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Old 27-03-2015, 14:43   #16
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Re: Mounting solar panels on a Ketch

I still have some shading but it was the best I could do at the time. It allows for a little adjustability to follow the sun.
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Old 27-03-2015, 14:55   #17
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Re: Mounting solar panels on a Ketch

I have no way of avoiding shading of some of my panels pretty much all the time. Therefore, I've set them all up in parallel, all feeding to my controller. Pretty much 1/2 the system is shaded all the time, so while I plan to have 400 watts installed soon in four separate panels (I currently have 100 W), at best only 200 W will typically be feeding the system while underway. At anchor I can do better by swinging the boom out of the way, but underway I'm assuming no better than 50% of the panels will be putting out a charge at any one time.
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Old 29-03-2015, 14:06   #18
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Re: Mounting solar panels on a Ketch

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrm View Post
I owned a ketch once and had the same issue. Gave it a lot of thought, but was unable to come up with a really satisfactory solution. Pictures don't show enough, but is there enough space in front of the mizzen mast? Looks like there is much less shading there, so maybe panels mounted there, like a kind of hard extension to the sprayhood? Would there be panel interference with a main sheet? Agree with comments above on strength. I'd go with something like 1.5" stainless for support. But good location first, support afterwards.
We are planning to mount ours above the Bimini, below the main boom. We have a boom gallows. With the mizzen boom hanging past the transom and our old style narrow transom the stern is a no-go. Shade will be a problem. I figure to use the topping lift and haul the boom clear at anchor. We plan to also have a couple of portable Solbian flexible thin panels - stored under a mattress. The dinghy rides on the lazerette hatch. No room for a wind generator either.
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Old 30-03-2015, 00:56   #19
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Re: Mounting solar panels on a Ketch

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Originally Posted by Nicholson58 View Post
We are planning to mount ours above the Bimini, below the main boom. We have a boom gallows. With the mizzen boom hanging past the transom and our old style narrow transom the stern is a no-go. Shade will be a problem. I figure to use the topping lift and haul the boom clear at anchor. We plan to also have a couple of portable Solbian flexible thin panels - stored under a mattress. The dinghy rides on the lazerette hatch. No room for a wind generator either.
Yours looks the same as mine only bigger.

Wouldn't you be better building a pushpit on the back and mount your panels on that, below your mizzen boom?
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Old 30-03-2015, 02:38   #20
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Re: Mounting solar panels on a Ketch

I like my neighbors set-up. Large panel each side fixed to the mizzen shrouds high enough to be out of the way. He leaves them up when heading offshore.
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Old 30-03-2015, 07:26   #21
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Re: Mounting solar panels on a Ketch

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I like my neighbors set-up. Large panel each side fixed to the mizzen shrouds high enough to be out of the way. He leaves them up when heading offshore.
Does he try to get them horizontal or are they just lashed to the shrouds catching the rays @ sunrise and sunset? This is different than most posts - can you provide any photos?
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Old 30-03-2015, 09:26   #22
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Re: Mounting solar panels on a Ketch

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I still have some shading but it was the best I could do at the time. It allows for a little adjustability to follow the sun.
We can only work with what we've got and since boats are not building roof tops, shading will occur at some point. Best to put the highest efficiency rated panels that the wallet can afford to get the most power in this challenging scenario; because any solar energy grabbed from the sun is a good thing - better than nothing. If you have the luxury of adjusting the angle of the panel, so much the better, but since the boat itself is "adjusting" the angle as it moves, I wonder how effective this can be in the course of a day.

Those 20 year old glass panels of yours are heavy - I would say the four of them are close to 120 lbs so having a strong enough frame work to handle any torque or weather conditions is vital. With the new semi flexible panels available you could bring your array down to about 40 lbs and 480 watts using, for example, Solara monocrystalline panels made with SunPower solar cells (these are German manufactured, not Chinese). Then the issue of your structure becomes less of an issue because you don't have the same weight so high off your deck.
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Old 30-03-2015, 10:09   #23
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Re: Mounting solar panels on a Ketch

Perhaps not "the way" but "a way?" Here's how we approached our solar install on our Gulfstar M53 Ketch...so far we like the setup - I mounted a 560W array on our hydraulic davits to avoid as much shading (from mizzen boom) as possible and help with sun-tracking (the davits, when raised to max height, offer about 15 deg of fwd angle to the bow...and nearly 30 deg to aft when lowered (yes, while still keeping the RIB out of the water in coastal areas). We are lucky to have a beefy set of remote control hydraulic davits. On passage - we put the heavy RIB (center console/25HP 4-stroke) on the foredeck (engine and all...another project interesting project leveraging the spinnaker pole and an ATV winch as a crane that has worked well for us). Sorry - no photos from "above" yet - will take some and share when I complete the wind turbine mount above the radar dome on the mizzen mast this spring. We have 4 x 140W panels on retracting wings that allow me to fold the outer panels inward onto the inner panels for protection (storm, hail, maintenance at dock...etc) and permits use of the swim platform and stern ladder access for aft entry aboard...all built in stainless and king board. If anyone is interested in this "home made" design - shout out - I'll be happy to share but haven't put it all in digestible "how to" form just yet. We had no issues on our trip up the Gulf Stream last spring from Tampa to Chesapeake/DC Potomac and we did experience heavy weather en route. The array was solid as a rock! Note: Special attention is needed in arriving/departing near dock poles or other boats...the array does "stick out" a bit when fully deployed across our transom.

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Old 30-03-2015, 13:50   #24
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Re: Mounting solar panels on a Ketch

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Does he try to get them horizontal or are they just lashed to the shrouds catching the rays @ sunrise and sunset? This is different than most posts - can you provide any photos?
They are clamped on the shrouds each side plus he has a couple of small ones horizontal on his dodger. Always catching some rays morning, midday and evening at his berth.
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Old 30-03-2015, 15:45   #25
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Re: Mounting solar panels on a Ketch

steve baby....i am having made hard dodger and bimini of wood.
building in traveller and gallows and water catchment.
wanna see??
meet up.
your current stuff needs to be made sturdier than it appears for furycame season amigo.

is why mine will be sturdy wood...
hearts n flowers.

think wood.
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Old 02-04-2015, 12:25   #26
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Re: Mounting solar panels on a Ketch

Zee, you've followed my project long enough to know the qualify of my work! It will be strong by the time I decide on final configuration. This is a "mock-up". See my second post. Now working on a mizzen boom gallows, which will be integrated. Don't have the angles right yet for both support and to keep her sexy. My technique is; think about it a few months, do a functional mock-up, then live with it a while, then finalize it. I put up this thread to get other opinions on practicality, structure, etc. Responses have been good, and none indicate anything wrong with the configuration,

You also know how much I love wood. Just scored a solid black walnut slab to make a new dinette table. Would love to see pis of your hard dodger-Bimini-gallows. Isn't that called a "pilot house"?
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Old 02-04-2015, 14:44   #27
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Re: Mounting solar panels on a Ketch

more like dodger with flexibility and a biminy...
then cockpit enclosure that is effective in storms deluvering walls of water
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