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Old 13-11-2017, 08:07   #1
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Low Windage Solar Installations

I've had solar and love it; don't have it on this boat because I don't want the windage -- unlike with the last boat, I actually do a lot of sailing upwind.

Solar and lead acid batteries go together like cookies and cream, but for LiFePo the peculiar characteristics of solar are less useful. Still -- who wouldn't want free, silent, reliable, maintenance-free energy from the sun?

So thinking about my next boat, which will have LiFePo, how could I get solar on her without creating a lot of windage?

I've seen boats with solar panels built into the coach roof.

I will have no bimini, no arch, no davits, so there is no obvious place to put solar panels.

Anyone have any ideas?
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Old 13-11-2017, 08:17   #2
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Re: Low Windage Solar Installations

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...Solar and lead acid batteries go together like cookies and cream, but for LiFePo the peculiar characteristics of solar are less useful....
strange verdict. Where you've got this information?

Solar and LiFePO4 go together like nothing else, the low resistance of the cells allows fast charging and will get anything a solar panel can deliver and store it - unlike the lead acid, they reduce charging current when voltage goes up. Lithium does not need an absorption / float phase, they charge bulk to full state at 14.4V. There is nothing better and more efficient out there than solar panels with a right configured controller and LiFeYPO4.
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Old 13-11-2017, 08:33   #3
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Re: Low Windage Solar Installations

Walk on panels on low traffic areas of the deck?
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Old 13-11-2017, 08:43   #4
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Re: Low Windage Solar Installations

Assuming no teak decks due to the longer term maintenance, how about the walk on semi-flexible solar types like Solara from Barden Batteries, mounted on the rear deck areas. Not cheap and you want to sit down before seeing the price, but we got 10 years out of our solara panel.
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Old 13-11-2017, 08:45   #5
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Re: Low Windage Solar Installations

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
I've had solar and love it; don't have it on this boat because I don't want the windage -- unlike with the last boat, I actually do a lot of sailing upwind.

Solar and lead acid batteries go together like cookies and cream, but for LiFePo the peculiar characteristics of solar are less useful. Still -- who wouldn't want free, silent, reliable, maintenance-free energy from the sun?

So thinking about my next boat, which will have LiFePo, how could I get solar on her without creating a lot of windage?

I've seen boats with solar panels built into the coach roof.

I will have no bimini, no arch, no davits, so there is no obvious place to put solar panels.

Anyone have any ideas?

lifeline rails, pushpit rails. Would need to know what boat to give you some other ideas.
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Old 13-11-2017, 08:48   #6
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Re: Low Windage Solar Installations

Mine is "tied down" on the Aft Lazarette Locker.

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Old 13-11-2017, 09:37   #7
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Re: Low Windage Solar Installations

With no arch, no bimini and no davits that leaves only three options I can think of: deck, cabin top or on the sides.

Deck - too many problems. Even with walk on panels how do you deal with non skid?

Cabin top - better but seems like shading would be a big problem.

Sides - What about panels mounted on the stanchions, hinged so they can fold up/down and deploy them like wings. Sets on both sides so one will get sun if the other is in shade. Would have to be very waterproof and even so would probably corrode out and need replacing on occasion.
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Old 13-11-2017, 09:49   #8
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Re: Low Windage Solar Installations

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Deck - too many problems. Even with walk on panels how do you deal with non skid?
The Solara panels have a rippled effect in the surface which is quite a good non slip surface. Well the dog thinks so anyway.

https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...ture28035.html

There is another location. If the new yacht is 55-60 ft then that would suggest a sloop with a 75ft mast give or take. That has quite a large surface area. Okay not aligned with the sun but..... also does reflected sunlight from the waters surface have any value for increasing the light absorbed by a solar panel? certainly makes people go pink much quicker than on land.

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Old 13-11-2017, 10:10   #9
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Re: Low Windage Solar Installations

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Originally Posted by Sailmonkey View Post
Walk on panels on low traffic areas of the deck?
That's about the only thing I can think of, but the wiring of that through the cabin top can present problems.

I figure that the windage of my SS bimini arch is cancelled out by the feathering prop, and besides, as a cruiser, I'll pay a half-knot for ice cubes!
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Old 13-11-2017, 10:28   #10
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Re: Low Windage Solar Installations

You could rig removeable semi flexible panels on a pole(s). Or anywhere else for that matter. My little boat has 7 36W panels..4 mounted to the radar pole and 3 across the bimini. but they can also be laid out anywhere the sun is shining on the decks. They are strikeable in about 1 minute and have a part time home in the lazarette for passages or times of high wind.
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Old 13-11-2017, 13:54   #11
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Re: Low Windage Solar Installations

Put them on the bimini arch or similar. Curve the upper face of the panels to provide aerodynamic lift. Less weight in the water. More speed.

Really?
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Old 13-11-2017, 14:10   #12
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Re: Low Windage Solar Installations

Solbian makes nonskid solar panels.
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Old 14-11-2017, 03:04   #13
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Re: Low Windage Solar Installations

From what you have said in the past, your new boat is likely to be either fully or semi bespoke around 60ft LOA. If that is so, the only other area I can think of which may be worth considering is the boom(s).
A boom or mast furling main would seem to be easy, you would have a composite boom fabricated slightly wider to allow long narrow semi flexible panels to be fitted along each side of the mast furling track/boom furling aperture. Given the length of boom(s) for a 60ft boat, you would get quite an area to exploit. Maybe 5 square metres per side which could give a nominal 1 kW per side.
Panels like these with Sunpower cells 150W Semi flexible Monocrystaline Solar Panels - Sunpower E20 cells - Stick down
Ok, when sailing at least, only 50% of the panels would contribute, but short of having davits or a rigid bimimi well aft, there would seem to be few options for a really efficient system.
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Old 14-11-2017, 03:13   #14
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Re: Low Windage Solar Installations

For a conventional slab reefing main, I would think a carefully shaped hollow boom that acts as a rigid stack pack could also provide enough solar area. You would still need a small cover for the exposed slot and also someway of accomodating or covering the main luff cars and attached sail. Some of the super yachts I have seen have solved that problem somehow, so it should be doable.
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Old 14-11-2017, 03:18   #15
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Re: Low Windage Solar Installations

Put them on a boom attached to the overhead in the dingy hanger.. run the boom out astern like a retractable bow sprit. Mount panels on an adjustable gimble to keep them facing the sun. When conditions are not desireable retract into the dingy hanger..no windage no dammage...no carp.
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