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Old 14-04-2019, 17:47   #1
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Solar Panel Cutting

I have a certain space on the deck of my sailboat where I would like to place a 120 Volt Flexible Solar panel I just got. The panel is 21.25 inches wide and the space I have available is 19.25. I knew this when I ordered the panel but this one was the closest I could find in a range over 100 watts.

I examined the panel carefully and it appears there are white tabs, looking almost line strips of paper that seem to connect each cell on all the sides that are continuous to the side of other cells. There is a 3/4 inch white plastic border on all 4 sides. The point on the boat where the opening narrows to 19.25 inches is fairly short.

My plan, provided I can get some encouragement from this forum, is to carve out of the panel enough width on both sides so that the panels will fit between a center hatch and a hand rail on the cabin edge. Most of the panel will fit without this adjustment, but adjustment of this sort is needed for the panel to be put in service.

Here is my question: To accomplish my plan, I will need to cut into a couple of the cells about 1/4 to 1/2 inch. From m examination, I believe I can accomplish this without touching the presumed connectors.

I have no other location that is appropriate to lay the panel. So, if I have to risk destroying the $200 panel, it is worth it for the possibility I can make it fit. I don't see why cutting into the cell just a little distance would diminish the power generating capacity of the entire panel, but I know very little about the technology and hope someone can help me.

Bob Franklin
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Old 14-04-2019, 18:22   #2
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Re: Solar Panel Cutting

There are many panels sizes online. Find one that fits...
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Old 14-04-2019, 20:28   #3
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Re: Solar Panel Cutting

It is worth a try, but it's mostly about not damaging what you aren't going to cut, i.e. don't crack the remaining cells.
Also, make sure to reliably waterproof the cuts with some kind of sealer that will last.
If you only take off small areas at the edges of cells and don't cut the connectors between them, you probably aren't going to run into any problems. The maximum current available from the panel will probably be compromised by the percentage of the most reduced cell.

Keep us informed with the results, and I wish you luck.
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Old 14-04-2019, 20:50   #4
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Re: Solar Panel Cutting

There are cheap-Chinese outfits on eBay and Ali that will make custom shapes & size panels in small quantities, for not much more per watt than standard.

Just get a few spares while you're at it.

Looking forward to PV paint. . .
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Old 14-04-2019, 21:06   #5
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Re: Solar Panel Cutting

Quote:
Originally Posted by john61ct View Post
There are cheap-Chinese outfits on eBay and Ali that will make custom shapes & size panels in small quantities, for not much more per watt than standard.

Just get a few spares while you're at it.

Looking forward to PV paint. . .
I ordered two 120wart panels off Aliexpress in a custom configuration. Changed the number of cells in a row to get a size that fit. No extra charge.
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