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Old 31-01-2018, 07:21   #151
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

I bought mine from Alt-E located in Mass. Panasonic brand. They're kikin booty. I think the Panasonics came in just below the almighty Sunpower brand as far as performance.
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Old 02-02-2018, 14:34   #152
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

Nice setup and being flexible these Elfeland panels seem really well priced, bangood sells the 200W panel for just 200$! Even if it dies in 10 years, it's a good deal because you will get a much better panel then cheaper.

Hopefully I'll be a proud boat owner within half a year and these panels are high on my list. Most likely I'll completely abandon windgens...

Quote:
Originally Posted by seadago View Post
Hello everyone

Below my installation, recently (in fact, yesterday!) finished.

Stock questions:

Type and model and size of boat. Freedom 30 cat ketch (Hoyt design), '82
Total Panel Output; 400 Watts nominal in total
Panel Size: 1050 X 540 mm each. Have four in all, installed in two separate arrays.
Age of Panels: When did you install the panels? new
Panel Location: Cabin roof. Location was determined by lack of space elsewhere. Considerable real state there, but required re-directing all the running rigging which run along the cabin roof. There is quite a bit of shading from booms and sails. How much exactly, I still can't ascertain in watt terms. In sizing the array, I allocated 20% wattage loss caused by shading. Only foreseen potential problem is the occasional need to step on the cabin roof. Panels are supposed to cope with this though.
Type and Brand of Panel: Elfeland, 100 watt nominal each, monocrystaline, semi-flexible. Have to be, as they needed to fit on a slightly convex coachroof. Chinese el chippo panels bought on eBay.
Total Cost: About 800 GBP in total. This is only HW - not counting my labour!- Panels were 400 GBP for four. This is for the array. I also had to redirect the running rigging from the main mast which run along the coach roof. That was a few hundred quid, but should not count as far as the solar install is concerned.
Total Efficiency: So far happy in the sense that, moored in a marina but living onboard, the array supplies in excess of daily budget (including running the fridge 24X7).Managed to get 7. Amps from each array (i.e. two panels) in full sunshine. In October, in the UK, that's not bad. Expect at least double that with a full day of full insolation.
How has adding the solar affected your sailing or cruising? So far, very happy not to have to connect to shore power (or run the engine) when moored!!!

Install: Four 100 Watt nominal panels connected in parallel and wired in two separate, independent arrays; port and starboard respectively, each with its own MPPT controller. Reason for this design are: (1) wish to have 100% redundancy in case of critical failure in one of the arrays, (2) simplify and minimise wire runs to the batteries. In my case, I have two banks of domestic batteries (2X 110 Ah), under the port and stbd bunks respectively. There is a circuit breaker isolating each panel, and a 60 Amp breaker before each battery bank. The wiring on the inside of the cabin roof looks a bit messy in the picture. All that will be tidied and hidden when I replace the lining on the roof!
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Old 02-02-2018, 16:30   #153
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

Quote:
Originally Posted by MorePlease View Post
Where’s the best place to order rigid panels in the US in the 270-330W range?

Everywhere I look that has good prices has a minimum order of 4 panels. I need 2 or 3.

Where have others found the best sources/prices?


One thing for sure........... to keep your cost down, you should try to make a purchase before the tariffs kick in. I purchased 4 each 295 mono panels last summer/fall. I remember the price was in the $180-190 range. And I found the source online. Many places had no minimums.
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Old 02-02-2018, 17:27   #154
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

Northern Arizona Wind and Sun(https://www.solar-electric.com) sells individual panels. I bought two 270 watt Kyocera panels for less than $600 delivered to the east coast. Shipping is the killer for small orders, but unlike others they will ship even one panel.
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Old 02-02-2018, 21:09   #155
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

Quote:
Originally Posted by Safari38LH View Post
Oh forgot to say... we have a awning from mast to backstay and the 6 solar panels are moved up there if we are staying in the area for a long time.
That is what I intend to do! Put the semi-flex Sunpower (or equiv) panels on the "boom tent" or really full boat tent from forestay to backstay, centerline peak about 8' high (lines from forestay to mast, mast to backstay), with lines about 5' or 6' high more-or-less around the perimeter (lines from forestay to shrouds to running backstays to backstay), and then tied down to the lifelines, a foot or so of canvas over those side lines leading downward towards the lifelines.

I don't want solar panels when underway.

How is this working out? How are the connectors holding up?
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Old 02-02-2018, 21:29   #156
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

Quote:
Originally Posted by u4ea32 View Post
That is what I intend to do! Put the semi-flex Sunpower (or equiv) panels on the "boom tent" or really full boat tent from forestay to backstay, centerline peak about 8' high (lines from forestay to mast, mast to backstay), with lines about 5' or 6' high more-or-less around the perimeter (lines from forestay to shrouds to running backstays to backstay), and then tied down to the lifelines, a foot or so of canvas over those side lines leading downward towards the lifelines.

I don't want solar panels when underway.

How is this working out? How are the connectors holding up?
Why not?
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Old 02-02-2018, 21:42   #157
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

I don't want panels when I'm sailing because they get in the way, they are a ton of windage, to avoid damage, reduce weight aloft, avoid high current DC on deck while underway, ugly, and so on. Lots of reasons.

No problem charging batteries underway by running the engine. Been doing that for a half century, no problem, gotta run it to avoid other problems (like filling the engine up with water via the exhaust hose).

Even when moving a lot, like 10 or 15k miles in a year from California to Europe, most of the time the boat is not moving. When it is, I don't want to worry about the panels.

I tend to deploy the boom tent (or full boat tent) whenever the boat stops. Its just a few minutes to put up or take down. I expect that hanging the panels on the tent won't take more than 10 minutes or so. About as much time as it takes to inflate the dinghy.

I put the dinghy away too!

I like sailing. That's why I have a sailboat.

I've got plenty of time to do stuff. I'm retired!
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Old 04-02-2018, 02:31   #158
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

High current DC on the deck?!

I think you might have wired them wrong. Just saying.
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Old 04-02-2018, 03:38   #159
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

Quote:
Originally Posted by u4ea32 View Post
That is what I intend to do! Put the semi-flex Sunpower (or equiv) panels on the "boom tent" or really full boat tent from forestay to backstay, centerline peak about 8' high (lines from forestay to mast, mast to backstay), with lines about 5' or 6' high more-or-less around the perimeter (lines from forestay to shrouds to running backstays to backstay), and then tied down to the lifelines, a foot or so of canvas over those side lines leading downward towards the lifelines.

I don't want solar panels when underway.

How is this working out? How are the connectors holding up?
The pnels won’t last, from all that handling. Semi flex or not, the more you flex them the quicker they’ll develop internal material fatigue and micro cracks that will affect performance and eventually failure. Semi flex allows you to mount on a slightly curved surface, and in some cases walk on them, but any localized flex from point loading or repeatedly mounting/demounting is not good.
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Old 04-02-2018, 06:52   #160
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

Quote:
Originally Posted by MorePlease View Post
Where’s the best place to order rigid panels in the US in the 270-330W range?

Everywhere I look that has good prices has a minimum order of 4 panels. I need 2 or 3.

Where have others found the best sources/prices?

There are many places that will sell single panels that can be easily found using a search engine. The below URL is just one of many.

Canadian Solar 300 Watt Mono-PERC Solar Panel - 40mm Black Frame - CS6K-300MS-T4
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Old 05-02-2018, 08:22   #161
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

Quote:
Originally Posted by MorePlease View Post
Where’s the best place to order rigid panels in the US in the 270-330W range?

Everywhere I look that has good prices has a minimum order of 4 panels. I need 2 or 3.

Where have others found the best sources/prices?
I just bought some LG 350 watt panels last week from E Marine Systems in Fort Lauderdale - no tariff, no sales tax, and no shipping since I could pick them up in person. Price was around $550/panel. I have yet to install them, stay tuned...

-David
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Old 05-02-2018, 14:42   #162
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

Do Solar panels have a shelf life?
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Old 05-02-2018, 15:14   #163
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

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Do Solar panels have a shelf life?
They shouldn't, they just become obsolete after 5 years...
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Old 06-02-2018, 22:06   #164
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

I have been carefully reading through this thread and thanks to everyone for the details on their installations. I am strongly considering flexible panels (solbian, solara, or the like) and I can see that some people have talked about how they installed them, but I am not finding a lot of real world examples of their experience 2 or more years into the installation of flexible panels. I have a Jeanneau 440 and plan to mount them on top of the bimini. I would be interested to hear anyone's experience, good or bad, that is multiple years into their installation. It is a little concerning that the flexible panel manufacturers only provide a 2-3 year warranty versus the 20+yr warranties of the rigid panels. I am attracted to the flexible panels due to their low weight, but don't want to be 3-5 years into the big investment and have micro-cracks, yellowing, delamination, or other maladies. On my previous boat I installed a stern arch with a couple rigid Kyocera panels and they were rock solid. It was a big deal to install the whole thing and I would rather do away with the bulk and weight, and poor aesthetics too. So if you have multi-year experience with the flexible panels, could you kindly share that experience and the brand/model you have? Thanks very much!
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Old 11-02-2018, 17:06   #165
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

Just made my last connection yesterday. Unfortunately the weather sucks; cloudy, cold, raining and windy.

Type and model and size of boat.
1982 Cape Dory 36
Total Panel Output (How much power can be generated?)
2 panels installed at 100w each. 2 more 100 w panels in process for a total of 400w.
Panel Size: How big are the panels? Individual? Total area required?
Each panel is 39.7x26.7”. When all 4 panels are installed we’ll have a space 80”x54”.

Age of Panels: When did you install the panels?
November 2017.

Panel Location: Where is the panel located and does it cause problems there? Does it cause problems with any other gear or while sailing? Does it cause windage problems? Has shading of the panels been a problem due to location of the panels and surrounding rigging or equipment?
Panels are on the bimini. The bimini frame has been re-enforced to support the extra weight. The boom shades the panels but when at anchor we can move the boom. Currently no windage problems as the bimini creates a bigger footprint for the wind.

Type and Brand of Panel: Who made the panel? What type of panel is it? Marine or Domestic (land) panel? Origin?
Renogy 100w Polycrystalline


Total Cost: How much did it cost to build the system? How much was each panel?
Each panel was just over $125 and they had a discount going so the total order was $399.96. Wiring and branch connectors $53. Tracer 40a MPPT controller and MT50 remote controller was $176.69 combined. All the bimini stainless steel fittings were $275.88 and 2 - 8’ x 1” stainlees steel tubes were $65 ea.
Add another $200 for fuses, misc stuff and beer. So right around $1100.

Total Efficiency: Do you consider the installation efficient? Please any comments that may help another improve efficiency, based on your experience.
This is the largest and flattest area I have. The boat is narrow and I searched long and hard on CF and other sites to confirm this design and it’s WAY cheaper tha having an arch built.

Damage? Has the installation been damaged by wind or corrosion or breakage?
No damage yet.
What would you do differently next time? Tips? Different type of panel?
I’d raise the frame a littler higher off the bimini as the cover is rubbing on the brackets and wearing holes in the cover. It’ll get raised in the next few months.
Any problems? Disappointments? Surprises? Disatisfaction? Issues? Weaknesses of gear or system?
The install went amazingly easy, if you don’t count dropping stuff into the water. Surprises, I hooked everything up and it came on...WhooHoo!! Then the sun disappeared.....Grrrrrr.
Weaknesses, the bimini frame is sturdy fore and aft but moves side to side. I need to add some support to stop this.

How has adding the solar affected your sailing or cruising?

Unknown at this time but research says 400w of solar amd 480ah of batteries should make us self sufficient in the power arena, time will tell.

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Do you have more info about your installation on a blog?

If you have a blog post that shows more details of your installation, post a link to that post. But, please post some photos and answers here, not just a link.
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Why this thread?

There are many previous threads on CF that discuss various aspects of Solar power on boats. But, most do not include any or many photos that illustrate how those panels are installed and how that may affect the panel efficiency or the ease of use of the boat. Or how the boat looks after installing a lot of solar panels.

Here is a link to some of the many previous threads which discuss "Solar" on CF:
https://cse.google.com/cse?cx=011403...lar&gsc.page=1

My hope is that this thread will be populated by many photos (and text answering the questions up above) from many different boats.

I believe that "Pictures tell a story" and they can be informative and inspirational and helpful.[/QUOTE]
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