy brand and may come and go on the site. They also sell on eBay. They had 80, 100, 120 and 140s at one time or another all were $1.35/watt which should be a great price. They seemed as good as any for marine use and I believe they were even advertised as such which may preclude warrantee issues. I also calculated the efficiency - the 100 watt had the best for it's size (a shorter panel) and the 140 had it over the 120 as they are the same longer form factor. I think it was about 11.4 sqin/watt.

Ron
__________________
Mahaila is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2012, 10:54   #7
Senior Cruiser
 
Cheechako's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Skagit City, WA
Posts: 19,352
re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

Based on user experience, what will it take to get to: " I'd like to satisfy on average 120 Ah/day (in Florida) as an initial starting point." ?
__________________
"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard











Cheechako is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2012, 11:11   #8
֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 13,033
re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

"what will it take to get "
Rule of thumb, as repeated by places like Sandia National Labs and a host of universities, is that you will get about 4x the nominal noon output of a panel, during the course of an entire day. More in Florida's summer, maybe less in these short winter days. So you divide 120AH by 4 hours, you need a panel(s) rated for 30A output. 30A at a nominal 12 volts would be 360 watts of panels. Two 180's or three 120's should be able to provide the 120AH of power during a Florida day, year round.

An MPPT controller gives you abot a 10% boost over other charge controllers, and the charging efficiency of AGMs or gel cells (because of their lower internal resistance) can give you a 10% gain again, so the controller and battery type can shift the numers by a good 10-20% as well. Batteries are a longer issue but that makes an MPPT controller a no-brainer.
__________________
hellosailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2012, 11:31   #9
Registered User
 
capn_billl's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Houston,Tx
Boat: Maxum 37'
Posts: 1,587
re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cotemar View Post
A lot of boaters are using the SunPower panels.
They are the smallest and lightest panels for the watts they put out.

SunPower E19 / 240 Residential Solar Panel

SunPower E19 / 320 Residential Solar Panel

Go great with the BlueSky controllers.

Solar Panels and Associated Systems
These panels look good, how much are those babies?
__________________
capn_billl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2012, 12:38   #10
Registered User
 
Cotemar's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2007
Boat: FP, Helia 44 Evo
Posts: 5,717
re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

Should be able top get the SunPower E19 240 watt panel in the $600 range.
They are not cheap, but if you need small and light these are the way to go.

There are a lot of boats out their using the SunPower panels now.
These guys are going around the world with them panels
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Solar_Boat_1.jpg
Views:	638
Size:	48.7 KB
ID:	35822   Click image for larger version

Name:	Solar_Boat_2.jpg
Views:	514
Size:	53.2 KB
ID:	35823  

__________________
Cotemar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2012, 20:02   #11
Registered User
 
dandrews's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Shirley, MA
Boat: Bristol 34
Posts: 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cotemar
Should be able top get the SunPower E19 240 watt panel in the $600 range.
They are not cheap, but if you need small and light these are the way to go.

There are a lot of boats out their using the SunPower panels now.
These guy are going around the world with them panels
Not that money matters to these guys, but my god do you think all those panels cost. WOW!
__________________
dandrews is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2012, 20:56   #12
Registered User
 
cwyckham's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Vancouver, BC
Boat: Niagara 35
Posts: 1,870
re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

Quote:
Originally Posted by dandrews View Post
Not that money matters to these guys, but my god do you think all those panels cost. WOW!
Not to mention the batteries and controller!
__________________
cwyckham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-01-2012, 21:29   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Seattle
Boat: Wauquiez Centurion 49
Posts: 720
Images: 13
re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

Hmmmm . . . Sanyo 225w vs Sun Power 240w--which is better?

http://www.ehow.com/info_8153790_pho...ar-panels.html
__________________
CAELESTIS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2012, 02:55   #14
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Hood River, OR
Boat: Farrier, F-44SC, performance cruising cat
Posts: 148
re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cotemar View Post
Should be able top get the SunPower E19 240 watt panel in the $600 range.
They are not cheap, but if you need small and light these are the way to go.

There are a lot of boats out their using the SunPower panels now.
These guy are going around the world with them panels
Iv'e noticed that they seemed to have felt the need to extend the decks in order to grab more sun. Not to be overly critical, but seems like a bad idea from the standpoint of compromising the seaworthiness of such a vessel. You wouldn't want to catch yourself in any sort of actual sea conditions. However, I imagine the primary function of such a vessle is to motor around various ports showing off the million dollar array of panels.

The winds are driven by the sun so it seems a bit foolish to add a burdensome 81 percent drop in efficiency. Buy some sails. I think those panels would better serve to provide the basic needs of people living in the jungles of the Dominican republic. They use car batteries with no way of charging them. When they loose their charge they dump them in any nearby stream.....come on guys. Quit being selfish and help show the world what we can do to make the world a better place for all. Where is the challenge of creating a solar boat If you are going to spend a few mill, do something that helps people or something that hasn't been done....... something a little more worthwhile.

Allen Smith
Hood River, Or
__________________
vientoman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2012, 05:26   #15
Registered User
 
Cotemar's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2007
Boat: FP, Helia 44 Evo
Posts: 5,717
re: Best Solar Panels For The Buck

CAELESTIS,

The Sanyo HIT 225A solar panel is excellent also. Just 1inch longer and 2 lbs heavier.

http://us.sanyo.com/dynamic/product/...b-45533488.pdf

I have a friend in the UK using two of these Sanyo panels, because he could not find the SunPower panels. They are working great for him.
SunPower = Sanyo. I would say they are at the top.

Mark
__________________

__________________
Cotemar is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
solar

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 00:42.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.