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Old 28-05-2017, 04:46   #16
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Adelaide, South Australia, sailing in the Med.
Boat: Beneteau, Oceanis 50
Posts: 549
Re: Do you like yours Hard or Soft?

Originally Posted by Seas the Day View Post
No, not your boiled eggs but your solar panels!

I'm currently determining whether I should install flexible or hard solar panels to the hardtop on my Catalina 350. The hard panels look, shall I say, ugly whereas the soft panels would be unseen on my hardtop dodger. I am an aesthetic so prefer the hidden soft version but I am also a realist and want sustainable performance. My marine electrician says the flexible ones will not go the distance in the tropics which is where the boat will be used.

Could I please ask those who have utilised both hard and soft panels to pass on your experiences/ thoughts, etc.

Many thanks in anticipation of your advice(s).

I'm with you Alex, did not want to adversely affect the aesthetics, so went for flexible panels, on a curved stainless arch on the back. Also, they were cheap EBay Chinese panels. They have been up fully exposed in the Med for 5 years now, and I just checked our monitor. They peaked at 8.0A yesterday, which for 120W of panels is pretty well max output (120W @ 13.8V = 8.7A).

They are slightly cloudy now, rather than the totally clear resin when they first went up, but at this rate, I suspect they are good for another five years, and by then, I can probably put 180W or more in the same area, so I see no problem with a ten year life-span, over the obviously superior glass panels.
Hope that helps,

David B is offline   Reply With Quote

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