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Old 09-11-2018, 08:45   #46
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Re: Mounting Flexible Solar Panels on Bimini

I am satisfied with mine producing, in theory, 400 watts. A number of my sailing friends, western Med, have resisted the solar panel route, and have had the need to switch off the fridge at night. Learning that it not necessary for me to do so. There is now the thinking that they will purchase panels and have them stored whist sailing and deploy them when stationary. I have noticed a number of sailing boats mounting them as if they were a dodger and swinging them to the horizontal plain when they need. Ways and means
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Old 09-11-2018, 11:14   #47
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Re: Mounting Flexible Solar Panels on Bimini

2 years out of my flexible solar panels. 2 of 3 are dead, now I'm in Ecuador trying to find another set. I would whole heartedly recommend, if you're going anywhere, get hard panels. I'll never get flexible again. Mounted them on a hardtop, no flex, just delamination. The other is going to go soon...

Good luck my brother! Fair winds.

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Old 09-11-2018, 12:57   #48
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Re: Mounting Flexible Solar Panels on Bimini

https://share.icloud.com/photos/0tZ5...Beaufort_River

6 95 watt soft panels.
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Old 09-11-2018, 13:57   #49
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Re: Mounting Flexible Solar Panels on Bimini

As you can see, everyone has an opinion. Here's one more.


I have 700 watts of Solbian flexible panels mounted on my bimini (see picture). The key thing (for a sailboat) is to orient them so that shadows don't impact the panel and that any impact is isolated in some way (series vs parallel, etc.). They are on Victron controllers with Bluetooth dongles.



My $0.02 is that the fixed panels ARE more efficient, but I didn't want my boat looking like an RV in Yellowstone park. The flexible panels allow for a more streamlined look and still do what I need. You can compensate for the efficiency loss by just putting more wattage up there. Durability seems equal from what I've seen...


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Old 09-11-2018, 15:46   #50
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Re: Mounting Flexible Solar Panels on Bimini

I'd take a pass on mounting these on your canvas. My experience was that they don't put out much and the ruin your canvas. Hard solar panels work much better and they don't make your bimini leak when you need it the most.
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Old 09-11-2018, 16:38   #51
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Re: Mounting Flexible Solar Panels on Bimini

If you just lay them on top of a 10 year old bimini, I might agree with you. Ours was designed for solar, with channels for the cables and pockets for the panels. The support points were laid out with panels in mind.



As to not putting out much, I'll get 40-50amps going into the batteries for hours at a time on a decent day. All I was looking for is to replace the refrig/freezer/normal workloads and top the batteries off daily. I'd get more if I put more wattage up there. The biggest gate on battery charging in many cases is NOT the panel, but the controllers throttling the flow based upon voltage in the battery, temperature, etc..



As I said, they are not as efficient as a fixed panel, but I'm not a fan of the ridiculous lines on some boats with wind generators, steering vanes, arches on the stern that look like roll bars, and big racks of panels that provide function but don't help with appearance or under-sail performance.



To the original posts author: Do what works for you. Listen to all the input and make your own decision.
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