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Old 03-03-2011, 21:23   #31
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Re: Solar Enough?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Feral Cement View Post
... Any brands to stay away from for durability or output issues? ... John
We had a fairly amazing experience with Kyocera panels. The short version is that I talked to them for 5 minutes & they agreed to replace our 8-year-old panels (they had some mfg defects in 2001) ENTIRELY at THEIR expense, flying the new panels to us in Malaysia! Pretty amazing, we thought.

BTW, a charge controller should run ~$50 or so for a basic one. Max-Power-Point-Tracking controllers are several times that but worth it in the long run as they actually give you ~15% more current into your batteries.

I've written up a fair amount on this (including how to generate an energy budget & payback times for solar panels) at our Solar Panel page. In there I also write that if you take the nominal wattage of your panels & divide that number by 3 then you'll get close to the number of Amp-hours you'll get into your batteries in a sunny day (this has been obliquely mentioned elsewhere in this thread). Or, to put it the other way around, compute how many amp-hours you want/need & buy solar panels with 3x that wattage.

One thing I've noticed is that almost ALL wind-turbine installations will shade (neighboring) solar panels significantly. It takes VERY little shade to shut down most panels.
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Old 03-03-2011, 22:45   #32
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Re: Solar Enough?

I'll also be going as Solar as I can, thinking it can be "Enough". I'm just designing my new hardtop and hope to fit close to 500 watts on it.
Drawing's a bit cluttered.

Cheers,
Extemp.
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Old 04-03-2011, 14:18   #33
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Re: Solar Enough?

VirtualVagabond,

These 2 solar panel companies are pretty close.
They are the state of the art in solar at this time.
Highest output for their size
Lightest panels for their size
Smallest panel for the watts they put out.

SunPower 238
http://us.sunpowercorp.com/downloads...n_ltr_ds_w.pdf
SunPower 318
http://us.sunpowercorp.com/downloads...n_ltr_ds_w.pdf
Sanyo HIT-N235SE10
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Old 04-03-2011, 15:18   #34
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Re: Solar Enough?

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Originally Posted by Cotemar View Post
These 2 solar panels companies are pretty close.
They are the state of the art in solar at this time.
Highest output for their size
Lightest panels for their size
Smallest panel for the watts they put out.

SunPower 238
http://us.sunpowercorp.com/downloads...n_ltr_ds_w.pdf
SunPower 318
http://us.sunpowercorp.com/downloads...n_ltr_ds_w.pdf
Sanyo HIT-N235SE10
SANYO Component Europe GmbH - Sanyo Solar Photovoltaics-Europe: Home - New HIT NxxxS
What's the price/watt? Best I've seen so far is this:

Suntech Solar Panel 200 Watts 26.20 Vmp [STP200-18/UB-1 A-1] - $368.00 : Solar Panels, Inverters and PV Systems | Worlds Lowest Price, Powered by Nature!

at $1.84/watt.

And, from experience, is this too large a panel to hang from a pair of stern "davits" on a Catalina 27? I don't want the sailboat equivalent of 6 foot tires on a Toyota pick-up, if ya know what I mean.

John
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Old 04-03-2011, 15:24   #35
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Re: Solar Enough?

Thumbs up for Kycoera panels. I've got two 135's and they work great. I got mine from altenergystore.com for ~$350 a piece. Cheapest I could find anywhere.

http://altenergystore.com/AIDLink.ht...r-Panel/p7655/

I got the BZ M25 charge controller with the remote face plate. Shows how much current is coming in and the battery voltage levels (along with a handy LED strip). Easy to use, nice quality. *And* it has a separate lead out for trickle charging the starter battery bank. What else could a guy want?

http://altenergystore.com/AIDLink.ht...-Display/p292/
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Old 04-03-2011, 20:04   #36
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Re: Solar Enough?

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Does it say "Rutland 405" on the tail? If so, that's the trickle-charge model.
504

Well, probably trickle in your boat. But our batteries are now only 75Ah starter and 105Ah house. We already have 150W in solar. I would like something that gives some quiet energy after sunset too!

b.
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Old 04-03-2011, 20:05   #37
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Re: Solar Enough?

Feral Cement,

Only you can answer if a SunPower 238 watt panel would be to big.
It measures 61" x 31" x 1-3/4" thick by 33 lbs

Only the Sanyo panel come close to these spec's

The biggest mistake cruisers make is to go with to small a system.
Always go larger and grow into it.
Always use a MPPT controller when using a panel putting out more than 12 volts.
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Old 04-03-2011, 20:11   #38
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Re: Solar Enough?

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I would like something that gives some quiet energy after sunset too!
Their is no such thing as a quiet fan/ bade / roto / spinning carbon fiber.

They need maintenance, they make vibrations down the pole and they are not silent.
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Old 04-03-2011, 20:41   #39
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Re: Solar Enough?

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Their is no such thing as a quiet fan/ bade / roto / spinning carbon fiber.

They need maintenance, they make vibrations down the pole and they are not silent.
You are talking things like Air-X. I am talking things like Rutland 504.

Maybe it is not silent but as long as I cannot hear it - fine with me.

I have posted a separate thread with the new Rutland 914i that is silent and MPPT too.

b.
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Old 04-03-2011, 20:42   #40
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Re: Solar Enough?

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Always use a MPPT controller when using a panel putting out more than 12 volts.
Why?

barnie
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Old 04-03-2011, 22:18   #41
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Re: Solar Enough?

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I owe you an explanation. Neither assumption nor verified. Simply my oversimplification that causes havoc.

By 'nothing on a cloudy day' I meant very little compared to a sunny day. Not nothing at all, just very little.

Our panels tilt and we normally adjust them for the best angle too, unless we are fully charged and in such a case we either use the energy somehow (e.g. charging all rechargeable toys) or just let it be.

Our panels came wired with the diodes in the box and the manufacturer recommended no further diodes.

Apologies for the unnecessary confusion.

PS I believe the diode is spelled "Schottky" (after the guy named Schottky) not "Shotkey" (?) or else it is another type of diode.

Cheers,
barnie
Your "not nothing at all, just very little" sounds about like what my Air Marine wind gen did. Unless it was blowing like crazy. In Morro Bay where it's pretty windy almost every day (small craft or gale warnings 185 days a year) it was still a waste of money. I wish I'd spent that $800.00 on more solar panels.
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Old 04-03-2011, 22:45   #42
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Re: Solar Enough?

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
504

Well, probably trickle in your boat. But our batteries are now only 75Ah starter and 105Ah house. We already have 150W in solar. I would like something that gives some quiet energy after sunset too!
Oops. Sorry. I seem to have transposed the numerals. 504 is correct. And yes, the "trickle charge" language comes from Rutland themselves--they market this smaller charger as being ideal for house banks up to 100Ah. With the amount of solar you already have, it will certainly be adequate for what you're trying to do.

And the nice thing about the 504 is that it's actually quite economical.
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Old 05-03-2011, 02:06   #43
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Re: Solar Enough?

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MPPT kicks in at best when the batteries are approaching charge.
Its the other way around MPPT has the most potential for gain on a boat when the batteries are flat (but the solar pannel getting loads unshaded sun, in cold conditions). This is one thing in its favor it works best when you need it most.
I however skeptical of the claimed improvement on a yacht.
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Max-Power-Point-Tracking controllers are several times that but worth it in the long run as they actually give you ~15% more current into your batteries.
These sort of claims (from 15 to 30%) are perpetuated in almost every solar thread.
I would love to see some real world data, I think the average gain on a yacht is likely to be much lower.
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Old 05-03-2011, 04:54   #44
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Re: Solar Enough?

Thanks Cotemar, Feral and Rebel... great, helpful info.
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Old 05-03-2011, 05:53   #45
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Re: Solar Enough?

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Mark --

Where did you get that stern mount? I was think of putting a rotating stern panel on my Catalina 27, between two "davits" with knobs to tighten the panel into the best pivot position. Sources? Thanks!

John
John,

In my years of boatbuilding and/or repair, I have found SS shops to be one of the biggest bargains.

I wanted my solar panel installation to be as light as possible. (We trimariners are like that, we even tear redundant pages out of books!)

The rack was just SS tubing like bimini top frames, (of the thicker wall). I described it to the guy at the canvass place, and he bent it up for me. (4 bends) I mounted it to the rear sternrail stantions with 4 of these little SS hose clamp "saddles", but intended to double up the hose clamps on each one. These saddles are really cheap @ West Marine. (Forespar I think).

I ALWAYS spend the extra bucks for the AWAB type all 316 SS clamps.

After mounting, I found it to be too shaky, so removed it, had a pair of horizontal and vertical gusset rods of 5/16" SS welded on, and remounted it.
The rack was now ABSOLUTELY rigid, but VERY light! I could easily dangle from it!

Then I had a "panel" frame welded up, to drop the solar panel in. it was a rectangle, just larger than the panel, made of 1/4" thick, 1.5 X 1.5" angle aluminum. It has 4 @ 2" wide cross bars under it, made of 1/4" aluminum "flat bar". These are to mount the tubing clamps to.

This was mounted to the SS rack's crossbar, with 4 of those marine store "Starboard" tubing clamp mounts, (with the black thumb screws). They are made specifically for mounting things to SS tubing, and the tension is adjustable.

Next I dropped the 110w panel into the frame, with 1/4" thick spacer nuts under the panel. It bolts down firmly, without the panel sitting in or on the frame. (No sitting in a bed of salt).

I have two VERY thin Kevlar retainer downlines. One on each side, for hurricanes only. Otherwise, the tension on the mounts keeps the panel where I left it, with no adjustment to the thumb screws.

Like my other panels, (all 14 years old), it has been through a number of hurricanes, including category 4 winds, gusting over 150 MPH! I have never removed them, or had damage.

My rack & frame came out about as light as the windvane that was drawn in the plans, (and I opted not to use), and cost between $200 and $300 for materials and welding labor. The solar panel itself was $1,000, but they have gone down...

I have mostly cruised in predominately East winds. More often than not, when anchored out, the tilt feature can really add to the Amp Hours gathered that day. I rarely use the tilt feature however, because 95% of the time, my batteries have been full for hours, by late in the day. It is still a good feature to have available.

I'd have to say, it has been one of my biggest successes!
Mark
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