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Old 25-10-2018, 12:44   #16
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Re: Mounting Flexible Solar Panels on Bimini

I have 2 x 240 W rigid Kyocera marine solar panels on a tubing frame over my bimini. I looked at replacing with flexible for weight reduction. Mine were installed in 2011 and I have not had a problem. Apart from regular draw, I have a TV, fridge and freezer. All lighting is LED though. I would be very worried about the flex on the bimini when sailing. That is why I did not change. I will admit that when sailing hard into the wind on a rough Lake Ontario, I can feel the sway of the weight of the panels on the bimini frame. I sail hard. I have never had a problem being fully charged by 900am in the northern latitudes. Life is a trade off. I am now happy with the power I have and will not go flexible in the near future.
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Old 25-10-2018, 12:54   #17
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Re: Mounting Flexible Solar Panels on Bimini

Flexible are double the price per watt of framed, not cheaper.
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Old 25-10-2018, 12:59   #18
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Re: Mounting Flexible Solar Panels on Bimini

Before you add the panels consider in what conditions you gonna be sailing , if you sailing u see 30 knots with the Bimini always open it's ok .... If you ever need to reduce the windvane removing can be a hasle plus you leave the electrical exposed .
If you plan to be caught in a storm , and you have to seriously reduce windvane things can get serious .
Plus solid ones last forever .

About the brand ... Cheap Chinese like DOKIO OR ECO WORTHY ,they cost around 75 to 100 euros per 100 watt and will last 3 to 5 years or maybe more if you are lucky .
The more expensive ones I think gonna last the shame so they really not worth the price .
Comparing my kyocera solid panel with my dokio panel you can't see any difference to 3xcuse the price difference.
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Old 25-10-2018, 13:32   #19
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Re: Mounting Flexible Solar Panels on Bimini

I should have made it clear I removed the cloth bimini and rely on the plywood panels for the rigidity and keep the frame in place. I have cloth panels to attach to the frame, velcro, when at anchor
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Old 25-10-2018, 15:07   #20
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Re: Mounting Flexible Solar Panels on Bimini

Here's a thread I stared about them.

Experience With Temp Mount Flexible Solar Panels

Still working like a dream....
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Old 01-11-2018, 13:22   #21
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Re: Mounting Flexible Solar Panels on Bimini

We are pretty close to pulling the trigger on the flexible solar panels. We are finishing with mocking up the following panels.

2x 160W Renogy Flexible panels
2x 50W Renogy Flexible panels.


The only remaining question I have is whether we should split the 160W panel on the dodger into 2 separate smaller panels due to shading from the boom? At anchor you can pull the boom to one side. However, I haven't been able to find any smaller panels that would give me as much output that aren't from an unknown source.

Any thoughts?
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Old 01-11-2018, 13:50   #22
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Re: Mounting Flexible Solar Panels on Bimini

I have reached the conclusion that trying to avoid shade on a moving boat is well nigh impossible. The panels still work in the shade so unless your boats demand is on the limit of supply I would go for the most simple of arrangements.
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Old 01-11-2018, 14:03   #23
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Re: Mounting Flexible Solar Panels on Bimini

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Originally Posted by CarlF View Post
I used four 125watt Solbian panels and they are all putting out the same watts as when they were installed on the bimini four years ago. I have heard some horror stories on other brands. Many seem to be made at the same large factory in China and different brand names applied. Of course, they are much less expensive than Solbian.

I mounted the panels on 8mm thick dual wall polycarbonate panels that are used for greenhouse windows. I got mine from Greenhouse Megastore. They have precut panels that were much cheaper to ship than the 4'x8' full sheets. Their cut panels were about an 1" smaller than the Solbian but it's done no damage to have the Solbian's hang over a little bit. There's been no noticeable chafe on the bimini.

These are extremely light (less than 1lb per solar panel) and last just about forever. They don't get noticeably warm, probably because of the air passages. They bend just enough to follow the curve of the bimini. I mount the panels with the long way fore and aft right over the bows. I attached the Solbian panels to the plastic it with 1" squares of 3M 4941 VHB tape every 12" or so. I covered the rough edges with a folded strip of white duct tape. None have let go even a little bit.

Another advantage of the plastic panel is that it is easy to remove the solar panel for storms or storage without them flexing too much in the process. I just just stack them on a berth.
I like your solution!
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Old 02-11-2018, 21:31   #24
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Re: Mounting Flexible Solar Panels on Bimini

I believe splitting the panel and using (2) boost MPPT controllers will produce more power.
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Old 03-11-2018, 01:54   #25
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Re: Mounting Flexible Solar Panels on Bimini

Rather technical. It maybe that your proposal will lose less power, be more efficient , but you cannot produce more than exists. Does the volt to amp ratio change ? If not , result perpetual motion !
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Old 03-11-2018, 03:06   #26
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Re: Mounting Flexible Solar Panels on Bimini

Question: do you use a separate mppt controller for each panel?

Thanks
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Old 03-11-2018, 03:29   #27
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Re: Mounting Flexible Solar Panels on Bimini

You could I suppose have a small capacity controller for each panel,cumbersome. Install one controller with an amperage capacity comfortably above the total power of the panels. I tried a number , bought from new know where , but finally am very satisfied with one made Germany . It even told me that I had connected one of the panels with reverse polarity, brain in neutral !
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Old 03-11-2018, 06:18   #28
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Re: Mounting Flexible Solar Panels on Bimini

If you were to ask Bruce Schwab about this he would probably suggest to split the dodger panel and wire each panel to a genasun mppt booster controller. That is the way to maximize output.

Now if you want to have a system that is cheap and you don't need to optimize the limited solar space that you have on a boat because you don't really need that much electrical power, go ahead with 1 panel and one controller, but there is a significant difference in ourput.
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Old 03-11-2018, 09:07   #29
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Re: Mounting Flexible Solar Panels on Bimini

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you cannot produce more than exists.
of course

The MPPT advantage over PWM is in extracting **closer to** max rated Watts output in various conditions.

Rarely is that advantage less than 10%, but can be as high as 25% in some conditions.

Victron's unique pricing model is what allows for optimizing shade handling and MPPT efficiency by going to fewer panels per SC or even 1:1.

If you have the mounting space and don't mind the extra wiring.
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Old 03-11-2018, 09:14   #30
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Re: Mounting Flexible Solar Panels on Bimini

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I believe splitting the panel and using (2) boost MPPT controllers will produce more power.
Not sure where your specifying "boost" controllers is coming from.

Don't **all** MPPT 12/24V output controllers accepting a wide voltage range do both buck and boost as a normal part of operations?

I have not heard of Genasun being particularly efficient in those normal voltages, but they are in the sparse list of vendors with 48+V output capabilities.

I believe Victron is the most popular SC Bruce sells.
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