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Old 22-06-2017, 19:42   #121
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

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Originally Posted by foggysail View Post
Assuming Canadian panels work as advertised, my cost impressive system will be 620 + 732 + shipping which I will guess to be about $250. Total bucks $1602

Back to what confuses me....why are people spending so many bucks for their systems?

Just received an updated quote from the seller pertaining to shipping cost. Shipping will only be $135 with my pickup at the shipper's freight depot which is local. So the adjusted cost for this impressive system is only $1487!!!
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Old 22-06-2017, 21:03   #122
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

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Originally Posted by foggysail View Post
What puzzles me is not who has the largest panel array but why are so many paying so much for panels. For sure...... Solar is the way to go at least for boats. Lost track of time, it could have been as long as 4-5 years ago when I first installed 4 poly panels with advertised rating 140-150 watt/panel (18Vpp) along with a ProStar 30 PWM controller. I do remember however that the cost of the panels back then was only $160 each delivered but sold in pairs at Amazon.

Those panels are still on my boat until my new Canadian 295 monos are delivered, that could be September; back ordered. OK, the wiring I did is parallel and there is at least a 2 volt drop (about 60 watts) when they provide 32 amperes to my batteries. NOPE, not with the ProStar 30 but with a Victron 150/70 newly purchased controller. Best I did with ProStar was a meager 24 and only once. This coming week end I intend to change the wiring to series. More later on that.

But back to $$$! The Canadian panel reviews indicate these panels are functionally fine. More than that.... who knows and just maybe the "who knows" could be the reason so many are spending so much. My four ordered 295 watt panels with a theoretical 1180 watts maximum will cost when they finally get delivered $183 each plus freight or a total of only $732 big ones. Heck, the controller was only about $620 with remote metering and the necessary cable plus a USB adapter.

Assuming Canadian panels work as advertised, my cost impressive system will be 620 + 732 + shipping which I will guess to be about $250. Total bucks $1602

Back to what confuses me....why are people spending so many bucks for their systems?
Nothing to add, just want the quoted post repeated. Good question!
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Old 23-06-2017, 00:23   #123
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

That is a better price than I have found for those panels. Care to share where you got them?
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Old 23-06-2017, 06:15   #124
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

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That is a better price than I have found for those panels. Care to share where you got them?

Below is the contents of my confirming email with personal info edited:


"Attached you will find the quote for the items of interest. The Canadian Solar CS6k-295MS are currently back-ordered and will not be available to ship until late September. Please review the quote and let us know if you have any questions.

*** Important Note ***
Your order will not be processed until we receive your approval. This can be done by replying to this email, logging onto our system, or contacting us by phone at (310) 356-7248.

Thank you,

Infinigi Staff "
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Old 23-06-2017, 23:24   #125
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

Try shopping for panels in Australia. Then compare the quotes.
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Old 24-06-2017, 07:05   #126
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

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Try shopping for panels in Australia. Then compare the quotes.


Yes, and compare shipping

And a point of interest. The united States told the WTO that it plans to impose tariffs on solar panels from any country. Panels just might get expensive again.

http://www.utilitydive.com/news/us-t...panels/443835/
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Old 25-06-2017, 20:54   #127
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

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He wasn't there so help me nug this out.
first 245 KG = 539 lbs
1 sq meter = 1550 sq in
Now if I do the math right 1550 div by 539 = 2.87
So the panels will burst if a load of 2.87 lbs per sq. in is placed on them, correct?

Here is my problem, it seems that 100 mph is .17 PSI, and that can't be correct can it?
122 kts wind speed for the 2400 Pa max wind load from the spec sheet posted earlier.

Dynamic pressure = 1/2 × air density × (wind speed)^2.

NOTE: that failure will likely occur at lower wind speeds due to dynamic flexure, fatigue or impact.
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Old 12-07-2017, 05:24   #128
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

As promised !
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Old 19-07-2017, 10:08   #129
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

I'm getting ready to contribute to this thread, but first I have a few questions...

Installing a new aluminium stern arch this weekend, replacing the old Martek davits with something that will also be a great platform for solar panels. Planning on installing the most number of watts I can physically fit, but that's a question for another day. Today I'm trying to plan the wiring. Clearly it will be easier to run wires, or at least pull lines, while the arch is being assembled and installed. What should I plan on in terms of wire size and count? Is there typically a single pair coming from the solar array, or one pair per panel? I also plan on some antennas off the side of the arch (got to keep shading to a minimum) - is it advisable to run antenna cables alongside the power cables from the array, or should I run them inside separate legs of the aluminium structure?

Any advice from those who have "been there, and done that"? The arch I'm installing is from FishOnSports, about which I've heard good things. I'm taking lots of pictures along the way, and will be sure to post a full report once it's all done.

Thanks,
David
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Old 19-07-2017, 23:38   #130
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

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Originally Posted by Davidhoy View Post
I'm getting ready to contribute to this thread, but first I have a few questions...

Installing a new aluminium stern arch this weekend, replacing the old Martek davits with something that will also be a great platform for solar panels. Planning on installing the most number of watts I can physically fit, but that's a question for another day. Today I'm trying to plan the wiring. Clearly it will be easier to run wires, or at least pull lines, while the arch is being assembled and installed. What should I plan on in terms of wire size and count? Is there typically a single pair coming from the solar array, or one pair per panel? I also plan on some antennas off the side of the arch (got to keep shading to a minimum) - is it advisable to run antenna cables alongside the power cables from the array, or should I run them inside separate legs of the aluminium structure?

Any advice from those who have "been there, and done that"? The arch I'm installing is from FishOnSports, about which I've heard good things. I'm taking lots of pictures along the way, and will be sure to post a full report once it's all done.

Thanks,
David
Hi David,
Yes, and no to your question. Running all of the cables now might be a good idea - UNLESS, when the arch is up, you decide you need another lug, or saddle etc welded to it. Then you have a problem - the more cables, the more chance of them being in intimate contact with the tube inside, and therefore melting.
We installed our SS arch with nothing inside, because the arch was to be welded to the existing pushpit (designed to be fully integrated, so it looks like it came out of the factory on the boat), so had no chance of cables being in there.
Using an electricans monofilament 'snake' we managed to get three twin cables for the three solar panels into the aft stb tube and out the other end. Then for the fwd stb tube, we have a cable for the rear flood light, plus another two for the downlights, plus two cables for the Navtext and 3G/4G antenna. Finally, for the aft port tube, we have a cable for the WiFi antenna.
So there, I have answered your other question as to what cables you may need in there.
Also, we have left a mouse line in each tube to draw any other cables through in the future (upon which event, another mousing line will be drawn through at the same time, so there is always a mousing line in there).

If you are absolutely convinced you will not need any welding done on the arch, then yes, pull the cabling through now, but you will still be pulling it through in the same way you would once installed, so there is not a lot to be gained.
Ideally, run a draw wire through each leg, get the arch installed, check there are no more saddles or lugs to weld on, then pull your cables through with the draw wire, and at the same time pull a mousing line (I use 2mm braid)through for future use.
Also ensure the entry and exit holes are smooth, and ideally grommeted to avoid chafe over time.

There is no issue running receiving antenna cables along with the solar cables. Tx cables may introduce issues with RF on the outside of the cable if there is any mismatch - that could cause problems for your solar regulator at least. You have four tubes, so use them all ideally: 1 - solar, 2 - lighting; 3 - antennas; 4 - spare (just a mousing line).

I highly prefer a cable pair per panel, per light, per anything up there. Much better to have a junction box down in your lazarette to bring it all together, than trying to join up there (aesthetics, maintenance, moisture etc, etc).
Panels - smaller, and many in parallel is best, so that any panel shaded, does not affect the whole system.

That's about all I can think of for now David.

Hope it helps.
David
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Old 20-07-2017, 04:10   #131
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

Hello All,
Got really interested in this topic since i'm a PV system installer, lately also for the nautical sector.
Below I'm going to show you one of the latest installations of flexible modules which are designed specifically for the marine and nautical environment. In my opinion, compared to all the products I have tried so far, are the best solution, robust, small and efficient. But it will be time to say whether they will be the best choice! Are made with ETFE and glass fiber coating gives them the optimal balance between strength and flexibility, as well as keeping it all in the smallest surface possible thanks to the efficiency of the A-grade Sunpower cells that the manufacturer certificates for those panels.


Boat: Dufour 385.
Total Panel Output: 200W (2x100W each panel)
Panel Size: Each panel measures 560(W) x 1070 (L) x 3 (T) mm
Age of Panels: Early, installation made less than 3 months ago
Panel Location: Fixed upon the bimini metallic support bow









Type and Brand of Panel: Panel made by Fly Solartech Solutions. 7-layer system with ETFE and Glass fiber external coatings. Sunpower A-grade cells certified Home - Fly Solartech (if someone needs it)
Total Cost: Approximately 660€ (Panels + Charge controller + wires & connectors); Panels were 259.00€ each Italian VAT included
Total Efficiency: Panels are monocrystalline, so this type of installation (with the head of the panels facing the sides of the boat) aims to align as many silicon crystals as possible with the sunlight irradiation direction. Moreover, since the panels are fixed to the housing structure just by their edges, their temperature is considerably lower thanks to the greater airflow even on the lower layer. In this way the NOTC will not affect negatively on the total efficency of the modules. Compared to other installations made on bimini systems with ZIP systems or glued these (at present) produce more and more. I think this is only due to the type of installation not on the panel.
Problems? None as for now. The efficiency is always at optimum values and the controller has no problem interfacing with panels or the pre-existing batteries. But I had a lot of problems with other LENSUN panels, I installed them many in recent years and after a while they started to produce only Volt and no Amps. The first one with the problem changed it smoothly, the other 6 instead ... they don't want to replace them! And they are all still in warranty. I thought it was a UKcompany instead it's Chinese ,and unfortunately they can not honor the warranty. I do not like to speak badly about companies but it's just right for you to know my negative experience with LENSUN, then everyone has their own evaluations


Returning to installation with the Fly Solartech panels topic, honestly, I think that this type of installation, for the reasons specified above, is one of the best options viable because it exposes the panels to the least possible overheating. But It can only be done with seven-layer fiberglass panels, which are semi-rigid, this can not be done with PET panels that are too flexible.
Clearly the only practical defect concerns the mobility of the panels, which is almost zero. This installation is in fact to be considered definitive.
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Old 20-08-2017, 02:47   #132
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

The first boat I owned was an Iroquois Mk 2a 32ft sailing cat built in 1973. Now sold. Phew! My cruising area was the Solent to the Channel Islands (Southern UK/Northern France)

I had two old (big) 40 watt panels feeding in via a 10 amp morning star controller to a single 100AH battery. All I was using power for was the fridge and the tillerpilot and for short day sails it was sufficient. The only other source of power was the output from the outboard enging - 6 amps - and if I was feeling flush and in a marina I had a 10 amp car battery charger. The panels were rail mounted. On warmer days at anchor I had to unplug the fridge overnight otherwise we'd wake up to a flat battery. The power budget was negative. At least the panels could be tilted slightly fore and aft.

What would I have changed? I would have had two 100 watt panels to replace the 40 watt ones on the pushpits. A dedicated small starter battery for the engine, dual MPPT charge controllers, one for each panel, and two 100AH batteries.

Why didn't I do this? a. I was broke. b. The solar installation might have finished up being worth more than the boat was.

My second boat was a 1999 Piana 30. Now sold! Phew! I fitted a budget 80 watt panel on a composite support. It wobbled a bit but never looked like moving. I had a sunware 36 watt semi flexible panel mounted on the coachroof. The connected to a single PWM controller. I had two 75AH flooded batteries that I replaced with 2 * 100AH budget AGM batteries. Performance was awful. I reckoned that the bigger panel must be driving the smaller one so I bought a second charge controller to isolate the outputs. When I was wiring it all up i discovered that the guy that had installed my panels had managed to get the polarity on the sunware the wrong way round....... Once I fixed that the power ouput soared!

Initially I used the car battery charger from the first boat to provide "shore power" and that worked reasonably well again. I eventually replaced this with a Quick 30amp that was hard wired in. With twin outboards the maximum power from the engines was 12 amps. My cruising area was the Mediterranean coast of France, Corsica and Sardinia. More sun. Warmer. We powered a fridge and the tillerpilot. I replaced all the halogen bulbs we routinely used inside the boat for LEDs. When the weather got very hot the fridge would cut out at about 4am because the voltage had dropped too far.

What would I do different this time? Probably go for 2 * 100 watt panels aft and two 36 watt panels on the coach roof. The supports for the panels would need reinforced with a solid rod connecting them in the middle and cross braced with diagonal wires pulling them tight. I'd have liked to have gone for bigger batteries but there wasn't room for them in the battery locker so I would have needed to have remodelled the cockpit locker.

Since we didn't sail at night the biggest drain on my power budget was the fridge. It seemed to run continuously and I felt the airflow was insufficient as it was a very tight fit. I put in a 12 volt computer fan to try and get more airflow but it still struggled. It might have improved if I'd done more to improve the airflow.

Why didn't I do this work? a. I was broke. (common theme developing here but I'm a boatowner.) b. I was defeated by logistics. It was a long way to travel to the boat and what time I did spend on it was for sailing. c. We muddled on and I could have a cold beer at the end of the day.

So..... the next boat. 2017 Fountaine Pajot Lucia 40. Not yet built.

There's space for 300 watts of panels behind the mainsail track on the coachroof. There are twin inboard diesels with nice chunky alternators.... There's a 300AH battery bank for the Starboard engine and "house". There's an 80 amp(?) mains power charger as standard. I am not planning on buying a generator or wind power.

This isn't a holiday boat but rather one we're planning to live on board for months at a time and therefore the power budget is very different. There's the fridge. And the other fridge. And the freezer. And the watermaker. And the stereo. And possibly the TV. And the gadgets to power. And all the instruments. And the autopilot. And the electric winch. and the ice maker.........

So the plan is: -

Six hundred watts of Solar. Three hundred in the dedicated mounting spot. Another three hundred from semi flexible panels bonded to the coachroof. I may add more. Replace the 300AH AGM house batteries with 400AH Lithium ones. Fit a dedicated regular to the starboard engine alternator to maximise output.

Why wouldn't I do this?

a. My head hurts. I've been trying to work out what I need to get an affordable Lithium system and there's a lot of conflicting data. I need an idiot's guide. Mastervolt and Victron have some great data sheets but they are designed to get me to buy all of their gadgets.
b. The admiral is concerned about the cost. As am I but, hey, ice in the G&T trumps economics.
c. The boat hasn't been built yet.
d. I've just read they've solved the charge rate limit for zinc air batteries.....

Why would I do this?

Marina prices in the Med can be astronomical. We were invited to pay €86 euros for a night spent at on the fuel pontoon without shore power simply because we had a catamaran. €86 for a 30ft sailboat, two up? That's a rip off and what's worse is that with a 39ft cat we'll get to pay more and that wasn't the most expensive marina. So we'll invest in a big anchor, plenty of chain, plenty of power, and a watermaker.

Throwing out food because the power budget is in defecit is no fun. Not throwing out food after the fridge has got too warm overnight isn't a lot of fun either. Warm beer anyone?

We plan to do longer passages involving night sailing and I'd rather not use the engine just to power the autopilot and instruments.

Cheers

Ian
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Old 20-08-2017, 06:54   #133
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

It's seen that yellow Piana 30 around Ibiza and Mallorca this season.

I've got a Prout Snowgoose 35 and what I believe is 400w of solar mounted on the coach roof.

Sitting in Soller at the moment, they are producing around 13amps according to the PWM controller.

I calculate on on average they add between 80-100amps per day to my 675 a/h house battery bank.

These panels suffer small amounts of shading from the genoa lines (no noticeable loss of output), and larger shading from the stay sail (cutter rig).

The other drawback is that they are fixed in place so cannot be orientated to the sun, worse still the coachroof is convex, so the panels are angled either port or starboard.






I want/need an arch/davitts anyhow, as my dinghy is too large to store easily on the deck. So what I would like to do is add one Benq 330w (1.5mx1m) panel, and run it on it's own controller.

The current panels would be better replaced by 7 layer semi-flexible ones, as lines and other items often get caught on them, but then it would be a shame to get rid of good working panels.

I love the look of the all black panels, but they are a percent or so less efficient and seem to lose a little more over time compared to the standard panels.
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Old 20-08-2017, 11:17   #134
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

Just a short note of THANKS TO ALL who are continuing to contribute good, helpful content (descriptive text and photos) to this thread. Detailed descriptions help, they really do.

I enjoyed reading them all, and learn something or get new ideas from each post, as I am sure many other readers do too. Your contributions to this topic are helping and valuable!

Keep'em coming!
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Old 20-08-2017, 11:32   #135
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Re: Illustrated Guide to Solar Installations on Boats

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It's seen that yellow Piana 30 around Ibiza and Mallorca this season.
It might have been "a" yellow Piana....... Mine was safely ashore at Port Napoleon.

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