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Old 03-06-2014, 16:11   #1
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Bimini Strong Enough for Solar Panel?

I have purchased a 90 watt solar panel, which is about 20" x 40" and I think feels like it weighs about 20-30lbs.

My question is: Is my current bimini framework strong enough to support it and some extra bars I need to install.

My bimini framework consists of a large semi-loop that goes from Port to Starboard and is connected to the deck at both ends with the usual item that has two screws to the deck, and a horizontal screw that goes through the connector on the end of the tube.

About two thirds up the semi-loop another semi-loop is connected with tube end caps. i.e. from the side, the whole thing looks like a Y with one side of the Y starting at the deck level, and going over to the other side. The other bit of the Y is connected to the first tube. 1" diameter tubing.

Another question, how do you post photos to this forum ?!!!

Thanks
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Old 03-06-2014, 16:33   #2
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Re: Bimini strong enough for solar panel ?

I have two 135 watt panels on my Bimini and it works quite well but I have a horizontal brace between the two loops on each side of the Bimini which increases the strength and rigidity.
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Old 03-06-2014, 16:57   #3
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Re: Bimini strong enough for solar panel ?

I think the bimini constructed as mine can cope with solar panels without trouble. Actually I have four on the top, albeit each one is smaller than Yours.
The weight is not as much problem as an area in strong wind.

Click image for larger version

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Sorry, I have not better photos on hand now.

To post a photo, just click the attachement symbol when writing the post and upload according to the instruction in pop-up window.
Next click the down arrow to the right of attachement symbol and insert photos as You wish.

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Old 03-06-2014, 17:01   #4
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Re: Bimini strong enough for solar panel ?

I've had two 12 volt 75 watt panels on my bimini for years and added an extension with two 60 watt 48 volt solar panels for my propulsion bank:
THE BIANKA LOG BLOG: SOLAR BIMINI PART SEVEN: PANELS INSTALLED
It went through the 95 MPH winds of Hurricane Sandy and the panels where fine. Even though my boat and mooring were located 1,000 feet away from where I left it.
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Old 03-06-2014, 17:30   #5
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Re: Bimini strong enough for solar panel ?

Give the Bimini frame a good tug and yank hard on it to simulate storm conditions, then do it some more and don't be shy.
If it don't break or get damaged, you are probably ok...

Had two 75 watt panels on top of my Bimini frame, after I added support structures, and the whole rig survived hurricane Wilma, 100 knots plus..
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Old 03-06-2014, 17:34   #6
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Re: Bimini strong enough for solar panel ?

How are you guys attaching the panels to frame and put them on the top of the Sunbrella or canvas? Do you put screws through the fabric?
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Old 03-06-2014, 17:47   #7
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Re: Bimini strong enough for solar panel ?

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Originally Posted by Canibul View Post
How are you guys attaching the panels to frame and put them on the top of the Sunbrella or canvas? Do you put screws through the fabric?
Why keep the Sunbrella when the solar panels do double duty providing energy AND shade. I scrapped the vinyl material that had seen better days and just have the solar panels above the cockpit now. I put a piece of Lexan in the space between the panels so I could see the sail. Though you could just put a piece of Sunbrella in that space too. I may at some point add some side windows with just a strip of Sunbrella attached to the side of the panels in the future. But, I see no need for Sunbrella if you have the panels covering the area.
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Old 03-06-2014, 17:56   #8
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Re: Bimini strong enough for solar panel ?

I have two 33lb panels on mine and it works fine (I do have larger diameter tubing on the main bows).
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Old 03-06-2014, 18:29   #9
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Re: Bimini strong enough for solar panel ?

I added an aluminum frame and put two 265w panels over by Bimini, worked out great. I get additional support from the frame and it makes a good hand hold fir climbing into and out of the center cockpit.

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Old 04-06-2014, 03:39   #10
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Re: Bimini strong enough for solar panel ?

See photo, survived 40 kts and Bass Strait crossing!Click image for larger version

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Old 04-06-2014, 04:00   #11
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Re: Bimini strong enough for solar panel ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CAELESTIS View Post
I have two 33lb panels on mine and it works fine (I do have larger diameter tubing on the main bows).
looks good
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Old 04-06-2014, 05:28   #12
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Re: Bimini strong enough for solar panel ?

if you go to my profile page there are 3 pictures of how we mounted 2 of ours -- we are now up to 3 135w panels and have room for 1 more which we will probably add at some point --
we have sailed the entire carib with it - been in winds over 50k -- crossed the atlantic and now in the med

no issues -
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Old 04-06-2014, 05:48   #13
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Re: Bimini strong enough for solar panel ?

could only find one photo on your profile page, and it's of you, presumably.
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Old 04-06-2014, 05:53   #14
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Re: Bimini strong enough for solar panel ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mbianka View Post
. But, I see no need for Sunbrella if you have the panels covering the area.
Ah, but we don't. Our cockpit is much, much, MUCH bigger than the monohull cockpits in these photos. four times the size. We presently have 8 solar panels and all together they wouldn't cover the cockpit area. Besides, I hate it when rain water trickles down on my bald head.
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Old 04-06-2014, 06:09   #15
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Re: Bimini strong enough for solar panel ?

Hi, Next time you buy a panel, you could consider paying a few more dollars and purchase a semi-flexible panel. They are a bit more bimini-friendly. Some folks have them zippered into the fabric, I just have them secured with bungee cords (they are removed in bad weather).
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