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Old 25-11-2018, 20:02   #1
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Mount solar panels on pushpit - best place?

Hi everyone
Have a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 469 which I want to install some solar panels on. I have picked out two nice 100 watt rigid frame ones, and with a little acceptable overhang I can mount them either on the sides of or behind the stern / pushpit rails. The boat will mostly be doing long weekend cruising in the Bahamas.

Two questions:
1) Any thoughts which would be better (extend over the sides or over the transom)? I would prefer to have the panels on the back railing, so they would extend past the transom (only about 20") and not extend out the sides. But, I'm not sure if there would be a shadow from the bimini bracket (the inverted V coming off the stern railing). Mounting the panels on the side pushput railing might have less shadow, but I'm less a fan of the panels hanging off the side than the stern.

2) Given whichever place you'd recommend to put the panels, where would you put the outboard bracket and ideally, grill? The master helm station is on the starboard side, so that is why I have the grill on the port side (for an unobstructed view). It would be nice to not have the outboard bracket be outboard the starboard helm station so the outboard is not in your face and hitting your head. If need be I can store the grill in a locker and break it out only when needed, the outboard bracket has priority. I removed the outboard bracket in the pictures here and put it at the base of the swim platform.

I thought about buying one of those Torqeedo electric outboards and just storing that in a locker, but it's the same height as the 6 HP Yamaha I would get (41"); it might fit in one of the lockers under the cockpit seats, but if the dinghy ever needed to tow the mothership it couldn't the way a gas outboard can.




Thanks for any thoughts.
Best,
'Dubs
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Old 25-11-2018, 21:26   #2
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Re: Mount solar panels on pushpit - best place?

Been reading more about the Torqeedo, I think it would work for what we need (or one of the competitors starting to come out now like the ePropulsion Spirit). So may not need to find a place for the outboard bracket after all, which means the main question is would I be okay mounting the solar panels over the transom or am I lots better off having them extend out the sides like where the grill is now.
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Old 25-11-2018, 22:01   #3
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Re: Mount solar panels on pushpit - best place?

I don't know why, by my first thought was to have them on the sides similar to how your grill is. It keeps the stern clear for the swim platform ... and anything else you might want to hang off the stern. It might just be that's where most people mount them, but somehow it makes sense to me.

My only real concern is that two 100w panels isn't a whole lot of power for that size boat. Have you done a power budget? There are long skinny panels that might be as much as 200w each and not any wider than the 100w you're looking at, so they won't stick out any further. A lot of people like flexible panels on top of their bimini as well.

The smaller electric outboards are probably great for short dinghy rides, but I wouldn't consider it emergency propulsion for the Jeanneau. Even the step up to the 4kw from Torqeedo or 6kw ePropulsion probably come up a little weak for that activity.
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Old 25-11-2018, 22:54   #4
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Re: Mount solar panels on pushpit - best place?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rdubs View Post
Hi everyone
.....
1) Any thoughts which would be better (extend over the sides or over the transom)? I would prefer to have the panels on the back railing, so they would extend past the transom (only about 20") and not extend out the sides......
Thanks for any thoughts.
Best,
'Dubs
Neither..... if it was me and that was my boat I would look at this position - cabin top - and this solution....

Longitudinal axis is always better IMO... no matter where you put the panels...

There was a thread on this subject almost exactly 12 months ago... but I can't find it....
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Old 26-11-2018, 04:37   #5
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Re: Mount solar panels on pushpit - best place?

On Vigah, that appeared to be the easiest overall. A plus is I can remove them in about 10 mins if the need arises. It really all depends on your boat. I had to make sure I could still tend the mizzen.
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Old 26-11-2018, 09:35   #6
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Re: Mount solar panels on pushpit - best place?

Thanks everyone for the great thoughts.
I think what I may do is just go back to my original plan of installing a 400 watt setup (4x100 watt panels) on top of the dinghy davits which I removed. I definitely don’t want an arch but could live with adding a platform atop the dinghy davits, even if if not using it to hold a dinghy. I was hoping to avoid the ungainly look of having a big solar platform off the back but as long as the install and frame doesn’t look ghetto I can live with it. Then I could put the outboard bracket on the aft port side rail and have more options for the grill (I don’t like it hanging off the side, so maybe I will just store it in a locker until it needs to be used).

The tricky part will be getting the wires from the charge controller inside the skin of the boat where I can get them to the battery. One option might be to just wire the output to the power terminals for one of the electric winches, those can be accessed via the cockpit seat lockers / lazarettes.
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Old 26-11-2018, 09:58   #7
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Re: Mount solar panels on pushpit - best place?

In your original pics the bimini is stowed. Is this your norm or is it out?
This would be a very good place to put your rigid panels integrated into the bimini frame or flexible panels sewn (with edging) to the fabric and not be in the way.


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Old 26-11-2018, 10:01   #8
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Re: Mount solar panels on pushpit - best place?

Quote:
Originally Posted by El Pinguino View Post
Neither..... if it was me and that was my boat I would look at this position - cabin top - and this solution....

Longitudinal axis is always better IMO... no matter where you put the panels...

There was a thread on this subject almost exactly 12 months ago... but I can't find it....
That looks like it would get ripped off by the rig. And I wouldn't want the hassle of attaching / detaching every time I was going for a sail.
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Old 26-11-2018, 12:09   #9
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Re: Mount solar panels on pushpit - best place?

Can you mount them atop the dodger/ bimini? When sailing, they work well. Only downside I have discovered is that I must sling the boom out, overside, when at anchor.
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Old 26-11-2018, 12:53   #10
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Re: Mount solar panels on pushpit - best place?

Quote:
Originally Posted by El Pinguino View Post
Neither..... if it was me and that was my boat I would look at this position - cabin top - and this solution....

Longitudinal axis is always better IMO... no matter where you put the panels...

There was a thread on this subject almost exactly 12 months ago... but I can't find it....
El Ping, are those able to be secured horizontal, as well as aimed at early or late light?

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Old 26-11-2018, 14:02   #11
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Re: Mount solar panels on pushpit - best place?

I had an arch made with davits. The panels will go on top of the arch. Many boats have them on the arch, well aft of the boom and rigging, and say they are almost never shaded. This will be our first winter using more than a single solar panel.

I don't know how you would get a higher place for panels unless you extend your dodger / bimini a bit aft with brackets. Up high there are no worries about shadows.

I looked at the electrics; bought a propane. Now I have a small gasoline and the propane as extra. (The propane lines leaked inside the cowling. It might have been under warranty but that hardly mattered where we are. A local person repaired the mess but I do not think of it as dependable.)
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Old 26-11-2018, 14:15   #12
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Re: Mount solar panels on pushpit - best place?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rdubs View Post
EDIT
I was hoping to avoid the ungainly look of having a big solar platform off the back but as long as the install and frame doesnít look ghetto I can live with it.
EDIT
I have a SO 40.3 and my solar installation is a 270wp rigid module on a stainless steel arch on the stern.
That is the probably the most efficient and comfortable solution.

I could understand claims for elegance loss if i had a S&S or a Sangermani from the '60, but it is not my case.
I think my boat (and, sorry, i think yours) has not been built for being elegant or classical, but for being comfortable. A large stern for a couple of large cabins, the mainsail traveller at the center of the the boat to allow a table in the cockpit for the sunset appetizer and, last but not least, 3 stainless steel arches to maintain the bimini for my cool shaded vacations.
That's why i did not put much attention to the change in the classical lines when i designed my solar installation. For the simple reason there was no classical line to alterate
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Old 26-11-2018, 14:40   #13
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Re: Mount solar panels on pushpit - best place?

I have a SO469 with the factory installed 2 x 100 solar panels. They are on the cabin top forward of the boom. They help. Some. I’m in the Bahamas now and they seem a lot better tan at home. I would seriously look at a lot more solar power. As to the dinghy motor, I stashed my 9.9!hp Yamaha in a locker for the crossing. Fit well.
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Old 26-11-2018, 15:12   #14
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Re: Mount solar panels on pushpit - best place?

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Originally Posted by LoudMusic View Post
That looks like it would get ripped off by the rig. And I wouldn't want the hassle of attaching / detaching every time I was going for a sail.
Permanently attached on an 'expedition' boat trading TdF/Antarctica/S. Georgia/etc....... seem to be surviving well enough....

Ann.... yes can lay flat and be rotated to vertical... same same side rail mounted panels like mine.... work well both on N/S courses ( trim through the day ) and E/W ( set and forget ).
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Old 26-11-2018, 16:03   #15
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Re: Mount solar panels on pushpit - best place?

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Originally Posted by Peeew View Post
I have a SO469 with the factory installed 2 x 100 solar panels. They are on the cabin top forward of the boom. They help. Some. Iím in the Bahamas now and they seem a lot better tan at home. I would seriously look at a lot more solar power. As to the dinghy motor, I stashed my 9.9!hp Yamaha in a locker for the crossing. Fit well.
Peeew you must tell me more immediately!
I would LOVE to replicate the factory solar install, with the two panels ahead of the traveler. I went to far as to even find out the name/brand of the factory-installed panels (Solara, M-series I believe - probably model S220P43 rated at 55 watts each). What stopped me from trying to replicate the factory install was I could never figure out how to route the output wires down into the boat. The overhead trim pieces are on there very firm (I heard they are held on via strong velcro, but I felt wood cracking when I tried to remove them once), so even if I did drill a hole in the top of the cabin to run the wire, I wouldn't be able to get to it from underneath to run to the battery. Is there a way next time you are at your boat to trace the wiring from the panels, how does it enter the skin of the boat and where does it go to from there? And where is the factory solar charge controller?

Also, can you please tell me where you stored your 9.9HP Yamaha? I measured the height of the storage lockers behind/underneath the helm stations and they only measure 30" tall by about 36" diagonal down below, but I think even a short shaft outboard is around 40". Did you get it to fit? And what did you do about the skeg at the bottom of the casing, below the propeller, I would have nightmares about that skeg punching holes in the hull.

Many thanks!
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